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My 8 Predictions If a 2013 Delta SkyMiles Devaluation Happens

by on November 29, 2012 · 85 comments

in Delta

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I always say that frequent flyer miles generally lose value over time (as programs raise award levels and start levying new fees and taxes) and that hoarding them is a bad long-term strategy. I do understand why people hold onto miles for a long time – we often get caught in the mouse wheel of chasing elite status so we pay for flights and then rack up tons of miles in the process that we hope to use “on a rainy day.” Most people also struggle with finding enough time to use all of the miles and points – whether you are in a grueling corporate job or raising a family – it can be hard to get away and when you finally do find time, syncing it up with perfect award availability can be a challenge.

That being said, whenever I use miles and I have an option of which currency to use, I make my decision based on a couple factors:

a) lowest amount of miles needed
b) lowest amount of fees levied
c) what kind of flexibility do I have to change the award/elite status with that program.

Lately, though, I’ve also added in a “d” factor which is: “which currency is most likely to be devalued?” And sadly, Delta is at the top of that list. 

A Major Devaluation in the Works?
In March I wrote about rumors surrounding major SkyMiles program changes based mostly on job descriptions they had posted online seeking IT and loyalty experts to help create and launch a “Fare Based Award Ticket Redemption” project. In other words, they want to potentially peg the value of award redemptions to the price of the ticket, something that would be horrible for us who like to redeem miles for first or business class.

It could take a lot more miles to sit in these BusinessElite seats if Delta changes its award program.

I don’t have any official details of their new program, but my gut is telling me that an announcement is coming in the near future and it won’t be pretty. If I were a stock trader, I’d definitely be going short on SkyMiles right now and in fact, I’ve been redeeming them as much as possible in anticipation of some major changes. What’s causing my paranoia? In addition to more job descriptions posted around the internet, some new verbiage on Delta.com that alluded to a “new” SkyMiles program (and was promptly pulled down), industry gossip and subtle cues like no transfer bonuses from Amex all year long when 2011 was a bonanza, I think some big changes are going to happen, whether we like it or not.

What Do I Foresee?
If changes happen in 2013, here are my guesses of what is going to happen.

1. SkyMiles redemptions will no longer be based on award charts and zones, but instead based on the price of the ticket and your elite status level. The higher the status, the more your SkyMile will be worth (but sadly, I suspect that it will still be less than what they are worth today). The model will be similar to Virgin America Elevate points that are worth less depending on the day of the week you fly, but Delta will also add in an elite element to make their elites feel like they are gaining even more value in the new program

2. Earning SkyMiles will no longer be based on the length of the flight, but instead  the price, elite status and whether the flyer is also a Delta American Express cardholder.

3. Partner awards will still be based on zones (like Virgin America’s redemptions on partners like Hawaiian and Virgin Atlantic), but rates will increase and availability decrease (which we’ve already seen with Air France and KLM award space) so that people are inclined to redeem more on Delta.

4. Domestic upgrades shift away from complimentary elite upgrades to more “buy up” opportunities. Right now, you need to buy a K class or higher to use SkyMiles to upgrade a domestic ticket and I can see them making this available on all fare classes, but adding in co-pays. This may seem good to the masses, but it will chip away at Medallion upgrade percentages – similar to what is going on currently at United, where non-status passengers can pay a small fee and trump top tier elites for upgrades (and those same elites aren’t even given the same opportunity!)

5. International upgrade fare class restrictions will be eased, though the amount of miles needed will correlate to the amount needed to purchase a discounted business class ticket, which means more miles necessary to upgrade. Right now you need to purchase a Y, B or M fare to upgrade any international Delta flight. M fares are generally extremely expensive and advance upgrade space can be hard to find, so buying a ticket that is 2 times more expensive for the “chance” at getting the upgrade is a terrible value proposition. I imagine they will say “you spoke and we listened and now international upgrades are easier to get than ever”.

6. Low/mid level elite status perks will be watered down. Similar to what United did to decimate their Silver/Gold level Premiers, I imagine Delta will cut the mileage bonus for Gold Medallion down to 50% (from the current 100%) and make Economy Comfort seats only available at check-in or for a fee at booking.

7. In order to not completely dismantle their loyal following, special perks will be given to Platinum and Diamond flyers to ensure their business is appreciated. Getting rid of the insane 72 hour award change rule would be a great start.

