Delta hints at frequent flier changes

Discussion in 'Delta Air Lines | SkyMiles' started by sobore, Jan 23, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    http://www.twinsburgbulletin.com/ap travel/2013/01/22/delta-hints-at-frequent-flier-changes

    Delta Air Lines is hinting that its frequent flier program will increasingly favor big spenders over travelers who simply rack up miles.
    Such a change would generally reward business travelers, who often fly on short notice on more-expensive tickets, versus leisure travelers who might fly long distances but often on cheaper fares.
    Air travelers have long complained that a $700 ticket buys them a seat next to someone who might be riding on a fare sale for, say, $200. More and more, the airlines are steering greater rewards to the traveler who spend more.

    Delta announced last week that in 2014 frequent fliers will need to spend at least $2,500 to qualify for the lowest level of elite status. Previously, they could qualify on miles alone. The highest level of elite status will require spending $12,500.

    Travelers prize that status because it moves them to the front of airport lines and lets them qualify for upgrades to first class. Delta said the shift was to make sure "our most valued customers receive the best program benefits and a more exclusive experience."

    Read More: http://www.twinsburgbulletin.com/ap travel/2013/01/22/delta-hints-at-frequent-flier-changes
     
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  2. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I'd say "hinting" is rather missing the mark. :rolleyes:
     
  3. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Definitely. It's been officially announced.

    More importantly, MQM earnings on M fares (the cheapest that permit long haul international upgrades into BE using SWUs or miles) will drop from 150% to 100% on March 1, when full F and full J MQM earnings will increase from 150% to 200% and earnings on many partner flights will be reduced, the altter even on previously purchased tickets.
     
  4. DTWBOB

    DTWBOB Silver Member

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    This has been discussed in other threads and the dollar cut points for most people are currently no big deal, particularly if you have the right credit card and move enough money through it.

    Different story if the cut points change.

    DTWBOB
     
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  5. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    Let's be fair to DL. First - for once in SM history, which is replete with backstabbing subterfuges that normally show contempt for their Medallion/SM members - they have announced a major program change a full year ahead of time!! Agreed, this wasn't really for customer benefit, it was to pique the other majors into following suit. But no matter. You know.

    Yes. Take it or leave it, you know what's coming - at least, for 2014.

    But, this was just a hiccup in normal SM operation. As we see, Jeff's approach to already-ticketed customers is customarily [​IMG] best in class [​IMG]

    This contrasts directly - and very unfavorably - with UA's official policy on such earnings changes for MP, and other matters.

    After acknowledging that the post-integration preservation of the OP earnings table on partners was a mistake (!), UA's official rep then categorically stated that existing bookings will be honored at previously published rates.

    Obviously, this is good for those of us colonizing the BE cabins out of RGN - all of which involve J sectors on Star members - as well as other misfiled Star F fares in the region - including my NH F sectors, which will accumulate at a Niagaran rate under the old table. And not worthless SM but ultra-juicy Starmiles! As for the DL C sectors, they credit to AS, where the miles will actually be useful.
     
  6. katstarr

    katstarr Gold Member

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    I wrote a blog post- from the perspective of a non-business traveler who chooses to fly Delta and pays for all of her own flights. Got many interesting comments too.

    http://t.co/kHPrMVPT
     
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  7. DiverDave
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    DiverDave Gold Member

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    But there was much less notice for the changes to earnings on partners.

    Good heavens :eek: , just how many of those RGN tickets did you buy? (Surely that has been shut down by now.)

    David
     
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  8. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    Agreed...I wasn't congratulating SM on their handling of partner accrual changes. As tens of thousands of MP/FT readers are aware, I don't make a habit of congratulating SM because objectively, it offers very little to celebrate vs. other programs.

    RGN was shut down ages ago. However, everyone knows that sharks feed in a frenzy and are not satisfied with one or two itins.

    Nineteen RGN itins. Plus an unspecified number of other Asia F itins that didn't make FT. Not all mine - some for shark family etc. I'm not flying all of them, some I don't need and have/will refund, but these provide for Shark family vac this year, numerous biz visits to Asia - remember I don't get funded for most of this, so my invites to give seminars at Singapore and KL often depend on my entrepreneurship. The excuse of "but I didn't get any funding" doesn't satisfy the post-tenure/annual review committees at rescisssed institutions like mine.... forget the Dead Poets Society stuff about academic work, it's thoroughly corporatized now, but without the resources. What I do have is the schedule flex to make the most of the airline systems.

