As if Delta SkyMiles couldn’t become even more of a dumpster fire than it was before the pandemic, they used the opportunity when no one was looking to absolutely torch the value of their miles for travel on partner airlines.
Travel between the U.S and Europe was 75,000 miles each way in business class in September 2020. Then they raised the price to 120,000 miles each way, a 60% increase. Delta raised the price of Los Angeles – Southeast Asia to 165,000 miles one-way in business class. In contrast American Airlines will charge you 140,000 miles roundtrip.
Perhaps afraid that someone somewhere actually flying the airline might get value from the SkyMiles program they’ve now devalued even using Skypesos in Delta Air Lines Sky Clubs as well.
As first reported by One Mile at a Time, spending points for alcohol in their clubs has gotten 30% more expensive.
SkyMiles used to be good for purchase of premium alcoholic beverages in their lounges at a value of 2 cents per mile against their menu pricing. Now they’ve reduced the value of miles to 1.5 cents apiece.
Sure, that’s better than you’ll usually get redeeming miles for travel, but alcohol sales can be higher margin plus when you are buying alcohol in the club you aren’t drinking their free alcohol so they’re saving money, too. Put another way, expect to spend about 30% more miles than before for a nice drink in their clubs.
Delta Sky Club Bar, Austin
This is hardly a belt-tightening exercise for the SkyMiles program, it’s so profitable they were able to raise $9 billion in liquidity against it last year. The program is generating $4 billion a year and growing from American Express alone.
The plan to devalue the program should come as no surprise. When raising cash they told investors – and the SEC – that this was exactly the kind of “flexibiltiy” that they had.
In 2019, 97% of redemptions were on Delta allowing the flexibiltiy to manage costs by modifying inventory levels and value….SkyMiles can adjust the redemption value of mile based on demand on any given day, for example, by reducing the redemption value on a peak demand day prior to a holiday.
We’ve come to expect the value of a SkyMile to be on a continued downward trajectory, as it’s headed consistently over the past 15 years. But do they have to rub salt in the wounds of members that are pouring a nice drink to drown their sorrows in the Sky Club, too?