Delta made a change to its SkyMiles program starting on September 1, 2012, that has largely gone unnoticed and is just starting to affect flyers.
Delta significantly lowered both the Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQM’s) and redeemable miles (RDM’s) on most so called consolidator, package and student fares that were purchases on or after September 1, 2012.
You will most likely come across one of these fares if you are buying a package that includes both air and hotel and/or car component from an online travel agent like Expedia or Travelocity. Most of the airlines publish so called package/tour fares that can be sold in conjunction of hotel or car rental and are discounted. Now, these fares earn less on Delta.
Also, if you buy discounted air fare in conjunction with a cruise, you are most likely affected as well. Cruise companies have negotiated air fares that are affected this change as well.
Students have long enjoyed lower air fares. These now have lower MQM and RDM earning too.
Then there is one more fare type that is affected and these are something called consolidator fares. These are fares that are usually offered through specialized travel agencies that often has a certain ethnic clientele. These consolidator fares, however, are eligible for the usual MQM’s/RDM’s, if the ticket has been issued in Asia.
American Samoa, Australia, Belau, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Caroline Island, China, Christmas Island, Cook Islands, Cozcos (Keeling) Islands, East Timor, Ebeye, Fiji, French Polynesia, Futuna Islands, Gilbert Island, Guam, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Kampuchea, Kiribati, Laos, Macau, Majuro, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Island, Pacific Island Trust, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Pitcairn, Rota, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Tibet, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Vietnam, and Wallis.
Delta is slowly chipping away benefits of its SkyMiles program. This change is slowly starting to affect flyers, whose tickets were issued after September 1, 2012. There is no way of knowing for sure, if the package fare offered by online travel agent uses tour/package airfare or not. To be on the safe side, you should always expect that you won’t earn full MQM/RDM credit on these flights
Note that this change won’t affect regular fares that you buy using the normal air fare search on online travel agent like Expedia.