Delta’s Downward Spiral of SkyMiles: Revenue-Based Accrual

The latest buzz today is Delta’s announcement of their 2015 SkyMiles program. Here are the major points you should know:

  • Starting January 1, 2015, you’ll earn miles toward Award Travel based on ticket price and your SkyMiles status.
    • Say goodbye to mileage runs!
  • For redeeming miles, instead of the current 3 tiers, there will be 5 tiers.
    • As if it wasn’t hard enough finding low-level award availability, I think this will make it even harder.
  • Delta will finally offer us one-way awards priced at half the amount of a round trip.
    • Undoubtedly the only good change announced.
  • An option to redeem for awards using points + cash will be available.
    • Too early to say if this will be good or bad. It will depend on what rate Delta offers us.

Here is the earning structure based on the type of SkyMiles member:

  • General members earn 5 miles per dollar spent
  • Silver Members earn 7 miles per dollar spent
  • Gold Members earn 8 miles per dollar spent
  • Platinum Members earn 9 miles per dollar spent
  • Diamond Members earn 11 miles per dollar spent
  • Purchasing ticket with a Delta co-brand credit card earns an additional 2 miles per dollar spent

In the end, leisure travelers, mileage runners, and those just generally wanting to earn the most miles and pay the least money are the ones who lose out. Business travelers who tend to book full fare tickets will likely be unphased and, in fact, they may earn more miles with this new structure.

Mileage Redemptions

Details haven’t been announced regarding awards, but they will be changing. It’s hard to speculate anything without any word on how the new Delta award chart will look, but I generally assume the worst when it comes to Delta.

Low-level availability is already very hard to come by in certain markets. One can’t redeem SkyMiles for international First Class. is one of the worst when trying to search for awards.

IF Delta goes full revenue-based for award redemptions like JetBlue, Southwest, & Virgin America, it may make their miles much less valuable.

Delta says that they will announce these details “later in 2014.”


Things will be changing come 2015. Delta may have just opened Pandora’s box with this announcement, signaling United & American/US Airways that they should ready their loyalty program changes as well.

Whatever happens, I will plan to liquidate the rest of my Delta SkyMiles (200K) before it’s too late.

Only time will tell, but today definitely isn’t a great day in the miles & points game.

Burn Delta SkyPesos from NYC – China Southern JFK-CAN

Great news for those who hold/earn a lot of Delta SkyMiles SkyPesos on the East Coast. China Southern (CZ), a SkyTeam member, will start new service between their hub Guangzhou and New York JFK.

Nonstop service between Guangzhou – New York JFK will start August 6, 2014. The route will be flown by China Southern’s new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

Currently, the only China Southern service to the US is to Los Angeles, serviced by their Airbus A380.

The schedule has just recently been loaded, per

CZ399 CAN0140 – 0545JFK 77W x246
CZ300 JFK1115 – 1515+1CAN 77W x246

Why This New Route is Great News

This isn’t a breaking story, but more routes with more availability is always a good thing. For us East Coasters, especially, it means one less connection on our way to Asia or Australia.

A popular routing that many SkyMiles Medallion members redeem for is LAX-CAN-SYD. Presumably, we can now route JFK-CAN-SYD.

Any time there is more availability to Australia, it’s a great thing. SkyTeam remains the best alliance in which to earn miles if you want to redeem for Australia.

Redeeming SkyMiles for JFK-CAN

I did a few award searches on Expert Flyer, a paid service, and there is good availability from the start of service through the end of schedule. On most days, there are 2 award seats in both Business and Economy.

Note, you can’t use SkyMiles to redeem for 3-cabin First Class 🙁

china southern jfk can

First Week JFK-CAN

china southern jfk can

First Week CAN-JFK

According to Delta’s award chart (for travel after June 1, 2014), travel from the US & Canada to Northern Asia in Business Class is 140K SkyMiles round trip.

Round trip travel from the US & Canada to Southwest Pacific in Business Class is 160K SkyMiles.

china southern jfk can syd

JFK-CAN-SYD during Thanksgiving!

As you can see, there is great award space between JFK-CAN and amazing space between CAN-SYD on the A380.

I did have trouble finding return availability from Sydney, however. I’ll update this post after more investigation.

Unfortunately, redeeming on China Southern does include fuel surcharges. I’ve paid around $400 in fuel surcharges in the past.

I’ve yet to call in to request these flights to see if Expert Flyer award availability matches what the Delta agents see, but I’m fairly confident it will match. I’ve booked a few China Southern awards recently and Expert Flyer has been right.

Now if only would let us book these online…

Fare Alert: NYC-MSY $130-150 RT!

New Orleans is a blast! Enough said…

This fare was published earlier today, but I haven’t gotten a chance to write about it until now. Luckily, all the availability is still around!

Delta is having a fare sale for LGA-MSY for $130 RT.

United is having a fare sale for EWR-MSY for $150 RT.


The fare is valid from July – October 31st.

Here are a few sample dates:

Click the picture to be taken to the Delta booking page via!

Click the picture to be taken to the Delta booking page via!

Click the picture to be taken to the United booking page via!

Click the picture to be taken to the United booking page via!

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Fare Alert: JFK-SFO Nonstop $238

Delta Airlines is currently having a fare sale on their direct nonstop service from New York (JFK) to San Francisco (SFO) for $238.

San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf

Plenty of availability in late October through November… with a few dates into early December.

No one has matched yet, but since these are two major cities, expect the other airlines like United, American, and Virgin to match.

Sample Dates:

 Hat tip to The Flight Deal as usual!

NYC to Hawaii Fare Sale

UPDATE 9/17: United Airlines is going hard at this fare war. They’re now pricing their EWR-HNL nonstop flight at $465. That’s pretty unreal!

UPDATE 9/11: Hawaiian Airlines has gotten into the mix with a MONSTER $482 fare on their nonstop JFK-HNL route! This one won’t last!

Delta is having a fare sale on one-stop flights from New York to Honolulu.

Fares are looking like $538 through October. Then they go up to $570 in November and December.

You’ll most likely be connecting in San Francisco which is a nice way to split up the flight time evenly.

This is definitely a very competitive price for flights to Hawaii.

If you prefer nonstop, United is offering their EWR-HNL flight, that we took last February, for just over $600 $465!

You can check out the fares here.

Oahu, Hawaii