Last month I asked why people still collect SkyMiles. There has to be some limit to how much programs can devalue their currency.
When Delta rolled back an accidental 3 day advance purchase requirement for all awards not starting or ending in the US or Canada back in January a spokesperson told me I should know that Delta always gives its members notice of changes, so should have assumed the restriction was an error. I stood there, talking on the phone, but felt like I was in a Kurosawa film.
At the end of 2017 Delta started charging 86,000 miles minimum for transatlantic business class awards, but rolled that back to 86,000. Another glitch, one of many.
The price of Delta business class saver awards are no longer fixed, sometimes they charge 100,000 miles each way for saver award travel across the Atlantic. Sometimes they don’t. But even though the increase from 70,000 to 86,000 miles at the end of 2017 was a ‘glitch’ good luck finding transatlantic business class for 70,000 miles anymore.
For instance here’s Boston – London Heathrow one way business class on Delta in early 2019. You’ll see the lowest price ever offered is 82,000 miles — not 70,000 anymore.
Here’s an example saver award for 82,000 miles:
Air France KLM’s Flying Blue will give you the same saver seat on Delta for 56,500 miles:
82,000 won’t always be the Delta saver award price. The price is the price they happen to give you at that moment. And except for low value awards, usually though not always coach tickets in the off season where paid prices are cheap, the cost of awards goes up faster than the price of toilet paper in Venezuela.
Of course if you want to fly a Delta partner, and you probably do, bizarrely you may be able to save miles. Business class on partner airlines, such as Virgin Atlantic when booked far in advance, remains 75,000 miles.
Truly the only reason I care what Delta charges for awards is because other airline executives think people at Delta are smarter, and blindly copy what Delta does. And because higher Delta pricing may make those executives feel they have headroom in their own award pricing.