Talk about timing (after this morning’s post). Delta has announced today a bunch of negative changes. They are giving us advanced warning (shocking) but not telling us what the changes will be (not shocking since they HIDE the award charts). But the bottom line is Delta is for a 3rd time in as many years devaluing SkyMiles! Here is what I received from SkyMiles spokesman Anthony Black today:
“We know your miles are important, so we want to provide the most notice possible regarding Award price changes. For travel on or after June 1, 2016, the number of miles needed will change based on destination, demand and other dynamics. Most Award prices will remain unchanged. Miles needed to upgrade under the Mileage Upgrade Award program will increase, and to provide greater access to these upgrades, we’ve expanded the eligible types of fares.” – BOLD MINE
Yet another nail in the coffin toward revenue based awards and your guess is as good as mine as to just how nasty the devaluation will be. I also find it interesting that upgrade award pricing is also going up as that, for big spenders, has been one of the last great values for SkyMiles. Soon those will cost more than they do already. Sad!
Next we have more bad news confirmed, that is, higher award costs inside the 21 day window. One of the great values, in the past, of SkyMiles was being able to book a last minute flight with miles vs. paying a stupid amount in cash. That is much harder now. Take a look:
“When we announced the SkyMiles 2015 program we committed to making more award seats available at the lowest prices and compared to last year, we’ve increased Award availability by more than double at the lowest prices to make it easier to use your miles. You’ll also find One-Way Awards starting at just 7,500 miles (plus taxes and fees) now through February 2016. To see the best availability and deals, search at least 21 days prior to departure and use our Award Calendar by selecting “flexible days” when searching for a flight.”
So, it is good they are here and there going as low as 7,500 SkyMiles (we have seen as high as 750,000 RT as low as 5,000 OW this year) but many times you are better off just paying cash if a ticket is really low. As to using the award calendar – it is what we have and we know to search leg by leg to get value from our points!
Now some tiny good news, but in all honestly it just fixes what has been a complete #FAIL anyway, that is, soon those who have Regional Upgrade certificates can use them for all transcon flights. I was informed:
“For Diamond and Platinum members we are introducing greater flexibility with your Medallion Choice Benefits. Effective July 21, 2015 you can use Regional Upgrade Certificates in addition to Global Upgrade Certificates for a Delta One™ seat on eligible transcontinental flights between New York – JFK and Los Angeles – LAX or San Francisco – SFO. Regional Certificates are part of the wide array of Choice Benefits Diamond and Platinum Medallion members are able to select upon status qualification.”
Again, good news but something that should have been in place since the outset. Now if Delta really wanted to make a change and make the Regional Upgrade certs worth so much more they would allow them to be used from ATL & MSP to Hawaii instead of needing a Global Upgrade cert. Ah well, give them credit for fixing something that needed to be fixed!
What do you think of this latest round of SkyMiles news? – René