Has Delta Increased the Price of their Asia Awards, and Are More Increases Coming?

TM Travel World reports that Delta has apparently increased the price of a whole bunch of awards.

It’s always something that’s really difficult to verify, much of Delta award pricing is shrouded in mystery. They do not publish an actual award chart for flight redemptions that don’t start or end in North America.

But Troy says that they’ve broken Asia into two separate regions. I remember when Asia was all just one region, and business class within Asia was 30,000 miles roundtrip. Now it’s apparently 25,000 miles just for economy within North Asia (China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan) and 45,000 miles for business class.

With a new separate region for North Asia and South Asia, instead of just a single region for Asia, flights between the two regions — or even just within South Asia — are 45,000 miles roundtrip in Economy and 70,000 miles roundtrip in business class. That just seems insane to me, Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City which is less than 500 miles each way would be 45,000 miles. Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, which is generally under $100 roundtrip is coach, would be that same 45,000 miles. Are they kidding? Of course I don’t know this for sure, since Delta doesn’t publish an award chart for the region. It’s a secret.

Troy expects changes to awards involving Africa, and wonders quite reasonably whether the two Asia regions will lead to separate pricing from North America as well (with South Asia becoming more expensive than North Asia).

I can deal with whatever pricing they offer, even when that pricing seems completely out of whack with their competitors. I’d just like a little bit of transparency from Skymiles on international awards.

Update: Delta has confirmed changes but is still very short on specifics, promises to actually publish award charts soon.

As a result of a recent review process, some adjustments were made on transpacific routes, intra-Asia markets and flights to/from South Africa. Some markets saw award increases, some decreases.

Example: previously all flights between US and Asia were the same award level, as were intra-Asia levels, despite being very different in terms of length of haul and market. Both NRT-ICN and NRT-SIN flights were previously priced at 20,000 miles for our low roundtrip award, even though the SIN flight is several times the distance of ICN.

The new zoning will price NRT-ICN at 15,000 miles for a low roundtrip award, and NRT-SIN at 45,000 miles.

…Customers will also see some decreases on premium high level awards between US and Europe, Middle East, Southern South America and Northern Asia because, frankly, we felt some of the levels were getting too high.

Watch for the new international award charts that will be released on delta.com next week under SkyMiles Award Mileage Charts.

(HT for the update: Charles)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Can I burn 2.5 million DL miles fast enough?! Well, I guess with Delta’s ripoff award pricing, I can burn them really quickly!

  2. Most airlines have a higher price for NS Asia than for intra-N Asia; UA made a similar change last time it rewrote its award chart. I guess DL is just bringing its prices up to market. Then again, the intra-Asia options on DL are not that great since KE awards are so limited.

    (One bizarre feature of UA’s system is that HKG is considered part of South Asia but other Chinese airports are not — I flew NRT-CAN once in order to reach HKG because the flight cost half as many miles.)

  3. @Joe in general Delta’s awards are more expensive than their competitors already, this isn’t just bringing them in line. And availabiltiy is less good as well.

    American includes Hong Kong in “Asia 2” and as a result you cannot connect from there to “Asia 1” from North America on one award.

    United has both North and South Asia but from the US the award price is the same. Only Japan, in its own region, is cheaper.

  4. The new intra-south asia pricing seems pretty steep. I redeemed SkyMiles last summer for 2 tickets from LPQ-REP on Vietnam and it was 20k each for economy (there is not business on that route). The new pricing would more than double the cost if it truly is 45k for intra-south asia awards.

  5. 200,000 down (2 biz class US-Europe on AF/KLM); 2.3 million to go! Hopefully, I can burn much of the rest during 2012 (yes, 2011 is planned already!) with:

    1) 2 biz on V Australia
    2) 2 biz on Aeroflot to Russia
    3) 2 biz on Korean to Asia
    4) 2 biz on Air France and/or Air Tahiti Nui to Tahiti
    5) 2 biz on Delta to South Africa
    6) 2 more biz AF/KLM to Europe

    That should still leave about 700,000…which will be good for one round trip in coach from DTW to MSP in 2013.

  6. Glad I burned ALL my miles when the shenanigans were first brought to light hidden deep in those marketing e-mails. Now they make changes without giving ANY notice… Really classy Delta

  7. It doesn’t surprise me. With all the Amex transfer mega bonuses it was obvious steep devaluation of SkyPesos (to SkyZimbabs perhaps?) was inevitable. I feel bad for everyone who wasted their Amex points last few weeks. The rule is NEVER TRUST DELTA.

  8. What Delta giveth (no mileage expiration) Delta taketh away (higher award pricing). I’m beginning to dread when they announce their latest give for fear that when the shoe drops on the take, it will be worse overall.

  9. @4Health, we did BKK-REP on Vietnam Airlines last month, it was 40K per coach ticket. Business would have been 80K per ticket.

  10. This was why I was always against mergers they are fearless to do whatever they feel like to their customers.
    They wouldn’t take near the risks they do now when they were smaller.I expect they will stick it even harder to their customers over the years.Their award chart has always led the way in greed.Hence you see all the triple mile promotions.Some folks then think that they are heroes
    doing so until they try and redeem a lowest level mileage redemption ticket

  11. Just booked LAX-SYD-BNE//MEL-SYD-LAX for 150k miles + $320 taxes.

    LAX-SYD & SYD-LAX in business on V Australia
    SYD-BNE & MEL-SYD in premium economy on Virgin Blue

    Adding the BNE-MEL segment was going to add another 90k miles, so the agent dropped that segment.

    Very happy camper!

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