Delta has made big promises lately regarding SkyMiles award availability. Separating the marketing hype from reality is often challenging, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth at least trying. So I did. Getting data on every route and date is far more than I can do so I cherry-picked a couple popular routes to see what I could manage to come up with. For this particular exercise I went with non-stop flights only and looked at JFK-LAX and LGA-ORD. Those are two of the most popular routes flown in the USA and Delta has a solid presence on each. And then, because I wanted a bit more, I also put JFK-LHR into the mix. It is the most popular transatlantic route from the USA and the Delta/Virgin Atlantic combo has a lot of frequencies. That is also the only search so far where I’m including partner inventory in the results.
Here’s what the data looks like.
For JFK-LAX a nonstop economy class flight at 12,500 points is available on 170 of the 330 days queried. No 10,000 point flights there but I’m not particularly surprised about that. The lack of cheap seats in the summer is mildly disappointing, I suppose, but not all that hard to believe given demand over that period.
For Delta ONE, the new name for Delta’s business class product, the results are not quite as positive. Only 4 dates have a flight available at 45,000 points. By far the most common rate on that route is 67,500 points, showing up 287/330 days. Much less enticing as a number for award redemption, unfortunately.
For LGA-ORD the non-stop flights are showing spectacular availability at the lower award levels for both economy and business class. Each has more than 240 of the next 330 days available at those rates. The spike in award prices at the right edge of the displayed data is the week around Thanksgiving; again, not too surprising that the numbers aren’t so great there.
In a market with this much competition and lift – mostly focused on the premium passengers – I expect there to generally be decent availability for economy class awards at the lower levels. And that expectation was mostly delivered on, with 246 of 330 days showing 30,000 point award seats, the lowest level for the market. For premium cabin passengers the numbers are also not terrible. I see 216 dates with a non-stop award flight available at the lowest 62,500 point level.
So, does this mean that SkyMiles really are shaking off their SkyPesos moniker? Maybe, maybe not. But at least for a few routes the numbers don’t look all that bad.
- Finding Star Alliance Business Class Award Seats Across the Pacific
- Finding First Class Award Seats
- Delta’s new partner MQD earning rates: Better than nothing
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