March 11, 2014

Delta Frequent Flier Program Changes

Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the last few weeks, you probably have heard about the changes Delta recently rolled out to their frequent flier program effective next year.  The just of the changes involves migrating from awarding miles based on miles flown to awarding miles based on spend.  So the best customers (from an elite status perspective) will be customers that spend the most on their tickets even if they don't fly the most miles (think business people paying full fare for premium cabins).

This is called a revenue based frequent flier program and for non-elite members, earning rates have essentially been cut in half.  For elite members, earning rates (on an average priced ticket) will be cut by nearly 50%.

I'm not an expert on the Delta SkyMiles program so I'm going to leave it up to The Points Guy and One Mile at a Time who posted extensively on the subject over the last couple of weeks.  If you are a Delta flyer and want more details on the changes, definitely check out these posts.

At the end of the day, frequent flier programs in the US are moving towards revenue based programs. United instated minimum spend requirements starting in 2014 and I wouldn't be surprised to see them continue to chip away at the value of the program.  Once the American/USAir merger is complete, they will likely make a similar move.

All that said, frequent flier programs offer tremendous value and many of you will earn your miles through credit card spend, bonuses, online shopping and other non-flying related activities.  My flying has declined for several years in a row yet I've been able to rack up many millions of miles through non-flying activities.  And doing so has paid for multiple long haul premium cabin trips per years.  So the future of these programs remain bright...behavior just needs to evolve to meet the new industry reality.

1 comment:

  1. thank you so much for this post - it was super helpful, exactly what i was looking for - Robyn