I started to call this post something like “Finally! One-way Awards from Delta SkyMiles” and then tell you the rest of the story, but that would not have been very nice of me. The long and short of it are this – Delta SkyMiles will roll out a major rework of the way we earn and burn miles come January 1, 2015.

According to Delta, “The updated mileage-earning plan, for travel beginning Jan. 1, 2015, will better recognize frequent business travelers and those less frequent leisure customers who purchase premium fares. The move is consistent with a trend in the travel industry of rewarding customer behavior based on price. Customers will continue to earn additional miles for purchases with a Delta SkyMiles Credit Card+” Here’s a look at the new earning chart.

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Qualifying for Medallion status is unchanged.

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But About Burning?

Things get tricky here. Hey, we finally get one-way awards starting at 12,500 miles, and according to Delta, “lowest level for SkyMiles Saver Awards will remain at 25,000 miles for an Economy Class Award ticket for travel within the U.S. and Canada excluding Hawaii.” Some new cash + miles options are coming too. Here’s the real gem from Delta’s press release, “SkyMiles members will gain even more redemption options with the introduction of up to a five-tier structure to give them a wider variety of Awards and improve overall availability at the lowest price points.” Yes, that’s five tiers….up from the current three. Further, we won’t know what kind of redemption rates we are really looking at until the last quarter of 2014 when the award charts are updated to reflect these new options.

MJ Concludes

I heard rumors earlier in the week that something was coming, and let’s face it, this has really been rumored for a year, if not 2. I did a few quick tests of some trips I’ve taken with the mileage comparison calculator on Delta.com. Not shockingly, every mid- to high-priced biz flight I’ve taken would have earned more miles under the new structure. Every cheap personal flight to Florida, less miles. I’m neither happy or sad about this, and only time will tell what impact it will have on all of us. Based on my current travel patterns, I wind up better off, perhaps even far better off, with earning miles under the new system. But when it comes to redeeming, right now, I just don’t know. Finally, this blog by InsideFlyer is worth your time to read. I’ll have more to say on this today, and throughout the week as I gather more information.

-MJ, February 26, 2014