Ladies and Gentlemen it is late and I am in a hurry. So, today’s video is going to be short but not sweet. We’re talking Delta and Skykmiles, but unlike last week’s video where I raved about their 777 remodel, I’m now bringing bad news. Getting right to it, since I last performed a full reckoning back in March, the value of a Delta Skymile has fallen 7.8% to just .94 cents each. Though I haven’t updated the other legacy carriers in a couple months, I’m willing to venture a guess that Delta is the only one currently sporting a sub 1 cent valuation.
I gotta say, I’m real disappointed with Delta. If I was their Dad I would spank them. Here is the problem, they’re the best US legacy carrier and they know it. So, from that point of view, it’s hard to fault them. But, to a Delta fan like myself, it’s a bit disheartening to know that earned or transferred miles just won’t get you as far as competing carriers.
That aside, there were a few bright spots for the month. Before I jump into that, just a real quick, Points Reckoning for Dummies recap of how I do this. First, I start with a basket of standardized city pairs, some domestic, some international. The basket doesn’t vary from carrier to carrier, just to ensure I’m doing the apples to apples thing. Then, using the Google Flights, I come up with a matrix of lowest-cost cash alternatives. For example, if a flight to Djibouti out of JFK could be had for $1000 in economy on Moroccan air, and that was the lowest price available, that’s what our denominator would be. In my opinion, the fact that Delta might offer a similar flight for say $2000, is inconsequential to the calculation.
Furthermore, I reduce the value of this average by 25% for most carriers. Admittedly, this is a subjective number. I do this to compensate for the idea that points are harder to use than cash, more limited in their redemption options, always carry a devaluation risk and the fact that one doesn’t earn points or miles when on an award flight.
Generic info aside, let’s get back to the carrier in question, Delta. For those willing to get their hands a little dirty, we did find some decent award redemption possibilities. For me personally, I won’t redeem for anything less that 3 cents per mile.
For July I was able to find 3 hypothetical redemptions that I classify as great. That is anything with a value between 4 and 6 cents. For anyone who cares, the next tier up, exceptional, is anything coming in over 6 cents. Those Unicorns are worth slaying. In this case were talking an economy-class flight between Atlanta and London. The low-cost cash price was $1,878 and Delta was offering it for 32,500 miles plus $5.60 in fees. After the latter is back-doored out, we get a month-toping value of 5.76 cents per Delta Skymile.
Finally, let’s talk about award availability. Though expensive, Delta always has it. It’s among very few carriers clocking in a 100%. To be honest, most US carriers are pretty good when it comes to this metric. It’s the foreign ones that really tend to frustrate, at least when looking at this one very narrow slice of service.