Delta SkyMiles made an announcement earlier today that awards holds were going away starting on September 9, 2013, and that the number of miles required award travel in international business class would go up for travel after June 1, 2014. Delta didn’t, however, have the updated award charts up on its website at the time of announcement.
I just went through all the regions and the changes are only for business class awards at low level. There are markets that don’t have any changes. It would have been easier had Delta just announced the changes and not tried to hide them on award charts.
As you can see above, the number of miles required went up on some markets by 25%.
Delta claims that the two to three day award hold would have held “more than million award seats per year” by SkyMiles members who don’t end up ticketing them. Delta used this same excuse earlier when they changed the award cancellation rules.
You can choose Delta based on their in-flight product and for domestic Medallion upgrades. You shouldn’t choose SkyMiles if your goal is to use the miles for international business or first class travel (first class long-haul award travel not available using SkyMiles).