Delta Skymiles aren’t colloquially referred to as Skypesos for no reason. Despite being the best US legacy carrier, their loyalty program consistently offers the lowest value on a per miles basis. Unfortunately, good availability gives way to high mileage requirements. This month, we’re assigning an ACRV of $0.0102 to each Delta Skymile.
|US Domestic Value||$0.0072|
|US Domestic Non-zero Average||0.0096|
|International Non-zero Average||0.0178|
|Overall Non-zero Average||$0.0137|
Like most award programs worldwide, one is served best by redeeming for international travel. Average redemptions for flights that cross an ocean are 85% better than those that stay within the United States. Unlike competing carriers, there appears to be no additional value in redeeming for premium cabin travel. In other words, economy and business/first awards have almost identical redemption values.
Sadly, Delta presented us with many award redemption options that we consider insane. 375,000 miles to get from Los Angeles to Sydney, even up front, is worse than just about any other carrier would offer.
What the bell curve/redemption count and chart below all make very clear is that one has an extremely high chance of redeeming for an acceptable value. Conversely, one as a very low chance of scoring a high-value award for a reasonable amount of miles. Our best for the month comes in at only $0.0433. This was for a business class award seat between Dallas and Hong Kong offered for 94,000 miles + $43.50 in fees. The lowest cost cash alternative was $4112.00.
Ultimately, Delta provides a reliable, but low value proposition with their Skymiles program. For value-minded award travelers, we’d recommend targeting miles on American or United. For comfort-minded ones, Delta might provide a good option.