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DISGUSTING: 1 Million+ Delta SkyMiles Awards LIVE, 105,000 One-Way SkyMiles Penalty & more!

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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.

I need to throw-up!

I did not post about this (other than on Twitter) because I needed some time to think. I am really mad and just about done. I mean we all knew this was coming but Delta computers (yeah IT sub-contractors), for years, would never display any award at or over 1 million SkyMiles – Now they have “enhanced” that to be possible.

How long till we see 2 Million? Soon?

This removes the governor from Delta to charge, quite literally, ANYTHING they want for an award. 2 Million SkyMiles? I bet we see that by the end of the year since 1.1 million can already be found (granted on a crazy route but still).

SkyMiles – Value lost!

And in case you missed it from last week, Delta pulled another disgusting change in all but destroying the value of SkyMiles for me. They have jumped one-way SkyMiles Delta One awards on Delta metal (or mixed with partners) from 86,000 to now the lowest level of 105,000.

BUUHAHHAHHA! Yeah, right!

For me, that means if I want to visit Sweden in business class this summer for a few weeks from South Bend, it will cost me 210,000 SkyMiles. It was only a few years back it cost 100,000 to accomplish that round trip.

Junk fee – cuz we can!

It is bad enough that Delta adds a slimy junk fee if I want to take a one way from Europe to the USA but to now have jumped the stock cheapest cost to over 100,000 SkyPennies is just about the end of the line for me – SkyMiles are becoming nearly worthless. The fun is over.

Now before the comments are flooded with the fact that IF you can only fly partners you can find cheaper awards (i.e. not use SkyMiles to fly Delta – what a concept) and that if you search certain routes you can right now find a Delta “award sale” and fly for 128,000 round trip. Yes, I know this. But we can all agree that value has changed (again) from where the program once was. Also we can agree that things are only going to get worse not better when it comes to SkyMiles.

Years ago Delta folks were terrified about us perceiving a SkyMile to be only worth 1 cent each. Clearly, that fear is now gone. SkyPennies has become just that – a 1 cent rebate card. There are many travel cards that provide more value for every day spend than that. Maybe I should thank Delta for these horrendous changes as this may be just what I needed and a reason to make a clean break.

Gosh I am mad. You? – René


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. (by readers request – and I agree – this comment by Debit has been removed and this user is now blocked from comments on the blog)!

  2. Rene, I saw this coming years ago. I suggest you abandon the ship and put your efforts aligned with another airline. I use to live GA and work in NJ and was on Delta every week for years. I now could care less about stepping on one of their planes unless it is the cheapest, which I doubt.

    Even if I were earning points the old fashioned butt in seat way, I would be so disheartened in how they have changed the mileage structure. I am just glad I am down to 44K with Delta.

  3. James Eaton Reply

    Even if you are lucky enough to find low level on partners, 99% of the time only one ticket is available, so if you enjoy traveling solo you can still find decent values. I have given up trying to be loyal to Delta and now just use google flights to find the best route that works for me.
    I have been platinum for many years and have not stepped foot on Delta or partners once this year. So will drop to zero status next year and get rid of the reserve card as well.

  4. Totally agree with you Rene and I’m trying to burn my remaining SkyMiles as quickly as possible. For example, I just recently redeemed 150k SkyMiles for two one-way business class tickets on KLM from Europe to Canada. It sucked paying the high/fees taxes ($329 each ticket) but I’m sure things will continue to go downhill from here and want to be done with this program once and for all!

  5. Things are going to get worse before they get a lot worse.
    It’s time to take a close look at Alaska and it’s partners.
    Mileage run anyone?

  6. Sad. I’m down to just 150K SkyMiles. Waiting for the next award special to get rid of the miles, hopefully to Euro or S.E. Asia. Expect to see more million mile amounts, especially to Australia.

