Delta’s hidden internal SkyMiles business class point upgrade charts leaked (fyi they are really bad)!

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This did not take long to come out. Delta, internally, does still use the now hidden Delta award charts. Delta also has internally published the new higher priced SkyMiles award upgrade charts but did not share them with us when they e-mailed about the SkyMiles program changes. FlyerTalk has now leaked those charts in a wiki (above the “official” company post – love that) and they go like this:

Effective June 1, 2016, additional fare classes are eligible for SkyMiles upgrades:

  • Within North American and northern South America, L/U/T fares are now eligible. (Previously only Y/B/M/S/H/Q/K)
  • For all other markets, S/H/Q/K fares are now eligible. (Previously only Y/B/M)
  • SkyMiles Upgrade Awards will also require more miles. (Pricing is one-way)

Domestic (except JFK-LAX/SFO, Hawaii, etc.):
Y/B/M: 15,000 miles
S/H/Q/K: 20,000 miles
L/U/T: 30,000 miles

Domestic Premium Routes (JFK-LAX/SFO)
Y/B/M: 25,000 miles
S/H/Q/K: 35,000 miles
L/U/T: 45,000 miles

US-Hawaii
Y/B/M: 30,000 miles
S/H/Q/K: 45,000 miles
L/U/T: 55,000 miles

US-Canada
Y/B/M: 15,000 miles
S/H/Q/K: 20,000 miles
L/U/T: 30,000 miles

US-Puerto Rico, Mexico, Bermuda, Caribbean
Y/B/M: 15,000 miles
S/H/Q/K: 20,000 miles
L/U/T: 30,000 miles

US-Northern South America
Y/B/M: 30,000 miles
S/H/Q/K: 45,000 miles
L/U/T: 55,000 miles

US-Southern South America
Y/B/M: 60,000 miles
S/H/Q/K: 80,000 miles

US-Europe:
Y/B/M: 60,000 miles
S/H/Q/K: 80,000 miles

US-Northern Asia (Japan/Korea/China):
Y/B/M: 60,000 miles
S/H/Q/K: 80,000 miles

US-Southeast/Southwest Asia, Micronesia, Southwest Pacific:
Y/B/M: 80,000 miles
S/H/Q/K: 115,000 miles

US-Africa (incl. South Africa)
Y/B/M: 80,000 miles
S/H/Q/K: 115,000 miles

US-Middle East
Y/B/M: 80,000 miles
S/H/Q/K: 115,000 miles

Yeah, that is bad. Really bad. Do keep in mind that SkyMiles upgrades were one of the last great uses of SkyMiles for those whose jobs allowed them to either A) purchase high priced coach fares or B) had to purchase high priced coach fares due to last minute bookings. Many have utilized their SkyMiles to upgrade to business class domestically or internationally. If this was “you”, after 1JUNE16, it will cost you a TON MORE MILES to do so!

Is there any good news from this? Yes if you are, like me, someone who always buys the cheapest ticket you can then you can rejoice (other than BASIC fares). Why? At these prices you would have to be a fool to buy an award upgrade. Look at USA to Europe for example. You are basically paying a LEVEL 1 or LEVEL 2 award cost just to upgrade. Again, how foolish is that? I think you see my point – this is good news for those who spend the least with Delta and want complimentary medallion upgrades. Personally I am thrilled over these outrageous upgrade award amounts as it will, in effect, all but put an end the practice of upgrading with SkyMiles. For those of us who strive for complimentary upgrades this should help free up a few more seats.

I have to say I am a bit confused by this move by Delta. I was under the impression that Delta wanted to reward those who spend the most with the company but this move, clearly, does the opposite, that is, reward those who spend the least. The only positive impact this can have for Delta CORP is with less people redeeming their miles for upgrades there will be more open business class seats to sell via other FCM methods. Every move Delta makes will turn a higher profit so that has to be the end game one way or the other. Always follow the dollar with Delta.

What do you think about this and the cuts to the Diamond Medallion complimentary upgrades on transcon flights? Are you happy or furious about these upgrades with SkyMiles numbers?
– René

 

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21 comments

  1. Not sure why any of these actions by Delta are surprising. When Blackstone et al are your largest shareholders short term cost cutting measures are the norm. Many of these shareholders are essentially evil and myopic.
    Until they liquidate their positions Delta will march to their tune, longer term outlook be damned.

  2. Rene,
    Do you think we’ll see Delta start selling the upgrades last minute on international (as they do now with domestic first class)? I certainly hope so. I’d be more than happy to pay as it is ludicrous trying to upgrade with miles from an M class fare now (and apparently with K class in the future, as well). Given their refusal to offer a true premium economy, the usual $6-7000 fare to europe is out of the realm of possibility for us. My experience is that the intl business class is usually full of upgraded employees. Maddening when as a medallion I just used 600k miles to sit up front or am sitting in economy with $1000 I’d be happy to part with for that upgrade.

