Where Have Delta’s Award Charts Gone?

As you may (or may not) know, I also have a points consulting service, whereby we help people redeem their airline miles. I have several colleagues working with me, and they’re some of the most knowledgeable and passionate people I know in this hobby. During my dad’s round the world surprise birthday trip they offered to step in and help with some guest posts. Thanks to the positive feedback, they’re back with more. This post is from my friend Tiffany, whom you’ve heard from before.


I might live and breathe miles and points, but I draw the line at memorizing award charts.

Sure, there are sweet spots to every program, and I know those from frequent use, but keeping track of how many miles American requires for award travel between Madagascar and Kazakhstan just doesn’t come up very often. And if I go directly to the airline website, rather than trusting my memory, I’m less likely to make a mistake. So it’s a good habit regardless.

Fortunately, airlines publish their award charts, which is great for everyone involved! Consumers can see how many miles an award should cost, that encourages loyalty and involvement, and all the rest. Ben has written about this a lot — a transparent program has more engaged members.

Delta SkyMiles definitely has tendencies towards sneakiness. In the past they’ve changed award prices overnight (and claimed that it was illegal to notify consumers of price changes in advance), so they’re hardly on my list of trustworthy programs.

Today, however, takes the cake.

I went to verify the price of a routing (with the new 2015 award charts I’m even more careful of quoting correct prices than I would be otherwise), only to receive a nasty shock.

For years, the Delta SkyMiles award charts have been available on this page:

https://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/skymiles/use-miles/award-travel/airlines-and-mileage-charts.html

(I know that’s an ugly link, but I wanted y’all to be able to see it)

The charts look like this for Economy:

Delta 2015 Economy Award Chart

And like this for Business:

Delta 2015 First/Business Award Chart

However, if you follow that link now, you are automatically redirected to this page:

New-about-skymiles

Gone are the charts telling you how many miles are required at each of the five pricing tiers.

Gone are the charts telling you which countries fall into which regions.

Gone is any indication of what the price should be.

Instead, you have this “helpful” message:

Once you’ve selected your itinerary and logged into your SkyMiles account, you’ll be asked to pay for the flights you selected.

Wonderful.

Beyond that, the folks at Delta.com have made efforts to completely remove all traces of the award charts from the internet. I’m hardly an internet ninja, but they’ve at least blocked WayBackMachine from tracking changes:

Delta-WayBack

This is a program, keep in mind, that took nearly a decade to create a “functional” award calendar (which is still not really accurate), has incredibly poorly trained agents that don’t know their partner airlines, and a terrible pricing engine.

There’s no way I would trust Delta SkyMiles agents to accurately quote and price an award, much less Delta.com.

You probably shouldn’t either.

It’s the middle of the night where Ben is, but I’m sure he’ll be reaching out to his contacts at SkyMiles as soon as he can. This is, in my opinion, ridiculous.

If you need to know how much a business class award should cost according to the Delta 2015 award chart, Ben has tables with the SkyMiles global award prices and country zones in this post.

In the meantime, I’d take screenshots of the United award chart 😉

What do you think? What could Delta’s motivation be here?

Comments

  1. No doubt Delta will next demand the OMAAT remove all reference to their award tables. They should be facing a class-action lawsuit for ripping people off with incorrect award pricing, so I’m sure they want to remove as much evidence as possible. I absolutely do not rust Delta.

  2. I’m so glad for Delta 2015. Because of their changes to sky pesos, I started loading up other currencies. Now if I can just relocate to an American hub 😉

  3. There are numerous reports on FT of the new award pricing engine doing things incorrectly — adding up the cost of a domestic flight plus an international flight when booking a DL flight connecting to a partner flight, for example. Perhaps this change means that Delta has decided that rather than try to fix those problems, they are instead just going to declare an award now costs whatever they say it costs. Which is a slimy approach, even by Delta standards.

  4. DELTA — Don’t Even Look There for Awards.
    Working everyday to suck more than the day before.
    Climb Higher. Right.

  5. I just talked to a Delta agent who told me they no longer have access to the award charts either. So the price is what the computer says it is from now on. Very clever actually, no more complaints or bad publicity about devaluing miles, no lawsuits etc. they just can do what they want with impunity.

  6. @ Bgriff — Absolutely. They’ve gone from having the best multi-city award pricing engine around to one that can’t handle even basic requests. For awards to Europe we had to call in maybe 10% of them last year — so far in 2015 it’s about 95%. So frustrating.

  7. @ Tim — Wouldn’t surprise me, though agents barely had access to the award charts or partner lists before…

  8. I just left a message on line on the Delta comments section. I was wondering myself about the chart.

    Saying it in the restaurant.. “Go ahead order and when you done we will tell you how much you will owe us.. ” pardon if I look dumbfounded?

    I go to Greece every year from US Midwest, for about four years, exact same route, getting tickets about 10 months in advance. I usually pay around 150k skymiles for round trip first class. I just checked for my next flight, it is asking for 280K no matter what I try. Huh?

