Delta Airlines has been my go to airline ever since the merger with NWA. However, since the demise of WorldPerks and the continual devaluation of SkyMiles, now known as Skypesos, I have officially decided that no matter how much I might like Delta’s on board offerings, crew, or route map, it’s time to find a new airline to be loyal to.
Since the merger with NWA, I have witnessed a number of perks stripped away from the Worldperk program as the two programs merged. In addition, this year I’ve seen the greatest devaluations yet to the SkyMiles program. Directly after the merger, the introduction of Delta Diamond irked me along with the downgrade of the redeemable mile bonus from 125% for Platinum’s to 100% (the same as gold). Delta also stopped all phantom upgrades on Transpacific and Transatlantic flights (unless for irregular ops/oversold situations) letting seats fly empty instead of upgrading their most loyal customers. In addition, WorldPerk members residing in Asia who earned Gold Status or above used to get complimentary WorldClub membership. Then Delta started giving Gold Medallions Skyteam Elite Plus status (which is a plus for many) but stopped giving Gold Elite members living in Asia Skyclub access; at that time I was living in Bejing. Lastly, as a final blow to the program directly after the merger, Delta SkyMiles became almost useless as the introduction of “tier” charting with 3 different award levels and a surplus of only medium and high priced awards on Delta metal, making each SkyMile worth less than ever before.
Flash forward to 2013 and despite not liking the changes, I lived with them. Yet now, Delta has made three changes this year that I am not going to live with. So 8 years after earning Gold Status for the first time, I’m waving good bye to Delta and Hello to American and United.
1) January 2013: Delta Announces new Medallion Dollar Spending Requirements
I understand Delta is trying to get their frequent flyers to fly ONLY with them, but the fact that their JVs do not count towards the MQD requirement behooves me! Yes you can fly Air France, KLM, AeroMexico or any other partner and earn MQD IF the ticket is issued by Delta with a ticket number of 006xxxxxxxx. HOWEVER, if the ticket is issued by Air France, KLM, Alitalia, AeroMexico, GOL, or Virgin Australia you will not earn MQDs because the ticket is not issued by Delta!! But don’t be fooled, Delta still earns money when you fly their Joint Venture partners, so there is NO REASON WHY this flights should not count!
2) In February, Delta overhauled how you earn miles on their partners, reducing both redeemable miles and medallion qualifying miles (MQM) next to nil on all their partners. On many of their partners, excluding JV partners or equity stake partners (which include AZ, AF, KLM, AM, VA, G3) the MQM rate is only 100%, or even less in some cases, if flying in the overpriced and out of 99% of the world’s Budget, First Class! Even Business Class does not earn 100% MQM on many of Delta’s partners now!
3) Then this week, Delta announced that starting April 26th, Same Day Confirmed Changes for Elites and Non Elites require SAME travel class availability. This is an issue for anyone who does not travel in Y Class. Since most people travel in fare buckets Q, K, L, U, or T instead of the full price Y class or expensive B or M class, the likelihood of finding a seat available in anything except Y/B/M is meek.
Here are a few routes showing space on 4/16 around 3pm PST that someone might consider doing a Same Day Change on. Notice most routes ONLY have full fare Y space or nearly full fare Y,B,M space available. Even on some flights that continue the next day (4/17) only have Y space! Meaning if you don’t buy full fare tickets, no SDC for you! #FAIL
I don’t know what Richard and the rest of the Delta Executives are thinking, but these changes, among others, should be enough to drive away any high volume customer! Delta has the highest cost/mileage requirements for most international award travel, the fewest award seats available of any major US carrier, and now program that consistently is being devalued. Farewell Delta, this was the straw the broke the camel’s back!