A very interesting PVT event with the Delta SkyMiles team last night.

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delta and virgin tails at ATL airport from Skyclub Delta points blog

What a week this has been all starting with the joy that non-revs feel (Delta people who are flying basically for free but only where there is an open seat) just hoping for anything to be open flying stand-by. I was on a confirmed SkyMiles award ticket down, but wanted to try to get into town early and made it on the direct flight SBN to ATL.

Just as a background, most of the folks I interact with on a regular basis are the “Corp Com” people or the corporate communications people that deal with the media and people like me. So to have a few private hours with the SkyMiles team people was really a treat.

I can say I enjoyed talking to all of them. They are very interested in SkyMiles and are really wanting to continue to innovate with SkyMiles and it will be interesting to see what new partnerships and ideas pan out. I like some of the things I was told and will share as I can on the blog.

The only concerning part of the evening was something we unfortunately already know and that Delta seems all happy about, that it costs more SkyMiles to get award tickets. The changes that have been made sure are accomplishing those goals. Clearly, Delta is allowed to charge whatever they want for an award ticket, but the advertisements that they are rewarding those who spend most just fall flat to me as you are rewarding no one when it costs so much more for everyone to redeem.

I was also VERY impressed with a new person working on the Skyclubs. I have been very critical of the fact that the changes to the clubs back in September did not go far enough considering how much it now costs to enter or bring in a guest with you. I think we are going to slowly see real improvements in the Skyclubs this year. Stay tuned for more. I am excited to see what happens.

The people who are going to be running the show for us in loyalty, and all that surrounds it, are for the most part “new” in their positions and some are coming with airline background, but some are not but have years in the travel industry and I think they will bring some fresh ideas with them. I am generally a very positive person when it comes to Delta. They do SO much SO right. I just wish a tiny bit of this energy could be focused in a positive way towards SkyMiles awards! – René


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  1. I like the tone of this post. We defend Delta for what they do right, and while all airlines are run for profit, sometimes it takes a changing of the guard to kick up the dust. Things like the following confuse me: why do you take away transcon upgrade availability from Platinum Medallions? If the seat is not sold at full or discount, it will go to a Diamond, then onto a Platinum. Is the $9000 MQD requirement (ignore the cc waiver for right now) not enough to allow these customers to feel they have the chance at the upgrade? The cost is minimal, but the added value in the happiness of your higher-spend passengers would probably be significant. I usually far exceed the Diamond MQD requirement, but typically qualify only for Platinum… I dunno…little things to make people feel valued. That’s it.

  2. Quick example from what I’ve done at the company I work for. We make clothing and always get stuck with XL. ALWAYS. This leaves us with a lot of dead stock that is [usually] all XL and cannot be sold. When a customer orders something in XL from us, we’ll throw in another item from the dead stock. They open the package and get a nice surprise. The loss of that one unit that would have sat there forever is NOTHING compared to the good will and loyalty we build with the customers we need most. If you really want to get into it, it actually makes sense to do this from a finance perspective as well, but we did it before we figured that out 😉 (a free XL unit from dead stock = allowing a Platinum Medallion to see “Medallion Upgrade Requested” next to their transcon flight details)

  3. Rene, you write, “I am generally a very positive person when it comes to Delta.” Really?
    When it comes to Delta staff on the ground – yes. But you hammer the company otherwise.
    And do you really think these fresh skymiles faces and new employees are going to have influence over the few who sit around King Richard and pull the strings? Really? I think you were charmed. 🙂
    BTY I was in a lounge in ALT last week. The food bar was a mess, food on the floor, empty containers, trash on the counter… you didn’t even want to walk up to it. Ugh.

  4. I’m at the DL Skyclub at JFK terminal 4 now and they are offering DL1 passengers a light meal. The snacks for the rest of us are still the same mediocre selection, though the cookies are decent.

    DL – let’s start with at least one non-US complementary beer.

  5. Almost all of my travel is international and I usually make Platinum because of the distance. What would make me real happy would be to have the option of two global upgrade certs rather than the useless (to me) regional upgrade certs. Next time you talk with the Skymiles folks, I would appreciate it if you plant that bug in their ear.

  6. Ditto on Lewis’ 2 GUC or 4 RCU for PMs. Rene can you ask your peeps at Delta why this isn’t a Benefits option?

  7. @DDiamond – Because only Diamond are worth the very best Delta has to offer. It really is, with a little work not ALL that hard to make DM btw.

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