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Delta devalues Business Elite mile awards 25% in June

by on Wed August 14, 2013 • No Comment

Start moving your summer travel plans to May if you want to save on SkyMiles…

Delta SkyMiles just announced roundtrip award prices for ‘low’ level BusinessElite seats on its coveted international  flights will increase up to 25% for travel starting June 2014,. They claim having all lie flat seats installed by then warrants a higher price, a thin veil for a devaluation when their competitors also fly lie flat seats. Here are the changes…’mid’ and ‘high’ level awards are not changing:

Old: 100,000, New: 125,000
Old: 120,000, New: 140,000
Old: 150,000, New: 160,000
South Africa
Old: 140,000, New: 160,000
South America
Old: 100,000, New: 125,000

It’s bad news, but not a complete surprise – Delta’s biggest partner Air France / KLM increased its award price to a similar level earlier this year.

  • No mention was made of additional award availability to compensate for this, though anecdotally we’ve recently seen availability looking better for trips to Europe than it has over the last year. 125,000 miles to Europe for a $3,000 ticket is still a very good value if you can score it.
  • Oddly enough flights to India are not changing and are now cheaper than the rest of Asia at 120,000 miles roundtrip
  • Maybe the silver lining is that Delta isn’t moving to a revenue based redemption model for these valuable flights anytime over the next year or two. That’s a relief given some people were worried we would see the end of rewards for less than 200,000 miles roundtrip.

United and American still charge just 100,000 miles roundtrip for flights to Europe and South America in Business class. For now…

United is known for wanting to copy Delta’s strategies and plans. We hope it doesn’t as its MileagePlus program remains a big competitive advantage for them versus Delta’s industry lagging program. But some creep is inevitable if airfares continue to increase.

If you’re upset about it, American has a great mileage program. And it just announced an amazing Fast Track to Elite Status promo for travel this fall. You can earn their top tier Executive Platinum with just 30,000 miles of flying. A great time to try greener pastures.

New Delta Award Chart - Effective June 2014

New Delta Award Chart – Effective June 2014

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