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Delta Biz-Class Awards to Cost Up to 25% More

Delta Biz-Class Awards to Cost Up to 25% More

Delta has a problem with award availability.

For two consecutive years, Delta was ranked last among U.S. airlines in the annual IdeaWorks study of award availability. Other reports confirm those findings, as do complaints from Delta customers.

So it was dispiriting for Delta loyalists to learn of two new policy changes announced this week that will further devalue the SkyMiles program.

For travel on or after June 1, 2014, SkyMiles members will pay more miles for business-class award tickets on some key routes. Examples:

  • U.S.-Europe roundtrip increases from 100,000 to 125,000 miles (25%)
  • U.S.-Asia roundtrip increases from 120,000 to 140,000 miles (17%)
  • U.S.-Australia roundtrip increases from 150,000 to 160,000 miles (7%)
  • U.S.-South Africa roundtrip increases from 140,000 to 160,000 miles (14%)

The increases affect the lowest-priced of Delta’s three award levels, the awards that most SkyMiles members would normally use and that have been the most difficult to book.

Delta justified the increases in a Flyertalk post as follows:

In June 2014, we will be the only U.S. carrier to offer full flat-bed seats with direct aisle access in Business Class across our entire wide-body fleet. Our premium cabins will also soon offer new, on-demand in-flight entertainment options and we are in the process of adding in-flight Wi-Fi on our long-haul international aircraft scheduled to be complete by 2015. We’ve also partnered with premium brands Westin and Tumi on new bedding and amenity kits and we’re introducing new dining options.

In the same post, Delta announced that effective September 9 SkyMiles award bookings may no long be put on hold prior to ticketing. Awards will have to be issued immediately, but can be cancelled within 24 hours.

Both are significant new setbacks for a program that already suffers from an excess of negative sentiment among its members.

Reader Reality Check

How do these changes affect your relationship with Delta?

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  • Deon Charles

    Delta’s explanation is that the seats are more valuable so they’re going to charging more SkyMiles. I assume that also means they’re going to start awarding more SkyMiles when one flies on a purchased ticket.

  • M Weisberg

    Delta’s customer service leaves a lot to be desired. Each time I speak to a representative I have received different replies to my question about using miles to upgrade to business class. Many of them are also rude and need to be trained in how to deal with customers. In the future I will fly on a different airline when I have a choice. Delta cares nothing about loyalty from their frequent fliers

  • Fay Mannon

    We have been Delta flyers for some 10 years and are now realizing that Delta cares nothing about loyalty from their frequent fliers. Nor do they care about small business owners or small airport locations.