Ouch: Delta “Enhances” Partner Awards (Prices Skyrocket…Again)

If you’ve been accumulating and saving your Delta miles for a partner award redemption, that flight slowly moved even further out of reach overnight. Prepare to work twice as hard (or maybe 3 times depending on how Delta feels) to redeem those miles.


Earlier this week, I wrote about United Airlines’ increase to partner awards and warned the carrier was moving in the direction of Delta.

Similar to United, Delta also does NOT publish an award chart. In other words, when you go to their respective websites and book an award ticket, the price you see is the price you pay. It could cost 10,000 miles on Monday and 20,000 miles on Tuesday.

Well, the trend we are seeing right now is even more egregious! Let’s take a look at some specific examples…

Example #1: New York (JFK) – London (LHR), one-way, Economy Class (via Virgin Atlantic)

  • Old Price: 25,000 SkyMiles
  • New Price: 35,000 SkyMiles

Example #2: New York (JFK) – London (LHR), one-way, Business Class (via Virgin Atlantic)

  • Old Price: 75,000 – 86,000 SkyMiles
  • New Price: 95,000 SkyMiles

Example #3: Chicago (ORD) – Paris (CDG), one-way, Economy Class (via Air France)

  • Old Price: 25,000 SkyMiles
  • New Price: 35,000 SkyMiles

Example #4: Chicago (ORD) – Paris (CDG), one-way, Business Class (via Air France)

  • Old Price: 75,000 SkyMiles
  • New Price: 95,000 SkyMiles

And this price increase isn’t exclusive to Europe. Let’s look at another SkyTeam partner for flights to Asia:

Example #5: Los Angeles (LAX) – Seoul (ICN), one-way, Economy Class (via Korean Air)

  • Old Price: 32,500 SkyMiles
  • New Price: 40,000 SkyMiles

Example #6: Los Angeles (LAX) – Seoul (ICN), one-way, Business Class (via Korean Air)

  • Old Price: 85,000 SkyMiles
  • New Price: 102,500 SkyMiles

It’s worth mentioning again that Delta does not have a stagnant award chart and therefore the aforementioned rates are the starting points and could be higher on any given day. And believe me, it gets even weirder.

Delta charges a “miles surcharge” if you book your award ticket within 21 days of departure.

Do you remember that business class award ticket (above) from New York to London that cost 95,000 miles (which is already an outrageous rate to pay)? Well, it balloons to 195,000 Skymiles.

I guess that’s still a bargain, given Delta charges 320,000 SkyMiles to fly on their own “metal” on the same route. 😳


Unfortunately, this is how Delta rolls! Delta has been grossly overcharging their most loyal customers for a long time. In fact, SkyMiles has long been dubbed “skypesos” by many in the miles and points circle. In fact, many people abandoned the program and began crediting their miles to SkyMiles partners.

If you’ve been following the blog, there are loopholes that we’ve covered several times, but if you’re not in the know, you’re being fleeced.

This is also a good time to reiterate why I focus on flexible currency (e.g. Amex, Chase, etc.) because of devaluations like this. If you focused all of your attention on co-branded Delta cards, your miles would are stuck with Delta, but if you focused your efforts on flexible currency, you can take your miles/points elsewhere.

What do you think about this latest development?

(HT: Thrifty Traveler)

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