2015 Delta SkyMiles Award Charts Released Today

If you fly as a passenger in a seat in the Business Elite cabin of a Boeing 767-300ER on a domestic flight operated by Delta Air Lines, you will be required to pay 10,000 additional SkyMiles on a peak redemption — but you could pay as much as 30,000 fewer SkyMiles on certain international flights on a peak redemption. Photograph ©2013 by Brian Cohen.

The SkyMiles awards redemption chart effective as of January 1, 2015 for travel from the continental United States, Alaska and Canada was released today by Delta Air Lines — and FlyerTalk members are already currently discussing it.

The highlights of the award charts for the redemption of SkyMiles in all classes include no price increases to the lowest award redemption levels, as previously reported here at The Gate — and of the 44 award level pricing changes, greater than 95 percent are decreases; or 42 award level pricing changes are decreases while only two are increases, as shown below:

Click on either of the charts above for a larger version in .pdf format at the official Internet web site of Delta Air Lines.

Of the five levels revealed for the 2015 SkyMiles redemption charts, two of the levels — Level 2 and Level 4 — are new intermediate levels supposedly designed to complement new features such as the new award tickets for one-way flights; as well as the ability to redeem SkyMiles plus cash award options. In addition, members of the SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty program will “experience significant improvements to award-redemption functionality” in 2015, according to Paul Skrbec, who is manager of corporate communications at Delta Air Lines.

Additionally, Level 1 was formerly known as the Saver level; Level 3 was formerly known as the Standard level; and Level 5 was formerly known as the Peak level.

“I’m honestly shocked at how ‘not bad’ this is”, posted FlyerTalk member k2. “Their original choice to keep this hidden for 9 months is even more baffling. Nevertheless it’s certainly not the doom and gloom many anticipated, now it boils down to the tiers 1-5 inventory management.”

Also, let us not forget that many members of the Delta Air Lines SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty program will earn fewer SkyMiles on their paid flights in 2015 than with the current award charts; and:

 

The latter point means “As a Diamond — I only get miles for the first $6818 spent on a ticket!!!”, according to FlyerTalk member Petercbm. I personally do not believe that it is fair to limit the amount of SkyMiles you can earn on a single ticket. After all, I thought that increased spending would be encouraged by Delta Air Lines — especially if that spend was on a full-fare international Business Elite ticket…

…and if the lower-cost international fares are to decrease, then that could mean that the business traveler who spends $10,000.00 on a ticket for a seat in the premium class cabin may have no choice but to leave SkyMiles “on the table”, so to speak — unless the potential loophole of redeeming SkyMiles for two one-way redemptions instead of for a redemption for a round-trip flight to bypass that maximum limit of earning 75,000 SkyMiles actually works.

While the details of the SkyMiles redemption charts to be effective as of 2015 initially seems like great news, there is still the question of how many award seats will actually be available at each of the five new levels — as well as if the routing rules will change and whether or not the technology of booking an award ticket at the official Internet web site of Delta Air Lines will actually work as intended for you…

…but will the lower redemption rates of using SkyMiles offset the potentially lower earning rates of SkyMiles for 2015? I suppose that depends on the routes on which you travel; but I would surmise that a greater number of SkyMiles members will be worse off than not in 2015.

Here is an analysis posted by FlyerTalk member CJKatl:

“Just did some math, using rounded numbers based on last year’s travel. Thought I’d share…

  • Last year: 100k MQM DM (140+ MQS) earned 225k MQM on $30k spend. ($0/30/mile)
  • The lowest domestic redemption was 25k.
  • That represented 1/9 of points earned for the year.
  •  

  • 2015: 330k RDM credited for same flying.
  • 1/9 of RDM is 36.7k RDM.
  • The flying required for the present Saver will now allow a redemption at Level II with a few points left over.”

 

Although the majority of members of the SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty program are based in the United States, keep in mind that redemption rates of SkyMiles on partner airlines in 2015 are still unknown at this time. Remember, however, that the earning of Medallion Qualification Miles for Medallion elite level status on certain partner airlines such as Korean Air have either been reduced or eliminated altogether as announced in June of 2013; so I would not be surprised if earning SkyMiles were reduced or eliminated on certain airline partners as well. I prefer not to speculate, though.

Also, redemption rates for SkyMiles effective as of January 1, 2015 have still not been released when travel commences anywhere other than the continental United States, Alaska and Canada…

…but I must say that at least it is nice to know the SkyMiles awards redemption chart for travel from the continental United States, Alaska and Canada with at least nine months of advance notice. Plus, this may actually be a rare time when if you already have a stockpile of SkyMiles, you may actually benefit.

How do you feel about the SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty program for 2015?

Comments (Showing 2 of 2)

  • DLroads at 12:29pm March 06, 2014

    It would be fair to assume that the release did not occur due to the corporate’s goodwill but more likely due to consistent and direct demand of clients (which was not ignorable).
    After all, it was the plan to release data only in Q32014 (my guess, 12-31-2014, 11:59pm hawaii time)

    My concern is that level II will become the ‘unofficial’ official new ‘saver’. One should also remember that prices on ‘low’ (sorry, saver) J awards has been increasing (for flights post 06-01-2014, as much as 25 percent for saver ticket). Thus, the net effect for a TATL J ticket, for example, would go from 100K to 160K in a single year. Sixty percent increase (!). Or if one wish to use the post 06-01-2014 cut off score, just a 28 percent increase.

    We’d have to wait and see. I always enjoy being surprised for the best, but I would not place bets on that.

  • pferrandi at 10:36pm March 07, 2014

    I am a very loyal DL frequent flyer, I enjoy the quality of the service but like in any business transaction, I will be carefully monitoring the impact of the change on my travel/spend habits. So far, even as a Diamond, it seems that I will get a 30% cut regarding accumulated miles unless I fly more int’l routes. I do not have a clear understanding on the new value of miles based on future availability of award tickets … if it becomes easier to score low award tickets maybe the loss in mileage gain is not that bad. So right now I am in “wait and see” mode!

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