Delta’s SkyMiles program seems to be entwined in some sort of love affair with Boston Logan Airport (BOS). For the past few months, SkyMiles awards both international and domestic often price out far cheaper when originating in the Fair City, even when the connection takes you through a city on which the award might be priced double or more.
Boston SkyMiles members are getting great value for their redemptions. At the other end of the deal, New York SkyMiles members appear to be getting ripped off. Of course, Delta has been on a long trail to obfuscate its SkyMiles program to the point where even paid experts, like those at Juicy Miles, strain to keep up with award prices.
I first noticed this anomaly in May, when I was booking award travel to New Orleans (MSY).
Award tickets from New York City airports to MSY were pricing at 28,000 SkyMiles or more, main cabin, one-way. I decided to look to neighboring airports, in last-minute desperation, and was surprised to find that I could depart from Boston, instead, for 12,000 SkyMiles.
What’s odd about this? The Boston flight connected to a LGA to MSY segment that priced out at 28,000 miles if I booked it from New York.
In spite, I decided to book the flight and catch a $10 Peter Pan bus to Boston. I flew back and connected to New Orleans through my hometown airport, ugh %#@(*%, and pocketed 16,000 SkyMiles, more than enough to take advantage of a future Peter Pan bus trip to Boston. Summer reading, anyone?
For those who, like me, are trapped in Delta loyalty: slurping up some extra AMEX Delta bonus points could help offset the cost of avoiding a Boston bus trip.
The phenomenon appears most persistent for last-minute bookings (within a week or two of travel). The Boston effect isn’t universal, but seems fairly common.
My New Orleans situation was easily replicated this coming month.
Flights from New York to New Orleans:
Flights from Boston to New Orleans:
Flights from Boston to New Orleans, that include the otherwise higher priced nonstop leg from New York:
For a more dramatic example, let’s jump the pond.
Nonstop main cabin service on Delta and partner Virgin Atlantic are 105,000 SkyMiles one-way from New York City. Crying. Tears of sadness. Running down my cheeks.
These high prices are consistent across other nearby cities. I checked Washington, D.C. airports, Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
Except Boston, where this itinerary costs less than half the number of SkyMiles:
One day, Aug. 5, was a nonstop Virgin Atlantic flight from Boston to London Heathrow (LHR). The other days all included connections to nonstop flights from New York! Not only is economy priced at Level 1, Virgin’s lovely Premium Economy seats are available to Bostonians at a fraction of the cost New Yorkers (and Washingtonians and Clevelanders and Yinzers) must now redeem for a lowly passage.
Like many Delta frequent flyers, I’m basically pulling my hair out at this point. To those who live in Boston, congratulations, you’re the chosen benefactors for Delta’s SkyMiles pittance.