A change of direction for the blog & what will Delta do next?

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I give up – well sorta. I mean, I really wish I could be more positive about Skymiles2015 and Delta, but I know better. Delta is not Alaska or American Airlines who is adding features and rewarding their loyal customers. No, Delta is rewarding Delta and cutting everywhere they can. They have hoodwinked and bamboozled over spenders into thinking they are being rewarded while “behind their backs” removing perks so when they go to spend their “bonus” points they are worth-“less”. Plus, as I have blogged about before, Delta has steadily been withdrawing involvement with the social media and blog world. They don’t care about frequent flyers anymore – no matter who you are. I even shared with some Delta CORP folks that the end of stopovers and open jaw awards was an absolute game changer for me – for the rest of you – take your pick what was your game changer with Delta!

So a change of direction is needed for me and the blog; really what is needed is a move back to the “roots” of the blog where I started so many years ago now. What Delta Points was from the get-go was a travel “hacking”, or better wording, a Delta enthusiast blog. Not one that is rah-rah Delta CORP but rah-rah what we can get from Delta if we know how to game it. Now I am not trying to alienate DELTA360 and huge dollar spenders with Delta readers of the blog, but you know what, we all know Delta will cave to anything you ask nicely for so you really don’t need my help all that much! 😉

Just what is Delta going to inflict on us all next – that is what we need to start thinking about and planning on how to deal with when it arrives. Clearly, expect the worst! Here is what I see happening NOW and will be on deck next.

  • End of segment by segment booking. The (E7) Essentials posts have been lifesavers and educated so many for years on how to find low level awards when Delta.dumb would not show them. In my searches yesterday there were routes I could find low level awards leg by leg but Delta.dumb would not show them as choices, instead showing much higher totals and route choices. When I attempted to do them leg by leg they error-ed out as “sold out”. Several readers are saying Delta reps have been directly told NOT to book leg by leg and only allow what their system shows. Not good news. While not ILLEGAL for Delta to sell us over priced routes, when lower ones clearly exist, it is slimy and nasty by Delta to make this change. Welcome to #Skymiles2015 – who says a dollar does not go as far as it once did? (oh yeah, Delta marketing says that – rrrriiiiggggghhhhttt)!
  • More restriction for awards. Shockingly we have the chance to Pay With Miles (PWM) at any award and earn – in many ways, since MQMs have not changed, Delta is ENCOURAGING DeltaMileageRunning with points to earn MQMs. But this is the only change and maybe a result of the new multi-year contract with AMEX. Either way, look at BASIC fares that have so many restrictions. I expect over time more restrictions on awards. We have, after all, seen the return of the 72 hr no changes allowed to not just the outbound but the return as well (other than right away, when the 72 hr came out, return was wide open to change all you wanted – not anymore).
  • Delta marketing/sales vs Delta employees. When I asked some FA s about policing C+ overhead space as space ONLY for C+ flyers they just about lost it. Not gonna happen. Their priority is NOT making sure those who have often PAID for this upgraded “seat” get what they were PROMISED when they purchased it on Delta.dumb. No, what we will see is so many of the Delta employees jobs will be directly at odds with what the paying customer is expecting. This is going to just get NASTY I tell you and there will be, mark my words, times when folks get tossed off a jet due to not getting what they paid for and tempers flair up. Nothing like making the already tense world of flying in a tiny metal tube even more so and putting FAs in the middle of it all with sales spin (they are after all there to sell you, err, for your safely I mean). See the problem?
  • More prices going up (including Amex spend). Sometime after 1MARCH the 2017 Skymiles program will be introduced (we are currently earning now for the 2016 Skymiles year) with all it’s glorious changes. I do not see changes to MQMs or rollover as some have suggested or the silly notion that the Delta AMEX card(s) MQD spend waiver will go away. However, I fully expect it to go UP from the current $25,000 to something like $30,000. Also expect price jumps for onboard purchases and forcing flyers to PAY if they must gate check their bags (now free and loudly announced at every flight). Keep in mind Delta must keep thrilling shareholders and that means cutting your perks more so you can pay more.

I could go on but I think this is enough to make my point. By all means I will praise our “beloved airline” when they do good things and shame them when they do bad. I am sick of all the #KeepDescending events and I have come to accept they are going to trash the frequent flyer program into oblivion. Until something massive changes and they see a measurable impact on earnings – nothing we say or do will stop them – they don’t care. Thus I/we need to go full “game-on” to eke out the best perks we can and I will be focusing on just how we can do this with the new program in place. #Winning.

What this means is finding the best space, even if on partners, to score level 1 & 2 seats for us. If we have to call and game the phone reps, we will do that and I will show the way. It will mean mileage runs sub 4 CPM to keep our status. It means working to get MAX bump vouchers and tricks to get reps to combine more than one for a trip (yes you can get them to do this). How to use AMEX for elite perks – since Delta is thinning the elite herd for us, we can game the best perks! Really not all that much new, but tweaks to get the best for US each and every time we interact with the mothership from this point forward. If there are better choices, we can go there rather than Delta (I know I will), in both where to credit our trips or spend our money. This will be my 2015 focus for the blog. – René

PS – On a side note, my 2015 Ski trip award price, dropped to 25k today from 30k each! #TheReasonToBeDiamond (or Platinum) as I switched for free. #Winning!

