Delta Air Lines Quietly Raises Some SkyMiles Award Redemption Levels; Lowers One

FlyerTalk members are reporting that Delta Air Lines has quietly increased some of the medium-tier and high-tier award redemption levels by 5,000 SkyMiles per round trip as of September 1, 2012.
The changes in SkyMiles redemption rates are shown below in yellow.
Delta Air Lines SkyMiles award redemption chart prior to September 1, 2012:

Delta Air Lines SkyMiles award redemption chart after September 1, 2012:

Interestingly, all of the highlighted award levels increased by 5,000 SkyMiles per round trip, except for the high-level BusinessElite award redemption to Southeast Asia, which was curiously reduced by 20,000 SkyMiles per round trip.
While the changes seem minor at most — low-level SkyMiles awards are unaffected by the adjustments — some FlyerTalk members are angry, alleging that Delta Air Lines did not announce these changes, while others portend that this is only the beginning of further changes to come for SkyMiles award redemption levels.
What are your thoughts?

  1. My first concern is that Delta has a service-record of making small changes in preparation for major and unfavorable changes. In a ‘let’s slice it method’ or ‘let’s test the waters’.
    Second, I am concerned that there was no communication about the changes. I am still waiting for communication(s) regarding the changes in trans-con. mileage redemption since December 2011.
    Third, my concern is that Delta’s social media seems to have lost an interest in updating the clients, across all channels (not only aviation threads). I have followed all official communication channels raised by the social media group, and none of them has provided an update to the redemption rates in advance. I actually went and checked again all my August emails just in case. No dice.
    Fourth, I have a concern that Delta is (as many signs suggest) plan a massive change to the T&C of skymiles, which will carry retroactive changes to the value of hard-earned miles. The EOS (evolution of skymiles) as well as the Revenue-Based Award Ticketing System (RBATR) has been out on Delta’s job descriptions for a while.
    Fifth, since early 2009 (and I am gentle here, some people would go back to 2008), Delta has been ‘planning’ to fix the award calendar. Not only regarding inventory, but first and foremost- accuracy. Even if one follows the award calendar (e.g. medium award at 40K in Y for domestic travel), many times it does not show anything below 50K, or even 60K, though the calendar claims that such awards exist.
    My thoughts, to summarize are: It seems that delta elected to give up on ‘communicating’ information to clients. Maybe we should start developing ‘scribes’ that would check the website every day and report changes as they arise. That would be more efficient :-\

  2. I don’t know where all those “low” mileage tickets are. The cheapest ones I tend to find are 40.000 miles within the US and 77.000 to Europe. I also noticed an increase in no revenue ticket holders getting business class seats and diamond and platinum medallion members having to sit in coach on international flights. I have two friends who know somebody who works at delta and they get buddy passes and sit in business class on the same flight while I as diamond sit in the back.

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