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Delta with Even More Changes to SkyMiles

During the past month, the news from Delta has ranged from the embarrassing (linking Gulf airlines to 9/11) to the infuriating (removing SkyMiles award charts from its website).

This week, the airline took a break from its string of bad-news announcements to publicize three SkyMiles changes that qualify as at least modestly consumer friendly.

  • One-way award tickets in “select U.S., Mexican and Caribbean markets” may be booked for 10,000 miles. Tickets must be booked at least 21 days in advance, and by December 31, 2015. Although Delta doesn’t say as much, the low-priced awards seem to be available only for shorter flights.
  • Delta will now award elite-qualifying miles (EQMs) for qualifying flights on most SkyMiles partner airlines. EQMs for flights taken since January 1, 2015, will be awarded retroactively.
  • Delta has added several carriers (China Eastern, China Southern, China Airlines, Gol) to the list of airlines that can be booked online for award travel.

The changes are, on balance, positive. But only moderately so. And they’re unlikely to appease those who are infuriated by Delta’s high-handed removal of their award charts, or indeed the airline’s conversion of SkyMiles to a revenue-based scheme.

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