Delta bars 3rd party services from accessing SkyMiles information


Points aggregator AwardWallet is reporting this afternoon that they have received a cease & desist letter from Delta, requiring the company to terminate the automated tracking of accounts for SkyMiles members. This is the second major airline to pursue such a policy; American Airlines started a while back and recently made clear that unless companies pay them for the benefit access will remain prohibited. Reading the letter – published here – it seems that AwardWallet has been negotiating with Delta for a few weeks now and has made no progress.

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The cynic in me sees the only surprise that it has taken so long for another airline to step up their efforts to make account management more difficult on their customers. Airlines seem to have come to the conclusion that pissing off customers is more valuable than embracing them; at this point it seems they’re all trying one angle or another. And while Delta will likely try to spin this as protecting their customers it is nothing more than reducing transparency and reducing the value of the program.

Bad form, Delta. Bad form.

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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, LinkedIn and .

16 Comments

  1. Given United’s recent mention of scraping in their “justification” for removing the fare buckets, I can only imagine that they’ll be next to send out their lawyers.

  2. “…reducing the value of the program.” That is the key phrase here. AA and now Delta have tried to curb Award Wallet, to lessen the true, useful value of whatever points/miles/benefits have been accumulated by their customers. The major carriers continue to push these promotional programs, but they do their very best to make it difficult or impossible to actually USE said benefits. Program members have filed multiple complaints, but all fall on deaf ears at the Legacy carriers. THey would LOVE to get out of these programs entirely, but for competitive reasons, they don’t dare. If all simply cancelled their programs at the same time, they’s have major anti-trust problems with the Justice Department. So what do they do? Over time and in a very well organized program, they deflate the value of your accumulated points/miles/benefits and heck yes, they do it in concert. If you’ve got substantial numbers of miles in multiple accounts, I’d consolodate them into one basket and with some specific target in mind. Use those point or miles b efore they become worthless and focus future purchases on ONE program and then burn them as you earn them, if only for a free drink. My nickle bet is that most of these programs will be dead and gone within five years. The game is up, kids, so use it or lose it.

  3. They want to make it harder for “novices” thinking of getting a credit card for mileage in their program to find out how inflated their awards are.

  4. Very disappointing. I find AW to be very helpful. I’m already doing manual updates to AA and SWA, so I guess I’ll add DL to the list. I’m not buying the “security” reason that’s being given.

  5. third airline. Southwest stopped Award Wallet too. This is just aggravating as all heck. No wonder people hate the airlines so much and will stick the knife in and twist it any chance they get. It is crap like this that piles on to the generalized disgust. WAY TO GO DELTA!

  6. It seems like collusive behavior by the airlines to concurrently cut off access to 3rd party services

  7. I wish award wallet would push back just a little bit. There’s all sorts of programs that can access these airline portals. I use last pass to log into SWA and AA all the time. True they don’t track the miles but they have all my passwords. They have reached critic mass, and it would take several army’s of lawyers to shut them down.

    Anyone can file a cease and desist letter, award wallet should see if delta is willing to commit finances towards finding lawyers and Court costs before they so quickly shut down.

    AA is in bankruptcy, I suspect they would be the last to actual pay what it takes to stop AW.

    1. It is hard to push back when the law is written in such a way that you know you’re in violation. Fighting “the man” is great if you have a strong position to fight from. If not it is just throwing money away. I’m sure that Delta, much like AA, would be happy to provide access to the data if AwardWallet paid for it.

      As for suggesting collusion, Carl, that’s quite a leap. For one thing, none of the airlines are doing exactly the same thing. For another, they aren’t acting in concert.

  8. Um, why don’t people blame the technically ignorant and incompetent IDIOTS in Congress for passing a stupid law that lets Delta sue someone like this? If I paid my secretary (or a legal agent – like my lawyer) to access my account, is that illegal according to Delta too? What if I gave AwardWallet a power of attorney? Can Delta just say that AwardWallet is not allowed to access their website?

    How is a bloody Firefox extension illegal? Just because it automates my login? It’s still my machine doing the logging in…maybe someone should make a standalone app and fake the User Agent so that is indistingushable from a true browser login.

    Lots of well-deserved hate against DL but the real culprits here are the foolish politicians.

  9. It’s just too bad there isn’t a Greasemonkey expert somewhere out there who could ameliorate this situation. . .

    1. Hehe…not so sure Expert is where I’m at. And given that AA and DL have explicitly said that even including their company name in the site is verbotten I’m not getting involved.

  10. Oh, I’m sorry. I may have mistakenly given the impression I was talking about D—a. I was, of course, talking about the Skypesos program.

  11. OK, fine, Delta. I’ve just redeemed the 40k points that have been sitting untouched in my Skymiles account for the last decade, and now I don’t have to worry about it.

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