True to form, Delta unleashed a massive Skymiles devaluation today without any notice. But you can get around it. For now, at least…
Delta describes today’s change as nothing out of the ordinary–
This change is part of Delta’s regular evaluation of award pricing that can result in increases or decreases.
I’ll analyze that later – Gary has done a great job already here. Instead, use this post to understand there is a way around this latest devaluation as long as Delta leaves the loophole open.
Partner awards from North America have gone up in price. Here are three examples–
1. Australia went from 45K to 55K in economy class and 95K to 115K one-way in business class–
2. Europe went from 30 to 35K in economy class and 70K to 85K in business class–
3. Asia went from 35K to 40K in economy class and 80K to 95K in business class–
There are other examples, but you get the picture.
The Odd Loophole Delta Left Open
By adding on a Delta segment to any of these itineraries, the price drops to the “old” level. The Delta segment must be what used to be called saver/low/level one (in other words, book into N class).
Take the Aeroflot to Europe option above, now pricing at 85K one-way. Add on a Seattle to LA flight and the price drops to 70K for the same business class flight LAX-SVO!
How about Asia? Add a Delta segment from LAX-SFO and the price of SFO-TPE drops from 95K to 80K.
Warning: I Don’t Expect This Loophole to Last
Since this policy makes zero sense, I don’t expect it to last. Thus, if you have been toying with a Skymiles redemption on a partner airlines, I suggest you book it now and not even later today.
Remember, say you want to fly from LA to Moscow like the example above. If you add on the Seattle to LA flight to start the itinerary, you cannot skip it. If you do, the LA to Moscow segment will be automatically canceled. But the other way around is no problem — if you book Moscow to LA to Seattle and just skip the LA to Seattle flight, you’ll be fine.
As a rule, if you skip a segment, all remaining segments will be canceled.
This is a very disappointing change, but hardly a surprise considering Delta’s track record. I’ll have more thoughts on it in a follow-up post, but for now note you have a way to get around the new pricing. Again, I don’t expect it to last…
Don’t forget if you skip that last segment you want to make sure that you only have carry on bags. Otherwise you will be trying to figure out how to get your bags from SEA back to LAX
@Dan – Not a problem for international flights coming into the US as you have to clear customs with your bags and recheck them at first port of entry anyway.
Hopefully this will last. That’s a great tip. Thanks for the suggestion.