Delta again devalued some of the award prices for its routes. Just as the last several times there was no formal announcement but this time the changes are only for the partner airlines. We have not tried every single destination but it seems that increase to awards to/from North America is ~20%. If you wanted to book a flight using one of Delta partners see if you can add a short-haul leg on Delta to be able to use the old chart.
Around lunchtime I was right in the middle of booking my flights to Russia and Korea on Delta website. With plenty of business class availability on Aeroflot and Korean Air and everyone lining up for the free pizza I made a wrong choice. After I finished the first slice I noticed that the price of my business class flight from Russia to New York went up from 70K to 85K Delta miles. Given that Delta does not have the official published chart anymore (it changes the prices depending on the supply and demand), at first I thought this was just due to the increase in demand for this particular flight. Korean Air still had plenty of availability for direct flights to Seoul, I switched to a 5-week view and started looking at flights in September, October, November, December etc. The prices jumped from 80K to 95K miles. I tried a dummy booking to other regions with the same result - Delta devalued once again :( but only for the flights on its partners. If you fly to Europe or anywhere else on the Delta-operated flights you can still benefit from the old rates. Problem with this is that Delta rarely has low level availability on its own metal.
20% does not sound like a big devaluation, but then just a couple of years ago a round-trip flight from USA to Korea in business class was 120K Delta miles, it went up to 140K, then to 160K and now to a ridiculous 190K miles. If you use Chase MR points on Korean Air you will pay less miles for a round-trip in First class.
Good news - awards charts from Europe to regions outside of North America did not change... yet.
Add a short-haul flight on Delta to your itinerary - and you can use the old pricing again.
In the example above, if you fly from Washington to New York and then get on the same Korean Air operated flight to Seoul your price drops from 95K to 80K miles. We do not expect this to last long, so we have just used 435,000 Delta miles to book several flights. If you wanted to book a flight using one of the Delta partners see if you can add a short-haul leg on Delta to be able to use the old chart. Of course you must use the 1st leg of your flight to be able use the rest of the ticket, but people do occasionally "miss" the last leg of the return flight. Delta allows one-way redemption. Do not do use this trick often when purchasing airfare (hidden-city ticketing) since you can get banned from the airline for doing it over and over.