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Delta Frequent Flyer Mileage Cost Increases

Hi Forum. I would appreciate a sanity check on what others are seeing for mileage costs for award travel on Delta. Two years ago (May 2019), we took a trip from Florida to Bergen Norway. We flew Comfort+. The cost was 86K miles per ticket and travel was booked in June 2018. Delta from Orlando to Amsterdam and then KLM to Bergen. Now three years later, we are looking to make this same trip again (booking now for May 2022). The least amount of miles for this same basic trip is 153K per ticket, a 78% increase. For the exact same flights, the cost is 205K miles per ticket, an increase of 138%. These are "what if" travel itineraries so I could review costs on the first day travel can be booked for a more true comparison so I can to eliminate the "cheaper" tickets being booked already variable.

These kind of increases just seen crazy to me. The cash price of these tickets is about the same as it was three years ago (maybe up 10-20% max). Compare that to the award travel increases of 78% - 138%. Am I missing something or do you think this is just Delta trying to recoup missing revenues due to Covid by making it so much more costly to redeem award travel? Any other ideas or suggestion. All will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Posted by
795 posts

I recently saw an article (Washington Post, I think), that essentially said that award travel is more expensive right now because of high demand.

Posted by
5110 posts

Many “experts” say that the key for frequent flier miles is to use them quickly because the risk of devaluation is always present. I try to compare with ticket prices to see if paying cash would be better (think British Airways fees) and see if there is a different route that might work at a lower cost.

Posted by
4249 posts

The mileage requirement is different depending on demand, time of year, flight time, whether its nonstop and often how early you buy them. We are going from Minneapolis to Paris soon and we paid 140,000 for 2 tickets

EDITED TO ADD: I probably should have stated these are main cabin tickets. So not the super cheap economy plus, but below business class

Posted by
8386 posts

You need to compare the monetary equivalent. Before, I counted 2¢ per mile. Today it's 1¢ to 1.5¢ per gf mile on my routes. The best we ever did was 1 mile=6¢ a few years ago. You are better off with a cash back credit card at today's exchange rates

Posted by
10052 posts

I researched a one-way on American from the West Coast to Milan and in first class it was 400,000 miles per person. We got RT on BA and AA in Business Class for 235,000 and $2000 when we committed in February. Yup, inflation is real, at least in point-world.

Posted by
11212 posts

I recently booked award travel leaving in October and returning in January. JFK-LHR--JFK. BA going/AA returning.

It cost me 107K miles for business class round trip. The fees were high because one half is BA. (If I flew BA both ways, the fees would be about 60% of what the fare would be if I paid cash.)

However, just as I was about to book, i was notified that for 10K miles more, I could move up to first class on the return. No brainer. So for 117K miles and around $1000 I am flying business class to London and first class on the return. (I did have to pay an extra $130 for a reserved seat on BA but it's their new seating plan of 4 across rather than the old 8 across.)

Here's a little hint.....The more competition on a route, the lower the price/availablitly. JFK-LHR is the busiest route across the Atlantic. The competition is great. You might have a better time finding a cheaper mileage flight including that in your routing. Or Orlando to London is also popular--or was pre-pandemic--and Virgin flies that route (A Delta codeshare).

Posted by
1760 posts

I probably will be booking a FF flight today on another airline. I see mileages varying by a factor of 3. What was really crazy was when I booked this flight last year ( cancelled of course ), I saw this same variation for the exact same flight depending on the day I looked. I kept checking and when it went down to the low figure I pounced on it.

Posted by
3019 posts

Suggestion? Keep checking. As noted above, mileage requirement can vary significant from day to day. i was looking at business class ticket from my local airport to Frankfurt. Miles needed ranged from 340K to 540K over a 10-day period. -- obviously, crazy high compared to historical standards, even at the low end. If your dates are flexible, try the price calendar (when you get to the "flexible dates" grid look at the left upper corner on the web page and click "price calendar").

Posted by
3019 posts

One other thought... Delta is giving frequent flyers medallion qualification miles, segments, and dollars on reward travel through the end of 2021 as part of its status accelerator program. That is cranking up demand for reward tickets because usually flyers get nothing for reward tickets. Much of pricing is algorithm driven, so the demand for this fall may be pushing up redemptions for 2022.