  7. Delivering shareholder value they call it. Because they can and others will follow. Sad, but true.

  8. I have taken my 4 million mile total down to 20000 miles and only use Delta to/from Atlanta domestically with paid tix

  9. About 8 years ago I got into the miles and points game. And you Renee, along with other bloggers taught me the ways of the game. I was able to travel all over the world for pennies on the dollar. I got to Diamond status, held 2 Reserve Cards, flew in Delta One, AF First, SQ First, CX First, EY First and many more. I got top tier status with Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott. I learned the art of status match with both hotels and airlines. I received Hertz President’s Circle because of my Delta Diamond status.
    All this I say because I have had a good run and so have you and countless others. Don’t be mad, be appreciative of all you have accomplished, taken advantage of and taught people. Delta and others have been trying to get rid of, or devalue their loyalty program for years. They have the business model and the reputation to do whatever they want. All the bloggers, blogging about how to game the system, take advantage of them, fly for free, pay nothing for first class, etc does not fall on deaf ears and at some point the party had to end. It is still a party, but not many takers and certainly we don’t have the ability to earn and spend what we once did. So my take on this is, be thankful for all the good times we have had, places we have traveled, bumps we have taken, and bene’s we have been given and move on to something else if you must. I for one thank you for everything you have taught me.

  10. It is terrible but not surprising. They have consistently gotten worse and worse. When I submitted complaints about service that last few years I always add “please no sky miles for compensation as they are worthless”. I am jumping to another carrrier and will request Diamond equivalency from them.

  11. I agree with Scott. There are still great opportunities but in general the Frequent Flyer Frenzy is over. Gone are the days when Airlines handed out Free Tickets. I remember the good old days with triple miles and I took three trips to the West Coast and was able to book 2 tickets to London in the Summer for Free.

    I am a 2+ Million Miler, inaugural Platinum member and dropped out of the Delta Medallion Game a couple of years ago. I am trying to burn my remaining SkyLira when they make sense — fortunately they don’t expire but they do devalue.

    You need to always keep looking, My wife and I flew Business Class on KLM roundtrip to Venice last Fall for 125,000 Membership Reward Points. Obviously 210,000 SkyLira per ticket to Europe indicates SkyLira are almost worthless.

    If you take one thing out of this “post”, as Scott says, it is a game to us. However, for Delta, SkyMiles is big business to them and Delta is going to run it like a business — it is about shareholder value.

    This is the consequence of selling billions of frequent flyer miles and then having to redeem them. If you are Delta, you certainly don’t want Billions of unredeemed SkyLira sitting on your balance sheet at $0.01 per point.

  12. I’ve had a similar experience as James E but ahead of deciding to junk the Reserve card. Got rid of that 2 years ago when manufactured spending became too hard for me and focus on much more rewarding cards now. Went from PL many years, down to silver this year and nothing next year. Delta’s loss, not mine.

  13. It seems to be a question of emphasis – operations/reliability vs free trips. Can’t go to AA – they’re an operational disaster at the moment. United and Alaska doesn’t serve my market and from my market, I go all over the US. Delta is the best of the Big 3 operationally. When weather or other issues strike, who do you want to be on? Agree the Miles are not what they were when I was going from DFW to Edinburgh – Delta One for 90K, but there’s no alternative operationally.

  14. Frank Kirby Reply

    Delta is making these changes because they can. The economy is great the planes are full and aviation fuel is cheap. So, the loyalty program is seen as unnecessary and a drag on profits. I feel this approach is short sighted; because as we all know, the economy runs in cycles. There will come a day when a solid loyalty program will again be good for for the bottom line. But, I’m afraid when this happens; Delta will be just another airline slashing prices to sell tickets.

  15. I agree with you it is disgusting and so is the first comment that has nothing to do with anything near (nor is it true) – please remove it.

