Delta Glitch Blocking Air France/KLM Business Class Awards

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It’s no secret that I am a fan of Delta SkyMiles – in fact, next month I’m even debating fellow blogger Gary Leff on the value of SkyMiles. My position has long been “Yes, SkyMiles can be difficult to use, but that doesn’t negate the fact that huge value can be extracted from them if you know how to use them.” As a Delta flyer and American Express cardholder, I’ve enjoyed lucrative promotions that have enriched me with millions of SkyMiles which I’ve been able to use for international business class awards- and to some pretty cool places, like Mauritius and Seychelles.

For the past two weeks, though, Air France and KLM business class awards have not been bookable using SkyMiles – no matter what. I decided not to write about this when it first came to light because Delta acknowledged it was an IT issue and they are working on fixing it – fair enough.

However, I think they should be more proactive about offering alternatives for their customers. Instead of saying “tough luck, the computer is broken with no fix in sight,” I think they should allow more options, especially for those who booked Air France flights and planned on using Systemwide Upgrades or miles to upgrade. Right now, upgrade space may finally become available, but Delta agents can’t process them, which must be extremely frustrating for those who paid more for upgradeable fares or those who pledged loyalty to Delta to get systemwide upgrades only to be told they can’t be used. I think Delta should be more proactive about switching people to Delta flights and opening up more upgrade availability and low-level business class space. Why should their best customers be the ones punished for the airline’s technical error?

With the recent news that there are likely huge changes (read: devaluation) coming to SkyMiles and their current inability to proactively communicate and fix major holes in their frequent flyer program, SkyMiles is making it harder and harder for me to defend them next month.

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