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Delta Makes Negative Changes to Voucher Policy

by on December 16, 2011 · 30 comments

in Delta

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As of yesterday, Delta customers are no longer able to transfer or combine airline vouchers, eCredits or eCertificates that were issued on or after December 15.

These vouchers are usually issued for denied boarding, taking the bump, or as return credit on an unused flight or cancelled ticket. Until now, you’ve been able to transfer vouchers to other people, and to combine up to three of them to purchase a ticket. In fact, I just combined several old vouchers the other day to get a ticket for a family member. Now, however, you won’t be able to transfer them to anyone else unless that person is traveling with you on the same reservation number, and you can only use one voucher per ticket purchase. I’m not happy.

So, instead of being able to use up to three to cover the cost of a single ticket, you can only use one and have to pay the rest. For instance, if you had three $200 vouchers and bought an $700 ticket, you could combine your three vouchers for $600 in value and end up paying only the leftover $100 of the ticket price. Now, however, you could only use a single $200 voucher and would have to pay the remaining $500 out of pocket. If you have any value left on the voucher, you can use it in the future, just as before.

No Notice!?

What’s worse than changing these rules is that Delta gave its SkyMiles members no notice of the rule change. There was no email, no general announcement, nothing. People have only been finding out about it when calling the airline and trying to redeem vouchers.

Other airlines have made changes to their frequent flyer programs of late, including British Airways with its new Avios program, and American Airlines with the change in earning of their Million Miler program, but at least they had the decency to inform their loyal flyers far in advance … as Delta should have, especially when they make a negative change like this.

Frequent flyer programs have always been able to change the rules of their game – in fact they can just end the programs if they wanted to (though then they wouldn’t get billions of dollars from credit card companies!). However, I think it’s bad practice when you make changes and don’t proactively inform your best customers. Delta stealthily devalued their gift card program recently, which also irked many people so sadly I see this developing as a trend with their program.

As one TPG reader emailed me, “While Christmas may have come early for you with the American Airlines double EQM promo, all Delta brought us was a lump of coal.”

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=307500015 Jason DjFlem Fleming

    It has been this way at least since August for me…I was only allowed to use 1 voucher per ticket purchased

  • Anonymous

    I used 3 for a flight just last week. You probably just had a lazy/uninformed phone rep

  • http://www.deltapoints.com deltaGOLDflyer

    Yep talked about this a few days ago: http://boardingarea.com/blogs/deltapoints/2011/12/14/breaking-news-delta-starting-tomorrow-you-can-only-use-1-voucher-per-ticket-not-3/ All over FlyerTalk. @DeltaAssist will not even talk to you about it. The “official” Delta people at FT just say have to do it to stop fraud. If they would just fix “IT” but no!

  • Brad

    Similar to the 72 hour lockdown on award changes. No warning, just implementation. Apparently this is their new MO for when changes are customer unfriendly.

  • Handleman20

    This is frustrating to me. I’ve gotten a couple vouchers when my kiddo and I travel together and combined them on the Delta site… now I will have to book those trips separately so I can use both vouchers? Rgh.

  • Lance

    It says issued on after Dec 15? If I have vouchers issues before then, can I still combine them?

  • Phil

    Actually I had noticed this a while back too while trying to book a flight online. So no lazy rep though we all know Delta.com is not the best. If I recall correctly American were forced to make changes to the way they handle vouchers due to complaints. I can’t quite recall the story but this may be worth filing multiple complaints to the FAA. This is nothing to do with SkyMiles. If a couple get offered money to be bumped from a flight, then later find they can only use the vouchers one at a time, that ain’t going to go down well

    On another note Brian curious if what Seth posted yesterday relating to Delta’s new LGA routes, in particular a lot of LGA-MIA routings, will influence your decision of AA vs DL?

  • JohnnieD

    If I were VDB what would be the face value of Deltas vouchers? $100 or $400 or what??

  • JA

    I’d prefer this to the way UA & US handle vouchers in that they will not give you a residual voucher. So, if you use a $400 voucher and the ticket is only $300, you lose the extra $100.

  • Hobo13

    This is what I try to tell all the wags who want UA to switch from paper to electronic bump vouchers….. sure, electronic MIGHT be more convenient, but you are almost guaranteed to lose flexibility.

    Delta has just shown this.

  • Keith

    What’s most unsettling about this is that the change happens on the sly and right before Christmas, which I imagine has a higher than average rate of over-booking. By in effect making the vouchers less valuable, it creates a disincentive for passengers to give up their seats (or at least ones what are aware of the changes). This may waste a lot of time for travelers, particularly ones of popular routes. Alongside other efforts to reduce their costs from over-booking (see Jeff Ely’s post on the consequences of the volunteering one’s seat at check-in: http://cheaptalk.org/2011/01/05/be-very-afraid/), this is bad news…

  • Keith

    accidentally added a parenthesis on the link, here is the post I referenced:

    http://cheaptalk.org/2011/01/05/be-very-afraid/

  • Dan

    Let’s not forget when Delta massively increased their mileage levels with no notice last time, increasing Intra-Asia from 20,000 to 45,000 miles overnight, for example, and increasing US to Southeast Asia from 60,000 to 80,000 miles.