  16. I hope somebody from Delta is reading this blog. For over 20 years we have flown on either Northwest or Delta almost exclusively as we valued sky Miles so that our family could travel to Hawaii at Christmas time. In many instances we spent hundreds if not $1000 more than we needed to and have spent over $100,000 over the years because of her Delta loyalty.
    That just ended. What used to cost us 25,000 SkyMiles morphed to 95,002 years ago per ticket. Now the same ticket is 220,000. There’s no way to justify this. There’s also no way for me to justify being loyal to Delta anymore once our reserve cards come up for renewal in our platinum cards come up for renewal they will be shredded and we will move on.
    You can only screw your customer so much before they get the hint that your loyalty and your business is not valued. I’m already looking at Hawaiian Airlines and other alternatives to fly my family at Christmas to Hawaii. See you later Delta, don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

  17. Frank Kirby Reply

    Barry, I agree. The first comment is certainly not part of this discussion and is quite childish.

  18. Barry and Frank i agree with you Debit says the same thing on all BLOGS he needs to be removed!!!and get a life..

  19. Just checking Round trip from Portland to Singapore using miles on Delta, which is showing between 530,000 to 870,000 miles one ticket.

    This is ridiculous. Why do we want to spend every year, become diamond, and after five years get just one roundtrip ticket?

    Especially comparing United and American are still under 280,000 for business class. (this used to be 180,000 just a couple years ago).

    Is this worth complaining to FAA and to House Transportation subcommittee on Aviation?

  20. There is still some 75k one way availability DTW to AMS between now and fall, more commonly 105k which I’d be willing to pay for a nonstop and to burn my miles.

    Naturally, the day I need to fly is still 320k.

    Since DTW is my home airport I will still fly Delta. But when the AMEX hawkers slow me down I’ll respond “why bother? SkyMiles won’t get me off the runway in D1.”

  21. I still find an excellent way to deplete my SM balance is to use the PWM feature on all family and personal trips. This represents real tax-free savings. To spend $1,000 on a personal flight I would otherwise need to earn $1,300 in pre-tax earnings. With SM I can simply use up 100,000 SM that I got for free (by flying on business or from using my credit card) that would otherwise sit in my SM account and-unfortunately as we are now seeing – depreciate in value over time.

  22. Don in ATL Reply

    It would be great if everyone who is saying they have dumped or are going to dump their DL Amex Reserve Card writes to Amex and tells them that and why. I would think/hope that Amex still has a bit of leverage over DL because their fortunes are tied together.

  23. If you’re so unhappy with Delta and SkyMiles, why don’t you just fly someone else?

    • @Steven – Since you have been reading the blog since 2012 (thanks for the support), you well know my beef is not with Delta it is with SkyMiles. They seem to be at polar opposites of greatness and a garbage dump. Oh and I am flying other airlines much more than I once did.

  24. I too agree with Scott. We can be thankful for the perks we have received. All milk cows come to the end of a productive life. I’ll take what I can get with a smile and thank you. The service and quality of the product will continue to fill Delta seats. If I get a few miles that can fund an awards ticket or if I can get a free upgrade from time to time, that’s a bonus. Otherwise, I’ll simply be thankful for safe, reliable flying with Delta.

  25. Does anyone know who Debit is? I see this guy on all these blogs.

    Anyways, between the worthless SkyMiles redemptions and the lack of upgrades, what’s the point of loyalty? I wish they could offer something that we actually value.

  26. Wow that’s nuts! I just came back from a round trip on Korean Airlines Prestige class SFO-Bangkok award ticket for 170K SkyMiles. Sounds like just in time. It was a lovely flight end-to-end.

  27. Hi CR, can you please explain how did you book this SFO-BKK trip on Korean using Skymiles? I travel to Asia a lot and wish to use up my miles on anything other than Delta flights. Thanks …

  28. Alex – I did this logged into, in the redeem miles page. Once you search SFO-BKK, there are many options on various airlines. I was able to use KAL both ways, just one stop in ICN. I checked just now and was able to find some for 300,000 miles r/t in biz class, just looking a month ahead. I suspect when I went, early March was low season, and I also booked it about 5 months in advance. Hence 170k miles.

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