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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Delta SkyMiles New Flight Award Chart for 2015 revealed

It appears that execs at Delta may have come to their senses after the firestorm they received from the announcement of the 2015 SkyMiles program which moves to a revenue based model. At the time of the release of the news they didn't reveal any details on the new award chart other than it was moving from a 3 tier structure to a 5 tier structure. As many have eluded to when you announce changes to a program but only reveal one side of it (in this case the earning side) but not the other (redemption side) how can a customer, an analyst or anyone else truly see the effect and value of the program. This boils down to our mantra we have preached for quite some time that it is all about the EARN and the BURN and you cannot look at just one side of a program (see our post: Remember people it's all about the EARN and the BURN)

Now Delta did give out some of the redemption details in the first announcement that they will offer one way awards at half the number of miles (same thing Aeroplan instituted earlier this year) and a cash+miles redemption option. But the big question that was lingering on everyone's minds was what is the primary 5 tier award chart going to look like. As we said in the intro, looks like the Delta execs came to their senses and have the released the chart early. You can find the complete PDF here but I have also included some screen shots. The good news is that its not as bad as many people thought it would be. In most cases there is no real increase in the number of miles required but in reality that's because most people won't be earning as many miles as they used to so it will take them longer to get the various redemption levels.
Screen shot of the Economy Class Award Chart

Screen shot of the Premium Class Award Chart

Other than the award amounts now being published we still don't know what availability will be like for the most coveted Level 1 (formerly Saver) levels. Delta claims there will be more seats available but only time will tell when these changes take effect on January 1st, 2015.

On the PDF Delta uses some creative wording to put a positive marketing spin on the chart:
Highlights include no price increases to our lowest Award redemption levels. Of the 44 Award level pricing changes, more than 95% are decreases.

What they don't say is that yes the lowest redemption amounts haven't changed and most Standard Awards have gone down in price but the question we need to raise is what will the availability of the Level 3 (nee Standard) award be? Will they lower that availability and force more people to redeem at the new level 4? Same goes for Level 1 (nee Saver) and Level 2. If so then no wonder they lowered many of the Standard amounts as it looks better to the naked eye. Only time will tell if this will be the case. We surely hope not as Delta really needs to have something good to happen here with consistent devaluations they have placed on the program over the past couple of years.

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