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When it comes to unannounced rewards programs devaluations, Delta has all other airlines beat. Heck, they even eliminated award charts altogether in 2015 without warning; it should be no surprise that Delta just dropped another devaluation.
Earlier this year Delta increased business class award rates for travel between the U.S. and the South Pacific from 80,000 miles to 95,000 miles. During the summer, Delta increased business class award rates for travel between the U.S. and Europe starting January 1, 2017, from 62,500 miles to 70,000 miles. Now they have increased business class award rates for travel between the U.S. and India from 70,000 miles to 97,500 miles.
What is particularly frustrating about the most recent devaluation is that the change is effective immediately, not on a future date as was the case with the other two previously mentioned devaluations implemented this year.
Excessively High Rates
At 97,500 miles, Delta business class awards between the U.S. and India are now significantly more expensive than most other options, including American Airlines and United, who require 70,000 miles for the same award (80,000 miles in the case of United with partner airlines). In fact, the only major region-based rewards program that we can think of that requires more miles for business class awards to India is Air France/KLM's Flying Blue, which requires 100,000 miles each way. Unfortunately, Air France and KLM are part of the SkyTeam Alliance, as is Delta, so this is certainly not the ideal alliance for premium cabin travel to India.
If you are looking into booking a Sky Team award to India, Korean Air SKYPASS awards remains a great option as only 170,000 miles are required for a round-trip business class award (one-ways not allowed).
Unannounced devaluations are likely to continue when it comes to Delta. While the SkyMiles program can offer great award options, you should avoid any speculative transfer of flexible rewards points into Delta; who knows when those miles will be worth less.
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