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  1. Thnx for telling me to check on an award reservation for four from Msp to Sna. It dropped from 40k to 37.5k each. 10k savings!

  2. Good luck on the new direction for your blog. I’ll be checking back in from time to time. It’s just so sad the amount of devaluating changes that have taken effect for fliers that don’t always buy expensive tickets. Safe travels. I’m on AA this year. When the frequent flyer game is over, I’ll go back to exploring my local surroundings!

  3. I do not “get” it. I worked hard in 2014 for Diamond status. It’s way above my pay grade (as I’m traveling today) to figure out this Delta skullduggery and even harder this year to evaluate the downgrades and how it will be to fly out of BHM. Usually got a small of MQM’s or that leg.
    Obviously, it’s just not another day “flying the freindly skies” on Delta. Oh well….

  4. Wow Rene that was a tough read, must have been tough to write. I’m with you and it’s time to start hacking the system to our advantage.

    I’m beyond pissed about the recent changes. The RTW trip I have been saving for will never happen. I was simply too busy to be able to stop my current project to shift gears and plan a RTW trip. My loss but I won’t ever forgive the short notice. The other side of that coin is my pile of nearly 1MM SkyPesos will continue to grow now faster than I can hope to redeem them.

    My plan is to be DM for 2016 quickly between rollover MQM and Reserve spend bonuses (x3). I will be DM for 2016 without a single flight in 2015 and will rollover 21K MQM for 2017. Not really sure why I am working hard at a status that is becoming less worthwhile.

    Let us know what you need from us and thanks again for all you do for Delta flyers.

  5. I gave up on DL when the changes started, I could see where it was going. I spent last year using up many of my FF miles 450K. I’ve keep 200k DL, 150k UA and 200k AA. Plus 400K between UR and TYP’s split close 50/50.
    DL owes everything to a CC company (Amex) where they get the big money!
    But my Airlines is now AA/US because they’re the best 2nd option. I love AS but the Midwest has few AS options.
    I found I’ve saved thousands of $ last year and will do a status challenge with AA in the fall/winter for 2016. 3 of my foreign trips for this year are placed with 3 different Airlines already.
    I do buy all my own tickets out of my pocket.

  6. Thanks, Renee. This Diamond is gone. Requested and was granted a status match on AS to MVP Gold 75K. Between AS and their partners, I don’t plan to fly another segment on Delta.

  7. FF moving to AS and their partners. Wow. Because of changes to Skymiles? Makes sense if your interest is accruing miles, but completely worthless (especially if you’ll be flying AA or DL metal) if you value flying in first (unless you buy first).

    Me? Give me upgrades. If I want more Skymiles I’ll churn some spend on a CC (then probably PWM on a cheap MR fare).

  8. Rene, have you had any success in using more than 3 $50 gift certs on one flight? Looks like I am going to end up with 12 of them very shortly.

  9. Thanx for the article. Its like a light in a dark cave.
    Thanx for sharing and Happy New Year.

  10. All so true. And don’t forget that the days of upgrades may be limited too… the so-called “5 day” clearing seems to be done. I’m Diamond (plus Delta AMEX Reserve), I had a December trip ATL-JFK-ATL. On the outbound they had 12 (!) of 26 seats open; no one cleared at 5 days; they tried to SELL me an upgrade for $199 when I checked in 24 hours ahead! I cleared at the gate, but of course couldn’t choose my seat. On the way back, there were 24 (!!!) open seats out of 26; and STILL nothing cleared at 5 days, or 3 days, or even 1 day. Again they tried to “sell” me for $199, again I cleared at the gate. So their claim of clearing 5 days ahead is turning fast into another lie…. or a sign of worse things to come.

  11. I think another delta devaluation will be to expand the restrictions on E fares to other fares classes.

  12. Rene as stated above that was a tough dose of reality and I agree with most of the comments. I resent going out of my way to be loyal to Delta so that I could get the many benefits that Delta touted for loyalty over the years. This feeling of disgust will drive me to send you any ways I can find to make the most of what is left of our benefits.

  13. Rene, They finally broke you. Now you’re on the fun side of the line. As a Gold the only thing I was getting out of NYC was EC seats at booking (NO upgrades in 2013 or 2014 (20 midweek round trips)) Now that EC is basically gone, Gold means almost nothing. What a Rip! I spent over $50,000 on Delta Amex last year for status. This year it will be 0 on the Amex that will be cancelled. Look forward to tips on bulking up on ecredit use, Voucher use and other TRICKets. Thanks for your New direction as it is in my opinion overdue. Welcome to the hood. Cheers E

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