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Another unannounced Delta SkyMiles devaluation (no more mixed awards)! #KeepDescending

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

old wording on delta-com about combine cabin awards

You have got to be kidding me. How, dearest Delta, can you keep cutting and cutting and making things worse and worse for us. Notice THIS link to the “Way back Machine” for about “Award Ticket FAQs” from last year.

updated delta-com page about combine award types for skymiles

Now, take a look at the current one on that seems to have changed on or about 22 MAY 2015. Yep, a simple  YES  to  NO  and we potentially have yet one more MASSIVE unannounced Delta #KeepDescending devaluation in our efforts to simply find an award ticket.

After all, we are clearly all about spending as few SkyMiles as possible for an award even though Delta is making it REALLY hard for flyers by often times charging them 2 or 3 times what a ticket should cost. The web site is just about worthless for booking and you have to do the work yourself to find seats (see E7 & E21 posts).

But here is why, if this is true, this is so horrible for us. Many times the ONLY way to make an itinerary work at LEVEL 1 award pricing is to have one of the segments in coach and the rest in business class. This is especially important when it comes to partners and short hops tossing in a coach award as part of the trip can make it all work. Now this change will likely result in, once again, you paying for another one-way ticket tacked on or you paying for 2 tickets (can we see a pattern here folks from “The World’s Most Trusted Airline“?).

Another big issue is for those who are served by regional carriers. What if you happened to start a trip from say my home town South Bend (SBN) and are on a jet with ONLY coach seats. Is Delta telling us we have to pay for one award ticket to get to a hub and then another ticket to get to where we want to go? Ridiculous, but very much Delta logic, that is, why allow a loyal traveler to pay for only one ticket when you can  soak  them for 2 or 3x for an award ticket?

I have reached out to Delta for confirmation on this but the  YES  to  NO  wording seems very clear to me and I know first hand Delta people are MORE than happy with us paying as much as possible for each award ticket. I will update the post if I get more information or confirmation.

EDIT: For Delta’s response see THIS POST for more updates.

For now, moves like these continue to show the utter disrespect Delta has for it’s most loyal customers who simply want to find some semblance of value from their SkyMiles. Will it ever stop? You tell me? It is good we at least have the tools fight against changes like these! – René

PS – Don’t forget about the 60,000 point limited time Delta AMEX offer!

Gold Delta SkyMiles®
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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. FNT Delta Diamond Reply

    This is just one of those things that irks me. I’m guessing most people who redeem miles are aspirational travelers, who have saved up miles for years for a trip to Disney, Paris or Hawaii. They’re going to spend it on business-class, if they’re bringing their spouse, or coach-class for the family to meet Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. The number of savvy travelers who game the system by flying business-class for the long-haul, overnight flight, when it’s actually worth it, and then economy-class for the daytime flight home is very, very small.

    • @FNT – I agree 100% and could not say it better than you. My biggest request from Delta this year is JUST STOP. I guess they did not listen! 🙁

  2. Taken literally it’s even worse than you suggest. It mentions economy, business, first, and international business as difference cabin types and says they cannot be combined. That would suggest you cannot combine Delta FIRST class (premium cabin domestic) with Business/Delta One international. I’m not sure it’s been pricing that way in practice, but if that’s their intention…

    • @Gary Leff – OY! I had not taken it that far but oh my. Gosh I hope it is just worthless wording and will be updated and fixed. OY (you scare me Gary)!

  3. I hope they don’t enforce that, it would pretty well eliminate my ability to get awards from my home airport. If you have to get two separate tickets for a trip what happens with schedule changes or in the event of a misconnect? Well spotted Rene

    • @Andy – Schedule changes and IROPS tend to be a “get out of jail free card” and the rules are mostly out the window at least when it comes to DELTA metal flights (less so with partners).

  4. So any smallish airport that is served primarily by feeder airlines won’t be able to book a business or first ticket to anywhere simply because the originating aircraft lacks the requisite seat?
    Seems a bit overdone.

    • @Geoff – You could still book, just have to pay for an extra ticket. Maybe.