8. Old SkyMiles will still be honored, but phased out. All new flights in 2013 will accrue “new” SkyMiles that are revenue based.

Delta’s recent site renovation might just be the first of many changes to come to its SkyMiles program.

Winners and Losers
These changes may actually be really good for a some people, though we won’t be able to say until anything is announced. But if I had to guess, those who spend a lot will likely earn a lot and will feel like they are getting more value (and in fact, they may actually get a lot more value back if they are currently redeeming at the high/mid-tier award levels). These changes may be good for everyday flyers who will get a chance to sit up front for a fraction of the cost- at the expense of the mid/low-tier elites whose upgrades no longer clear. However, the savvy mile collector who knows how to accrue SkyMiles cheaply (aka TPG readers) may face a grim reality when international and premium awards become astronomically expensive, at least compared to other mileage currencies.

In the end, money talks and I don’t blame Delta for trying to be profitable. After all, loyalty programs are major businesses and sometimes some of the most profitable parts of an airline. They have the right to do whatever they believe what makes the most sense for their shareholders. However, as customers we also have the right to reject their business decisions and make our opinions heard loud and clear.

At the bottom of my conjecture post, I asked “Would you still fly Delta if they moved to a fixed-value mileage program?”  and out of over 2,600 votes the results were 90% “No” and 10% “Yes.” Yes, I understand TPG readers are clearly going to vote in favor of value, but I think Delta may be underestimating the savviness of their flyers and if they do make negative changes, I hope consumers react strongly, because it could set a terrible precedent if the launch went smoothly and the collect value of SkyMiles slid even further (which I didn’t think was possible!).

90% of TPG readers who responded to my poll said they’d stop flying Delta if it switched to a fixed-value mileage program.

The reason I’m worried is because airlines are copycats. Whenever you see a fare sale, most competitors will match. Frequent flyer programs even copy each others’ promotions like we saw with the current AA/British Airways premium fare to London promotion, which was matched in some capacity by both United and Delta (though sadly none took the bait with the current AA double EQM promo!). I’m worried that if Delta can devalue their program and get away with it, others will follow. And then the beauty of extracting 3, 4, 5, 6, 7+ cents per mile will be a distant memory. And heaven forbid I have to go back to flying coach internationally (when not on crazy cheap mileage runs!).

I’m also worried because Delta is known for making negative decisions and then implementing them without any advance warning. While I hope nothing is going to change, my gut tells me otherwise and I want to at least raise the possibility on TPG readers’ radars so you can think about your strategy going forward.

Of the major programs that I have mileage balances, I rank the following based on overall value of the miles:
1. United (low fees, one-way awards, lots of partners)
2. American (valuable off-peak awards, one-way awards great first class options and domestic availability and generally low fees excluding British Airways)
3. British Airways (amazing redemption opportunities for short- and mid-haul, no last-minute ticketing fees, one-way awards, valuable upgrade redemptions and low fees on many partner awards)
4. US Airways (lots of partners, flexible routing rules, off-peak awards and many cheap ways to accumulate/buy)
5. Delta (poor saver availability, blocked partner first class awards, blackout dates on partner awards, broken website and potential major negative program changes, expensive mileage upgrade program)

In terms of devaluation risk, I rank them as follows:
1. Delta (possible switch to revenue based program)
2. American (merger/bankruptcy unknowns)
3. US Airways (haven’t changed the award rates in several years and are pumping the market with buy miles promotions)
4. United (The merger earlier in 2012 was a headache – and still is – for many elite members and they aligned the Continental and United mileage programs in advance, so I don’t foresee any near-term changes, especially as they work through much larger IT-related issues)
5) British Airways (changed the program in November 2011, so I don’t foresee any changes in the near future)

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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  • Sil

    8. Old SkyMiles will still be honored, but phased out. All new flights in 2013 will accrue “new” SkyMiles that are revenue based.

    Based on your prediction, do you mean that if I have 100k delta miles BEFORE the new Revenue based program (should it happen), I will still be able to book an Biz class US to Europe for low level redemption?

  • http://twitter.com/Mileage_Update Mileage Update

    As someone who needs 2-4 tix everytime I fly Im not sure if I would like this new Delta or not. Depending on the mileage needed for flights it might work out better. I can rarely find 4 biz seats at a reasonable price. Sometimes even 2 are hard to find. If it happens it might save me a ton of time and only cost me a few more miles. A trade off I might not mind too much.

