Delta Air Lines must feel that due to the mergers in the past 10 years that have lead to borderline domestic oligopoly and capacity discipline between the reminding airlines they can further devalue SkyMiles program.
Delta made three changes last week that will negatively affect Delta SkyMiles members next year.
1. Higher Medallion Qualifying Dollar (MQD) Requirements
Delta will require Silver members to spend minimum of $3,000 (up by $500), Gold members $6,000 (up by $1,000), Platinum members $9,000 (up by $1,500) and Diamond members $15,000 (up by $2,500).
These are in effect for the 2016 qualification year starting January 1, 2015. Delta SkyMiles members with an address outside of the United States don’t have MQD requirement. Also, those that spend excess of $25,000 with their Delta American Express cards issues in the United States have waived MQD requirement.
2. Delta E-fares Become Non-eligible for Medallion upgrades and benefits
Starting on February 1, 2015, those that fly on tickets that are issued for e-fares are not eligible for advance seat selection, stand-by or same day confirmed changes. Medallion members are not eligible for upgrades or preferential seating. Paid upgrades are not offered from these fares.
I expect that Delta will eventually remove mileage earning from these fare class as well and likely extend it to other lower economy fares too.
3. SkyMiles around the world awards discontinued
Delta will remove around-the-world awards effective January 1, 2015. If you wish to issue one, the deadline is December 31, 2014.
Delta Air Lines is slowly but steadily devaluing its frequent flier program. They must think in Atlanta that this is the right time to “enhance” the SkyMiles benefits. Don’t get me wrong, I do like Delta and their domestic product. I don’t like the third tier alliance and the way frequent fliers are treated.
Does Delta realize that loyalty is two way street? If I don’t feel that I get enough benefits flying with them or any other carrier for that matter, I may just start buying air entirely based on the price without any consideration to the operating carrier.
Elite members are usually willing to put up with non perfect flight times, need to change planes in between flights and pay more. If the benefits are withdrawn, why wouldn’t you just choose the carrier that best suit your needs? I do this quite often with my flights around Asia.