Two words: first class.
You can now book China Eastern First Class awards using your Delta miles. The value is not great, but it is fair…especially compared to how much Delta asks for some of its own flights.
This marks the first time you can use your Delta miles for three-cabin first class since the good old days of booking Singapore Airlines First Class (that dates me, I know…).
And while China Eastern is fine if you don’t mind inedible food and smoking, imagine the possibility if Delta started offering partner first class awards on all SkyTeam carriers that offer first class. That would include:
- Air France
- China Eastern
- Garuda Indonesia
- Korean Air
- China Southern
- Xiamen Airlines
Korean Air First Class
Garuda Indonesia First Class
China Southern First Class
China Eastern First Class
Saudia First Class
Currently, Air France first class award space can only be booked with Air France, Garuda Indonesia first class award space can only be booked with Garuda Indonesia, Korean Air first class award space can only be booked Korean Air, and the same with China Southern and Xiamen. China Eastern first class space can be booked with Korean Air SkyPass and now Delta SkyMiles. Saudia first class space can also be booked with Korean Air. In short, it is very difficult to book partner first class awards on SkyTeam.
Imagine if Delta had access to award space for each of these carriers in first class. Even if Delta charged obscene amounts like 300-400K one-way for these flights, it would at least be an option…an option that I know many would be willing to pay (not that I would…).
But imagine further if Delta actually made these rates competitive. Not cheap, but competitive. Say in the 150K one-way range. What a game-changer this would be for the SkyMiles program. It would even cause me to start more aggressively racking up Delta miles.
There are so many components that make a loyalty program valuable. But just one small change could quickly make Delta a leading loyalty program.
Would you invest more time in Delta if you could redeem your miles for first class awards?