Frequent Flyer Program Panic

With the merger announcement this evening there seems to be a ton of speculation on the future of the frequent flyer programs for both Delta and Northwest, as well as for the other rumored mergees, United and Continental. To everyone wondering what this all means, SETTLE DOWN!

I try not to yell too often, so let me say it again more calmly. Settle down!

First off, the merger actually has to be approved. NW/DL is almost certainly going to be approved. CO/UA is less of a sure thing, but will probably eventually happen, I think. Still, the Delta folks have made it very clear that the timeline for their merger closing is roughly the end of 2008. And then, once the merger is complete, they will start work on integrating the carriers and the frequent flyer program. I’d expect that the WorldPerks program balances will be transferred at a 1:1 ratio right into SkyMiles and from then on it is SkyMiles rules (which are way worse than WorldPerks) and SkyMiles partners (also worse). Similarly, for the UA/CO arrangement, nothing is going to happen until sometime next year. Just not gonna happen that quickly.

So earn out your status and miles this year on whichever carrier you tend to earn on anyways. You’ll still have elite status next year on that carrier, even if it does merge. Ands you can figure out next year when it actually happens. There’s too much travel to do between now and then to start worrying about it now.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.