17 Responses

  1. patricia
    patricia at |

    the biggest matter is whether UA and US+AA will copy them …. if they do, we’re all dead

  2. Sice
    Sice at |

    Well put, Seth. The fact that airlines are businesses should temper any outrageous responses to this move, or to any similar move any other airline might make. They need to make money. If some fliers are gaming the system then it would make sense that they’d try to limit that. If I were a business owner I would do the same; look for the best way to keep my customers engaged while not negatively impacting the business. I don’t love the changes but I certainly don’t disagree with them. And, as Seth pointed out, if we start complaining about all the changes before having all the information we’re very short-sighted.

  3. Becky
    Becky at |

    The sky is not falling.

    I will continue to fly Delta – I prefer their product to alternative airlines on domestic travel and the service from my home airport is far and away more convenient than competitors. However, I’ll be banking flown miles over to Alaska until I see what the new redemption options look like (as a hedge). As a coach traveler, I’m envisioning only minor tweaks and love that they’re finally allowing one-ways. Once the new charts are out, it shouldn’t take me long to determine if I’m better off crediting to Alaska or Delta. No need for alarm until we have all the details but I do hate that they are making so many changes in quick succession. That’s a good way to lose trust.

  4. DaninSTL
    DaninSTL at |

    Nice…”Nuke an already bombed city”. Scorch the earth of an already burned program.

    Nice post. I don’t think this will drive away that much business in hub cities but it might drive away some travelers that don’t fly Delta much. For example I typically fly out of STL or MCI to the West coast. Basically AA, SW, UA and DL are the players that work for my schedule and flights the best. I like Delta as they have flights that go through SLC so it cuts down on the extra travel time versus AA (DFW or ORD) and SW which always wants me to fly to Vegas or PHX it seems. Alaska flies those routes in the evening via Seattle and UA is way too high for me on those routes. Downside to Delta is the regional jets they use to service those routes. It doesn’t do me much good to earn elite status to earn upgrades on a regional jet. Heck some don’t even have an upgrade. I just have to close my eyes and pretend I’m on my private Lear 🙂 So I guess what I’m saying is that I will choose Delta less over the other airlines because of this change and credit those odd few flights to Alaska. I really like Delta but no crazy about the program changes. I agree with you that it matter little overall but it could cost them business in the end. I guess they have a choice: Are semi-frequent flyers more valuable than award redemption’s earned off cheap fares? At the end of the day it’s just business, not personal.

  5. Nick
    Nick at |

    The way I see it Delta is just redefining its relationship with its customers. Your loyalty per se doesn’t really mean very much to them, at least as far as the traditional definition of loyalty is concerned. In their own words “This transition will better reward our most loyal customers”. They mean those who spend big time. And that’s fine, because planes are flying full. Once you realize that Jeff almost certainly sees things the same way it’s probably a matter of months before UA makes the change.

  6. GUWonder
    GUWonder at |

    Most DL passengers — and most DL elites — will be earning less miles from their flights than is currently the case. DL has wanted to reduce the proportion and the number of miles that are given “freely” for DL flights, and this is DL doing what it has wanted to do for years now.

  7. Richard
    Richard at |

    When it comes to the High Revenue Customers, I think all we can say is that HRC come out best, rather than saying definitively they benefit. I suspect that when Delta finally decides to tell us the new award charts, it may very well be the case that those HRC are worse off than they are now. I also suspect that the way Delta is doing this will make it very difficult to actually assess that reality. But really, who knows. All Delta has told us is the earnings rate for a currency we have no idea what to expect from.

    I’m also completely puzzled as to why Delta rolled it out this way — why announce half of it now, and the other half some unknown date down the road? I suppose it’s nice that they at least told us a chart change is coming. But this weird split comes off, at best, as them rolling out an unfinished product, or, at worst, as Delta intentionally withholding information from their customers. Its as if on principle they want to hold to their policy of providing limited to no advance warning of chart changes.

    To me the big surprise is that the award chart (apparently?) won’t be revenue based, which is really all that truly matters in this game.

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  9. BobChi
    BobChi at |

    I think you hit the nail on the head about other airlines following suit. If they do, it will be because they are planning to anyway, not to copy Delta. Frequent flyer program rules, procedures, and policies seem to be an area where there are and have always been substantial differences between airlines. On many aspects they clearly do not blindly copy each other, but rather each goes its own way. I personally don’t care a lot about revenue based methods on the earning side, since only a small percentage of my points comes from actual flying. It’s on the redemption side I’d be concerned, and of course we don’t see the details of that yet from Delta’s latest changes.

  10. Jason
    Jason at |

    I can’t help but think that we all dodged a pretty big bullet with redemption not going revenue-based. That would have been the killer. Delta was smart in that people may complain about the revenue-based earning, but ultimately they’ll overlook it as long as redemption rates “appear to be” flat rates. I think the flying public will still see Skymiles as a better program than those of Southwest, JetBlue or Virgin America whether the rewards math supports it or not.

  11. ed
    ed at |

    You implicitly accept Delta’s premise that higher-revenue fares generate greater profit for Delta. That’s nonsense.

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