  • PG

    re: point 3 under what you forsee…

    Is it Delta that controls partner availability or the partners? It was AF/KLM who decided to decrease their availability, not AF, no?

    I’m much more concerned with what partner redemption rates/availability will be, since the vast majority of us don’t/can’t use our Skymiles on Delta metal anyways. How many of us “savvy” travelers use them on Delta metal more than a nominal amount of the time anyways – frankly, this could be a good thing for domestic availability anyways since it will free up a lot more seats.

    Also, what to make of award itineraries that involve partner travel internationally combined with a Delta positioning flight?

  • http://twitter.com/benbrooksny Ben Brooks

    Good post TPG! Will be curious to see what DL does. I’m a UA Premier (will hit Platinum today on my EWR-HNL flight) and quit flying DL when CO left SkyTeam (miss me some PMCO!).
    I do get quite vexed at UA not giving elites a chance to pay for upgrades but selling them for “ten bucks” to Joe flyer. They seem to be fixing this on website a bit.
    Regarding DL moving to revenue based, for biz travelers that book last-minute tickets, play full fare and book in front cabin on INTL flights this could be good for them. I’ve had so many flights where I pay $1,200 to fly EWR-DFW or even $900 EWR-IND and the miles don’t reward what I paid. I’m with you that the airlines need to make money and right now DL seems to give away the farm in terms of upgrades, roll over miles, etc. so bet they will make a change.

    Just thinking of SPG (which I’m obsessed with and am lifetime Gold on way to lifetime Platinum) and their revenue based model. They’ve found a way to work (like other hotels) but different industry and consumers are conditioned differently. The airlines are in a tough spot as everyone is conditioned that cheaper is better for a flight, yet there are perverse incentives like flying longer routes or more stops to get miles (which increases airline cost in many ways) but at a lower cost and higher value to consumer. This needs to get fixed.

  • VM

    guess I should transfer my AMEX miles over to Delta and book my flight for next June NOW. Just upset that I won’t get any bonus miles for transferring them.

  • NEPIC

    On point 2: earning would simply be tied to fare cost, not miles flown – with elite bonuses applied as you suggest. It will be a brave new world!

  • Guest

    Faggot.

  • http://twitter.com/Peachfront Peach Front

    When is this going to happen? The details in this post appear to be more than just speculation and it’s a good heads-up to get ready to abandon ship and not worry too much about re-qualifying for elite status on Delta for the upcoming year but we’d also like a heads-up on when we should go ahead and spend down our remaining miles. By Dec. 31? Feb. 28? What?

  • David

    I will need to start checking out the status match rules of the other airlines. I just qualified for Delta Gold but will now be looking to see if a competitor will bail me out of Delta’s pending changes! I am hoping not be forced to redeem my Skymiles stash, the way I had to when BA switched to the Avios program. Ugh!

  • Cory

    I am definitely focusing most of my non-BIS miles accumulation at the moment on United mostly through Ultimate Rewards. I prefer flying Delta, but too much uncertainty and not enough value to their miles relative to what I can find with United. If this speculation is true, and I suspect you’re right that something bad is coming, I’d rather not be overexposed to a heinous program.

  • Mark D

    Sil,

    ” I will still be able to book an Biz class US to Europe for low level redemption?”

    This is also what I was thinking , but this spring / summer it is much much harder to find low level award availability to Europe. We finally burned our last 200000 miles on Biz class, so I will be watching the coming debacle with zero angst.

    Can’t imagine the panic that with ensue as many try to unload Delta for what value remains. TPG has been dropping hints and warnings for at least 9 months and I for one have been busy booking low level awards while you can still find some.

  • JZ

    In that light, do you have any insight on whether it’s better to buy some MQMs and get to the next elite level this calendar year or do rollover until next year? (I’m very close.)

  • http://twitter.com/jolinda22 Jolinda Lewis-Miller

    If anyone has any advice for what I should do…..I have about 150,000 Delta miles and was trying to earn and save them to take my daughter to Europe in the summer of 2014 – was going to book next June…should I try to earn alot more?….or is there any other option – this is scary to me! I hardly ever fly (once or twice a year) and trying to pay cash to fly into London and out of Rome isn’t going to happen!!! Any advice?