  5. It does seem a bit foolish to be wasting miles for premium fares when we are limited to CRJ200 service from too many of our regionals to get to the hubs. The planes are always full with no upgraded service in sight. Last night as I booked a ticket for a friend I wondered what being elite means when you can buy it. Why spend all the money to maintain status when you can buy ‘priority’ boarding, bags, screening, all for a few bucks? You buy ‘comfort +’ for a few bucks and you have all the perks with very little cost. The only thing you miss is chance for an upgrade which in my case has resulted in ZERO upgrades this year. I won’t switch to American since I hate ORD and have no other real options. But Delta, you are sure making me question why I care about status. Maybe if I worked for a company that paid for some or all of my travel I would feel differently, as status would just be a no cost perk of the job.

    Recently a Delta phone rep told me that people like me are 25% of their revenue but only 5% of their flyers. Gee, thanks.

  6. Data point. I just (6/8/15 AM) booked an award with international Business, domestic First, and international Main Cabin. Apparently Delta can still combine classes is that is all that is available.

    I had to call to make the booking after the web site threw an error, and I asked for Business Class for SGN-JAX one way. After I hung up I noticed that the itinerary showed my first leg (SGN-ICN) is in Main Cabin (class X). The long leg (ICN-ATL) is in Business (class O), and the final domestic leg is First. I called back and the agent could not find First or Business in the first leg, but also could not get any more info from Korean Air than what I already knew. I’ll keep the reservation until I can find something better.

  7. Hopefully the change in wording is an error or Gary’s comment would be correct and that would be a real nightmare. We will all await delta’s explanation.

  8. Found this out last week. Tried to book PHX-DUB in Bus Class but couldn’t find low level. Found low level for JFK-DUB and booked that at 125k miles. Found coach low level PHX-JFK and called to add on but was told it would cost extra miles.

  9. Retired out but still have some miles (200k+) left. Saw this coming when I was working for DL with the take overs, especially NW. Being where I now live I have my choice of five airports and several non-stops that avoid ATL, MSP, and CVG. Plus most for the prices are much less then DL. I’ll keep my miles for that European and or coast to coast flight. Even for an upcoming 90 minute flight I found a r/t for half what DL wanted. Still building the account by non-flying methods but, as stated earlier, no rush to use them.

  10. Delta: you should be ashamed of yourself.
    The clear message is that loyal frequent travellers are not being valued.
    Rene: the evidence you provide is damning. Very effective article.
    Thank you.

  11. postnobills Reply

    That’s weird – when I look at that FAQ page now, the wording has been changed back to “Yes”.

  12. postnobills Reply

    @rene – cache cleared and still comes up as “yes”. Same response using a browser I ordinarily never use. Tres’ weird!

  13. Rene: So do you still think that United’s program is “even worse” than Delta?

  14. I’ve spent about $50,000/year with Delta over the past 4 years and probably near double that rate so far this year due to much higher TPAC and TATL Delta ONE fares. The good news is that I’m getting around 70k miles per RT, but I’m done now. I’ve taken the American Platinum Challenge which I’ll have completed on my first flight. AA F is 20-40% cheaper than Delta on these flights. I live close to DTW, so I know I’ll keep flying Delta, but I’ll no longer push for it. I’m Sure AA will have some devaluations once they stabilize a bit after the acquisition, but for the time being, it’s a much better world over there. I guess I have to wait until next year to hit my MM with Delta.

  15. Pingback: Delta Air Lines Rule Change Restricts Mixed Cabin Awards

  16. Pingback: Delta CONFIRMS no more mixed awards but has in reality not implemented changes (yet). - Delta PointsDelta Points

  17. FNT Delta Diamond Reply

    This combined with the end of around-the-world is stupid. Stupid. Just stupid but hey the nim-nuts will continue flying because Delta is opening a private first-class/business-class lounge at LAX.

  18. Pingback: Delta Points June Newsletter - 2015 - Delta PointsDelta Points

  19. Pingback: Is it really smart for an airline to make passengers despise the airline? Let's review the #KeepDescending Delta & SkyMiles devaluations over the past few years. - Delta PointsDelta Points

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