Delta has revealed their SkyMiles 2015 award chart for travel from North America ONLY and I must say I am further unimpressed with Delta Air Lines than ever before. The airline touts that “Of the 44 Award level pricing changes, more than 95 percent of the changes reflect a decrease in the miles needed for Award Travel redemption by SkyMiles members” yet, when I reviewed the chart, very little has actually decreased and every award pricing is still higher than the 2013 award charts before the major delta devaluation that twice devalued the SkyMiles program in one year! Thus meaning, not only are Delta SkyMiles going to be earned at a much lower and more difficult rate, redemption options are also going to cost you an arm and a leg!
As you can see from the award charts above (click to enlarge), blue means the price decreased, “no fill” means it stayed the same, and dark grey equals an increase in miles needed for the award. Most awards did decrease in miles needed, but only in the standard and peak fare classes or if you consider adding level 2 and level 4 — a decrease from previous requirements. The saver fare class (the ONLY fare class that should ever be booked) only saw a decrease in miles needed for Economy trips: to South Asia Midcontinent and the Middle East and Business class tickets: to only Northern South America. Do note that these new mileage requirements are STILL higher than the 2013 award chart, so in the end Delta is NOT doing you a favor!
From the media release:
“The most consistent feedback we received from our SkyMiles members was a desire to improve their ability to use miles and provide more access to Awards at the lowest levels,” said Jeff Robertson, vice president – SkyMiles. “The changes in our 2015 SkyMiles program will give our members more access to lower priced Award travel, the ability to select a seat on any Delta flight, with no blackout dates and new options such as One-Way Awards and Miles + Cash. All of these changes demonstrate our commitment to making mileage redemption better for every SkyMiles member.”
The new SkyMiles U.S. Award chart is available at delta.com/skymiles2015.
With the release of the U.S. Award chart, members can learn even more about Delta’s 2015 SkyMiles program including how the new five-tier Award structure will be implemented. The lowest level for SkyMiles Saver Awards will remain at 25,000 miles plus taxes and fees for an Economy Class Award ticket for travel within the U.S. and Canada excluding Hawaii. The introduction of two additional redemption tiers will offer members more price points for Awards and is designed to complement new features such as new One-Way Award tickets which will start as low as 12,500 miles plus taxes and fees within the U.S. and Canada excluding Hawaii and the ability to redeem Miles + Cash Award options. In addition, members will experience significant improvements to award-redemption functionality at delta.com and Delta reservations in 2015.”
As we already know, Delta makes very limited saver seats available and instead likes to push mid to high level awards on their members, especially when it comes to award flights on their own metal. With five award fare classes, the Saver Awards, now renamed, level 1, are going to be more or less a dream than a reality. And the likelihood of even booking level 2 is probably nil. However, if you want to be optimistic about this new chart, it would mean that there is slightly more opportunity for award bookings at costs lower than the current “standard level” that Delta most commonly offers as Level 2 awards are lower than level 3 “standard awards”. Yet, how many of these seats will be available is still left unknown.
Finally, I find it funny how out of touch with reality Jeff Robertson is! Especially when he says, “The changes in our 2015 SkyMiles program will give our members more access to lower priced Award travel, the ability to select a seat on any Delta flight, with no blackout dates and new options such as One-Way Awards and Miles + Cash.” Does Jeff not know his own program, that he is the VP over?! Right now Delta already allows members to book seats on any Delta flight with no black out dates, how is this new? Also Delta used to have a miles + cash program, this isn’t new, they are just reinstating it! Geez Jeff, go check your history books, you’re starting to sound like the Jeff from United
Well folks, there you have it, the New SkyMiles 2015 Revenue based program with a less than exciting award chart!