  • Sam Wolfe

    Time to move to AA, my friend!

  • mark

    Fine, but that still doesn’t excuse Delta from not giving advanced notice. And, how about Silver elite losing a bag allowance this week? And, how about the need to cancel award tickets well in advance. Again, I simply don’t understand why Delta can’t give advance notice for these changes. It’s really unbelievable

  • TyJ303

    Everyone should email Delta to complain. It should not go unnoticed.

  • Chananya

    Seems to be so. I believe that’s the reason there was no notice of this. Because existing ones could be used, and in the new ones it will be stated already in the terms and conditions. So there’s no need to inform people about this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rockferd Rocky Horan

    Leave it to Delta to continue their Poor customer service! This is just the same as they gave little to no notice for the 72 hour cancellation rule for refunds on award tickets! Email email email! Delta is becoming the least friendly in the skies!

  • http://www.facebook.com/rockferd Rocky Horan

    DID you all see this? Silver Elites now only get 1 bag vs 2 free bags! Another Change, NO notice!

    Checked Baggage for Silver Medallion Members Effective for Economy Class tickets purchased on or after December 15, 2011 for travel on or after March 1, 2012, Silver Medallion members may check one bag up to 70 lbs. (versus the previous two-bag waiver) at no charge on Delta- and Delta Connection®-operated flights within or between the United States and Canada, U.S. Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico. Silver Medallion members with a Reserve, Platinum or Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express may check a second bag for free on Delta and Delta Connection flights. First and second baggage waivers apply to up to nine people traveling in the eligible Silver Medallion member’s reservation.

  • Gleff

    “Other airlines have made changes to their frequent flyer programs of late, including British Airways with its new Avios program, and American Airlines with the change in earning of their Million Miler program, but at least they had the decency to inform their loyal flyers far in advance ”

    British Airways did NOT release details of their new award chart in advance. That each segment would be charged separately was also completely new news on the day the chart went into effect.

  • Anonymous

    My point was that they still let us know a change was coming. I wrote many times about how it could have been clearer but they still beat delta in the communication department in my opinion

  • Thomas

    Both Delta and USAir followed United and went with 1 Bag for Silver Elites which changes that whole matrix posting of benefits from a few days ago..

  • Anonymous

    People keep saying that Delta pts are safe because there is no way the airline or the Skypesos program could get any worst, this is a perfect example of how Delta will always find little ways to screw their customers and moreover there are just sneaks about the whole process.

  • Anonymous

    where do we complain?

    also most disappointing is the way AMEX seems to be letting BA and Delta get away with these FF mile program devaluations. it seems like they use them to negociate cheaper purchases while leaving their customers to think that these FF miles still have some value. On many of these issues its AMEX to blame for holding the pursestrings.

  • pskrbec

    I’d like to clarify a bit – this new policy applies only the vouchers issued on or after December 15, 2011. Vouchers issued before December 15 are not impacted.  We apologize if there has been any confusion, but we have been communicating the redemption requirements to everyone who receives a new voucher and have this information listed in the terms physically ON the vouchers so that they clearly understand the process and rules for using the it. 

    Because this change applies to vouchers issued moving forward (and not retroactively) we haven’t communicated with past voucher holders because their vouchers are not impacted. That’s why communicating it any earlier didn’t mak a lo of sense and, we feared, may have caused confusion.”

  • Sabai

    Delta sure has problems with communications and candor.
    How about all the stealth changes (take backs) the airline introduces to Sky Miles that are never communicated to your customers? You guys are unmatched at annoying people with your No News is Good News communications policies.

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  • matt

    Beware leaving excess value on vouchers issued prior to December 15. I recently learned the hard way when I purchased tickets for a family trip. I used a few vouchers acquired prior to December 15 to book a trip with tickets purchased after December 15. Each of the vouchers ended up with values between $50-$80. I then intended to use the leftover values to purchase another ticket. However, because Delta reissues the leftover values in a new voucher, they applied these new rules to the leftover value.

    To me, this is the equivalent of stealing. I agreed to pre-December 15 terms when the vouchers were earned, but they changed these terms. In addition, when issuing the new tickets, they didn’t even extend the expiration date. So, same expiration date, but new terms. It’s completely ridiculous. Their customer support was no assistance.

  • MjDeder0618

    I to found that out the hard way, had I known that on 01/21/2012, I would have taken the cash instead of the tickets, I was also told I had 1 year to book a flight, not book a flight and fly within that time. For instance I could wait till January 20th 2013 and book a flight for a later date such as July 4 2013. Delta customer service is confused on this matter, if you call them on the phone they tell you that you have to fly within that 1 year or loose it, if you book flight using internet you have one year to book flight and use it past the 1 year period. So don’t call delta by phone or you’ll get the wrong information.

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