KLM is bragging about BIG 2013 win at the Freddie’s – just why did Delta get strikeout?

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When you go over to the KLM media site, you will see the proud display above of their near sweep of the 2013 best of the best for Europe and Africa Frequent Flyers awards – the coveted Freddie’s that I had the privilege of attending in May.

First a review of the winners for the Americas:

  • Program of the Year — American Airlines – AAdvantage
  • Best Earning Promotion — American Airlines – AAdvantage
  • Best Redemption Ability — AviancaTACA LifeMiles
  • Best Elite Level — American Airlines – AAdvantage
  • Best Affinity Credit Card — Southwest Airlines – Rapid Rewards
  • Best Customer Service — Southwest Airlines – Rapid Rewards

klm big win at freddie awards 2013

 So just how well did our Skyteam partner do? Just look at all they won:

  • Program of the Year — Air France/KLM – Flying Blue
  • Best Earning Promotion — Air France/KLM – Flying Blue
  • Best Elite Level — Air France/KLM – Flying Blue
  • Best Redemption Ability — Air France/KLM – Flying Blue
  • Best Affinity Credit Card — Flying Blue American Express

The ONLY one they did now win was Best Customer Service — SAS – EuroBonus got that. So why did they do so well and why did Delta strikeout so bad that they were basically not even in the running in ANY of the categories? Let’s see why.

Program of the Year. All of the below really builds to get this big win. Delta has a great product and the unlimited upgrades domestic along with Skymiles never expire are great. But now look at the rest.

Best Earning Promotion. Oh I can totally tell you why Delta got creamed here. Just about every Delta promotion last year, and continuing the same pattern this year, is targeted. Nothing upsets a frequent flyer more than knowing another flyer is getting a ton more points than them on the same flights due to the fact “you are not eligible”. C’mon Delta, make promotions open to all!

Best Redemption Ability. Can you even dream of Delta ever winning this one? Don’t you think Delta knows the award page is just beyond broken? How about next step is offer some more low level seats?

Best Elite Level. Delta clearly does a great job with DM, PM & even GM. However, Delta has been stripping Silver Medallions of perks more and more. To me, someone who amasses 25,000 qualifying miles with Delta should be treated well. If Delta wants to win, give more perks – don’t scale them back.

Best Affinity Credit Card. I think Delta AMEX cards really are good. KLM partners with AMEX too. So why did SW Air win over Delta? It goes back to redemption again. If Delta were to free up some more low level seats (even more mid level) I think we would see Delta win much more.

Customer Service. I would have thought Delta had a good shot at this one. Delta does a bang up job with @DeltaAssist and proactively planning for weather. When you call Delta, reps are generally good. I think the main reason is fees. Change fees etc. and this is why SW Air won.

Does any of this mean Delta is making progress to fix any of this for a chance at winning anything in 2013 for the 2014 awards? Maybe, but doubtful at this point. So much of any award program hinges on redemption. A program that is simple to redeem at good value will be perceived as a great program. Once Delta can fix this, they will again see more Freddie trophies heading back to Atlanta – René

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One comment

  1. I do agree that the benefits DL provides at the 50k and 75k level are somewhat superior to those offered by AA (free domestic upgrades on DL offset by higher quality F service on AA).

    At the 25k level, I think AA benefits are better — especially with all of the perks DL is removing.

    The clincher in my opinion is that at the 100k level, AA offers by FAR the most generous benefits — including 8 SWUs which are valid on any fare. In my 5 years at EXP, I only failed to clear an SWU upgrade on one occasion.

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