Oh c’mon, Delta! It looks like Delta has just started adding carrier imposed surcharges to all Virgin Atlantic Upper Class redemptions. Upper Class is the term for Virgin Atlantic’s business class product, which I quite like (in particular, I love their Clubhouse lounges). This comes just weeks after Delta’s latest unannounced partner award devaluation, where we saw the cost of business class awards on most partner airlines increase.
Currently Delta imposes these surcharges for redemptions on some of their partner airlines, and for awards originating in Europe, regardless of which partner you redeem on.
So up until now you’d pay these surcharges for Virgin Atlantic Upper Class redemptions originating in Europe, but not for those originating in other regions. This has been a nice feature of SkyMiles, given that most of Virgin Atlantic’s partners imposed these surcharges when redeeming on Virgin Atlantic. However, given the joint venture between Delta and Virgin Atlantic, it made sense that there would be metal neutrality.
Well, if you search now, you’ll see that a one-way Virgin Atlantic Upper Class award ticket from New York to London will cost you $501.60, compared to the same route on Delta costing just $5.60. So that’s a $495 carrier imposed surcharges and that doesn’t even account for the fact that a partner transatlantic business class redemption costs 15,000 more miles one-way than the same ticket on Delta.
This doesn’t impact economy or premium economy redemptions on Virgin Atlantic, as you’ll see below, in a screenshot of award prices between Boston and London.
This isn’t just limited to Virgin Atlantic flights originating in North America. Even Virgin Atlantic awards originating outside of North America and Europe now have carrier imposed surcharges when redeeming in Upper Class.
For a while I was starting to feel like the SkyMiles program was getting better, at least as a comparative matter, given how much American AAdvantage has been devalued over the past couple of years. However, this is just terrible. First Delta greatly increased award costs on partner airlines in business class several weeks back, and now they’re adding nasty fuel surcharges to Virgin Atlantic Upper Class redemptions. Sad!
(Tip of the hat to @kabirobhan)