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Should I Use My SkyMiles ASAP Due to New Program Changes?

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TPG reader Jonathan tweeted me to ask:

@thepointsguy — “Would you advise redeeming Delta SkyMiles ASAP given the uncertainty/possibility of additional 2015 program changes/devaluations?”

Delta always keeps me on my toes. I feel like there are constantly new announcements coming from the SkyMiles program, and they’re almost always negative. I don’t see Delta miraculously turning it around and adding tons of value or new partners. I think the most recent change of pulling all award charts is just a way to pull the wool over the eyes of valued customers.

Use those SkyMiles sooner rather than later, but make sure you are getting good value out of them. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Use SkyMiles sooner rather than later, but make sure you’re getting good value out of them. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

That being said, I don’t think SkyMiles are worthless. Even though I lowered SkyMiles in my most recent monthly valuations, I do like that Delta now has one-way awards. The lack of saver availability less than 21 days out seems to have been temporary (I tested several routes and it doesn’t seem dire). In general, I don’t think the sky is falling with Delta, but I advise using your miles sooner rather than later. If I was going to put money on a loyalty currency devaluing, I might go with Delta. (However, we’d never know if SkyMiles devalued, since Delta took down its award charts and won’t tell us how many miles are needed anyway!)

So yes, use your SkyMiles, but don’t needlessly redeem them for poor value (like a SkyMiles auction)instead, use miles on partner airlines. I particularly like redeeming SkyMiles for Virgin Atlantic flights, since availability is good, and Delta doesn’t charge for last-minute ticketing fees.

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

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