    But David, anyway, after our convos you have some concept of the iceberg scope of Shark activities - most of which lurk far below the waters of MP/FT :) It's how I get to and around Asia that is more entertaining than the simple RGN-LAX/YVR/SFO wherever itins.....

    Hey, LAS-BOS at $75 has just returned. Must go book more - got ten on Monday, need another ten now.

    Looks like DL responded to UA/US and now UA has re-responded. Book em now, Dan-O.
     
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  9. chitownflyer
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    chitownflyer Silver Member

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    It will be interesting to see if other frequent flyer programs try to lure away Delta elites by keeping their programs in a similar form as they currently exist. My guess is that the changes to SkyPesos are going to really upset a lot of elites, so revenue requirements and a devalued frequent flyer program equal a major disincentive for loyalty. Delta elites may simply decide to take their business elsewhere. I think Delta's competitor's may opt to let Delta wallow in its own muck rather than emulate Delta's program.
     
  10. USAF_Pride
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    USAF_Pride Gold Member

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    SO, how much did you spend?
     
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  11. ClipperDelta
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    ClipperDelta Silver Member

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    JetBlue and Southwest already have revenue-based programs. United is chomping at the bit to implement something similar and will likely introduce one soon, if the technology is successfully implemented. Make no mistake, many airlines realize the miles-based model has been broken for a loooooong time, and the main obstacle so far to implementing more revenue-based initiatives has been the technology...once the technology is up and running, you can bet others will make similar moves.
     
  12. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    "For people who travel on business expense accounts the new revenue-based requirements probably mean nothing. Their companies pay top-dollar for the tickets. They spend $2,500, or $5,000 or even $7,500 in a snap."

    Bit of an over-simplification. Not all business travelers who travel on business expense accounts have their companies pay top dollars for the tickets. Look at the economy out there. Companies aren't interested in wasting money. I don't usually travel for business (maybe on average once a year, perhaps less). The tickets I end up with are generally not more expensive than what I would be paying for the trip myself. I am not allowed to book at the last minute without special executive approval. I am not allowed to buy a more expensive routing if a cheaper one on another (less useful for me) carrier happens to be available. I don't get to fly in First class.
     
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  13. katstarr

    katstarr Gold Member

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    yes, you are right. it was an oversimplification. sorry.
     
  14. JennB
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    JennB Gold Member

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    We're putting a huge smack-down on travel expenses this year and will absolutely not be paying for top dollar fares. For years, people have just thought of company money as a free-for-all but that culture is really starting to change. For me personally, I fly a heavy mix of business and pleasure and buy the best priced tickets any time. I won't worry about it though because I have my AmEx and pretty much use it as a faux debit card for everything I purchase. Heck, I'm moving across country soon and will be in a apartment for a few months. First thing I'll ask will be "can I pay my rent via AmEx?" :p
     
  15. DiverDave
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    DiverDave Gold Member

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    BTW, Chris Elliott considers you to be a thief. :) Of course I consider him to be a populist moron :rolleyes: , but still:

    http://www.elliott.org/so-you-think-you-know-travel/is-it-ever-ok-to-steal-from-an-airline/

    I'm reading in places that maybe you can send friends up to $1000/month via Amazon Payments without fees. I'm gonna give that a try pretty soon.

    David
     
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  16. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    Chris Elliott can think what he likes. He's clearly doing a nice job of driving traffic - although not as good as I would do if I were linked directly to the DL SM blog. Muahaha!

    Stealing would be, for example, taking the hotel towels, or the airline blankets - if there are any - or, you know, those blue Elite Access carpets at the CO DO I. Did anyone ever find that carpet or return it?

    But buying an advertised product, at a price determined by the retailer and solely subject to their control, in a free market where contract law is subject to govt oversight and regulation to ensure compliance - no, that can never be stealing, in my view. The RGN, or whatever, fares are the same as the iPods. Advertise them for sale at $x, sell them at $x - or get whacked by States AGs for deceptive advertising. Make the vendor/producer responsible fully for honoring their pricing. Up to them if they pay the money to tighten the supply controls, or pay less money for controls and accept occasional misfiles as Cendant's disengaged and outsourced workers in BOM/DEL play online casino while batch uploading fares to the GDS....remember KEF in 2004? That's not my problem.

    You, the vendor, advertise a product for sale at $x. I want it, I buy it for $x. Transaction done. No support for buyer's remorse. I don't whine afterways, oh, $x is too much, I expect $x-100, I'll file with AG. That would be an attempt at theft. Same in reverse. Why indulge vendor's remorse when they control the price completely?
     