  3. @Barry – Being done here and there now. Who knows if will become set practice. It would really upset NON-REVs if all the seats go this way. This is a HUGE selling point to work for Delta and be able to fly NRSA in DeltaONE. But Delta has decimated SkyMiles, why not do the same to those who work for Delta

  4. René –

    You wrote:

    “Look at USA to Europe for example. You are basically paying a LEVEL 1 or LEVEL 2 award cost just to upgrade. Again, how foolish is that? I think you see my point – this is good news for those who spend the least with Delta and want complimentary medallion upgrades.”

    I totally agree that this pricing for upgrades using miles is outrageous. However your statement infers that there are complimentary upgrades on USA to Europe flights, which is not true.

    I am hoping for a miracle on my LAX-JFK-LAX segments upcoming…since they sandwich my HUGE mileage run between those flights.

  5. What is the future mileage cost to upgrade transcon? Currently it’s 25K miles round trip at K class fare or more. This is the majority of my flying and I’m not willing to take a chance on a complimentary upgrade even as a diamond (especially on a redeye). See below for the reason. I imagine this will go up to more than 40K miles round trip with a K fare, and more than 60K miles round trip with a lower fare. But how much more?

    Some additional observations:

    I regularly see non-revs in transcon business (often several per flight), while revenue passengers (I assume diamonds) on the upgrade screen don’t clear at the gate.

    An alternative might be to take a one-stop flight, but even LUT fares are two or three times the lowest cost of a non-stop, and substantially more than K class on the nonstop.

    Having taken transcon flights 20-30 times per year, I’m consistently impressed by the service. My only complaints are that I often sleep through it; the AC power plugs tend to be buggy (though USB works consistently); and the double-prong headphones on 767s tend to have bad connections (though my own work perfectly).

  6. This is not a good day to be DM. The complementary transcon upgrades are eliminated. Expanded upgrade with miles domestically means fewer upgrade opportunities for DMs and others using “unlimited” comp upgrades. And expanded mileage opportunities on international routes appears to have two negative consequences for DMs.

    First it may decrease opportunities for GUC upgrades. Second expanded mileage upgrades will probably make it harder to confirm GUCs at ticketing since delta will want to see how many will bite on the chance to spend a ridiculous amount of miles to upgrade from the new fare classes. Being on a waitlist for a GUC upgrade is not good if you have a domestic segment prior to the international leg. If the domestic segment upgrade clears you have used the GUC even if the international segment never clears. You might be able to find a nice rep or supervisor to waive this, but there aren’t any guarantees.

  7. I’m curious what this means for partner upgrades with miles, specifically AF W fare upgrades to CDG from USA. Currently, if you have a purchased W fare with AF through delta.com, you can upgrade it (if O inventory is available of course) for 15k miles each way on most any route from USA to CDG.

    There’s no way that’s going to stay the same….

  8. How about Delta eliminating a month from your Medallion status because technology now allows it to be done quicker:
    Starting in 2016, the Medallion year will begin February 1 and subsequently, the 2015 Medallion year will end on January 31, 2016.

  9. Am I crazy, or did I used to upgrade to BE going to Africa for 25K or 30K miles? That would mean they’ve just about tripled the mileage cost? But when they’re the only game in town, or only 1 of 2, they can get away with outrageous pricing. I know, miles aren’t exactly dollars, but actual ticket prices have increased at a rate greater than inflation, and this is no doubt a direct result of decreased competition. What ever happened to our anti trust laws, anyway?

  10. I can see one advantage to this system. In the past, I have tried to fly with my wife to europe. I need to purchase a coach ticket to maintain my status, and I would book my wife on in a business award seat. We could never sit together. Now I will be able to purchase my ticket and use miles to upgrade. Happy wife, PRICELESS!

  11. @Paul – For these price, just buy and award for your wife then buy a ticket for yourself. Cheaper than the upgrade!

  12. My math results are different. I can upgrade a K fare for 80,000 miles. Value of skypesos is $800 to ??. The increased cost of a one way business ticket to europe will run about $1500. This appears to be a good redemption.
    Plus, skypesos only depreciate with time (and I have plenty). The 1500 I would pay for a ticket comes out of my future retirement fund, which increases in value over time.

  13. @Paul – So spend 80k for an upgrade when I can get a one-way biz seat for 62.5 plus only tax? Not seeing that as a good redemption for anyone!

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