This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
It’s just another day at the office for Delta. The airline quietly “enhanced” its award redemption rates, this time for partner flights, specifically. In typical Delta fashion, no notice was provided — instead, travelers spotted the change and shared the news in a FlyerTalk thread.
For now, it appears that this rate hike only affects partner flights, which, as you’re probably aware, typically represent the most reasonably priced SkyMiles redemptions. The new rates take effect on October 1, 2016, but rather than simply applying to flights booked on that date, the higher rates also apply to flights you’ll book today, assuming the travel date is on or after October 1. That’s a very consumer-unfriendly move on Delta’s part.
For example, I found a fantastic Delta redemption on Garuda Indonesia last year (here’s the flight review). At the time, that business-class flight required 40,000 SkyMiles, and it still does today. However, if you book for travel on or after October 1, 2016, the rate jumps to 50,000 miles, representing a 25% hike.
Looking at a more popular redemption, New York to Seoul on Korean (in business class) jumps from 70,000 miles to 80,000 miles on October 1. That’s a much more reasonable 14% increase, but it’s disappointing to see, nonetheless, especially considering that Delta’s provided absolutely no advance notice here.
Fortunately, economy redemptions appear to be unaffected, as you can see in the example above.
Overall, this isn’t a huge blow — what’s far more upsetting than the rate hike, however, is that Delta’s provided absolutely no notice at all. If you were planning to redeem SkyMiles for a business-class partner flight on or after October 1, 2016, you’ll now need to use more miles than you did before. For customers who already had a redemption in mind, an unannounced action (like this one) can be infuriating.
Update: This doesn’t appear to affect all partner routes. For example, flights from the US to London on Virgin Atlantic (TPG’s favorite Delta redemption) remain at 62,500 miles each way in business class.
How do you feel about Delta’s latest rate hike?
The Points Guy Assessment:
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great pick for the beginner and the frequent traveler. The CSP has superb travel benefits, double points on certain purchases, and a 50,000 point sign up bonus. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year so this puts it as one of the less expensive cards, while still allowing you to earn one of the most valuable point currencies.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards