What next for the * best in class * program?

Discussion in 'Delta Air Lines | SkyMiles' started by redtailshark, Dec 19, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    In the spirit of Christmas, let's take bets on "alignments."

    GM bonus cut to 50%
    Back to no UG on LUT except for DM
    Decrease in eligible fare classes for PMU on domestic trips (up from K to M)
    No companion UG

    The stealth elimination of stopovers on award tickets seems to be opening some eyes now. Even the apologists know the SM goose is cooking.

    A lot of people have been making excuses for DL SM for a long time. Even since the SSM revolt in 2004, in some cases. You know, these people reiterate that it's a "mistake" that they can't deliver on their own T&C via their official booking channel, or it's "a lack of training" that SM Medallion agents claim MU/AZ/MH can't be booked with SM, or that fixes to Deltabestinclass.COM are "pending" in the "second [or is it seven hundredth?] quarter," or that numbers like 635k SM for PHL-FCO can be acceptable demands by the booking platform, etc.etc.

    It's all arrant nonsense. SM management isn't foolish, dumb, or unaware of the customer experience. If SM management wanted to fix these issues, they would have done so years ago.

    As many are aware, the increasingly hopeful pleading and tongue-biting about these factual problems has long amazed me. The hushed DM, caps in hand, anxiously telling themselves, as well as others, that somehow it'll be alight, that DL really intends to do alright by them, that occasional mistakes have been made.... hodiho! Rudolf and Dasher and all the others' noses are lit up like the port strobe on that 752 you're riding on.

    However, it seems like we're almost done with that phase now. The apologists' grip on the propaganda machine is becoming ever more tenuous.

    The only thing we can all be sure of, is that the program will demonstrate that it's :-: best in class :-: and so too is the management communication with stakeholders. Their best timing will be in Feb next year, after people have sunk some $ and effort into booking on DL. Imagine the howling.

    Nonetheless I have a good use for DL - a few giant fuel-dumped 10-seg TATL itins at $400 a.i. Even if I got no SM or any other benefits, I'm still getting VFM from the itins. That decision making keeps my expectation of "value" to zero and ensures even DL can exceed my expectations. I'd sure hate to pay $3k for an M fare and then be reamed the way they're doing now. Or even $1k for an L fare.

    You guys will soon be competing for UG on UA as 1K or AA as EXP.
     
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  2. MalcoveMagnesia
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    MalcoveMagnesia Silver Member

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    Wow. What is it with you and the Delta hate? Did you not get enough attention from mom & dad when you were growing up?

    As most F.A.'s say at the conclusion of each flight: "we realize you have a choice in airlines....".

    Then again, some of the things you say do have some truth in them (almost every rational & "loyal" Delta Elite member would expect further devaluation of elite bennies about to be announced in a few weeks; and there's a decreasing number of airlines we can choose from... Virgin America can't land at my favorite airports fast enough).

    But seriously, just let go of your anger. It'll be really good for your blood pressure and mental health.
     
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  3. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    Heh! I am not angry with DL. It's very disappointing that they can't do business in a straightforward way and they need to be called out on it. And I won't be silenced by their agents and apologists.

    In case you hadn't noticed, I am not the only one who has observed all of the problems above. These are all weekly or sometimes even daily diatribes in various places, from FT all the way to the scrubbed DL FB page.
    Like I said, I find value in DL if I use them effectively as a LCC. With Medallion benefits, their service competes reasonably well with WN and B6.

    However, DL SM sux rox for VFFcompared with the various Star and 1W systems.

    The thing about Michael O'Leary that's so refreshing is he doesn't give any bestinclass bs. He tells it like it is and delivers what he promises...which is, cheap air travel. That's it.
     
  4. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    How about this one? Even I didn't see it coming..... but it certainly makes sense for Jeff.

    Award changes of any kind are now no longer authorized to reprice DOWN. The itinerary will reissue at SAME (or HIGHER) SM levels regardless of lower mileage availability on any sectors.

    It means, once you book, no amount of low inventory - or PM.DM fee waivers - will help you. This plan should increment that SM-per-redemption metric nicely and therefore allow accounting to decrement outstanding FFP liability in the next 10K filing.

    This might surprise the SM Medallions and not in a good way. And - hey - it's another no-notice, no-announcement slapdown!

    No wonder those who participated in the Spring SM focus groups were filled with foreboding about impending changes. We haven't seen the worst yet.

    Really, who wants to stand up and defend a program that is run in this way?
     
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  5. Handleman20

    Handleman20 Silver Member

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    I would like to currently offer bets on which DL flight redtailshark will be booted from for not stopping playing AngryDMs on (same principle as angry birds, but you are throwing peso coins at sombrero-wearing pics of Delta reps)... :D
     
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  6. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Each carriers' programs have plusses and minuses...and are always changing. Some changes are explicit, others happen without announcement.

