Delta Reduces Mileage Cost Of Partner Awards To Europe, Business Class Down To 75K

Only a few weeks ago, Delta reduced the price of partner awards to North Asia in economy and business class from 40,000 miles to 35,000 miles and 95,000 miles to 85,000 miles, respectively. The timing had everyone thinking it was an April Fool's joke. Today, while doing an award search for a client, I stumbled upon something interesting.

Delta is charging 75,000 miles for business class awards to/from Europe on partners such as Virgin Atlantic, Air France and Aeroflot. Sure, this is still more than Air France-KLM Flying Blue charges for its own flights at 62,500 miles, but it at least seems like a positive development.

But, it's 10,000 miles less than the egregious 85,000 miles Delta has been charging for partner awards to Europe. I'm also seeing economy awards for 32,500 miles—2,500 less than the previous 35,000 miles.

I'll admit, if we hadn't seen Delta reduce mileage requirements for partners to North Asia already, I would have assumed this was a simple IT mistake that they would rectify quickly. Besides, Delta is notorious for jacking up award rates without notice.

Anyway, I was looking for award options this summer found a ton of saver level space in both business class from Washington-Dulles (IAD) to Amsterdam (AMS).

I didn't see any non-stop award space on KLM but there was some on Delta. What caught my eye was the one-stop option for 75,000 SkyMiles plus $26.20 in taxes and fees on Virgin Atlantic. Not only was there space, but some days had 4 business class (Upper Class) spots available with connections on KLM.

There's also a bunch of economy award space on these same dates and flights. Though, for an economy flight, you might prefer the nonstop on Delta for 30,000 SkyMiles—and there's plenty of space there too.

One interesting (and disappointing) bit I found is that nonstop awards to London on Virgin Atlantic still price out at 85,000 SkyMiles for business class and 35,000 miles for economy. On top of that, I was seeing fewer dates with award space—ahh, married segment logic.

I'm not sure if Delta is intentionally keeping nonstop awards on Virgin at the higher redemption rate or if the system is just in the process of updating. Nonstop partner awards are available for 75,000 miles though. JFK to Paris (CDG) on Air France next January 22, for example.

For those on the west coast, don't feel left out. I did a quick check for San Francisco (SFO) to AMS and found Virgin Atlantic Upper Class for 75,000 miles on the long-haul segment. Of course, a nonstop to Manchester (MAN) required 85,000 miles.

One thing to keep in mind when you search for these awards on Delta is that the search often buried business class partner awards at the end of the search results—sometimes 3 pages. Just scroll to the bottom and select "Show All" to speed up the process.

If Delta is reconsidering how it prices partner awards, I welcome the change. I still have a huge issue with their lack of public award charts and transparency, in general. I hope the reduced partner award prices to Europe and North Asia are a sign of good things to come—at least a mileage calculator like Flying Blue—but I'm going to need to see more to believe it.

I get the sense that I'm going to end up searching partner award prices to other regions now.

Have you noticed any other partner awards at reduced rates lately?