In light of profchiara's post a few days ago (Sinkholes - Loyalty (for real people) no more) I wanted to share a recent article from the NYT, "Now May Be a Good Time to Bail Out of Frequent-Flier Programs" (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/01/your-money/credit-and-debit-cards/now-may-be-a-good-time-to-bail-out-of-frequent-flier-programs.html).
The article quotes Delta representatives as saying, "The airline will now have five “price” levels (in miles) for its free seats, although it didn’t release the new award chart this week specifying what the actual cost will be"
This certainly does not sound great, but I guess the jury is still out.
For those like me who are curious how the changes will effect mileage earning you may find this calculator on the Delta website to be helpful (2015 SkyMiles Program). It allows users to compare how many miles they likely would earn under the announced changes.
Thanks for sharing jakeal. What makes this so possibly harmful (like you said, we'll have to wait and see) is that it has the potential to be, in effect, an instanteous (no grace period) material (as opposed to incremental, death by a thousand cuts, which gives you time to cash out) devaluation - ouch. I'm holding my breath on an UA 2015 spring trip ( often must book international awards as soon as they list - 330 days) and I just have that feeling that I'm going to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
That's exactly what I've been doing with my burning of over 400,000 miles. Everyone who flies Delta should use that calculator for some of the flights they've taken in the past two years. I have flown about 200,000 miles in that period, but every single one of my flights at the approximate price was devalued horribly -- plus you get even less if you fly Skyteam partners -- apparently AF and KLM won't count for nearly equal 'points' any more.
The real problem is Delta is only telling half of the deal now and are planning to reveal the 5-tier reward system in the 4th Q, leaving everyone guessing but no one really thinking redemption is going to be cheaper or easier.
This is definitely tragic news for travelers. My greatest concern now is that the other two will follow suite. AA has a great program, but can see the righting on the wall already with US management beginning to make undesirable changes... I think UA might be safe for now as they continue to struggle with just getting their day-to-day operations to a satisfactory level.
While I don't think it is likely, airlines have been known to buckle under pressure. There's an online petition on FlyerTalk and InsideFlyer and I'm sure other sites, but I think most of the flying public probably doesn't even know. You all need to do the calculator test and see just how much you'll lose -- and that again doesn't include the extreme devaluation of Skyteam partner points (I've seen some on FlyerTalk who seem to know what they are talking about saying that it will be 25% of what it used to be).
I think the best thing all of us frequent travelers can do is tell every other frequent travel so we can be heard. Delta is the first MAJOR airline to do this, so it's conceivable (albeit unlikely) that they could crack. Sentiment is strongly negative on the flying forums, especially since Delta won't reveal Part II till late in the year (rewards).
I saw this early last week and think put a link in the Insiders aviation geek thread. Anyway, depending on your travel schedule and how far in advance you book airline tickets as well as the type of fare you purchase it could benefit some however; IMO it will hurt many more than it benefits for the levels of elite status.
I'm not sure what is going on with UA as recently there are some first class fares nearly as low as the economy fares, even though they're non-refundable/change penalty it will be taking less first class upgrade seats away from the Global Services, 1K, Platinum Premier levels, maybe it is another way of generating a bit more revenue, yet another way to further alienate your most loyal customers. Having said that, the extra $100 or so it costs to get that first class seat on those flights should UA decide to go the way of DL might actually be a good thing in order to attain the higher Premier levels.
We all know and trust you as our aviation expert -- and presumably with the stuff that comes with travel. I think any brief attempt at Delta's 'fare counter' model shows that almost everyone will lose. Yet they are trying to portray it as favoring their most FF and dinging the mileage runners. Well, duh, I've been at 100,000 each of the past two years and over 75,000 miles several years before that since they are international and coach (all levels of coach -- I don't even look at what I'm booking, just the schedule, layover time and price, so I have had Y and B as well as T).
I think the more Delta FF's scrutinize this the more they will realize they are being screwed. To quote some FlyerTalk people, does anyone really believe that mileage redemption in the new '5 level program' will reduce the amount of miles required? I am lucky in that my schedule is usually very flexible, and I can fly to another airport in Europe and know how to get around.
But I'm not gonna do this if it turns out the way it looks to be. There are many, many years in the past 40 that I have paid far more than I would have on another airline in order to get FF miles. And so even though on some level I am considered an HVC, their own mileage charts show I won't be in the future.
Get the word out! While hotels almost always tend to follow the trends, airlines that make BIG MISTAKES sometimes have to retract them based on customer response and other airlines' reactions.
I completely agree with all your excellent points except the very first one......WOW, I wouldn't think I rate expert in anything, just have learned from my experiences and attempt to voice my experiences, but thanks for the kind words. How on earth will I get my golf shirts to fit over my head after reading that?
Like you I know I've paid handsomely for some of my travels as well just to fly CO and now UA in order to keep growing my FF account. Being retired that is pretty much a thing of the past unless I come across those fares hiding in the weeds.
In deed, get the word out.
Looks like Delta has decided to release its new reward chart early... too much backlash I'm guessing? I don't fly Delta, so I so I can't relate to this information, but it's here.
My opinion (and hope) is that they'll back track on their decision sooner or later...
When the airlines began the frequent flyer programs, the planes flew at about 60%. Pretty much every flight had empty seats so there was close to no cost to the program. What the programs did was to show which flyers fly the most. They started to reward those a while back to the point that loyalty pays off in comfort. One can get miles through many avenues and have been saving them for the BIG trips and many now have enough for first class/business on international trips. The airlines probably have been looking at the lose of revenue (cost of the ff programs).
Now that they are flying close to full, there is a cost to giving away seats for miles. The airlines have finally figured out how to make a profit and they want to increase it. Even though I don't like what is happening, I am not surprised.
you are so right. It's sorta like the drug hustlers giving the kids free hits, getting them hooked, then begin charging……That said, many of us have received lots of benefits over the last 30 years and for that, we should be thankful. It is sad to see the pendulum swing the other way, but it is what it is. Who knows, maybe we will see it turn back toward us before it's all over…..
Exactly! In the past eight years, I have gotten about 10 free business class trips to Europe or the Middle East and about 6 coach. I decided so that I could keep my Plat Medallion Elite for next year only (after that I will be considered a low value customer apparently) to return two of the three business class free trips I'd booked for this year into revenue flights (about $2700 total to Crete and Rome in economy comfort). So I have one free business class trip to Venice in December and will have well over 400,000 miles to start using up in 2015, since I won't come close to earning the kind of miles I am now. (One of the little discussed changes in the revenue model is that what you pay is not what you get -- taxes are no longer included -- and on some int'l flights they can be more than the cost.)
So with that plan in mind for the rest of 2014 and 2015, I then plan (unless a Delta miracle happens) to book package deals on travel sites if I can't make something work with Alitalia.