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Delta SkyMiles increased award prices for partner awards without notice this week.
While prices for most awards that involve a Delta flight remain unchanged, if you book an award entirely on a Delta partner like Virgin Atlantic or Air France, you’ll get charged a new, higher price.
Here’s how the new and old prices compare for flights on Delta partners.
|Destination||Economy (Old)||Economy (New)||First (Old)||First (New)|
|Mexico / Caribbean||17,500||20,000||30,000||35,000|
|Northern South America||22,500||25,000||40,000||45,000|
|Southern South America||30,000||35,000||75,000||100,000|
|Australia / New Zealand||45,000||55,000||95,000||115,000|
The most important hit is to Europe, where Business Class awards on partners are now 85,000 miles one way, or 170,000 miles roundtrip.
That’s up from 70,000 miles before, and from 62,500 miles just a year ago, a 36% increase.
Even Economy Class awards cost more, at 35,000 miles one way, or 70,000 miles roundtrip, up from 60,000 miles roundtrip before.
The only silver lining in all this is that the base lowest prices for awards on Delta are unchanged, and for now, if your award has even one Delta flight each direction, you’ll pay the old price for awards.
The bigger fear is that United MileagePlus sees this as an opportunity to raise prices.
It charges 57,500 miles one way for a Business Class award on its own flights to Europe, and 70,000 miles for partner flights.
United has a real opportunity to differentiate itself with lower award prices.
But with the new United Polaris Business Class rolling out, and Delta’s higher prices, United could find it easier to say it has reason to raise its award prices over the next year.
While you can hope they keep things differentiated, if you have United miles, and want to use them to Europe in Business Class, we’d recommend booking a trip at the current prices as soon as you can.
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