Delta MGT has “lost it” – Completely out of touch with reality & loyal flyers!

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From Wikipedia

Now please understand I am in no way saying or implying that ANY of the Delta MGT people use illicit substances. However, when you look at the past week’s public statements you just have to wonder what the color of the sky is in the world they live in? #TRUTH

I mean, without going into it I am still totally in shock from the geopolitical insanity of Richard Anderson’s public blunder and his NON- apology (like saying sorry that I offended you but not for what I said). My fellow BoardingArea bloggers have covered this better than I ever could and have shared what I feel about this topic very well.

But I was quoted this week in Bloomberg News as well as in Yahoo Finance and the PR manager of Delta SkyMiles responded to questions about #AwardChartGate in a manner that just about made me fall off my chair.

First from Bloomberg we have:

“Delta believes the move gives customers a more accurate view of prices, said Anthony Black, a spokesman.”

No, Mr. Black, it does not at all show an accurate view of prices, as I showed the other day, that you can end up paying MORE for a ticket with points than cash. Let’s move on to the Yahoo Finance one as it is even more shocking:

“There is a segment of people who rely on award charts, but the overwhelming majority doesn’t look at the charts,” – Anthony Black

Oy. So, because most people don’t use it, that is one reason to hide the award charts that Delta still uses, but no longer publishes. Does that sound remotely sane to you? Let me give you a comparison. Have you ever read all 73,994 pages (as of 2013) of the U.S. federal tax code? Me neither, but I pay taxes each year and I am sure you do to. Would you be OK if they did not publish the tax code and said “just trust us” and we will tell you what to pay?

Yeah, I think the same way as you.

So, I can use a number of ways to access the part of the award charts, sorry, tax code that applies to ME or, worst case, I can hire ADAM for award booking, sorry again, a tax person to consult the tax code to help me not OVER PAY MY TAXES!

Now let’s look at the recent quotes and comments and justifications of the changes and hollow justifications for dumping the award charts:

“Black also pointed to recent positive changes in the SkyMiles frequent flier program. For example, Delta is now making more award space available at the lowest mileage level and allows one-way award seats. Delta’s removal of the award chart hasn’t impacted customers using their rewards for travel, according to Black — there were roughly twice as many award tickets issued in January 2015 than there were during the same period in 2014. In addition, Delta finds that about 90% its of award travelers are looking for domestic, economy class award tickets for 25,000 miles, and it contends that only a small number of its 94 million SkyMiles members were interested in viewing the award chart.” – Yahoo Finance

As usual, let me correct this information from Delta and the “positive changes” to SkyMiles? You mean like THESE last year or THESE this year?

I will agree, for about a week or two, at the first part of the year, there was slightly better access to LEVEL 1 awards – that seems to have dried up now. I am also not shocked about the higher redemption in 2015 because everyone is terrified about what the next devaluation will be and this is one of the reasons I have worked HARD to book almost 1 million SkyMiles worth of award tickets this year.

As to the last one, I am sure most ARE searching for 25,000 point award tickets, but they can be VERY hard to find. Now if 90% of SkyMiles members are spending their SkyMiles this way then they are doing it wrong. They are MUCH better off not collecting SkyMiles but either Chase Ultimate Rewards or Barclay’s Arrival Plus or the old Northwest travel card from US Bank FlexPerks points to spend as they will have much better access to domestic awards without frustration.

I could go on and on, but it really is pointless. Delta has just lost it. They are beyond out of touch with reality and what flyers want. Something has to change or I think the departure from Delta will soon be a flood of loyal flyers.

I hope you have a great weekend and be sure to tune in to the Rudy Maxa’s World national radio show just before lunch today (ie 11:45AM) as I continue this discussion with Rudy! – René


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  1. Rene, Great analogy to the tax code. Delta always speaks the truth because honesty and integrity are enshrined in its corporate charter. Of couse those values were in Enron’s charter as well. Maybe its the $1.1 billion in bonuses that has caused a form of mass hysteria at delta.

  2. It seems like Delta is going United on us. I despise United, because of their “the customer is the problem” attitude, and the fact they are generally terrible as an airline.

    While Delta provides the best hard and soft product of any of the domestic legacy carriers, their attitude towards those who are loyal is getting so bad that I may not be able to bear it any longer.

    I just recently got the US Airways Premier World Mastercard, 50,000 miles w/o a spend requirement. I’m preparing for a potential switch to American. I don’t want to do it, especially because I still believe that Delta provides a superior experience, but their recent actions may force my hand.

  3. I don’t think Delta has lost anything except their morals. I’m sure they know full well what they are saying is BS but it’s all just PR spin.

