Delta Air Lines has done much to spruce up its website in the last year, finally fixing a broken award search system and making most of delta.com intuitive and user-friendly. But today, Delta took a huge step back by removing all Skymiles award charts from online.
Tiffany first discovered this earlier today and I reached out to Delta right away on Twitter to see if this was a mistake or permanent change. The answer is unfortunately the latter.
Why would Delta Stop Publishing Award Charts?
In the place of the award chart is a new page that looks like this–
That doesn’t help us much. Nor does this–
Wow, “Once you’ve selected your itinerary and logged into your SkyMiles account, you’ll be asked to pay for the flights you selected.” That is so helpful…
If I had to guess why Delta decided to deceitfully remove the online award charts, I can only surmise that we are on the road to fully dynamic award redemption program in the future, a program like JetBlue and Southwest have right now in which every redemption is tied directly to current revenue ticket price.
Delta is playing a curious game here — I think another issue driving this change is that many customers will not even be aware of the dynamic nature of the award chart — that an flight from Atlanta to London in business class may fluctuate between 62.5K miles and 147.5K miles on a single day. Without that chart to provide a frame of reference, people are more apt to pay Delta’s current asking price rather than carefully wait and see if the price might drop. You don’t have to worry about that when you do not even know the price may drop!
But there also may be an even more sinister short-term reason for this — delta.com is better, but still broken. Awards still frequently mis-price (such as combining two segments when they should be considered a single-award). Without transparency into the award chart, consumers will be unable to even know if their award is being priced correctly. Stay tuned for an upcoming post on the many problems that persist and have become worse on delta.com.
Award Prices Have Not Changed!
For now, award prices remain the same — you just no longer have a readily accessible frame of reference for the range of prices between city pairs but instead can only check prices between your city.
Here is the 2015 chart for flights to/from North America, so at least you have this frame of reference–
A Nasty Change
I see no valid reason for this change, even if Delta does plan a further devaluation in 2016, and the airline should be ashamed of itself for hiding this important information from the consumers that have made it so profitable.
It is true that the new delta.com does make award searching easier, but additional information empowering consumers (such as what region a country is in) is a way to win and keep customers — this latest move will just drive more away or make them (more) disgruntled. For Delta’s sake, I hope they are simply not trying to hide the fact that their new website still is prone to error.