Skip to content

Delta devalues SkyMiles again, partner award rates skyrocket

Feb. 05, 2021
7 min read
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. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Delta doesn't publish an official award chart but has kept mostly standard pricing on partner tickets. The airline devalued many U.S.-departing partner awards last October, adding close-in booking surcharges and increasing prices on many awards.

Today, the airline has again devalued partner bookings across the board.

As first reported by One Mile At a Time, we're now seeing higher pricing on all partner flights from the U.S. to Asia and Europe, regardless of airline partner. Business-class tickets were hit the hardest, with price hikes as high as 25,000 SkyMiles on a one-way ticket.

These were also devalued in October when the airline increased one-way business class partner flights to Europe to 95,000 SkyMiles and Asia awards increased to 102,500 SkyMiles. Now, we're seeing these flights start at 120,000 SkyMiles one-way.

Here's a look at the specifics.

Sign-up for the TPG daily newsletter to get points and miles coverage like this delivered to your inbox.

U.S. to Europe tickets are significantly more expensive

(Photo by EQRoy/Shutterstock)

U.S. to Europe awards saw the biggest devaluations this time around.

For example, this Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) to Paris (CDG) flight operated by Air France now costs 120,000 SkyMiles in business and 35,000 in economy. The flight in question departs nine months from when we searched, so the increased price is not due to close-in booking.

This flight would've cost 95,000 SkyMiles in business class after the last devaluation, representing a huge 25,000-SkyMile increase in price. Thankfully, economy flights have remained the same as in previous months.

Sign up for our daily newsletter
(Image courtesy of Delta)

We're seeing the same pricing on other routes too. This Virgin Atlantic flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to London-Heathrow (LHR) flight is priced the same as the Chicago to Paris flight discussed earlier.

(Image courtesy of Delta)

U.S. to Asia award prices raised across the board

(Photo by Senohrabek/Shutterstock)

Moving onto Asia, we're seeing higher prices to all parts of the region after this devaluation.

For example, this Korean Airlines flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Seoul (ICN) would have cost 102,500 SkyMiles in business class and 40,000 SkyMiles in economy under the previous devaluation. Now, it starts at 120,000 and 50,000 SkyMiles for business and economy class, respectively.

(Image courtesy of Delta)

Partner flights from the U.S. to Southeast Asia now cost 165,000 SkyMiles in business and 67,500 SkyMiles in economy. Business-class previously cost 147,500 in business on these routes.

(Image courtesy of Delta)

Finally, flights to India have increased to 120,000 SkyMiles in business class and 45,000 SkyMiles in economy. Previously, this award cost 102,500 SkyMiles in partner business class.

(Image courtesy of Delta)

Some close-in booking surcharges increased too

Remember, these awards get even more expensive when you book at the last minute. Delta introduced close-in booking surcharges on partner awards with October's devaluation. Some of these have stayed the same while others increased.

Last-minute flights to Asia now cost 62,500 SkyMiles in economy when booked within 20 days of departure. These cost 50,000 after the previous devaluation.

(Image courtesy of Delta)

On the other hand, a Virgin Atlantic flight departing 21 to 59 days from the date of booking still cost 170,000 SkyMiles one-way in business class and 40,000 SkyMiles in economy.

Thankfully, some award tickets remain untouched — for now

A handful of awards haven't been devalued. Most notably, you can still book partner flights from the U.S. to the Middle East for just 85,000 SkyMiles in business class and 37,500 in economy. This is the case even if you transit through Asia to get to the Middle East.

(Image courtesy of Delta)

Likewise, intra-Europe flights have remained at pre-devaluation price-points. This KLM flight from Paris (CDG) to Amsterdam (AMS) costs the same 10,000 SkyMiles in economy and 25,000 in business class.

(Image courtesy of Delta)

Delta's new partner award chart

As mentioned, Delta doesn't publish an official award chart. Nevertheless, we put together a new unofficial partner award chart to reflect today's changes. Keep in mind that these rates may be higher when booking closer to departure.

DestinationEconomyBusiness
Central America17,000 miles35,000 miles
South America25,000 milesN/A
Europe35,000 miles120,000 miles (25k increase)
Middle East37,500 miles85,000 miles
Northern Africa35,000 miles95,000 miles
Southern Africa50,000 miles115,000 miles
Northern Asia50,000 miles (10k increase)120,000 miles (17.5k increase)
Southeast Asia67,500 miles165,000 miles (17.5k increase)
India45,000 miles (5k increase)120,000 miles (17.5k increase)

Bottom line

Delta isn't holding back on devaluations during the coronavirus pandemic.

Last year's changes were hard enough to stomach, and this round of award price hike puts Delta's award pricing way ahead of the competition. This will make it harder for many travelers to justify earning Delta SkyMiles for international travel.

When asked about the devaluation, Delta released the following statement to TPG:

"Delta regularly evaluates Award Pricing which can result in the increase or decrease of the mileage amount you need to purchase an Award Ticket."

I think this is a trend of things to come for Delta SkyMiles. The airline has distanced itself from SkyTeam over the years, instead opting for independent partnerships. Now, the airline is making it clear that it wants its members to redeem miles Delta-operated flights.

Feature photo of Virgin Atlantic A350 Upper Class by Nicky Kelvin / The Points Guy

Additional reporting by Benji Stawski

Featured image by Virgin Atlantic A350 Upper Class (Photo by Nicky Kelvin / The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023