Delta Finally Unveils International Award Charts

Feb 23, 2011

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For the past several years, Delta has refused to publish an award chart for travel that didn’t originate in North America. So if you wanted to use your Delta miles to fly from Paris to Australia, you had to call in and manually price out the award. Yesterday, Delta finally unveiled their international awards charts, which can be found here.

As I wrote about recently, we already knew Delta made changes to Asia redemptions, but I was getting nervous about any other negative developments coming down the pike. As an owner of more than half a million Skymiles, I was worried about mass devaluation (more so than they’ve already been devalued by the 3-tier system). However, my fears were mostly allayed as many things are staying the same.

Key changes:
New Regions

Northern Asia: Japan, Korea, Republic of Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong SAR, Taiwan, Province of Micronesia, and Philippines

Southeast Asia: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, People’s Democratic Republic of Macau SAR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Singapore, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor Leste, Turkmenistan, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea.

***How is Mongolia a part of Southeast Asia and Philippines a part of North Asia???***

South Africa: South Africa. Apparently they ceded from the rest of Africa and Delta decided to make them their own zone. Delta is leading the pack with this change and I hope the other airlines don’t follow suit. This is kind of silly since Delta almost never releases low level awards for South Africa (unless you redeem on Air France/KLM).

Laptop Case

Award increases:
1) Coach awards to Asia got more expensive. Instead of 60,000 miles for all North America to Asia; coach flights to North Asia are 70,000 and Southeast Asia are 80,000. However, business class awards to both will remain at 120,000 – nice.
2) South Africa awards increased. It used to be 80,000 coach/120,000 business class and now it is 100,000 coach/ 140,000 business (but the rest of Africa, including Seychelles and Mauritius, is still at the regular rate).
3) North America to India coach awards increased from 60,000 to 80,000 coach, but are staying at 120,000 for business class. Europe to India increased to 70,000 (from what I don’t know because it was never published), but get this – it’s only 80,000 for business! So who in their right mind would skimp 10,000 miles to fly coach on a 4,000+ mile flight? Those unfortunate enough to have to travel when there is no business class availability I suppose.

Delta also shifted around some of the medium and high-tier award prices, but I ignore the fact that those awards exist. I have never booked myself on one and I only do it for clients when it makes sense and we can take advantage of insanely generous promotions to negate the inflated prices.

Overall, I’m glad business class awards are largely staying the same, but these changes are not good for those of you who redeem for coach, especially in Asia. If I were in your shoes, I’d seriously consider switching alliances to American or United/Continental. American offers offpeak economy awards to North Asia for as low as 50,000 miles or 65,000 miles regularly (and you can fly Cathay, which has a pretty nice product). That surely beats Delta, which starts economy awards at 70,000 and goes up to 160,000.

Now that the arduous task of putting Delta’s international award charts in writing has been accomplished, the part-time Skymiles intern should focus on getting the award calendar fixed!

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