Travel Related

Reflecting on the latest from the Delta mothership plus what is whirling around my head.

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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.

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WoW  havemyfellowbloggers,  just been  brutal  in their response to the latest SkyMiles devaluation news and the more time that goes by to digest the information (and the lack of information) the more angry we become. And frankly, we should be.

First let me dissuade you and anyone else that Delta is being more transparent with this one year “buffer” before prices go up. Delta did not tell us this because they know we care about our $kyRubles, they did this because of fear of government retaliation. Delta, with a passion, fears anything they do may be considered a “price related issue” and could land them in a world of hurt. The massive jump in award prices as of 1JUNE16 has already loaded into the system. Had they not told us we would have found it and gone even more crazy than we are now. Again, no great kindness on Delta’s part warning us when they just had to do this anyway.

The next bit I find so disingenuous is what Delta has done to big spenders with these devaluations. Ever since Delta announced the first step to revenue based awards they YELLED about the chance to earn up to 75,000 SkyMiles on just one flight. Oh I loved the comments from folks who were crowing and happy about how they would earn more and were happy. Now those points are worth so much less than before and even to upgrade will cost you an arm and a leg next year. BTW since there is now no limit what a ticket can cost why is there still a limit on how much you can earn? It is good for Delta to award less and charge more! Sigh.

Speaking of disingenuous-ness, how about not telling us what the upgrade point costs will be and yet publishing them internally. Did they really think we would not find them (yeah, I bet they thought they could hide them). Unbelievable. I hope you see how disrespectful this is to loyal flyers. Delta could be upfront and publish these charts. Sure people would hate to see the “bat crazy” costs, but at least it would be respectful. SkyMiles 2015 team seems like the KGB of days gone by, that is, mislead, misdirect and hide all they can. Deep sigh.

On to the broken award calendar. Oh, btw, they don’t think it is broken. They do not care that it often charges you 2-4x what the price should be because the price is just whatever they tell you it is. They do not want to work to protect your “valuable” $kyRubles, they want to actively fleece you as much as they can. Revenue management is running everything and extracting money from loyal flyers is the way it is and the way it shall be. One source told me nothing is going to change this – EVER! Maybe, maybe not.

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Perhaps the thing I am most amazed with is how Delta has thrown American Express “under the airbus” if you will. AMEX took a huge hit losing Costco as their preferred provider. Clearly, after looking at the 2Q15 reports, they paid a heavy financial price to retain Delta as their co-branded partner. I bet if AMEX had known what Delta had up their sleeve for this year they would have dumped Delta and worked to keep Costco instead. I think AMEX is going to have to scramble and it is going to cost them even more to convince people to hold onto their Delta branded cards, let alone use them at all due to the now “fractional currency” value of a SkyMile. It will be interesting to see if what was once looked at as a “limited time offer” for Delta travel cards become the normally published offer soon.

All I can say is I urge you to use ADAM or do the work on your own to burn as many SkyMiles as you can before 1JUNE16. – René


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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. No wonder I’ve started seeing Delta Elites on my AA flights. Weird. I felt sorry for a guy I saw with Delta Elite luggage tags trying to get an upgrade on a recent AA flight I was boarding at CLT.

    I like, really like Delta. What are they thinking with all this devaluation. Odd.

  2. Andrew G ATL Reply

    The cursory check I did for award cost increase showed only around a 30% percent increase in coach and no increase in BE. Now I only checked a few flights I was interested in comparing April and June. I understand that the sky is the limit on how expensive they can make the tickets once they start crunching the numbers. I’m just not seeing a huge difference post June 1. On the other hand I’ve been seeing all this year how no mater how far ahead or how empty the flight is that the cost in miles is inflated based on some model of what they feel people will pay for the ticket. That is even when the dollar cost is the same Monday thru Sunday Delta will jack up the prices for award tix Friday, Saturday Sunday. It’s infuriating.

