Delta Makes Negative Changes to Voucher Policy

Dec 16, 2011

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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.”

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