Delta says they’ve changed award and upgrade prices for travel June 1 onward. And they’re telling you about this change now – which has already gone into effect — to provide the most notice possible.
We know your miles are important, so we want to provide the most notice possible regarding Award price changes. For travel on or after June 1, 2016, the number of miles needed will change based on destination, demand and other considerations. But most Award prices will remain unchanged. To see the best availability and deals, search at least 21 days prior to departure and use our Award Calendar by selecting “flexible days” when searching for a flight.
Miles needed to upgrade* will increase, and to provide greater access to these upgrades, we’ve expanded the eligible types of fares.
They say award prices will change, they don’t say they’re going up. But if it were good news they’d sure be letting you know.
Delta’s Announcement Disrespects its Customers
This is the airline that put forward the preposterous claim that it’s illegal to announce award chart changes in advance.
With this new set of changes to award pricing — details unknown about how much, which regions, etc. — members can still book awards at the old price level for much of the currently-loaded schedule (which we have to just trust when searching any given day since there’s no more published prices).
It doesn’t surprise me that Delta is likely raising prices again, after already setting the highest price for own-metal transatlantic business class amongst US airlines at 125,000 to begin with, just implementing new award charts January 1, and then taking those charts away entirely.
I suppose they didn’t have to say anything at all about price increases, since Delta no longer offers award charts to compare prices to.
But to claim that award pricing changes that have already gone into effect are meant ‘to provide you with the most notice possible’ is disingenuous in the extreme.
Delta Doesn’t Give Enough Information to Let Members Even Understand What’s Changing
Don’t think Delta is holding back here? Then answer me this simple question: How much do upgrades cost, and where can I find that information? At least for flights on Delta metal June 1 onward most destinations will permit upgrades on K fares and higher (no longer M fares required, but high fares nonetheless).
To take the ultimate ‘soft bigotry of low expectations’ approach, I suppose they could have done this and made the changes apply to travel from today onward.
If they wanted the most notice possible, they could have provided answers to questions that I asked them like,
- Do the price increases affect level 1 awards? all levels of awards?
- Do the price increases affect awards on partner airlines?
- How much more expensive will some awards get?
- ‘Most prices’ remain unchanged. What prices remain unchanged?
- How much more expensive are upgrades getting? What’s the new pricing?
Instead I got from Delta simply:
I literally shared all the details I was able to share.
Is June 1 travel when – at some point (it doesn’t yet appear that way today) – they go fully revenue-based on redemptions? If so, we have no idea what that looks like, whether it’s for Delta flights only or not. It could be, maybe it isn’t, the only clues we have are that they say price will depend on a variety of factors (an argument in favor) and that most prices won’t change (an argument against). But now we’re nearly into the territory of hermeneutics, or Kremlinology.
It’s their program and they can charge whatever they wish, though the value of their proprietary currency effects one’s willingness to collect that currency, or at least to expend time or resources to do so, and it affects their partners as well like American Express — who in my experience have always grumbled off the record realizing that Delta miles are the least valuable even while re-upping their deal to pay substantial sums to Delta for their miles.
Other Changes Announced, Too
They’re burying the news about award pricing changes amongst other obscure tidbits and pieces of older news.
- Starting July 21 Platinums and Diamonds will be able to use regional upgrade certificates to confirm upgrades between New York JFK and San Francisco/Los Angeles. Folks not doing so should still pester to be added to the upgrade list as despite official rules, upgrades began thawing on these routes a year ago.
- Also effective July 21 you earn qualifying dollars and miles for buyups to preferred seats, extra legroom seats, and premium cabin seats.
- Delta comments on 7500 mile award tickets and 21-day advance purchase requirements for the best award pricing. Of course they even done 5000 mile awards on routes where even that isn’t a good deal.
- They now have more airline partners online for redemption than they used to. (But no new ones to announce at this time.)
The Biggest Problem With SkyMiles is the Trust Deficit
Delta’s new program doesn’t reward high spenders more because they don’t reward anyone more than they used to or more than major competitor programs do. But the biggest problem SkyMiles faces is their trust deficit.
You don’t get information to understand what miles are worth, and when they make changes Delta doesn’t play straight with what they’re doing with your miles or how that will affect you. This announcement just reifies that message in spades. Delta announces changes, clearly without enough information for members to understand what those changes are or mean, and the airline’s position is that’s all the information anyone deserves to get. I genuinely don’t even know what to say.