US airlines haven’t offered premium economy products on their own flights. American’s new premium economy, launched on the Boeing 787-9, is the first.
US airline frequent flyer programs haven’t offered the option for redeeming miles for premium economy. That’s going to change. American will certainly make this possible once they have more seats flying (and once they start selling it as a separate cabin in February).
American Airlines Premium Economy Seats
Interestingly Delta SkyMiles is the first of the major US frequent flyer programs to offer premium economy redemption. As of yesterday Delta offers premium economy redemptions on Virgin Atlantic.
Delta of course owns a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic but doesn’t provide premium economy redemption options for joint venture partner Air France.
Here’s Virgin Atlantic’s premium economy service:
In order to find the space online you need to search for Comfort+ which is Delta’s extra legroom product. There’s not yet an online option showing premium economy redemptions as an option.
Here’s availability for January New York JFK – London:
55,000 miles is indeed the one-way price for premium economy:
Delta is launching its own premium economy product in fall 2017 so we can expect saver awards on Delta to be the same price once bookable (and until they increase the price, natch… or unless they start variable pricing with Virgin Atlantic).
The product is a reasonable miles or money-saving alternative especially for Westbound (daytime) transatlantic flights. However, I’d certainly pay the incremental 15,000 miles for business if available.
Effective with travel January 1 onward Delta now charges 70,000 miles each way for saver business class awards. That compares to 57,500 American miles and 57,500 United miles for United travel (United charges 70,000 for Star Alliance partner redemptions).
Delta charging 55,000 miles for premium economy while American and United charge 57,500 for business says something about SkyMiles. 110,000 miles roundtrip for premium economy is shocking.
On the other hand,
- It sets a new level for competitors to copy when introducing redemption for premium economy
- And creates room to devalue business class redemptions even further.
In that sense, while I normally say that more options for frequent flyer redemptions are better, in this case on balance I’m fairly negative about this one.
(HT: Rene’s Points)