Why are so many Delta “partnerships” so strange and strained nowadays?

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cleaning station

(Images via: Nat.Geographic, AboutFish, DiveGallery, UWPhotos and ScienceBlogs)

I love scuba diving. If you never have been you should try it one day. There is so much life everywhere! Day or night there is motion and movement. Then there are truly amazing things like “cleaning stations” where prey is not eaten by much larger, scary predators. I don’t know about you but I just could not trust doing what these little creatures do. You never know when the predator might just snap!

Now for the rest of this post consider Delta as the eel with large, big teeth in these next examples and see if you don’t agree with me that there is something very odd and strange going on here.

  • First we have American Express. Clearly Delta appreciates the relationship with AMEX and the Skymiles they buy each year. However, most also know at this point that the May 1st reduction in Skyclub benefits from the AMEX Reserve card were not shared with AMEX in advance. The success of the Centurion Lounges is a great buffer against more moves like this by not just Delta but other airline partners.
  • Then we have Air France & KLM. Award space comes and goes (mostly goes). From what I have been told Delta has been very stingy paying and sharing award space with the Skyteam partners and thus they are doing the same toward us as Skymiles members. Gotta be careful as a Delta partner – just ask Korean.
  • Speaking of Korean, have you priced a Korean flight vs. the same flight as a Delta code share? Just a teeny tiny price difference (ok so a huge difference). Now we all know if you want points you had better pick the code share.
  • Are you starting to feel like a cleaning “fish” yet? No? Let’s talk about Alaska. Delta has made a HUB of their home town airport. Expansion is nonstop and every month Delta brings a new challenge to win flyers, like by awarding elite status to anyone who lives in Washington.
  • How about Hawaiian. Delta calls them a partner airline. Hawaiian? They call Delta “Other“! Earning points on this, ah hem, partner is less that glorious. And we all found last year we can no longer redeem Hawaiian points to fly Delta (not that it was that simple to do when you could)!
  • How about the Pilots union? If you look at the tweets from the last big meeting in Chicago you will see just how Delta treats them. We know Delta is not a fan of unions, but then again Delta does sorta need the sky jockeys to drive the jets. Maybe they should be a little careful with these guys and gals?

I really could go on all day long with this. Delta is king of the hill right now. They can do no wrong. Any “partner” who dares to defy them will just get the cold shoulder or pushed out of the way. I think anyone wanting to do business with our mothership should be very afraid! – René

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.


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  1. Rene,
    Great topic of discussion, however, it will be good to hear your analysis or perspective, even if its speculative.

  2. @Nic – txs. It really just comes down to that fact that Delta always has to come down on the $$$ side that will give max yield. Take Skyclub massages. From what I hear still maybe going to happen but Delta is driving for lower rates from vendors. Clearly protecting all those extra $29 upcharges for +1’s they are now enjoying!

  3. Don’t forget the new rift with ExpertFlyer! This paid service was a great way for Delta flyers to leverage technology, take pressure off Delta employees and IT, and enjoy the travel experience more overall. That symbiotic relationship is now gone, and it only hurts loyal Delta customers!

  4. Delta is becoming the evil empire. I will have 200k miles on them this year, I’ll have just over 50k next year in order to keep my diamond status. If that’s the way they treat their partners I’m sure they would have no problem treating their loyal customers the same way. Oh wait, SkyMiles 2015!

  5. Remember business cycles up and down. When they are back down they will wonder where all the loyalty went.

  6. And then there’s something I just discovered on my return flight today from Gothenburg (Sweden). According to the flight attendents, there has been no tax and duty-free shopping on Delta jets for the last few weeks (perhaps a month) due to a rift between Delta and the DFASS, the company Delta has been partnering with.

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