  • Sfobuddy

    So, I’m 3,000 miles from 2013 Diamond Status. I leave for a trip on Friday. Based on your post Diamond is more potentially a better status to have next year ;-)

  • thepointsguy

    Potentially- and if you need to status match to another carrier United and AA may only match their top tier to deltas top tier. All depends

  • VM

    I am in the same boat or should I say plane (so to speak). I have 20k Delta Skymiles between myself, kids and husband and over 100k Amex points ready to transfer. If we can’t book our flights using points they’ll be no trip to Hawaii next year for us. Advice from anyone would be GREATLY appreciated!

  • Mark

    On that topic, does Delta ever round up to the next level if you are close? If so, how close?

  • http://twitter.com/Peachfront Peach Front

    You’ll need way more miles than that even if they don’t change the program. 2014? For two people? In business? 150K miles? Maybe for the gurus but for normal people, it ain’t gonna happen.

    The main problem here is that by the time you earn enough miles to book, the goalpost will (likely) be moved and you will again not have enough miles.

    Now…if you’re thinking economy, I don’t think cash is a big worry.
    Economy seats so frequently go on sale to travel across the pond that I have never spent my miles on those seats. It makes more sense to pay cash. If you can’t afford economy seats, then you should simply not take the trip. The cost of hotel rooms in London alone would be too much for you financially.

    Even without program changes, it has been a LONG time since it made sense to plan to get a trip far in the future without a plan to earn a LOT more miles than you think you will need. That’s just my experience but I think if you don’t fly and you don’t churn somehow (which also costs money with today’s high “spends”) then you are better off to fly coach and pay cash. There have been cheap trips to London that pop up consistently all the time. I have never paid more than a few hundred dollars to fly there, so would not personally spend my miles on traveling there. I go there to earn miles! Most recently in November 2011, and it was actually London and Paris, not Rome, but I knew some people who did book the open jaw with Rome as one of the cities, and it was pretty dirt cheap. I guess what I’m saying is, I’d watch for a sale closer to the time of travel. (Sales do not normally occur far in the future.) I would not have my heart set on paying with miles since the program is already changing. Such as the sudden change on Sept. 1 that many cheap tickets no longer earn full miles…They’ve made it much harder to earn and presumably there is no where else to go except to make it harder to burn.

    This is just my opinion, and it is the opinion of a hobbyist…not an expert…but I suspect since you don’t fly much you will have an experience closer to mine rather than the ability to book a business elite trip with a minimal number of miles.

  • thepointsguy

    Delta does generally not round up or give soft landings

  • http://twitter.com/Peachfront Peach Front

    If you’re only getting 1:1 on Amex points, then you have 120K Skymiles and I am morally certain that there will be no trip to Hawaii unless you’re already on Oahu. 20K Skymiles is essentially nothing. 120K Skymiles actually holds some value for the solo traveler. But for four or more people? My vote is that it’s unrealistic even with the program as it stands. I say this as a humble Gold so I could be wrong, and I hope I am!

  • http://twitter.com/jolinda22 Jolinda Lewis-Miller

    Thanks for your reply! That is what I was afraid of – I have over 200,000 Priority Club points, 100,000 Mariott points, and 50,000 other points that are paying for my hotel rooms in London, Paris, Pamplona, and Rome……it’s just getting there that is the problem!!!! I was told I would only need about 65,000 Delta skymiles per person to book the flight I want to book (into London, out of Rome)…..so that’s why I tried to earn at least 150,000 to make sure……

  • Darksilkx

    Delta was in my primary program but I am in the process of transitioning to United (have gotten the Sapphire and stopped using Delta Amex). I was in the process of stockpiling Delta miles for a family vacation next summer (destination undecided – not Europe though) for three and I would like to cash out before it all goes south. Any recommendations for 450k miles – family of 3?

  • Mark

    The changes are not pending – they are speculation of TPG. It is interesting speculation but I would say there is just a much of a chance of devaluation changes in other programs as there is in Delta in the future.

  • Mark

    Since I live in a tiny market where every flight is expensive this would be an advantage to me. I can’t get a ticket anywhere on Delta for less than $400.

  • Multi

    Awwww man, unfortunately I live 40 mins from the Detroit airport (major Delta hub). It’s not really feasible for me to use other airlines, especially when my destination is a KLM hub! This sucks bigtime.

