Musing over 750,000 & 10,000 point SkyMiles RT award tickets found on Delta.com & what is next!

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750000 skymiles for one award ticket on delta-com

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Talk about your contrasts! I mean one single Delta award ticket for 750,000 thousand SkyMiles and another for just  10,000 points round trip. I have to tell you I am still just in complete and utter SHOCK that my little contest to find the most expensive award ticket on Delta.com (still ongoing btw) has so far resulted in a ¾ million SkyMile award ticket for just one single round trip ticket.

Delta told us we are going to get a more  realistic view of award prices  and I guess that is just what we are seeing!

Really the same thing goes for the short lived plentiful 10,000 point awards as for a ticket that costs just over $100 round trip to buy it should not cost much more than 10k points when a SkyMile is just worth just one cent each.

I am also equally SHOCKED that all my fellow blogging “brethren” have not gone “ape” over this 750,000 point award find. I would think we would see posts blasting the web over this 750,000 SkyMile Delta award and how sick it is Delta has gone down this “rabbit hole”.

But you know what this fact tells me? That bloggers as a group are not shocked about it and know SkyMiles are truly now just about a completely worthless currency to collect and spend in 2015. I have to say I agree with them.

Here is what I just don’t get and why even the “brilliant minds” at Delta seem so confused to me. At a value of just one cent each Delta cannot compete with the banks and their reward credit cards. Just about all of them are offering a greater value and do not lock you into one single airline program. Many of them offer a “free bag” that is, they will rebate you in some way for a bag fee or at least offer to let you pay yourself back with points for the bag fee. Delta SkyMiles offers no such perk for an award ticket.

Think about this. With SkyMiles at 1 cent each you are locked in to an award calendar that may or may not give you seats you want at this 1 cent price (we are not talking Delta AMEX PWM here). You may end up getting even less than 1 cent value and unless you have the Delta AMEX card (any of them) you will end up paying for a bag fee on top of an award price in points. Why would anyone ever do this when there are so many other better choices? Plus, using the banks point currency you end up earning points when flying any airline including Delta!

No, as I said before, SkyMiles wins when Delta can offer a seat, that most likely will be filled by a non-rev, that is, a company employee for free, to a loyal Delta traveler spending their points on a dream vacation to somewhere exotic in business class. Also why, in the future, will a flyer again and again make the choice to fly Delta? Will they do so even when selecting Delta is not always the cheapest option? I doubt it under the current program.

The psychology and romance of award travel is so much more than just dollars and cents. Honestly we have to admit that many folks are just downright foolish and DO pay high interest fees on credit cards. “We” are never that dumb but those folks end up, when you run the numbers, paying more for that award trip than if they had just gone out and purchased it. But if these types are now no longer getting the “perceived value” at redemption that they did before, they might just think about the fact that they over paid to get the points and are now doing so again to spend them. That will be the proverbial final straw.

I wish I could see where this is all going next, I really do. Knowing Delta the way I do I fear for the future of the award program. “They” are dug in. I seriously doubt things will change until the “numbers” show something that is plainly obvious to ALL the rest of us.

As a blogger I can just as simply write about the bad as the good but it sure was much more fun standing up to others and shouting how great Delta was if you were just willing to take the time to find the true value and rewards with SkyMiles; I would love to have those days back again.

Maybe it is time to forget about the Delta “points” program and discount it to zero and just view Delta as a transportation company without a reward program and simply look to other programs for our award travel needs. Something to think about anyway! – René
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Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.
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17 comments

  1. I agree that a 750k roundtrip award is crazy! However, if you think of the 10k award as a roundtrip economy flight cost of $100 between LAX-SFO during off-peak period and the flight cost of $7500 between ATL-JNB in business class roundtrip during peak season, then the numbers seem to be more reasonable.
    I still hope this won’t be the new norm but only time will tell. :/

  2. I am burning most of out Delta miles to fly business to Australia. Would I be charged to check luggage?

  3. @Kate – No. You are fine (and free) on both Delta and partners. Plus you get also get carry-on + per personal item as well.

  4. Your second sentence says “750,000 thousand SkyMiles”. Yeah, I think 750 million SkyMiles might hurt a bit for an award.

    When you see an award priced that much, I think that’s basically life’s (or Delta’s) way of giving you a hint, i.e. no award for you today!

    You know how sometimes back in the days you’d ask your buddy to do something and he/she would reply, “Yeah, only for $1000” or something like that? What if someone (or some people) actually put together the $1000? Otherwise, it’s probably just one of life’s “yeah, not happening” moments.

