It’s a serious question. Is Delta Air Lines simply trolling us?
Is Delta Air Lines Trolling Us?
It is one thing to raise prices during a time of inflation. It is quite another to raise prices during a deflationary period as we currently find ourselves in, especially when partners are going in the opposite direction.
Earlier this week we booked a round-trip journey from Los Angeles to Rome via Amsterdam on KLM for 103,000 Air France/KLM Flying Blue miles. Taxes/fees were just under $500.
Were I to book the same flights on the same dates via Delta, the price would have been 240,000 miles and about $125 in taxes/fees.
Do you think we made the right choice?
United raised prices too (and I condemned it), but Delta continues to raise prices on partner awards to levels that are so far out of the norm that you have to wonder if they are just trolling us. By that I mean Delta does this to intentionally upset its customers.
Back in the day, Karen Zachary, the Managing Director of SkyMiles, seemed to gloat at raising prices. That’s the vibe I feel with these sort of devaluations.
Delta regularly evaluates Award Pricing which can result in the increase or decrease of the mileage amount you need to purchase an Award Ticket.
Certainly, Delta wants to discourage these sorts of redemptions in favor of absurd redemptions on Delta’s own metal, but the latest string of price increases feeling like mocking all those who have saved miles in hopes of aspirational travel.
Prices for partner awards keep rising and I simply do not see value in collecting SkyMiles any more when you can collect points in a flexible currency instead.
I’ve long warned that miles and points are depreciating assets meant to be spent, not hoarded. Nothing changes in terms of that general advice. But there’s an implied contract of good faith and fair dealing here…if I entice you to collect miles and save up for an award, it’s manifestly unreasonable to massively inflate the price without notice.
But that’s simply what Delta does. Over and over again. Delta has raised prices without warning for years.
Here’s what I’d do if I were you: rip up your Delta American Express cards. Call up American Express to complain and cancel them. Use a flexible card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or American Express Gold instead.
Delta only does this because it can get away with it. But I can tell you, the values are simply not there. There once was value in paying 85K and $5.60 in taxes for a last-minute New York to London ticket when Virgin Atlantic was charging 45K miles but $600 in taxes/fees for the same ticket.
Not anymore. If you think 195K miles and $24.50 is a better deal than 45K miles and $600, please just switch to a cash-back card.
While I understand Delta does what it can get away with, I think it shows deliberate disdain for members when prices accelerate without notice in an era of empty flights. In fact, I think it rises to trolling. It’s as if Delta is daring us to book away. We should do so…
Does Delta’s conduct concerning partner award pricing constitute trolling?