  • MMM

    On the Amex MR transfer issue, if one has a fair amount of MR that have no better transfer options than Delta, should you transfer those by December 31 so that they are added to your “old Skymiles” balance and hope these old Skymiles are grandfathered for a certain period of time in which you would still be able to book 100k in business to Europe and 120k to Asia?

  • Veritas

    I fear you are right! So I recently matched to Elite on Turkish Airlines (a StarAlliance member – I fly to Turkey 3+ times per year) and am positioning myself for total shift from Delta (after 15 years of loyalty). This is a business decision for me, too. And in our global economy there are tons of non-US carriers with good programs. In a rapidly expanding market of hungry global airlines, devaluing your product is about as dumb as dumb can get. I guess I will miss Delta…for about five minutes. I suspect they will miss my money for a whole lot longer.

  • Sean

    This post really opened my eyes. I’ve heard the murmurs, but these are what I call “bold predictions” and over the years TPG has earned some serious cred in my view. I duly consider myself warned.

    That said between Amex MR and my wife, we’re sitting on a million miles. Luckily just under half are MR so we could transfer to Aeroplan or another partner down the line, meaning I don’t mind hoarding the Amex points.

    But a half million Skymiles? I guess two RTW biz awards are in the works now… thanks for the heads up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/benthelefty Ben Chapman

    sounds like a nice biz class destination–I can’t remember the mileage #s but maybe S. Am or Africa??

  • thepointsguy

    450k is perfect for 3 business class v Australia redemptions at 150k each! Hardest part is getting to LAX but may make sense to buy those tickets and redeem the award from there

  • wolverine

    Do you live in Ann Arbor?

  • NEPIC

    Yes, certainly for some people, in particular elites buying expensive short-haul fares, this may provide some better opportunities. Though redemption for long haul business for those of us use Amex MR transfers primarily will be ridiculously expensive.

  • thepointsguy

    You will be amazed at just how much easier United miles are to use.. its night and day

  • thepointsguy

    If you fly on partners like Air France and Alitalia you can do it for 60k roundtrip, but good luck finding availability! SkyTeam has really cut back in my opinion

  • thepointsguy

    Depending on where you are based, 100k Amex could be 4 roundtrips to Hawaii using British Airways and redeeming on AA flights (like LAX-HNL/LIH). Theres a 35% British Airways transfer bonus coming December 3, which might be something to look into and forget about your 20k Delta miles for this trip

  • thepointsguy

    Im in the same boat..i like flying Delta and the domestic upgrades and wifi.. but I don’t want to be overexposed to an even worse currency

  • thepointsguy

    The changes are by no means pending, agree with that. But strongly disagree that United has the same devaluation chances as Delta… I just don’t see that happening.

  • thepointsguy

    Nothing is 100% happening, but if it does, I’d guess it would be announced within the next month and rolled out in January 2013 to align with the new earning year

  • NEPIC

    If I was speculating…I’d say the announcement will be pushed to next year with implementation possibly not till 2014, so there may be a little longer to prepare.

  • railingk

    I have 50,000 miles left on Delta (I transitioned to UR/United thanks to TPG). This is a bit of a shame since Delta basically just bought LGA, which is near me. Alas.

    Should I just book a flight to Costa Rica, or two cheapo redemptions to Salt Lake and hope I can use them?

    Basically, what’s worse: the coming devaluation or change fees in the not-unlikely event I can’t use whatever ticket I book?

  • http://www.triplepundit.com Nick Aster

    Fascinating. I’m willing wait and see. I’ve already hedged my bets and grabbed a United Silver status… I will absolutely start flying United if Delta goes south.

  • Guest

    I booked 2 tickets JFK – FCO last week for June 2013 on Alitalia for 100k pp and $40 in fees

  • David

    Yeah, I have to say that United’s one-way awards and larger award inventory have already been getting me thinking that I should try to switch my flights away from Delta….

  • Mike

    In business

  • Rik

    TPG, in your ranking of programs by overall value, you list strictly the positives of all programs except Delta, but you list only the negatives of Delta Skymiles. I certainly agree with Delta being no. 5 on the list, but all programs have positives as well as negatives.

    I will also suggest (counter-intuitive I suppose) that Delta may actually make it EASIER to redeem Skymiles (by increasing low-mileage availability and by allowing one-way awards). This is for two reasons: (1) to help clear “old” Skymiles out of the system, and (2) to soften the blow of the devaluation. For all the unfriendliness of Skymiles, Delta is a reasonably savvy business and they can’t be too Scrooge-like!