  9. Confirmed via Delta twitter, the award charts are gone for good replaced by the award calender. Way to go Delta.

  10. I’ve mostly defended Delta until now, but this is just appalling. Combined with the fact that when I asked United a question recently, I got two different (and opposite) answers, and I may have no choice but to swallow my loathing for the AA/US merger, Dougie, and his cronies, and fly AA.

  11. Would you go to a restaurant and order dinner without a menu and wait for the check to see if you can afford it? Delta’s policies are driven by their accountants which I suspect have been huffing too much Jet A exhaust on the ramp.

    BTW, Tiffany, you are certainly a cutie!

  12. @ BenT — Oh yes, the left hand rarely knows what the right is doing over there. I actually feel badly for the people running their social media, as they do seem well-intentioned, and there’s not much they can say here.

  13. @ Endre — Indeed, apparently it’s going to be all market price all the time. As if SkyMiles were the surf and turf of the industry.

    That being said, you should still be able to get flights at the lowest level (which unless they changed that today too should be 125,000 miles for the round trip). It’s likely the Delta flights bringing the price up, so I’d try it without those and see if it prices correctly.

  14. @ Brian L. — Well, fair warning: If you don’t like getting multiple answers I don’t think you’re going to love what happens when you call AA and get a US Airways rep…

  15. As an Atlantan, I’m stuck with DL. I have, for many years, seriously believed they don’t want us to use our miles, so they make it nearly impossible to find out how to do so. I didn’t know about the link above that used to work, so I always spend about 15 minutes looking around Delta.com trying to find the charts, the countries, etc. I just thought that was part of flying DL on miles.

  16. Just when you think Delta has finished making your jaw hit the floor, they drop another bomb. I really hope enough backlash reverses this. It really does seem to be an all out attempt to discourage members to not use their miles. I hope this blows up in their face.

  17. Guess this also makes a lie out of delta staing that more low level awards were going to be available as compensation for the massive 2015 devaluations. If there isn’t a chart, we can’t prove such lies.

  18. Given airline consolidation, it is natural for others to follow and in a few years the game as we know it will be dead. Burn those miles baby, burn!

  19. @iv – DL can’t possibly be stupid enough to pull something like this without having lawyers look it over, so yes, I think it’s safe to assume it’s legal. They might be arrogant, but I don’t think they’re dumb.

  20. I knew that another shoe would drop eventually. Not even Rene from Delta Points can keep standing behind these shady crooks at Delta. His post about this makes its obvious he’s outraged and you know if that guy is pissed at Delta – they screwed up big time.

  21. A quick search makes it seem like there are very few, if any, “level 1″/saver awards for international destinations in business. I snatched up my NZ trip on Virgin Australia as fast as humanly possible as soon as the one way awards became available last month because I had a feeling their low level awards might end up mysteriously disappearing or something. I hope they don’t do anything to screw with my reservation between now and then…

  22. @ mbh — Oh no! Ben has links to all the loyalty charts under the “Start Here” menu at the top of the page – too late for SkyMiles, but might be helpful in future.

  23. I have in the past given the benefit-of-the-doubt to Delta. But this move is something that – in my view – is simply not defendable. In fact, it is borderline idiocracy and rampant stubbornness!

  24. Any airline thinking of doing the same would be mad to unless they are genuinely going completely and openly down the revenue-based route.

    It’s like depositing money in the bank with the expectation that when you withdraw, you will get a certain value out of it. Everyone understand that it is being devalued, but to say that when you withdraw it, the bank gets to decide how much value you get based on some unpublished internal bank rules. It doesn’t make sense from a customer relations perspective.

    It may mean that they never have to announce any award chart inflation. They have carte blanche to do what they want because if they raise them, they can’t really publish it, and reference it to old published rates.

  25. Here is Delta’s “stamp” answer:

    Thank you for contacting us about Award travel.

    Delta no longer publishes Award travel charts. With the launch of the all-new Award calendar, it’s now easier than ever to search for and see prices for awards online. The expanded search capabilities and calendar at delta.com offer a flexible, easier-to-read and more accurate view of Award prices. When booking a flight, you also may quickly compare its price in miles or money.

    We are continuing to offer more choices to make it even easier for you to view prices for and book Awards online. You may now shop for and book Awards via the Fly Delta app, and throughout 2015 we will be adding the ability to search for Awards via the online calendar for additional SkyMiles airline partners. Additionally, the introduction of Miles Cash and One-Way Awards offer even more flexibility in booking Award Travel.
    I am sorry for any confusion or inconvenience this has caused. For additional information, please use the link below.
    ……………………..
    http://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/skymiles/use-miles.html

  26. Delta is feeling pretty good because of the low gas price since they don’t hedge like the other carriers do. So, they have become “Arrogant” and they think they can compete with the other Airlines w/o any help of “Loyalty” members.
    I say “what goes around will come around”. Remember their shadiness and when the time comes, give them the same “medicine” by not giving them any revenue business and don’t buy their products (Amex Delta etc.).

