Increase Cost of SkyMiles for International Business Class; Award Hold Discontinued by Delta

This Boeing 757-200 aircraft parked on the tarmac in Salt Lake City on May 1, 2007 is the first to sport the then-new livery of Delta Air Lines. Photograph ©2007 by Brian Cohen.

An award ticket in the business class cabin on an international flight will cost you more SkyMiles if you travel on certain routes on June 1, 2014 or thereafter, according to FlyerTalk member DwayneSkyMiles — one of the official company representatives of Delta Air Lines on FlyerTalk.
The increased redemption amounts for “low” awards for a seat in what is considered the “true” international BusinessElite cabin include the following:

Route Between the United States and:
Current “Low” SkyMiles Redemption Rate
“Low” SkyMiles Redemption Rate as of June 1, 2014
Increase in Percentage
Europe and Southern South America 100,000 SkyMiles
125,000 SkyMiles 25.000 Percent
Africa, Middle East, North Asia and South Asia 120,000 SkyMiles 140,000 SkyMiles 16.667 Percent
South Africa 140,000 SkyMiles 160,000 SkyMiles 14.285 Percent
Australia 150,000 SkyMiles 160,000 SkyMiles 6.667 Percent

Award redemption of SkyMiles for travel in the BusinessElite cabin between the United States and the South Asian subcontinent remains unchanged. The cost to redeem SkyMiles for “medium{ and “high” award tickets in the BusinessElite cabin also remains unchanged — but that is no solace to those FlyerTalk members who consider this official increase a farce due to what has been considered for years a “broken” award calendar where “low” award availability is scarce at best anyway; and some of those FlyerTalk members wonder what will be the “true” cost to redeem SkyMiles for a seat in the BusinessElite cabin on international flights — regardless of the level of availability.
“Many of you have experienced first hand our significant investments in products over the past several years”, DwayneSkyMiles posted on FlyerTalk. “In June 2014, we will be the only U.S. carrier to offer full flat-bed seats with direct aisle access in Business Class across our entire wide-body fleet. Our premium cabins will also soon offer new, on-demand in-flight entertainment options and we are in the process of adding in-flight Wi-Fi on our long-haul international aircraft scheduled to be complete by 2015. We’ve also partnered with premium brands Westin and Tumi on new bedding and amenity kits and we’re introducing new dining options. As a result, we’ve recognized the need for adjustments to our low mileage redemption levels for select international Award Tickets in BusinessElite. The mileage redemption adjustments are effective today for Award Travel on or after June 1, 2014.”
Although the option to cancel an award ticket within 24 hours at no risk to you will still be offered by Delta Air Lines, the option for Delta Air Lines to hold your award ticket without booking it will be discontinued as of September 9, 2013. The reason, according to DwayneSkyMiles, is that “more than one million Award Seats per year are held by members who don’t use them which negatively impacts other members’ Award Seat access.”
These two announcements are the latest in what FlyerTalk members consider to be a series of devaluations to the SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty program.

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