When you’ve earned Delta SkyMiles to fly any from Europe or Asia Delta’s partner airlinesBad news: For the second time in the last four months, Delta has greatly increased the number of miles you need for certain partner flights. Business Class seats could cost up to 160% more SkyMiles than last summer, while Economy and Premium Economy seats have also increased (although not quite as dramatically).
The closer you book to your departure date, the more SkyMiles you will pay on one of these partner airlines.
What has changed?
We saw price increases on Delta Partner award flights in three regions:
North Asia, including South Korea and Japan.
Southeast Asia, including Singapore and Vietnam.
Here you can see the number of SkyMiles you need to fly a Delta Partner to each of these regions and the amount you will pay if you book less than 60 days before departure.
How Delta awards flights
The number of SkyMiles required for a flight depends in part on whether the flight is operated by Delta or one of its partners. For its own flights, Delta bases the mileage price on the cash price, known as dynamic pricing. Award flights operated by Delta can range from 2,000 SkyMiles each way Basic economy …
… up to 465,000 SkyMiles for an international one-way flight to South Africa in Business Class.
However, if the international flight you want is operated by a partner airline, the cost will reflect an unpublished table that shows the prices for your flight based on the region you are flying to and the cabin your seat is in, be rated. Delta has increased these unpublished affiliate award rates.
Where the prices for partner prices are currently
New Delta SkyMiles award rates for Europe
Delta works with several European airlines. SkyMiles allows you to fly between the US and Europe on Air France, KLM, Virgin Atlantic and more.
Before October 2020 award prices for flights to Europe cost just 25,000 SkyMiles each way in Economy or 75,000 SkyMiles in Business Class.
Now the partner awards start at 35,000 SkyMiles in Economy and a whopping 120,000 SkyMiles per route in Business Class:
This corresponds to an increase of 40% for Economy Awards and an increase of the price for Business Class Awards by 60%.
In addition, Delta now charges additional fees for awards booked within 60 days of departure. You can see this increase by searching for a partner award flight and viewing the results in a calendar view, as shown for that flight from Las Vegas to London. This flight costs 35,000 SkyMiles when booked more than 60 days in advance.
However, if you try to book the same flight 60 days before departure (or less) the costs will increase:
40,000 SkyMiles in business.
75,000 SkyMiles in Premium Economy.
170,000 SkyMiles for Virgin Atlantic Business Class Upper Class.
And within 21 days of departure, it gets worse:
This Boston to London flight, booked 21 days in advance or less, costs 55,000 SkyMiles for Economy, 115,000 SkyMiles for Premium Economy, and an astronomical 195,000 SkyMiles each way in Virgin’s Upper Class (a 160% increase over the previous 75,000):
Based on these award searches, we have determined that the pricing for Delta Partner award flights to Europe is broken down as follows:
New Delta SkyMiles award rates for North Asia
Partner flights to the North Asian region – which also includes South Korea and Japan – previously cost 32,500 SkyMiles per route in Economy or 85,000 SkyMiles per route in Business Class.
Delta has now increased the rates to:
50,000 SkyMiles in business.
120,000 SkyMiles in Business Class.
This corresponds to an increase in the economy price by over 50% and an increase in the business class price by more than 40%.
Even before these increases, Delta’s award ratios were far higher than those of competing frequent flyer programs. For example, American Airlines still only charges 60,000 AAdvantage miles for partner business class awards to Japan and Korea. So if you use American AAdvantage Miles you can book Japan Airlines Business Class from Dallas-Fort Worth to Tokyo Haneda for 60,000 AAdvantage miles:
And again, Delta’s award rates for this region get worse the closer you book to departure. As with award flights to Europe, Delta will increase award rates within 60 days of departure and even further within 21 days of departure to North Asia.
Between 22 and 59 days before departure, you must pay for:
56,250 SkyMiles each way in business.
145,000 SkyMiles one way in Business Class.
The prices increase even further if you book within 21 days of departure. The saver prices increase to 62,500 SkyMiles each way.
In the meantime, the award rates for partner business class companies increase to 160,000 SkyMiles within 21 days of departure.
We have compiled the following award prices for partner award flights between the United States and North Asia:
New Delta SkyMiles award rates for Southeast Asia
The region hardest hit for Delta’s mileage increase is Southeast Asia. The partner awards between the USA and Southeast Asia previously cost 35,000 SkyMiles per route in Business Class and 85,000 SkyMiles per route in Business Class.
Those prices have soared in business to 67,500 one-way miles and a staggering 165,000 one-way SkyMiles in Business Class for flights booked more than 60 days prior to departure. This corresponds to a cost increase of over 90% for both economy and business class awards.
As with award flights to Europe and North Asia, Delta charges more miles for booking flights within 60 days of departure. You must pay within 60 days:
73,750 SkyMiles each way for economy.
190,000 SkyMiles each way for Business Class.
Within 21 days, the Partner Economy Awards will increase to 80,000 SkyMiles per route. Business class awards are likely to increase within 21 days too, but we cannot find any available awards at this time.
These searches indicate that Delta is currently charging the following award prices for partner award flights between the United States and Southeast Asia:
The final result
When you earn Delta SkyMiles, you now need more to fly partner airlines to Europe and Asia – meaning the miles you own are now worth less. As a result, it’s even harder to find a lot with your SkyMiles.
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