  27. I don’t get why people are complaining to DOT or talking about lawsuits. What Delta is doing is slimly and arguably unethical, but no objective party can look at this and say it is illegal by any stretch. And the DOT has no jurisdiction over award programs, so that is just a waste of your time and the time of whoever has to review the complaints.

  28. @Tiffany

    Data point on Delta since you book awards on them: I was looking to book an award from DC to Johannesburg. When I plugged in date pairs for the dates I wanted (and used IAD to JNB), it showed 255,000 miles in business (which is weird, since 255,000 isn’t even on the DL chart that I saw). I then clicked on “flexible dates” and the grid offered 160,000 if I left a day earlier. Then, still in grid view, I made the departure airport WAS (for all three DC airports) and it returned 255,000 again for the dates that delta.bomb suggested would have low inventory! Turned out it was only using DCA when the user enters WAS and used the DCA-ATL-JNB-ATL-DCA routing. When I made the departure airport IAD again, it routed through Europe on VS and/or Air France and/or Delta.

    Tl;dr – WAS seems to yield a higher cost at Delta due to a code defect. IAD seems to come in lower, since IAD has more inconvenient routings.

    Hey, Delta, glad I could do beta testing for you! 🙁

  29. Thanks, Tiffany, but I’ve never had trouble finding award charts for OTHER airlines. They usually have what you would expect–a tab at the top called “award chart’ or something similar. My point was really that Delta has never made it easy to find out what you needed to book an award flight. I think this is worse, but it’s just another step toward discouraging customers from using those miles at all, which is what I absolutely believe is their goal.

  30. I am so happy I was able to unload all of my skymiles two week ago–I used them for two round trip tickets to Kenya in August! They took over 5 hours and 7 agents to book, and at least two of them told me I could not go to Kenya round trip for 80k skymiles, even though this was the saver 1 level on the chart. During this craziness, Delta agents quoted me prices from 120k to as high as 220k for each ticket. Without the award charts, booking skymiles reward tickets will be like the Wild West, Craps, or shopping on Amazon.

  31. I want to organize a massive skypeso account cancellation. I want hundreds of thousands of people to cancel their accounts. It’s not like the miles are worth anything anyway. I’m all AS/AA until further notice.

  32. After I sent back ” Sorry I can;t accept you explanation” to Delta Diamond desk.. here their reply…

    —“Allows you the opportunity to review both (buy with Miles or $) at the same time. ” Is there anyone goes to compare miles again $? If I want to fly somewhere with miles, I do that months and months ahead and decide if I will go or I won’t go. If I want to fly with dollar, I do it because I have to. Flying with Miles and flying with $ are two very different travel that NEVER tried to compare.

    Here is the full reply that has absolutely nothing to do with my question.

    “Delta’s decision to no longer publish award travel charts is our efforts to align your award shopping to mirror the same way you are shopping for revenue tickets today. This also allows you the opportunity to review both at the same time. Our efforts to streamline our process to benefit all involved.

    We are truly sorry for your disappointment regarding our SkyMiles program. Your feedback is important to us. We have forwarded your concerns to our Marketing team for possible future implementation.

    We appreciate your Diamond Medallion business and look forward to assist you anyway we can.. We hope you will continue to make Delta your airline of choice.

  33. I have been searching my own routes and partner airlines for years. Once I had an airline and route picked out, I would call Delta and use an agent to book. If that agent did not know how to ticket the flight, I would call back until I found one that knew how to book. LAX – SVO roundtrip would always come up as 80k or 100k with 1 or 2 stops on a Delta flight versus 60k on Aeroflot NON-STOP!

  34. A few years ago I committed all my travel to Delta (formerly used to split it between Continental, United, Alaska and Delta).

    Now I regret that decision 🙁

  35. Thank you for this post. I just spent 20 angry minutes on Delta’s website trying to find the award chart. I didn’t realize they’d hidden it. You’re probably right that they don’t want people to actually use their miles.

  36. I’m trying for Biz Class JNBATL one way in January 2017 (dates not yet available for booking, but I’ve checked a week earlier)…They are now showing 375,000 one way at 750,000 roundtrip. Could this possibly be true? Seems ASTRONOMICAL……

  37. It’s not completely gone, but just made it difficult. Just book a flight and choose the option to show the price in “miles.” that’ll at least show you how much it’ll take to fly to your destination. Award chart was a lot more efficient but that’s that. At least the miles don’t expire.

  38. I was seeing Montreal – New Delhi return at 80,000 miles plus $480 Tax 7 Fees, now it is 105,000 miles plus $750 Tax & Fees

    the specials for the same return ticket when paying without sky-pesos is about $1,000

    So the calculation is simple, nowadays 105,000 sky-pesos are worth $250. What a devaluation. better off with Zimbabwe dollars 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *