Earlier I wrote about Delta’s ridiculous SkyMiles award changes, whereby the cost of international business class low level redemptions (yes, I’m talking about those awards that hardly exist) are going up substantially for travel on or after June 1, 2014.
The changes suck, though my friend/colleague Mac (if you want help with SkyMiles, he’s the one to talk to, by the way) pointed out that it’s not all bad news.
First of all, it appears as if starting June 1, 2014, Delta has access to the same Air France/KLM classic award space that Flying Blue members have access to. For the better part of a year now Delta hasn’t had access to all Air France/KLM award space. I don’t know whether Delta was blocking Air France award space so they didn’t have to pay for it, or if Air France was preventing SkyMiles members from redeeming for it, but it yielded the same net result for members regardless. It has been a real pain, as they’ve literally blocked all transatlantic business class award seats for months at a time, which is beyond frustrating.
However, looking beyond June 1, 2014, it appears as if SkyMiles award space matches Flying Blue classic award space. Now this may just be a coincidence since the blocking doesn’t always occur, but If that sticks it may very well be worth the 25% premium for transatlantic business class. Interestingly Alaska did a similar thing in June, whereby they raised Air France/KLM transatlantic award costs to match what Flying Blue charges, and subsequently seemed to have access to all the availability.
The new award chart also creates a “sweet spot” with the South Asian Subcontinent, which isn’t going up in price. That region includes India, the Maldives, etc. This is interesting because virtually the only way to get there is via Europe, so it’ll now be cheaper to go from the US to India (via Europe with a stopover, if you’d like) than it will be to go just from the US to Europe.
Anyway, the changes still suck, but those two things were interesting, I thought.