Delta is making huge changes to the SkyMiles program in 2015, on both the earning and redemption side. On the earning side, redeemable miles will be awarded based on how much your ticket costs as opposed to how many miles you fly, and SkyMiles is getting more restrictive on how many points you can transfer in from partners.
On the redemption side, SkyMiles is unfortunately adding more award tiers, though on the plus side will begin allowing one-way awards on partner airlines, which adds quite a bit of value to the program, in my opinion.
But it seems they’ve made another change which they haven’t announced.
Round-the-World routing must be in a continuous eastbound or westbound direction (i.e., backtracking is not permitted). Travel must terminate in the country of origin without extending beyond the point of origin. Flights operated by codeshare partners must permit local traffic between the stopover point and the destination; the most direct routing applies. Does not apply to Pay with Miles redemptions.
Round-the-World Award Tickets will not be issued on or after January 1, 2015.
So as of January 1, 2015, it will no longer be possible to redeem Delta SkyMiles for RTW travel.
My only issue is the lack of communication
Rene calls this a “MAJOR devaluation.” Frankly I couldn’t care less that Delta eliminating round the world awards. My only issue is that they don’t seem forthright with the communication of the change.
Why don’t I care about about round the world awards being eliminated?
Round the world awards typically aren’t a good value
I’ve booked hundreds and hundreds of award tickets for people over the years, and I don’t think I’ve ever booked a round the world award. I’ve certainly booked tickets that do go around the world (like traveling from the US to Asia via Europe with a stopover), but I’ve never formally booked a round the world ticket.
Why? Because nowadays with airlines allowing one-way awards, it’s just a lot easier often to book them segment by segment, because it also leaves you with a lot more flexibility. If you’re doing a true round the world trip (presumably lasting several months), I don’t think there’s much fun in locking everything down months in advance and not being able to change it.
Delta round the world awards are especially frustrating
Delta actually has reasonable redemption rates for round the world tickets — they charge 180,000 miles in economy and 280,000 miles in business class.
That being said, they’re an absolute pain to book. Several Delta partners have blackout dates, RTW awards have to be booked by phone, and each destination has to geographically be further east or west than the previous destination (which in many cases just isn’t practical).
While I’m sure a lot of people will say “oh, I wanted to book one of those,” I’m curious to hear how many people have actually ticketed and flown a Delta round the world award.
It’s a shame Delta didn’t communicate this better, but I can’t say I’ll be shedding a tear over this one.
Have you ever redeemed SkyMiles miles for a round the world award ticket?