  4. Absolutely – the reason award redemptions are up is because we are trying to burn our miles before delta can institute any more devaluations. And, that may be exactly what delta wants. Absolutely – award tickets have “cost” more than what I can pay for a ticket. I paid $550 for a ticket that delta wanted 90000 miles for. Again, may be exactly what delta wants. I haven’t been able to find a 25000 mile award ticket since last October and then it was only a last minute ticket for my son using dad’s miles. Oh, but we can’t do that anymore either, can we delta. As soon as my anniversary date arrives, I will not be renewing my Amex cards (really, delta, what happened to the more award availability for the Amex cards held by platinum+?) and will be applying for the new discover card that pays even more than my current discover card.

  5. Rene – I love the tax analogy you used. The “trust us” attitude they have is what really gets to me. It has been said before and I believe it, that this may just be a way to “fix” their IT problems without investing in actually fixing them. “The computer priced it this way so that’s how it is” mentality is a bad way of doing business.

  6. The tax code analogy fits perfectly, I have thrown in the towel, I am no longer loyal to Delta, although I have almost 80k carry-over mqm’s so I will probably get enough miles to maintain Diamond, paying as little as possible and manufacturing $25k worth of spend on my Delta Amex.

    I have also taken Renee’s advice and have been working very hard to burn through my miles. I had about 850k skyrubles at the beginning of the year, I have booked a few domestic flights as well as first class flights to Prague, Istanbul, and Nepal, all at the lowest level. My problem is this will complete my list of “must see places” and now I’m trying to figure out where to go with my remaining 275k miles. Any suggestions would be appreciated as I’d like to be as close to 0 as possible by the first of the month.

    This will mean A LOT of travel this year between work and play but I’ve worked too hard acquiring these miles to let Delta render them worthless.

    Again, any suggestions of great places to visit (off the beaten path places are very much encouraged) would be appreciated. I’m sorry if this does’t belong in this post but I’m getting a bit desperate as time is running short.

  7. The blogging world influencing Delta? You bet. Why else for the PR offensive? I trust we will all continue to calmly (as best we can) point out the alternative truth to what delta is claiming.

    When push comes to shove, however, former loyal delta folks flying other airlines will carry the day or prove us all wrong and delta right, that is they changed Skymile based on customer’s wants and needs.

    What if we all made it a point to tell the senior FA and/or pilot that we are cutting back on Delta flights because of Skymile changes. It wil be their bonuses bitting the dust.

  8. @Dave –

    I would suggest SE Asia since once you arrive, you can vacation for not a lot of dollar$, and not a lot of extra fees & taxes added onto your Award ticket price

  9. I’m Diamond 2 MM on Delta I flew one flight this year on Delta
    Using monies in my Wallet Acct. This year with SkyMiles 2015
    I’ve been flying AA,Delta has a better product and I hate to say
    Goodbye but tired of being lied to and no one at DL cares not
    The Delta I loved! Rene how about some AA Milage runs?

  10. Perhaps we could go out with a bang by selling all our miles to ticket brokers and changing carriers. After all, who cares about getting kicked out of a FF program that doesn’t have any value?

  11. Dude, rene, just give up on delta already. Change the name of the blog and move on. Try not to prematurely age anymore than you already have over all of delta’s crazy changes.

  12. @ Dave I’m not sure you can get more off the beaten path than Nepal. There are a bunch of places to suggest but I’ve booked a trip to Cambodia and Vietnam and would like to add Cape Town SA and Cuba if that is possible with skymiles this year too.

  13. Lonnng time lurker and first time poster. I am beginning to wonder if Delta mgmt is actually a lot smarter than we give them credit for. Consider a scenario where they are deliberately gutting there program in hopes that the other two big carriers do the same thing.

    I rarely fly DL these days because most of my domestic flying is on routes served directly by either AA/US or UA, whereas on DL it would require a transfer through ATL, which I happily avoid. In reality most Americans live in markets where specific point-to-point routes are only flown by one, or in rare cases such as ORD, two carriers.

    So maybe DL mgmt thinks, “hey, with generally only one mainline choice available to folks with even a remote chance of offering a non-stop to somewhere, let’s gut the program and hope if the other carriers follow suit than at some point (and it may be at least five years off, for all I know) then we can all just ditch our programs and we’ll all save money”.

    And if they can actually pull it off, the really big losers will be the banks who will lose a very valuable airline-mile specific CC business.

  14. Rene – I don’t know which was the bigger “D’oh!”… 🙂

    my not googling this or

    the bizarro statement & quasi-apology. Yikes!

    p.s. Rene, you or Rudy or somebody should do a story on how flying was like BEFORE frequent flyer programs… I think it was AA who started it to fill empty FC seats so they could re-sell coach seats (but IIRC mostly to just annoy the other carriers) but that was ages ago.

  15. @John & John – Thanks for the suggestions. I am considering Cambodia and was considering Vietnam until I read some bad reviews about visiting there, I still might do a combination of the 2 or possibly a tour that starts in Vietnam, goes through Cambodia and finishes in Bangkok.

    I did South Africa last year, although I only did a safari. If anyone is looking for a GREAT trip, I highly recommend it!

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