Delta SkyMiles is a loyalty program that can be a bit confusing and sometimes frustrating because of the frequent changes that are made and the surprises that aren’t always pleasant for their loyal passengers. It seems that there are a lot of rules that are not put in writing, so it can be hard to determine exactly where you stand and what benefits you have coming at any given time. The thing about Skymiles is that on one day it can be of little value but on another, it can have you singing Hallelujah. Is the loyalty program turbulent? yes, it is, but there is something special that Delta has going for it. It’s one of the best United States carriers and it provides one of the best in-flight experiences possible on commercial airlines. Is it worth it to continue to collect Skymiles? For the most part, we must say that it is. Here is everything you need to know about Delta SkyMiles so you can decide for yourself
Delta doesn’t publish the award chart
It would be a luxury to know how many miles a Delta award flight would cost. They used to publish them up until early in 2015, but they removed them from the website and have not replaced them. Now it’s up to you to do all the legwork. You have to search the route you intend to take on several dates and then estimate the miles that will be required. It’s a little bit of work but it can be worth it in the long run. It’s worth noting that there can be a big difference in the range of SkyMiles required from one flight to another even for the same route. There can be a difference in domestic flights that are as much as two and a half times more miles just from one week to the next. Sometimes this works to your advantage and sometimes it goes the other way.
Where things can get extreme
International routes and flight reservations with premium cabins can show an even greater amount of variance. You must be prepared for issues with availability when it comes to using your award programs because it can be a bit of a challenge. There is a good chance that you will need to schedule your awards flights around dates when there is availability.
There are no fixed prices
This is perhaps one of the most confusing parts of the program. There are no fixed prices. This is definitely an area where the SkyMiles program falls down. You’re not rewarded when it comes to choosing your desired schedule, at least not consistently.
SkyMiles Award Tickets are like revenue tickets
When collecting SkyMiles award tickets its important to know what they’re more expensive than other legacy carrier miles. Using them for last-minute awards can be three times as costly as booking them several weeks out and this is a typical operation for Delta rather than an aberration.
How to lower your award ticket price
If you add segments to your flight you will pay less for miles for an award ticket through Delta. This will mean that at times there will be more flying. When there is no competition the tickets are higher. when you change your origin in some cases you can catch a flight with another carrier and you may see a price drop as much as half the original cost.
It takes a lot more legwork on your part
The best way to save on your Delta awards tickets is to do some research ahead of time. It’s always vital to compare your options before you make your choice. Find the best deals to use your SkyMiles and look for routes that are offered by the competition because this is how you save on using your flight awards.
About Partner Airlines
It’s also important to know that Delta has a tendency to penalize loyalty customers for flying on partner airlines. We can’t explain how, why or the formulation that is used because it isn’t published anywhere, but that’s how it shakes out more often than not.
Even with all the negatives that Delta has stacked against them with their SkyMiles program here are the benefits that you won’t want to miss out on
Delta Comfort plus with Miles
Delta is the only carrier that allows you to book main cabin seats that offer plenty of extra legroom, free booze on the flights that are at least 250 miles or more, priority boarding and an overhead bin space, all with the SkyMiles. The comfort that you enjoy is a lot better than offered by most other airlines. You can even get better economy seats with the miles.
Even though there is no award chart that will tell you how many more miles it’s going to cost you, the difference in the level of comfort on your flights is so big that it’s almost worth the hassle. You’ll be happy about it when you’re enjoying your flight in relative comfort. The priority boarding is also a very nice benefit. When it comes to international flights, the situation becomes objective very quickly and your objective is to figure which routes are going to give you the most ideal situation. In essence, you must learn how to leverage your points to get the most out of them on awards flights. For most of us, the overall goal is to avoid the need for paying cash when using our awards miles. While this is the ideal scenario, if you don’t have time to do the research on routes, you may need to end up doing this to get the accommodations that you desire.
Flying with Delta, if done right can be an absolute pleasure. You can always figure out a way to use your SkyMiles to the maximum benefit without paying ridiculously high amounts of miles if you take the time to check your routes. Although there seems to be little rhyme nor reason, nor any established guides, there are patterns and when you’re aware of them you can break through the confusion and maximize the value of your Delta SkyMiles.