    I've been pm on DL and exp on AA for several years. I'm most partial to the AA program at present, but DL's isnt the outright dog that people say it is. DM seems like a very high end service level...more akin to ua's gs (which many people believe to have a revenue component to selection)...they did lower the fare class for miles upgrades domestically back down to k, rollover of MQMs is nice too.

    FF programs are constantly in flux. DL's isn't my favorite (AA is), but it has its place.

    I used dl miles and recently booked four j award tickets -JFK to CDG- on exactly the days I wanted to travel for nonstop flights. All for 100k each round trip (low miles awards) That's a 5 or 6 cpm valuation. Perhaps I should call them SkyPounds? ;)
     
  7. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    You may not be familiar with the history so you would benefit from some education about the critique.

    First point, I don't much like the appellation "Skypesos" and I don't ever use it. Valueless DL SM, yes. Some peso currencies are quite robust and don't bear comparison to DL SM. The way this is commonly said is quite disrespectful towards nations that use the peso.

    As for throwing stuff at people and getting booted off DL flights, that's your sublimation. It is rather unintelligent to map online criticisms of the SM program to personal aggression against agents, pax or others in the real world.

    But just so that we don't have any myth propagation about this, I certainly never behave inappropriately towards front-end service people. Even the majority of DL's agents are only doing what they are told to/have to. It's management that sets the tone and the policies and standards.

    I don't even bother calling Shena on UG even if I suspect it. They're not worth it. There's not going to be UG as PM on anything less than M or Y, anyway, and expecting higher delivery is pointless. Even if so, a ride in DL F domestic isn't worth fighting about.

    International J redemptions as payoff for sustained spend and loyalty, however, are worth fighting for.

    I do object when the agents lie to me during SMS conversations, for example "You cannot redeem SM for award tickets on MH." In that case, I don't abuse the agent or scream at them. I stop the agent, and state calmly for the record that I'm hearing a falsehood and that DL.COM clearly states "Partner airlines for SM redemption: MH etc." - just in case Jeff and his minions ever listen to the tapes, I want it all called out openly. I state "Your response on behalf of your company therefore violates the published T&C of the Delta SkyMiles program." Again, for the tapes.

    I thank the agent for their service, say there's no point in continuing the call in the face of the falsehoods and wish them a good day. I don't listen to any excuses they attempt to offer because at that point we both know they are presenting outright falsehoods.

    This is the ARN syndrome behavior that I have the hardest time comprehending. Why this is tolerable to some DL SM Medallions I will never know. If this exact same thing happened with iPods at the local store, a lot of the same people (DL Medallion customers) would be writing and calling their SAG to invoke clear-cut bait and switch consumer protection law.
     
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  8. Handleman20

    Handleman20 Silver Member

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    I was actually trying to make a humorous comparison to the Alec Baldwin situation with Words with Friends, but couldn't remember the name at the time so I went with Angry Birds since my kids love that game. As for the pesos, it's what I always see people using... no intent to offend. I also use the phrase "_____ Water Buffalo" to represent my status with Delta (it is currently barely Gold) but I do not use that to disparage either water buffaloes as a species, the Royal Order of Water Buffalows represented in the Flintstones cartoon, or the water buffalo that Chevy Chase hit with his car in Fletch, necessitating the use of a towel.

    On a slightly less "obscure movie quote"-level, I understand that you are obviously frustrated. Heck, I'm frustrated that I can't just credit score my way to the King Kong Amex card and get immediate Gold status without having to fly at all. I tend to make fun of myself on a regular basis for it (especially since it was my ex wife's fault), and so tried to find the humor in your situation as well. All apologies.
     
  9. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    I anticipate you will experience a sense of humor failure as soon as you attempt to redeem DL SM. Many do.

    In disclosure, I do actually own DL stock. Transaction was MsShark's....while I was away on a CO boondoggle to SJO! Justice, or what? It made better sense at that time, granted. But I still hold it and it sank into a pit over the past few months as you know.

    So, with a material vested interest in SM and not just as PM member, as long as Jeff gives it to the SM Diamond Gamers and pumps up the stock value, it's better for me.

    I wish he would cut the bs and just emulate Michael O'Leary. Whose stock value is high and whose straight talk is legendary.
     
  10. Davescj
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    Davescj Silver Member

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    All programs have good and bad.

    I did get upgrades as an FO (silver) on LUT fares with DL.

    I do get low level J cabin awards on DL, with minimal drama. Usually on AF. That's cool too.

    And DL agents and SC agents are very customer oriented in my experience.

    My colleagues w/ CO/UA never got upgraded as Silver, rarely as Gold.

    W/ AA you need to be ex plat BEFORE you can get complimentary (no cert) upgrades.