  • http://twitter.com/darrinearl Darrin Earl

    Very, very interesting. As a multi-year PM in a DL hub city, this bears a lot of watching. My team does a fair amount of business flying, but not enough to easily get high elite status on more than one airline; the recent flight cuts and continual devaluation to SkyPesoes has prompted a lot of discussion about switching to AA or UA, changes like these will either push us over the edge (redemptions become even more ridiculous to find) or lock us in forever (earning on high $$$ business tickets is rewarded more highly), it really depends on the fine print in whatever DL has cooking.

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  • TennisFan

    TPG, thanks for the post. I have a question on your prediction of the old miles expiring. Is that purely a guess or have you heard that? Delta is boastful about miles never expiring, so it would seem to be hard to go back on that so soon. I am sitting on 1.2 MILLION miles right now. I’m at a point in my life (young kids, age 3 and 4) that using these miles isn’t really an option. We were really hoping to take some amazing trips as a family down the road. I could stomach a de-valuation of miles (well, even more than they’ve already been devalued!) but losing them altogether would be more than a punch to the gut. If they were to expire at some point, how long of a lead time would they give us and do you think there would be an option to liquidate them in a different manner (gift cards or something!)?

    Thanks.

  • JL100

    Since I use Delta miles only for domestic travel since they are the main airline that flies to some of my destinations, it would actually benefit me if they go to a fixed value system at more than 1 cent/mile and then allow unlimited use of awards like Southwest. Occasionally I get 1.5 cents, but mostly have to spend 32,500 – 40,000 miles each for 1-3 $400-$450 tickets. I have a bunch of AA miles that I am saving for international travel.

  • thepointsguy

    The issue is that I doubt they’ll be worth more than a penny a piece

  • sfomsp

    I guess the good news about copycatting is Delta went 3 tier several years ago, and neither United nor American followed suit. And interesting that United has become a lot more explicit about its good ‘saver’ award availability recently:

    http://milecards.com/4809/why-its-good-united-is-advertising-1-mile-award-availability/

  • R B

    I am in NYC, and platinum till feb 2014 on DL.
    Should I status match to United? I mostly travel for leisure.

  • Sfobuddy

    But I also have AA Exec Plat status too. Whacha you talkin’ bout Willis with regard to United?

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  • Wes

    I’m thinking I will go ahead and get Platinum status for 2013 and enjoy it while it lasts. Then I’ll begin flying Southwest heavily in 2014 now that they are in Atlanta.

  • DBest

    Somewhat like Jolinda, I was planning on using Skymiles for a 2014 trip, namely an Aero Mexico redemption to Brazil for the World Cup. In my case I already have the requisite 100k miles, but like Jolinda, the trip is not yet available to book. Any suggestions?

  • Cpinstein

    I hope to do a south Africa trip in 2014, and have about 500,000 skypesos. (nothing on anyone else since I’m in Memphis). However, I should be getting 100,000 Amex MR points any day. should I go ahead and transfer them to Delta to get the miles under the current rules before they are changed? I’m platinum until Feb. 2014.

    Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

  • Darksilkx

    I know I was actually exclusive to UA when I lived in Denver 5 years ago.

  • Multi

    Yes indeed! Go BLUE!

  • http://www.deltapoints.com/ DeltaPoints.com

    @Brian – I can tell you the “new verbiage on Delta.com that alluded to a “new” SkyMiles program (and was promptly pulled down),” is wrong. You don’t have all the facts! The rest, we will see. I see good things on the way for 2013 and I think you will be shocked and pleased. We will see! – Rene

  • Wes

    Rene, thanks for the input; care to share any more of your insight?

  • thepointsguy

    You’re right- I don’t have facts so we will have to wait and see whether any new changes are good or bad. I enjoy your optimism ;-)

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  • RW

    Delta already has a horrible program, this would be worse. Hopefully, if Delta implements such a program the backlash will be significant enough to discourage other carriers from following suit. It will be most unfortunate for flyers who live in Delta fortress hub cities such as ATL, DTW or MSP.

  • RW

    Shocked maybe, pleased…unlikely. If you have details, please share them. TPG’s comments are well-reasoned even if we don’t have all the facts. You offer nothing to support your comment.

