Yesterday, Gary at View From The Wing announced that Delta would be releasing their new award calendar today instead of the originally scheduled late 2014. There was a lot of speculation as to what the new award chart would look like and many people feared what it would mean to the miles that they had been saving up but not able to ticket with yet – for a trip that is in late 2015, for example. Delta had already done two devaluations in the last six months on the redemption side and one major devaluation on the earning side of the program. Would Delta deliver yet another blow to their Skymiles program?
Delta’s New Award Chart
I asked the question, “When is 25,000 miles to fly domestic a good deal?” The answer is – when that is the “new” amount on Delta’s new award chart! Fortunately, the changes were not that bad at all, as long as a decent number of award seats are released at the new “Level 1” (which is supposed to be the case). In fact, there were many instances where the required miles for certain award redemptions went down from the last devaluation hike. If that was indeed Delta’s plan, it was a smart move on their part. It is like the retail store that hikes up their prices the week before a big sale so they can claim the items are “on sale” – even though they are the same price they were at before the price hike!
Delta even took to tooting their own horn on the new award chart by stating at the top of the chart – Of the 44 Award level pricing changes, more than 95% are decreases. That is a nice number to see. It is also nice to see that Level 1 awards in economy did not go up at all. I think everyone expected there to be increases on the premium cabin redemption side, but no one wants to see increases (or really expected them) on the economy side. To mess with that would have been really bad.
So, for now, the damage does not appear too bad for redeeming the miles at all! True, if you actually fly to earn the miles, you will find that you will have less miles to redeem, but for those who use credit cards to rack up the miles, you should be just fine. The one unknown factor right now is how good the availability will be on the new Level 1. One of the big changes was a move from three award levels to five award levels. If they release most of the award seats in the Level 2 zone, we will find that many of the awards we are looking at will have a significant percentage increase over what we would hope for them to be. Time will tell what that will look like. At least for now, we know the sky is falling for our Skymiles and that we do not have to race to burn them all – not yet, anyway. To view the new award chart, click here.
What are your thoughts on the new award chart?