  3. I agree with some of your points but I dont think people will be “dumping” delta credit cards just because skyrupiah is devaluing. Most people aren’t smart enough to realize that Delta skyrupiah is worthless. Again, Delta isn’t looking to appease the “road warrior” who tries to get every benefit from their miles, which is to Delta’s detriment.. That in fact, is the type of customer that they are trying to get rid of!

    • @Dave – Oh I agree many will hold them for the perks, but not spend, that is bad news for AMEX.

  4. Do you have to book an award ticket before June 16th or use it before June 16th?

    • @Chad – The new prices start 1JUNE16 no matter when you book them. They are in effect NOW for trips after 1JUNE16 🙁

  5. While I agree that Delta has thrown American Express “under the airbus” AMEX is doing NOTHING to keep folks such as myself happy with paying the SAME $450 fee as I have for years on the DL RES Card. Even though the value (what I’m getting in return) for the card has dropped via Delta.
    When I asked them (AMEX Retention Dept.) what can they do from a partnership / customer service standpoint, they did not even give me any miles or any sort of way to say they appreciate me and or they are sorry for what has happened with DL and AMEX while making me pay the same $450; Told me to “Call Delta to complain” about less value benefits!
    Yes I know I can walk away but still does not make how AMEX is treating folks such as myself, and using Delta as the excuse the “right way”.
    As a previous Rene post, Low Status is better than no status and I still get that with my $60K AMEX Spend..

  6. I’m burning down my 300k sky miles to 0 today and getting out of the loyalty game. From now on, the cheapest carrier gets my money, and I will only bother collecting miles from credit card signups.

  7. As someone who will most likely maintain their GM or has a slight chance of getting PM this year and currently have about 175,000 DL Miles left, I have been using them to PWM on my current tickets when the tickets cost about the same as or a little more than using an award seat. This way I still have chance to upgrade and I get full MQDs for my tickets.


    Gregg G

  8. I’ve mentioned before that they will go all the way down to $0.01/mile so that it’s basically “Pay with Miles” for an award program. However, we’ve now seen that the award prices are going even lower now, down to $0.007/mile, in some cases that originate outside of the US. I will empty 300k miles this year and I’m struggling to find the room for my other 400k
    Rene, I did the Platinum challenge with AA and got it with my first flight: ICN-DTW in F. I have 80,000 Elite Points already booked with AA and I just need to squeeze in one more overseas trip and I’ll make ExP. I was also reading the rules regarding their Global Upgrades; much better than DL.

  9. I’m burning all of my miles on low-level J awards for next summer. I’m not using my Amex Delta cards anymore, and I don’t intend to work to keep status past next year. AA Platinum, here I come.

    In regards to Amex, they don’t seem to care either. Their customer service has taken a nosedive lately, and they certainly don’t have the same premium feel that they used to have. If I could cancel all of my Amex cards, I would. Chances are, the only cards I will have next year are the SPG and PRG.

  10. I just reached the $30000 spend threshold for the 15000 mqms “award” and called to see when the mqms and “bonus” miles would appear in my account. I was told it would take 120 days . 120 days? That is 4 months. If that is the case, I really will use my no annual fee cash back card for everything and will say bye bye to Amex – and my card says I’ve been a “member” since 2000. 15 years I’ve paid that fee . . .

  11. I spoke to AMEX over the weekend and the rep that I spoke to has experienced several AMEX Reserve cancellations recently. He mentioned that everyone has complained that the annual fee is no longer worth the benefits (my complaint as a DM). I also mentioned that the loss of guests to the lounge was a major factor in my decision, even though that came some time ago. Anyway, I was offered to change the card from Delta Reserve to Hilton Surpass or SPG, neither of which I carry today. I could get the sign-up bonus, if I complete the spend. The hilton card seems to have better value, in my opinion, as I would rather get the AMEX Platinum to get the SPG Gold status, for my crossover rewards.

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