If the Delta SkyMiles program wasn’t already the worst of the legacy carriers, the behemoth airline announced today that starting January 1, 2015, the airline will move away from a distance based award program and reinvent itself as a revenue based program that awards individuals based on the amount they spend instead of the distance that they fly. This means elite status will probably no longer be earned based on miles flown (as delta already requires MQD) and award tickets will not be able to be earned after a few longhaul flights. Instead, award ticket prices will stay similar to what they are today and will be even more difficult to obtain due to how points are awarded.
Under the new SkyMiles program, individuals will be awarded 5 to 11 miles per dollar spent, not including taxes and fee, on ticket prices. Those using the Delta SkyMiles branded credit card will still be rewarded with an additional 2 miles or in this case points per dollar spent.
|SkyMiles program status||Miles per dollar*||Miles earned with
|Total miles per
|+ on Delta spend|
For travel marketed and ticketed by Delta’s partner airlines, members will earn a percentage of miles flown as determined by the fare class purchased and will also earn Medallion mileage bonuses on eligible fares.
Delta states they must make these changes in order to stay competitive and because of the high level of investment that they have put into their onboard products and airports over the last several years.
With billions of dollars invested since 2010, Delta continues to improve the travel experience onboard its aircraft with the recent announcement that it will add access to power on 225 of its domestic narrowbody aircraft, as well as improve technology and facilities including its new Terminal 4 at New York-JFK and the Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal in Atlanta. Additionally, customers have seen Delta’s investment in its more than 50 Delta Sky Clubs throughout the system, installation of power poles in gate areas at more than 40 airports and updates to the popular Fly Delta app which has been downloaded by more than 10 million customers…. Delta has invested billions of dollars in airport facilities and global products, services and technology to enhance the customer experience in the air and on the ground.
(That’s right guys, those plugs in gate areas which is the industry norm are being blamed for this devaluation!)
The Delta SkyMiles program is now in its 33rd year and Delta touts it as one of the most rewarding and successful programs in the travel industries. The airline further claims that the new revenue based program will be welcomed by travelers.
“The introduction of a new model for earning miles will increase rewards for those who spend more as well as differentiate the SkyMiles frequent flyer program for our premium travelers,” said Jeff Robertson, Delta’s vice president -SkyMiles
The updated mileage-earning plan, for travel beginning Jan. 1, 2015, will better recognize frequent business travelers and those less frequent leisure customers who purchase premium fares. The move is consistent with a trend in the travel industry of rewarding customer behavior based on price
As you can see, Delta is clearly banking on the business traveler and leaving out the grandparents who travel cross country four times a year to see their grandkids, the college student who enjoys exploring the world, and those of us who use websites like theflightdeal.com or other sites to find the best deal to get the furthest away from home.
Here’s the kicker though, under the new skymiles program, award prices are not going to be decreasing in cost. Domestic awards will still cost 25,000 miles round trip! Meaning to fly domestically, someone with no status would need to spend $5000 in order to redeem the new Delta SkyMiles for a trip from Miami to Seattle, or anywhere else in the lower 48 and Canada!
The lowest level for SkyMiles Saver Awards will remain at 25,000 miles for an Economy Class Award ticket for travel within the U.S. and Canada excluding Hawaii. All of Delta’s worldwide redemption charts will be updated to reflect the new options in the last quarter of 2014 and will be effective for new Award bookings beginning Jan. 1, 2015.
The ONLY good news about this is that Delta is FINALLY introducing oneway awards starting at 12,500 miles and miles + cash awards, similar to what they use to have for Delta and NWA cobranded credit cards.
What can we do about this?
This change is BAD, I repeat, VERY BAD for those of us who enjoy free flights and being rewarded for spending hours on plane and flying thousands of miles each year. Delta has consistently devalued their program since the merger with NWA and this is the biggest blow to the SkyMiles program yet. SkyMiles now joins the rank of LCC programs such as JetBlue, Southwest, and Virgin America. I recently used the last 40,000 SkyPesos in my account and I HIGHLY suggest you do the same before the biggest Delta devaluation happens next January.
In the meantime, I HIGHLY suggest you take to the airwaves and tweet, email, blog, and call Delta to let them know that you are not satisfied with this change. I also highly suggest you stop flying Delta and stop using your SkyMiles account. The few of us who fly Delta, the less money they make. If we do not make a stand & boycott Delta, other airlines will follow and revenue based mileage programs will be all that we know!
Finally, I suggest you also cancel ALL Delta cobranded credit cards and debit cards. Delta makes money from their Co-branded cards and I suggest that we hit Delta in every way possible. Furthermore, Delta skypesos have just about become obsolete, so there is no reason why you should earn Delta SkyPesos when there are better earning opportunities out there. One way is the American Express Premier Gold Card that earns 2x points for airfare and can be transferred to a slew of airlines. Or I’d recommend looking at the Barclay Arrival card that earns 2 points on every purchase. Or If you’re looking to make a switch, check out my posts on US Airways top 10 uses of Miles. The Barclays Card is still available and all miles will be rolled into the AA program at the end of this year. There are still a few hidden gems in this program and this is a quick way to add value to your future AA account.
Physical Address: Delta Air Lines Inc., P.O. Box 20706, Atlanta, GA 30320
Email for some of the Top Executives:
Jeff Robertson – VP of SkyMiles: Jeff.Robertson@Delta.com (emai currently is not working, trying to get a new contact)
Richard Anderson – Delta CEO: Richard.Anderson@Delta.com
Jason Hausner – Director of Customer Care: email@example.com