Last night we saw multiple reports of Delta adding massive fuel surcharges to Virgin Atlantic Upper Class redemptions. This morning the fuel surcharges are gone.
Search for Virgin Atlantic award space on delta.com and you’ll see that the fuel surcharges on flights originating outside of Europe are gone. A New York to London trip (for example) still costs 85K miles one-way, but taxes are only $5.60. Yesterday, the same ticket carried taxes/fees of over $500.
A Reprieve. Just a Reprieve.
Over and over we have seen Delta raise partner award prices without notice, take away benefits, and generally show an attitude of hostile disdain for its mileage holders.
While we may or may not see fuel surcharges returning to Virgin Atlantic redemptions, if I am a betting man I’m be betting on the worst. I predict they will return.
I keep my Delta account balance at 0 miles for good reason. Sometimes Delta redemptions still make sense. But when I need to redeem Delta miles, I call in (no telephone booking fee), have the agent set up the reservation and verify the space is holding confirmed, and only then transfer over the miles necessary to issue the ticket instantly.
Delta.com cannot be trusted and Delta itself cannot be trusted to honor anything.
In dealing with Delta we are dealing with a loyalty program that believes it can act with impunity, treating its currency like that of a despotic banana republic.
My Advice: Book Virgin Atlantic Awards Today
If you do intend to use your Delta miles to book on Virgin Atlantic, I recommend you do that today and not even wait until tomorrow. During the last devaluation we saw a loophole that only lasted a few days before being closed. Perhaps Delta turned off fuel surcharges for today just to deflect any potential charges that it sought to benefit from the British Airways meltdown.
I do not trust Delta and believe the program will continue to tighten the screws on members as it tests the waters to see what it can get away. Thus far, it has gotten away with everything. That probably won’t change: I outline why here.
> Read More: Even After Latest Devaluation, We’re Stuck Using Delta SkyMiles
I suspect this is an “enhancement” that was rolled out prematurely. My gut reaction is that DL is planning to add fuel surcharges to all partner premium class awards. They’ll spin it as “allowing us to keep prices low and improve redemption options on what our customers want, Economy Class awards” or some such doublespeak.
Sad, but very likely true.
How long will Delta hold a reservation?
Just a few minutes while you transfer the miles in.