Let me start off with the same disclaimer I always have when I talk about $DAL or any airline stock. I do not buy or trade, in my or my wife’s personal or IRA accounts, any airline stocks at all. I am not that brave! Disclaimer done.
On to what really matters to me and that is not the share price of Delta but what impact anything Delta says that matters to me as a frequent flyer. SeekingAlpha.com has the full transcript of the Q4 – 2106 earnings call last week and what stood out to me when reporters were asking the Delta CEO, Ed Bastian about SkyMiles and AMEX and how much value they bring to Delta, in part he said:
“…ultimately those miles have to be redeemed for travel.” And later he said, “There is a significant cost of fulfillment. We don’t give SkyMiles out and not deliver the travel service.” – Ed Bastian
This makes me happy. Why? If you look at so much the Delta president, Glen Hauenstein has said in the past he is all about finding ways to burn your SkyMiles in a way that yields very low value to you as a member like drinks in the Sky Clubs (that should be free) or paying for change fees (that you should not incur) or Delta PVT jets (buuhahhhahh) or so many other options that net you around 1 cent each (or less).
So to me the quotes above tell me the CEO of Delta is thinking straight. He is thinking about you and I burning our SkyMiles in the way they were intended and, if you are wise, in a way that can yield max value – that travel. Plus, he is even hinting to the fact that Delta should provide seats we need.
Now clearly these few words do not in any way take into account LEVEL 1-5 pricing and there are all kinds of open seats that can be delivered at the highest award levels. But my point is that at least he is thinking the way we all should be thinking.
2017 will be a very interesting year. While I have high hopes for more good “enhancements” from Delta and the man at the helm of the mothership I am still in fear of what has been the pattern for so many years. Delta clearly wants to keep growing earnings and attracting more spending but we truly are at the loyalty tipping point and more cuts would not help accomplish that. I feel like I am number one on the upgrade list with one seat open – time cannot fly by fast enough to see what happens next for me! – René