Folks, the answer is really simple – don’t fly Delta. Well, that is not entirely correct, but for the most part correct for travel outside the USA. First an overview of what we are talking about. This week Delta has:
Yep, this week has been one for the record books in a year of mind blowing and gut wrenching #KeepDecending events for Delta travelers. If there were not so limited choices remaining in the marketplace I think just about everyone would quit flying Delta. After all, even those who are the top spenders and can earn up to 75,000 SkyMiles per trip (or so Delta brags) have this past week had the value of those $kyRubles all but destroyed. It is one thing to sell everything under the sun but another to utterly devalue already earned SkyMiles.
Delta really has upset just about everyone this “summer of discontent“.
OK, so all of this is interesting (and nauseating I know) but what does that have to do with the topic at hand, that is, NOT flushing any semblance of value down the toilet with my reaming $kyRubles. After all, when you look at the above opening screen shot, after 1JUNE16 we can all expect to pay more for most redemptions and especially so outside the USA. But there is a way to avoid getting completely hammered. Mostly, don’t fly Delta. Let me explain.
Notice if we search from Los Angeles to Paris next summer on Delta ONLY flights. Clearly after 1JUNE16 prices for a single business class award seat are either stupidly high or insanely high or bat crazy high for a one-way ticket. But notice if we include partners what happens:
BINGO. We find LEVEL 1 (find the award charts HERE btw) business class award space. This is going to be just about the only way, at this point in the game, to eke out value from your $kyRubles. Let’s look at more examples.
New York to London we, surprisingly, do find a few days on Delta metal that do have LEVEL 1 business class award space open after 1JUNE16. But look at the results if we include partners like Virgin Atlantic.
Hello beautiful, wide open LEVEL 1 business class award space. That is what we like to see. Every day some flights that will not destroy our hard earned points in a single trip. How about one more.
How about Delta’s biggest hub Atlanta to London. Again, shockingly, there are, a year out, a few seats to be had on Delta jets at LEVEL 1 business class award pricing. But again, when we include partners:
And you again see my point. Mostly avoid flying Delta. Here is also why I think, at least for a while, this will continue to be the situation and how we can plan for value from our SkyMiles.
You see Delta, when working with partners, can ONLY “sell” LEVEL 1 award space. Delta.dumb will, as I have shown, often misprice them as two tickets but you can work with them to fix that. So as long as you can, leg by leg, (see E7 posts) find all LEVEL 1 space on Delta and partners and stay inside the rules (less that 24 hour connection on international flights) you can make this work.
This really can be the saving grace for us as unless all of Delta’s partners go to some similar type of revenue based awards as well we are going to be able to find the only seats open to Delta, that is, LEVEL 1 partner awards.
Now I am not saying this a panacea and a fix for all that has been inflicted upon us – far from it. Some partner products are as good as Delta but most, IMO, are not. But this is at least a tool to get value. The biggest issue with this being sustainable moving forward is the problem we have seen happen all to often in the past, that is, Delta partners limiting or withdrawing award space for SkyMiles members from their inventory. When that day comes (and it is not here – yet), SkyMiles as a useable award currency will be all but dead and buried. – René
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