I’ve written about how Delta overcharges you for award tickets and how sometimes adding a connecting flight segment can reduce that price. With SkyMiles you can benefit from throwaway and hidden city ticketing on award travel. You also get:
- Different saver award prices based on destination, even for the same flights
- Different saver award prices for the same destination, but for different days
Delta would say of course that’s the case. There’s no longer an award chart. They don’t make promises to members about what an award will cost. And paid airfares can vary wildly, so their awards do too.
However miles aren’t like cash. You can spend cash anywhere — with Delta, with United, with Qatar Airways or Amazon.com. You can spend SkyMiles where and at whatever price Delta says. There’s no independent central bank either. And rather than being ‘revenue-based’ they keep raising the lowest prices, even when paid tickets cost less.
It appears that SkyMiles is now charging 105,000 miles each way for transatlantic business class awards, up from 86,000 miles. That’s a 22% devaluation without notice on top of Delta’s already most-expensive saver awards compared to competitors.
Here’s a search for Delta metal New York JFK – London Heathrow award space.
That makes the least-expensive Delta business class roundtrips 210,000 miles. (Sometimes Delta roundtrip awards are cheaper than booking two one ways, but not in this case.)
Available Delta business class saver awards are bookable of course with miles from partners for less such as Virgin Atlantic or Air France KLM.
Partner awards booked with SkyMiles haven’t gone up in price, either, here’s Virgin Atlantic one way business class still 86,000 (which is not in itself a value).
When Delta raised transatlantic prices to 86,000 miles just over a year ago they rolled back the increase briefly, before bumping it up again to 82,000 miles in June. So we don’t know if this new highest price will hold in the immediate term.
A year ago the saver price was 70,000 miles, this is a 50% increase in a year. That’s nothing like what paid travel is doing. Delta’s revenue-based model appears to price in Bolivars, not dollars.
(HT: Don G.)