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The recent announcement of Delta Skymiles changes was greeted as a mostly negative announcement (at least by me). While there are some positive changes, such as the increased ability to upgrade on transcontinental flights, they were outweighed by the announcement that Delta is moving more and more to a “make up whatever award price we want” model (similar to Southwest!)
One thing that did intrigue me however was the announcement of additional flights for 7,500 or 10,000 Skymiles (rather than the standard 12,500 Skymiles for a domestic one-way trip). Included in the full announcement was a link to a promotional page announcing specific city-pairs for 7,500 or 10,000 Skymiles.
Here’s a breakdown of the mentioned flights, along with the flight distance (as a comparison)
- Atlanta (ATL) – New Orleans (MSY) – 425 miles
- Atlanta (ATL) – West Palm Beach (PBI) – 546 miles
- Los Angeles (LAX) – Phoenix, AZ (PHX) – 369 miles
- New York (JFK) – Toronto (YYZ) – 366 miles
- New York (JFK) – Bermuda (BDA) – 763 miles
- New York (LGA) – Portland, ME (PWM) – 269 miles
- New York (LGA) – Raleigh / Durham (RDU) – 431 miles
- Minneapolis (MSP) – Chicago (ORD) – 334 miles
- Cincinnati (CVG) – Ft. Lauderdale (FLL) – 934 miles
- Los Angeles (LAX) – San Jose (SJC) – 308 miles
- Seattle (SEA) – San Francisco (SFO) – 679 miles
You can see that the vast majority of these routes are pretty short, and do not compare well with the 4500 Avios that would be required if this were a oneworld flight.
(SEE ALSO: Introduction to Air alliances)
The exceptions would be New York to Bermuda, Seattle to San Francisco and Cincinnati to Fort Lauderdale. In all 3 cases, the corresponding oneworld flight would be 7500 Avios, though American does not fly SEA-SFO (they don’t fly from Cincinnati to Fort Lauderdale either but they DO fly to Miami – that’s the flight I should have taken on my first ever trip paid for with points!)
Finding other cheap Delta Skymiles awards
Delta says that there are other city pairs that cost fewer than 12,500 Skymiles to redeem, but they don’t publish them – you just have to check the website. Trust the website! The Website is never wrong!!!
I plugged in every city that Delta flies to/from Cincinnati, and I could only find one additional one that clocked in at under 12,500 miles – to Baltimore/Washington (BWI), which priced at 10,000 miles
There are other flights out there I know – specifically LAX-SFO was at one point marketed as only 5,000 Skymiles, though it now appears to cost 7,500. I did also check the cash price for the CVG-BWI flight, and the instead of 10,000 Skymiles you could pay $146.10, so you’re geting 1.4 cents per mile from your mile, which is definitely not the best you could do.
For me, this just means that you have to continue to “work” harder and harder to get true value from your Skymiles, and it’s why I will continue to focus my energies elsewhere