SkyMiles 2015: Before and After

Old Jan 4, 15, 5:35 pm
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SkyMiles 2015: Before and After

I was very curious (and admittedly apprehensive) about how the new 5 tier award chart would affect SkyMiles redemptions starting 1/1/2015. So right before the end of the year, I ran searches for 16 different city pairs, for every day across nearly 10 months, for both coach and first/business class - just short of 10,000 combinations in total - and repeated the same searches early in the new year. All were non-stop, Delta metal only, for 1 passenger.

The results: not nearly as bad as I expected. In the vast majority of cases I sampled, the new award tiers have been used for good instead of evil so far: a tremendous number of awards previously at the old Medium (Tier 3) level dropped into Tier 2, and from the old High (Tier 5) level into Tier 4.

In some cases, availability at Low/Tier 1 also greatly expanded, especially for domestic premium class travel.

Some routes remain as tight as ever, such as LAX-SYD, where the cheapest awards are Tier 3, and even then only available 0.6% of the time, with nearly 99% of days at Tier 5 or unavailable.

It seems as though there are some new areas to navigate, such as married segment availability, but the 5 tier system so far hasn't been the bloodbath I was expecting.

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Old Jan 4, 15, 6:04 pm
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Wow, this is a tremendous amount of work (I guess you love scripting http requests by now . Thanks a lot for these very useful statistics.
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Old Jan 4, 15, 6:09 pm
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Hopefully you will keep this and run it a few time during the year just to compare.
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Old Jan 4, 15, 6:33 pm
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Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. It is so nice to see hard data on this. I wish I had the time to put this together. I am pleasantly surprised about the expanded F/J availability.

I will say that on routes to JNB and SYD where Delta only offer only one flight, I think that it is false advertising to have a the low level when it is either not available or basicly not available.
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Old Jan 4, 15, 7:11 pm
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Thanks for the organized study and for sharing your findings and conclusions in this detail.
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Old Jan 4, 15, 11:26 pm
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It's good to know that for some flights the effect is positive. For ones that I've checked before and after the change, I am seeing about same pricing one way as there was before round trip (same flight, same dates). Namely, most - in some cases, all - normal (standard, level 1) awards are now pricing at level 2 or level 3. On some flights normal award seems but all eliminated: for multiple 5 week calendars in a row, the lowest is level 2, only on Tue or Wed, while other days level 3 is as low as it gets. That is a stark contrast to before, until Dec 31, there being one (but never more than one) seat available at the standard level from 331 days out until it's booked (and then second seat and on would vary: sometimes double, other times quadruple level). All in all, roughly the same pricing now one way as was RT before, given the combination of defacto abolishment (on some routes) of standard (level 1) awards, and the massive increase in mileage pricing. But, now that is given the sample of flights that I've checked; seems like for some this may be less negative than for others, given the flights that are of interest to them.
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Old Jan 4, 15, 11:57 pm
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^ Nice Work!
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Old Jan 5, 15, 12:23 am
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Wow. Thank you!!

it's always nice to see hard data, especially where it's very hard to draw objective conclusions without this scale of a sample set.

Nice work. Agree it would be great to a comparison over time for this same sample set.

Happy New Year!
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Old Jan 5, 15, 5:36 am
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Thank you for the excellent detailed analysis. ^
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Old Jan 5, 15, 6:09 am
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Thank you for this! Good work!
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Old Jan 5, 15, 6:18 am
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Originally Posted by rcurry01 View Post
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. It is so nice to see hard data on this. I wish I had the time to put this together. I am pleasantly surprised about the expanded F/J availability.

I will say that on routes to JNB and SYD where Delta only offer only one flight, I think that it is false advertising to have a the low level when it is either not available or basicly not available.
I would have to agree on the JNB / SYD flights. I've been watching J availability from ATL to JNB and saw none (for multiple dates in 2015) at the low level before or after Jan 1.
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Old Jan 5, 15, 6:18 am
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Amazing!

Thank you so much!!!!

Your friends here at FT appreciate the time and effort you put into this project. I bookmarked this page and will continue to compare for 2015.

A little off topic.....my first two flights in 2015 is earning me MANY more RDM's than 2014.

Kudo's to you!

Travel safe!
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Old Jan 5, 15, 7:54 am
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Good stuff, thank you. The Points Guy just published in their blog essentially the same thing.
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Old Jan 5, 15, 9:37 am
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Skymiles before and after

Hi Javabytes GREAT WORK!!! Thanks

Would you mind changing the the title to Skymiles Award Availability New 2015 Tiers vs Old 2014 Tiers.

That would zero in on specific topic.

Just a thought.
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Old Jan 5, 15, 10:08 am
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The one thing I've wondered is whether some fliers have held back in the past few months, awaiting the new chart? Are we seeing a short window of better availability that will dry up?

As others here have said, running this again in a few months would be interesting. At some point the 2014 baseline will be moot, but for now it is great to see the variations. Thanks for posting it!
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