Delta SkyMiles Partner Airline Mileage Earning Changes

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Delta Airlines sent out an email yesterday to SkyMiles members alerting them about the changes that are coming to earning MQM’s (Medallion Qualifying Miles) and award miles starting on September 1, 2013. You can access Delta’s dedicated web page for this change here.

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The header of the email should have alerted about the most major change that is the non-earning of MQM’s on any flight operated by Korean Air (that is not marketed by Delta) and reduced earning of award miles as well.

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Delta is not know to give any advise note about the changes to their SkyMiles program, so this is a development that they inform in advance this change that will take place in three months time and have the current earning chart as well as the earning chart starting on September 1 available for each of the partner airlines.

Delta is now introducing four groups of partner airlines:

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There are some “unpublished” fares that don’t earn full mileage credit even when the flight is marketed and operated by Delta. You may earn as few as 25% MQM’s and award miles on those flights. You can read more about these on Delta’s website here.

Group 1:

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The main change here is that all fares earn 100% mileage credit and that you will get your Medallion bonus on all fare classes on these carriers.

Alaska, GOL and Virgin Australia are not SkyTeam members yet earn both MQM’s and award miles.

Note that there still may be some fare classes on these airlines that don’t earn anything, when credited to Delta’s SkyMiles. So, read the eligible fare classes for each airline carefully.

Group 2:

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Here you need to start pay attention to the MQM’s that are capped at 100% high fares and are lower for economy/discount economy, but you will get the elite tier bonus.

With some of these airlines, you continue earning 100% mileage credit on lower fares.

Group 3:

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It is getting gradually worse. With these airlines, you will no longer receive elite tier bonus at all and the business/first class bonus miles are capped at 25%.

Group 4:

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Here it is getting really dire. You won’t earn MQM’s, class of service bonus or bonus points based on the SkyMiles tier that you may have.

The most drastic change is the Korean Air that is a fellow SkyTeam alliance airline. This must be a first time on any alliance history that none of the flights flown by partner airline are not qualifying activity for earning status.

(There is the deal with TAM, which is withdrawing from Star Alliance that you cannot earn miles on Avianca’s program on TAM flights and vice versa.)

Conclusion

It is good that Delta made an announcement before it took place OR actually made an announcement at all.

Last time they were tinkering with partner airline earnings earlier this year, they just changed the charts on their website and didn’t give any prior notice to SkyMiles members.

The situation with non-earning of MQM’s on a SkyTeam partner airline Korean Air is just weird and makes life difficult for those SkyMiles members (such as me) that have credited their Korean flights to Delta. This is really not an option going forward.

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