Delta SkyMiles Reverses Course
||:: Late-Breaking News
(Posted: Dec 15, 2004)
Delta Air Lines has announced a number of changes to its SkyMiles program, all of which will take effect on Jan. 1, 2005.
The changes are part of an effort by the Atlanta-based carrier to simplify its frequent flyer program, which has been the subject of controversy in the past two years.
According to SkyMiles Managing Director Jeff Robertson, the changes are part of a large-scale effort to reexamine all aspects of a program that has grown increasingly complex over the years. Robertson said that the program has been in touch with thousands of members in the past few months, and has used focus groups and other means to determine how best to upgrade the program as a whole.
Elite Thresholds and Earning
In one of the biggest moves, the threshold for attaining the highest elite status available, Platinum Medallion, will drop from 100,000 to 75,000 elite qualifying miles flown. Thresholds for Gold and Silver Medallion, at 50,000 and 25,000, respectively, will remain the same.
Passengers who fly on discounted coach fares (L, U, T, H, Q and K classes) will earn a full elite-qualifying mile per mile flown, up from the current .5 miles.
Y, B, M and business-class fares will earn 1.5 MQMs per mile flown. First-class fares, which currently earn 2 MQMs per mile flown, will now earn 1.5, as well.
The 750-MQM minimum earned by elite members on short hops will drop to 500 miles.
At present, these rules will only apply on Delta-operated flights. Delta will be in touch with partners Northwest and Continental later today to work out the ramifications on the SkyTeam Alliance.
Currently, Delta charges a variety of fees for award transactions, from $25 to $100, depending on the situation and the member?s elite status. As of Jan. 1, SkyMiles will move to ?align? those fees with those charged for similar transactions on revenue tickets. Delta will now charge a $50 fee across the board for any applicable award ticket transaction.
There will be no fees charged for bookings made more than 14 days in advance, nor will any fees be assessed for ?SkyChoice? awards.
SkyMiles will continue its policy of offering complimentary upgrades to members within the domestic network.
Elite members flying in Y, B and M fare classes will now be able to confirm that upgrade at the time of booking.
On deeply discounted fares (H, Q, K, L, U and T classes), SkyMiles will institute an upgrade ?window,? based on the member?s elite status. Platinum Medallion members in cheap seats can upgrade within five days of departure; Gold Medallion members, within three; and Silver Medallion members, within one. All such upgrades will be processed automatically.
Most elite-level benefits, including complimentary access to Crown Room Clubs for Platinum Medallion members, current mileage bonuses, expedited security lines, priority boarding, preferred seating and a dedicated elite service line, will remain in place.
However, since Delta?s own research indicates that deliverability is questionable, Platinum Medallion members will no longer receive priority baggage handling. In addition, the various threshold benefits that currently kick in upon attaining certain mileage levels will cease to be a published part of the program.
Robertson said that he and his team are excited about the changes. In a conference call with Delta, InsideFlyer Publisher Randy Petersen praised Delta for communicating with its members, and for focusing on ?winning, not losing, the customer.?
posted: Dec 19, 2004 at 3:43am (MT)
I heard a rumor tonight that Delta was also going to lower the miles to Israel on Continental -- these suddenly went from 70K/100K to 80K/120K when Continental joined Skyteam a few months ago.
posted: Dec 19, 2004 at 2:51pm (MT)
I would like to know who they contacted and what focus group came up with this lame brain deal. It won't benefit anybody but the lower levels. We who travel the most are consulted the least!!
posted: Dec 21, 2004 at 2:27pm (MT)
Any chance they can make this retroactive to 04, at least for those of us who came close or over the actual mileage needed, but didn't qualify based on air fare paid. Small price to pay for a year-long experiment gone terribly wrong, IMO.
posted: Dec 21, 2004 at 9:43pm (MT)
I am very pleased to hear that the customer is going to get rewarded rather than losing. The focus is usually cost cutting. I would like to see the airline industry keep prices as low as possible without taking the perks away from the frequent traveler. Thank you
posted: Jan 7, 2005 at 8:30am (MT)
I think Delta is slapping its best customers in the face. being Platinum is devalued and we get nothing for flying several hundred thousand miles a year
posted: Jan 18, 2005 at 4:18pm (MT)
You 100K+ are whiny selfish babies. You are just tick that more people will be able to upgrade, get over it or fly with someone else.
By the way I am a 100K+ flyer.
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