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Will Delta go to 125,000 SkyMiles for a ‘low’ business class award to Europe?

by on Sat April 27, 2013 • 2 Comments

Delta SkyMilesThis week Air France / KLM announced major changes to its award redemption charts. The key changes:

  • Business class award mile prices will go up about 25%, so that the usual 100,000 mile roundtrip award from the U.S. to Europe is now 125,000 miles
  • Economy class awards will see broader availability at the lowest award levels, and the surcharge on U.S. to Europe flights comes down 175 Euros
  • More upgradable Economy fare classes to Business

Most of us in the U.S. don’t use Air France / KLM miles to book tickets, unless you are a savvy user of the American Express Membership Rewards program to transfer points to Flying Blue.

But since Delta is a big partner of Air France / KLM, is it reasonable to believe Delta will raise its own prices for business class awards to Europe?

Maybe, but perhaps not as widespread.

  • Delta might already be there. Delta has a 3 tier award price chart (low, medium, high), versus just 2 tiers for Air France. So every day Delta’s awards can  more dynamically price to fit the market and on average can price higher than a 2 tier system. The effective price of Delta awards is probably closer to its higher mid tier level (200,000 miles) than the 100,000 mile low tier level.
  • At a recent conference, Delta SkyMiles head Jeff Robertson said costs are the biggest issue for the SkyMiles program as cash fares rise, and they are always looking at ‘surgical’ ways to offset that.
  • So you could see some more adjustments to the reward chart in the next year or so. Will it be a 25% increase in business class award prices? Probably not, maybe something in the 10-15% range. But hard for anyone outside to tell, and our advice is to book good values while you can.
  • The wider economy class generosity is interesting. Programs can take some value out of aspirational premium awards to make a broader base of users happy with broader economy awards. Though at what price to its most frequent, and potentially high value customers who have the means to book premium awards?



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2 thoughts on Will Delta go to 125,000 SkyMiles for a ‘low’ business class award to Europe?

  1. RTW Travel Award

    I am planning a RTW trip in November paying for it with 560,000 delta points and using my united points for hotel rooms. The trip is either NYC, PEK, SIA, NBO, BUE, NYC or NYC, PEK, SIA, BCN, BUE, NYC.
    My question is which of the skymiles partners would have the best business class. MY choices are Aeroflot, aerolinas argentinas china eastern, China southern, air Europa, airfrance, Alitalia china airlines, Delta, Kenya airways, Korean air.

    Thanks so Much!!

    1. MileCards

      @RTW – In terms of quality, Alitalia on its lie flat seats is among the best on the 777 and the ‘3 cabin’ A330. Aeroflot is also very good as is Korean, and China Southern on the A380.

      Avoid China Eastern – the seats are not good. KLM/Air France are also not lie flat seats at this point.


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