Add in I would bet that “the other airlines” will likely follow Delta’s model of essentially hiding what a flight would cost in airline miles (supposedly tied to the flight’s cost), so much harder to plan. It may take a couple/few years…but “I feel it in me bones!!”
I agree, there won’t be any “cyclical”. The big thing is airlines are devaluing b/c there are BILLIONS (if not trillions?) of unused miles out there and w/ all their profitability from bag fees, X fees, Y fees, and yet to be named fees, it will hit their bottom line…so you see AA essentially making them worthless or extremely difficult to use, delta charging up the butt for them and United still doing their steady devals every 2-ish years.
That said, you see the BANKS, who buy miles from the airlines for the CC incentives, have no reason to increase the # of miles they give on their cards, short those ‘specialty’ cards where they are trying to steal mkt share from another bank (CSP, anyone?). But those are relatively short-lived, while on many other cards where the ppl getting those CCs aren’t “prime cardholders” (i.e. profitable) those cards won’t, generally, have great sign-up bonuses. That said, the business cards best offers have climbed a bit (chase ink/bold cards), but again are short-lived too.
Add in the DRASTIC increase in # of miles for biz (relative to coach) and then the 3x+ increase of F to Coach…well, another ‘hidden’ devaluation, well, the golden age of redemptions, if not over, is closing FAST. If you’re a Coach guy…well, so far it hasn’t hurt THAT badly…
One story I’ll relate is when United and Chase were in a “Oh no you’re not!” game…was when United was (did, but retracted) their domestic flights increasing from 25k miles RT…Chase said “you’re devaluing OUR miles and OUR commercials saying we’re giving you TWO free flights (for 50k signups)”. Anyways, United balked, but slashed elsewhere. In short, it’s only a matter of time before more devals come and it gets worse and worse.