    For me, DL is the best deal.
     
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  11. Handleman20

    Handleman20 Silver Member

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    I actually redeem SM quite often for award tickets and I giggle every time as I am getting something for nothing. It's like the free pizza in an office; it may not be as good as the $40 pie at Giordanos, but I'm eating for free and therefore just tend to be happy I didn't have to spend my money on it rather than being aggravated that the boss used to get us higher-quality pizza.

    It's all a state of mind I guess. I killed myself for NW as a baggage handler while I was going to school and now get to fly around the country doing consulting work as a golden water buffalo, which means I get to go see my kid without paying a dime, fly him here with me without paying a dime, and get the occasional upgrade to a comfy seat just for flying on one airline. This is a perk and I'm happy I get the perk. If the perk isn't as good as it used to be (and trust me, nothing beats flying first class as a NW employee for $20 anywhere I wanted to go when I had the time), it's still better than what most people get... unless they have a Gold Amex card! ;)
     
  12. DiverDave
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    DiverDave Gold Member

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    Interesting, where did you find this?

    DAvid
     
  13. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    Right here. Reported by a number of posters in the thread. With the usual DL SMS verbiage.

    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/delt...o-longer-does-award-stopovers-properly-7.html

    Note this one:

    ----
    "i am having trouble with a stopover/open jaw ticket being priced out correctly. i have heard all of the excuses from delta agents that others have reported in this thread....
    i was able to get this all at 100k low level business except the CDG-AMS portion which was in coach. availability has opened up in biz, and both agents say that they would need 25,000 more miles to reissue the ticket....
    i explained it makes no sense as all partner award is at low level, and if it wasn't legal it wouldn't have been ticketed in the first place.

    they went on to cite all kinds of 'fare/routing rules' blah blah blah.

    are more miles needed to put that segment in biz?

    PS - i can't wait to drop to Platinum in March so that my calls are routed to Chisolm... the Diamond agents are a joke.

    ----

    Dropping to PM isn't going to help this guy.

    The situation is either a back-end IT glitch which is being covered by DL SMS, under orders, as new policy - or, worse, it IS a new policy. Introduced as usual by stealth.

    Either way it's deceptive. It contradicts previous policy and practice and it is entirely consistent with my negative reading of DL SM management actions. As expected.

    DL can do what they want with SM. But if they're going to do these things, why not simply state: NO MORE STOPOVERS WITHOUT ADDITIVE AWARD PRICING. AVIOS HERE WE COME!

    But this is actually worse than BA's conduct in the sense that the new Avios conditions were at least publicized immediately - albeit to the chagrin of the EC members.
     
  14. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    In early November, I had a TPAC BE medium/low award ticket reissued to be low/low, dropping the miles from 170,000 to 120,000. There seemed to be no issue and nothing was said by the SLC DM agent, although I suspect that the low return was still available in low. I had guessed from watching the flight that the price in miles was likely to drop due to the date and load, and it did. This was about ten days before my outbound flight so that the new 72 hour rule was not an issue, although the ticket was initially written before the 72 hour rule was announced and I would have fought if necessary if DL had tried to apply the new rule to my preexisting ticket.
     
  15. JosephMay

    JosephMay Gold Member

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    I too was reading the Thread on FT about Delta no longer pricing correctly Stopovers and Open Jaws on award tickets.... It is deeply disturbing to me as the one SO and one OJ on award tickets are the great equalizer that makes SkyMiles worth something to me. Even though I am a lowly GM and have indeed greatly benefited from domestic medallion upgrades, this could be the deal breaker. I fly Delta so I can do aspirational leisure travel. I have been doing all I can to earn skymiles- Skymiles AMEX, Delta Skymiles Dining, Skymiles shopping portal etc.. What the point of earning SMs in small chunks if DELTA devalues them in large chunks.
    Utimately, this change/devaluation would greatly decrease the value of Skymiles to me.
     
  16. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    The timing of those posts indicates that this is a new problem, starting in the last couple weeks. Nevertheless the consistency among SMS agent responses indicates some secret expectation among SM management that this would be flagged.

    To find out, try it now with a dummy booking and see what they say. You're DM so book a MED level TPAC BE outside of T-72 and then call to change to LOW and see what they say. Then dump the whole thing back. Do it quick however before Jeff rescinds the remaining DM change waivers overnight.

    I was mildly surprised it hasn't resulted in generalized uproar because it's worse than T-72...until I remembered this is the scrubbed media!

    This is another braid in the accelerating waterfall of SM devaluations.

    You can't tell me that this action, which is clearly purposive, and the masking attempts by DL SM management not to acknowledge or publicly announce what they're doing, are anything other than

    :eek:best in class:eek:

    Can you guys defect to AA and keep off the UG list on UA?
     

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