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  17. USAF_Pride
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    USAF_Pride Gold Member

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    Still waiting for an answer on this one... I find it very hard to believe someone who flies 25k miles hasn't spent $2,500 on tickets, let alone someone who flew just over 50k miles (although I am sure someone can show that it is possible). You feigned that this was an issue, but you don't say how much you spent for your travel!!
     
  18. USAF_Pride
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    USAF_Pride Gold Member

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    Same issue if a store sticks the wrong sticker on a product and it scans incorrectly. They can't say "oops"!! I once bought a TV like that. I went so far to ask the salesman if that was the correct price and was told it was. Thanks for the 80% discount!!
     
  19. HighPlainsDrifter

    HighPlainsDrifter Silver Member

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    A possible way to game Delta or any revenue based system would be to turn mile runs into bump voucher runs. Pick flights that are full (rather than ones that are empty and offer better upgrade chances) and leave enough time on connections to be the first to talk to the connecting airport gate agent (instead of hanging out in the Sky Club until the last minute). Then use the stash of vouchers for international BusinessFirst fares over Thanksgiving and such. This assumes that bump vouchers get treated the same way as gift cards i.e. applied as a form of payment rather than subtracted from the totals before the MQD is calculated. Most mile runners probably keep the possibility of a bump in mind as a secondary consideration, under the new order it could become the primary goal. Or switch to another airline that treats its bottom-feeders better.
     
  20. USAF_Pride
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    USAF_Pride Gold Member

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    You can only use 1 voucher per ticket. Its been that way for awhile
     
  21. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Why? It isn't all that hard, really, at all.

    That's 10cpm. Even without digging really, really hard getting <10cpm on average isn't too difficult. Of course, it depends on where you like to go and what you want to see but $1200 fares to SE Asia - about 18-20K miles return - aren't particularly hard to find.
     
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  22. USAF_Pride
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    USAF_Pride Gold Member

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    You still need to get another 5-7k. I guess if you double that trip, you will be just short of the spend, but other than free bags, what does FO get you anyways (other than a pipe dream to an UG)? And if you only fly those 2X, what purpose is it to have status?

    But note, I didn't say it wasn't possible, rather the blogger hasn't given her spend. A lot of people are feigning pain, but very few are stating there spend & miles.
     
  23. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    It certainly isn't hard, especially if you are flexible when you fly and where you fly. If your priorities are more on getting where you want to go and your times are less flexible, it may mean that the great deals aren't the ones you can take advantage of. Not saying that it's impossible even then to get < 10 cpm.
     
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  24. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    When I checked my numbers last year around September I was still right around 3cpm and I had 1K done. I may have gone up a bit towards the end of the year but I doubt my average number went over 4cpm and I finished with just over 150K PQMs on United. Translated to the DL scheme I'd either be a Diamond with 25K rollover MQMs or a Gold due to MQDs. It would severely affect me.

    I'm not saying that means Delta should change their mind. I know that I'm not a good customer to the airlines and I'm playing on borrowed time at this point with the programs. But at least I'm willing to admit that the airlines would be better off without my "loyalty" to them.

    As for the purpose in having only the bottom tier status, different customers get value from different perks. I cannot remember the last time 3x70# free bags was useful to me, for example, but for others they might be useful. The bonus points are nothing to sneer at. And maybe if I know I'm silver (or that I'll get it on my next trip) I spend the $25 extra on the ticket to get a few bonus points and a free bad on the Christmas trip where I'm going to be carrying presents and need the free checked bag.

    Besides, saying that there is no value in bottom tier status doesn't change that the CPM rate is consistent all the way to the top tier in this scheme.
     
  25. PanAm
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    PanAm Silver Member

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    To be honest I've never really tracked what I spend. Well, partially because some years a lot of it is actually spent by my employer on my behalf. I may try and add up what I can from the last year just out of curiosity. I don't harbor any delusions that I'm anyone's "best" customer. I don't generally go out of my way to achieve a certain status, whatever I am, I am. If a minor extra spend or a tweak to the routing will put me over a threshold, that's about the extent of my efforts.

    I do know that all of this churn makes my head spin sometimes. I can't help but thinking that somewhere at each airline's HQ, someone is just wishing that their competitors would all agree to chuck elite programs altogether so there's no need to spend the effort tweaking it and competing with one another. I know, the idea is supposed to be to incentivize behavior, etc, etc but you just get the impression from some of the airlines, that it's more bother than it's worth...like going on a pity date:)
     
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