Elite Status Travel News

Delta Messes Up So Bad, They Cannot Even Keep Up

Delta award
Written by Charlie

Just as frequent flyers were getting used to the new changes from Delta with the award charts, one way award travel, and the elimination of some special redemptions (stopovers and round the world tickets), Delta went ahead and pulled one of their dumbest unfriendly moves for award travelers yet. They removed the award charts that show how many miles you need for your award travel. Obviously, they could not keep up with how complicated they made things so they are covering themselves by removing the standard for award pricing.

No More Delta Award Calendar

This is a huge error in strategy for their flyers since it takes away the ability of travelers to plan out their award travel and what they need.

With the award calendar they had introduced, there were 5 levels of redemption. That means that you could pay anywhere from 12,500 miles for a one way domestically to 32,500 for the same trip. It gets even worse for international redemptions. Until yesterday, you would be able to check and see what your upcoming trip would require for miles. Now, that number must be based on what the award calendar tells you.

Delta award

The Delta Economy Chart – view from the wing

Delta's former business class award chart - view from the wing

Delta’s former business class award chart – view from the wing

That’s right, now you will have to go by what the Delta award calendar says the price is. This is not good because Delta has long had the worst award calendar and booking engine, until recently. It has finally improved but has still been spitting out random prices at times with no making of sense. That quirky calendar is now the new “award chart” for Delta – bad news!

Delta Award

The new Delta Calendar, aka “award chart”

What Makes This So Bad

The reason this is bad is that there is no standard for awards anymore. Delta can make as many changes as they want to their new dynamic award calendar without anyone knowing in advance what the cost is going to be. Since Delta only released their award chart a few months ago, I think it is a reasonable expectation for travelers that the chart would have existed for a while.

I think one of the main reasons Delta has curtailed their award chart is because they have actually complicated the award system so bad that they cannot even keep track of it or fix it. With 5 separate levels of awards, the prices can be very different from one itinerary to another. It can change based on each segment of the trip and the return. Couple that with reservation agents that have never been that willing to move/look beyond what the same calendar tells them, this makes it very difficult to make everything work together. This likely made a huge headache for Delta. Rather than fixing the problems to be more user-friendly, it looks like they are dealing with their mess by just eliminating the standard – the award chart.

Now, Delta tells everyone to check the award calendar for the pricing. However, not all partners are bookable online yet. So, you will need to call in and go by what the agent tells you. They can now claim whatever they want – certain partner flights will cost more, etc.  Going forward, Delta can update their pricing requirements without ever informing their flyers.

This changes makes one of my recent decisions one of the happiest traveling decisions I have ever made – zeroing out my Delta account of award miles and elite miles!

Read: An Empty Mileage Account After Several Years Of Loyalty

Be careful – United Airlines has a track record of showing that they are not capable of coming up with program changes on their own. They always “copy” the moves that Delta makes so hopefully United does not destroy their excellent interactive award chart by following Delta with this.

HT: One Mile At A Time

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.