  • Mary E

    Thanks for your heads up. I think I agree with you about Delta devaluing points. I just spent my entire 170,000 points on Business Class from ICN to DTW and then DTW to DSM round trip with two economy. It took 8 hours to find these segments, and I tried all different combos and days. Within one night the same ticket went up to 280,000 and then closed out. So, I was lucky to get my ticket. I probably could have spent fewer points, but have a time factor to consider. I got Delta because it flies out of SLC, but since I moved to ICN, I could never get a decent ticket/mileage award back. I normally fly Korean and other airlines, so bye to Delta. Thank you for the advice on SPG card- it’s my ticket to all airlines instead.

  • Justin

    The thread you’re referring to in the FlyerTalk forum about this is almost 9 months old, and all the deadlines rumored by “insiders” have passed without any changes.

    Here’s a newer, fresher, follow up thread.

    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/delta-skymiles/1409077-based-sm-total-croc.html

    Speculation has its way of creating rumor, and rumors end up being sold as facts. My gut feeling is that in today’s consumer-driven market, where companies NEED our business more than ever to show profit in an economic downturn, most all companies that have deadlines for changing the way their products effect their loyal customers have announced far ahead of time for changes to be implemented and for their customers to meet the new criteria.

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  • Haloastro

    UA doesn’t have low fees for close-in bookings (they charge $75 to non-elites; DL charges $0). Also, none of the other carriers offer upgrades on award tickets at the level that DL does for GM and above. That makes up (a little) for the higher barrier to redeeming on the Asia partners IMO.

  • Dmann333

    I’m just completing 5 seats over Christmas Atl-cdg, zrh-atl for coach @60k skypesos each. You just need to keep looking and be a little flexible. (This us the 2nd year in a row on 60k awards).

  • Pho Real

    I just found out today that my ticket on Korean Airline for travel to SE Asia will not get Delta mileage since it is a discounted ticket. Is anyone aware of this? Should I request Korean Airline mileage? I am a Delta Diamond and am wondering if I should just keep as is to get priority boarding and airline club access during this trip? Thank you for any advice

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  • Skwiskwis

    Delta announced a few days ago the changes to the Skymiles program and introduction of the new “MDM” (Medallion Dollar Miles). To qualify for a particular skymiles tier you need not only to fly a certain amount of miles, or flights (as in the past) but also spend a certain amount of money. For example, to achieve Gold Status, you must fly 50,000 miles AND spend 5000 dollars on tickets (and the price of the ticket DOES NOT include state and federal taxes – a round trip ticket to Europe might cost, say $1200, of which only the $900 paid to Delta will count).

  • http://twitter.com/cardigans4 Jason

    what would you suggest for me living in SLC? I am Gold, have 600k skymiles but am afraid to jump to United. Suggestions?

  • http://www.facebook.com/chadjraymond Chad Raymond

    Your prediction re: Delta and 1st class miles redemption has come true! In 2010, I booked 1st Class roundtrip travel from MSP (Minneapolis) to CDG (Paris) for 100K miles each. That same itinerary for the “low” level of miles is now 200K each! Needless to say, my spending will be going to the United Mileage Plus Explorer card from this point forward. That’s despite the fact that I hate Chase’s customer service. I have canceled all other credit cards I felt I could do without from them.

  • Abc

    Does anyone know if Delta will have their “buy miles and get 50%+ bonus promotion”? They usually have this every year in the first quarter, where I can get 90,000 miles instead of the max 60,000 permitted for purchase each year.
    I have done it every March annually for years. In 2013, I don’t see it. Does anyone know a link to where I can find it?

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  • http://profile.yahoo.com/WOMY6XSSTFQWGV3EYF2M37ZCIE Tfx Ge

    Flied round trip from DTW to Asia last month. Delta Skymile gave me only 50% mileage credit. Were told that my ticket booked thru travel company was an unpublished rate ticket & I have to check those FINE prints in there website…
    Very disappointed as a customer of NW & Delta for more than 20 years.

  • Stacey13209
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  • Cowboy

    I will try to fly other airlines
    Starting Sept when they cut out Korean air bonus and MQMS MILES
    I will shop elsewhere
    Delta thinks the have a monopoly and everyone has to fly them well big surprise is coming people like me who have been either Diamond or Platinum for years plus Delta Reserve card holder is now shopping around
    I can fly Korean Air business to Asia for way less money and get 1000% better service Delta screwing over Korean Air is a bad move Which they have been making more of .
    Delta needs to rethink their policies

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