  5. @anatOl – I like the way you think but I fear 500-750k will soon be the norm in biz to anywhere outside the USA! 🙁

  6. This is why as a diamond member in MSP that only flies paid first, I’ve matched to Alaska and credit all delta flights there. Even with the idea that I can earn 22k (28k last month on one trip) in miles per trip with delta if I can’t find any saver first/business tickets to anyplace attractive the points are worthless. I encourage all other delta business flyers to find a partner airline of delta to match and earn miles with instead of delta. Maximize the points while still enjoying the benefits of flying delta metal.

  7. Have you really still been collecting Delta miles? I stopped doing that and started diversifying my miles years ago when flyertalk first reported that the Skymiles program would change to revenue based redemptions. I still fly Delta for work because of convenience/service/upgrades, so I earn butt-in-seat miles…but none of my credit card miles are for Delta! 🙂

  8. The annual fee on my gold card is due, and I will be canceling it, unless of course I can get them to waive the fee. Its benefits are now entirety redundant since I now have status. I see no reason to put a single cent of spend towards earning SkyMiles in the future.

  9. When you posted the contest, I quickly found several round trips that priced at 1.1 million miles round trip, but couldn’t figure out how to attach a screen shot to a reply. If you want these, I can still look to see if they price out at 1.1 million, but they were not hard to find.

  10. and i thought 250,000 skycents was bad enough for a business ticket this is insane at 750,000 amex needs to give us more points for membership rewards !!!!

  11. FYI – on Dec 29, 2014 booked 2 RTW J class tickets for 280,000 miles each plus taxes and fees with only flights on DL between SMF LAX. Stops allowed 6 are MEL HKG DXB (Dubai) FCO (Rome) LHR EZE (Buenos Aires) with actual routing SMF LAX PVG MEL CVG HKG INC DXB FCO CDG LHR FCO EZE MEX LAX SMF covering approximately 40,000 miles. Carriers China Eastern, Garuda, Korean Air, Alitalia. Air France, Aeromexico. Aircraft mostly 777 and 787 from EZE MEX LAX, originally on Korean Air 380 LAX INC but could only get to SYD and wanted to get to MEL so switched to China Eastern. China Southern has 380 from LAX but was blacked out for dates I wanted. Also had SMF LAX MEX PTY (Panama City) MEX LAX SMF J class for 60,000 in June but had to cancel that one. There is good news and bad news. FYI to book the RTW ticket which unfortunately is not available in 2015 took 7+ hours on phone of which 5+ were on hold waiting for RTW award desk to answer. Once they did they were very nice, polite and gracious. She was last one there in ATL and was to get off at 2 am but had to stay beyond to complete the itinerary. She was excellent!
    Most of my MR are to SIN if needed, more MQM in less time when price is right. Got one in Feb for $850 for 25,096 MQM 3.4 cpm but with $200 voucher it was 2.6 cpm!
    Happy Travels! Thanks for your blog, have been reading it for several years!

  12. While nobody likes massive devaluations, it seems exaggerated to call SkyMiles worthless. For example, TPG values SkyMiles at 1.2 cents now, as opposed to 1.5 cents in 2013. A 20% reduction yes, but worthless no. Plus, a Diamond gets 11 SkyMiles per dollar spent, which means 13% of those dollars are coming back as SkyMiles. Not terrible when you take into account that Delta is a really good airline compared to the other major US carriers. Thus, if you fly enough to make Diamond, I don’t think the devaluations should really be a tipping point to change to another airline.

  13. @Lee – Sorry but SkyMiles were worth MUCH MUCH MUCH more before. Way more than 1.5 cents each when you could get a stopover and often do an open jaw as well. I am 100% correct to say worthless when you compare to other bank cards that give you WAY WAY WAY more than 1.2 cents. Plus, 11 SkyMiles per dollar is a pittance of what 95% of travelers got last year plus when you go to spend them you are going to get almost no value.

  14. Use those miles: Don’t forget……K fares and up + miles also equals upgrades that don’t make you play the wait game. Currently Delta values miles at 1 cent. Example: RT GRR-DTW-LAS Cash price is $650+. if you search for K fares and you are logged into DL you should/will be offered an upgrade for cash or miles (sorry if that refers to another program, not meant to reference if not connected) in the above case the cost is $480+ 17900 miles. I find value in that for an “instant upgrade”. As with all things Delta, YMMV!

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