At the beginning of February Delta devalued SkyMiles partner award pricing for the second time during the pandemic, and in a big way. Since the start of Covid-19 one way business class between the US and Europe on Air France and KLM went from 75,000 to 95,000 miles and now starts at 120,000 SkyMiles – for a 60% increase in less than a year at a time when flights are empty and prices low. Because they can.
This devaluation was across the board, with US – North Asia now starting at 120,000 miles one-way for partner business class, US – India at 120,000 miles, and US – Southeast Asia a whopping 165,000 miles. The one exception seemed to be U.S. – Mideast which was cheaper than flying to Europe, even when connecting in Europe.
Delta has made SkyMiles completely uncompetitive. They will charge you 165,000 miles one-way for Los Angeles – Bangkok on partners in business class, while American Airlines will charge you 140,000 miles roundtrip.
Yet it is still possible to fly transatlantic business class one-way from 65,000 miles, and 75,000 miles on partners – the pre-pandemic pricing – you just have to start your journey in Mexico.
Here’s a one-way Mexico City – Paris award calendar for business class at the end of the schedule, with 65,000 mile pricing available every day (for travel on Delta):
If you want to fly a partner, that runs 75,000 miles. Here’s Aeromexico non-stop in business:
The savings isn’t limited to crossing the Atlantic, either. Instead of paying 120,000 miles to fly partner airline business class to Seoul if you original in the U.S., Delta will charge you 90,000 miles originating in Mexico:
Delta says they have no award charts any longer, but that isn’t true. They just hide their award charts. Mexico is a separate region from the United States, and while they’ve massively increased their award chart pricing for partner travel to and from the U.S., they haven’t (yet) done so for travel to and from Mexico.
(HT: Rene’s Points)