Delta announces major changes to the Delta Skymiles program

Delta has released some fundamental changes to the way Skymiles works.

EARNING MILES TOWARD AWARD TRAVEL

• Miles you earn toward Award Travel will be based on ticket price
• General SkyMiles members will earn 5 miles per dollar spent*
• Delta SkyMiles Credit Card Members will continue to earn an additional 2 miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases with the Card, so as a general SkyMiles member with a Delta SkyMiles Credit Card, you could earn 7 miles per dollar*

REDEEMING MILES FOR AWARD TRAVEL

• Miles you can redeem for any Delta flight, with no blackout dates
• More Award Seats at the lowest price levels
• New One-Way Awards
• New Miles + Cash Award options
• All-new Award Ticket search and shopping at delta.com

EARNING MEDALLION® STATUS

• The way you earn Medallion status is not changing. Status is earned each year through a combination of miles or segments flown and your annual spending on Delta flights
• Medallion members will continue to enjoy the same elite benefits they do now

So what is our take?


The Good

1) Delta finally matches American and United (and almost everyone else) to provide one-way travel. Charging the same for One-way and Return travel was almost comical.

2) High Spenders should get more miles with up to 13 miles per dollar – if you regularly spend $5,000 on business class tickets several times a year you will be drowning in miles soon. I never understood why airlines sell business class tickets for 4-6x times an Economy ticket but only provide a 25% -100% cabin bonus on miles earned. That never made sense to me.

3) I earn almost all my miles from NOT flying – getting miles for flights on a per dollar scheme seems perfectly natural to me.


The Bad

1) Mileage Running will come to an end largely with Delta since the dollars paid is all what matters. I have never intended to get a status from mileage running (besides my A3 Gold Status, which required only 10,000 miles flown in Business Class). But I understand this really affects people in the industry.

2) Delta is planning a new award chart with now 5 levels for redemptions. I do not think we will see any lower mileage values that what we see now even at the lowest level.

3) The requirements to achieve a Tier Status with Delta stay high. Most people abandoned Delta status for that reason during the last couple of years anyways.

Delta Skymiles as a program is devaluing almost on a daily basis. I'm not sure how far one can stretch this but I hope Delta is not following Lufthansa which devalued a great award program into something you can only use at the very 'edges' of it's planned goal.

I have just redeemed my last Delta miles for a flight on Virgin Atlantic business class to Europe. I have stopped accumulating Delta Skymiles in 2013 and won't add any unless there is a major promotion.