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Delta to Nix Round-the-World Awards in 2015

Want to cash in your Delta miles for a round-the-world trip? You’ll have to do so before the end of the year, because they will no longer be available from January 1, 2015.

On January 1, 2015, Delta’s SkyMiles program will make a wholesale transition, from a mileage-based to a revenue-based program. That was announced in February.

What will also change on January 1, 2015 — but has yet to be announced by Delta — is the program’s new policy on round-the-world awards. In short, they are being phased out.

According to the airline’s website: “Round-the-World Award Tickets will not be issued on or after January 1, 2015.”

Round-the-world awards were never among the program’s most popular features. In fact, Delta cites lack of interest as the reason for discontinuing them. At 180,000 miles for coach and 280,000 miles for business class, the awards never represented stellar value.

What they do represent, however, is the most aspirational aspect of loyalty programs: the possibility of a “trip of a lifetime.” Like that shiny Corvette in the Chevy showroom, a round-the-world trip casts a warm glow over the program’s more utilitarian offerings.

The loss of round-the-world awards is hardly the most significant change coming to SkyMiles. But it definitely counts as another strike against the new program.

Reader Reality Check

SkyMiles 2015: Yay or nay?

This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.

By Tim Winship

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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