Travel Loyalty Programs

PLEASE understand how DEVASTATING the latest Skymiles2015 change is!!! A call to action!

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

angry cat

NO Rookie Wednesday this week – this week Rookie Wednesday is this post, it is TOO important to wait. WE MUST ACT AND ACT NOW! A CALL TO ACTION! E-Mail Delta TODAY!

The more I think about this the more upset I get. Everyone, I mean EVERYONE, just seems to be taking every devaluation and destruction of the program step by step. This latest one is, to me, the WORST that has happened in 20 years. This one is completely DEVASTATING to me and I hope all who read Delta Points will PLEASE, I beg you dear reader,  take the time to e-mail and complain to Delta that this is a GAME CHANGER and will change your feelings and loyalty to Delta (and more importantly how you spend your dollars as that is all they really care about)!

I can tell you I have so many cherished memories of stopovers in Paris, Rome, Amsterdam and more on award tickets. They are memories I love and make me think fondly of Delta that helped give them to me from my hard work to earn Skymiles. I will never have those memories again – thanks Delta, why don’t you kick my dog too?

I am angry beyond measure. This is intolerable. A reader asked me why not go to American after this change? I have no answer after this last enhancement of the Skymiels2015 program.

All I can do is perhaps come up with a list of all the changes we have had to endure over the past few years and you tell me if “Delta always has our back”? Here we go and in order of importance to me (see if you agree)!

1) End of Stopover (& Open Jaws)
2) 2015 Revenue Based Program
3) SDC Same Day Change 1, 2 3 & 4
4) Expert Flyer removal
5) Devaluation of Skymiles again and again
6) Skyclub $29 +1 upcharge for DM & Delta Reserve
7) E-Class fares no upgrade & other perks
8) Silver Medallion perk reductions
9) MQDs or qualifying dollars
10) Removing transcon upgrade for GM & FO
11) Removing Award wallet real-time tracking (for seat changes)
12) No more award HOLDs (for a few days)
13) T-72 Rule for Skymiles re-deposit
14) Removing elite gifts for both the year you earn and the next year status
15) No more HOOU snack option
16) End of RTW or Round The World award tickets
17) Consolidator fares including for AMEX Travel
18) Limited food vouchers when bumped
19) All but eliminating Skyteam award choices
20) Less access to International third party lounges
21) Delta DieMiles – when you die so do your Skymiles
22) End to combining vouchers on one ticket
23) Reduction in point transfers from partners
24) No Korean credit unless DL-CODE Share
25) Reduced points when crediting to Alaska Airlines
26) End of Have one on Us coupons for elites

This is quite a list and I may have forgotten a few as the devaluations have been so fast and furious as of late that it is hard to keep up and keep track of all that has been inflicted upon us. But the worst of all these is the END OF STOPOVERS! This truly was one of the most valuable features of Skymiles that is now OVER!

Bottom line is at some point we have to draw the line. To me, this latest change is the last straw and I think, seeing readers comments, it is the last straw for many others as well. This “enhancement” can not be allowed to stand. I will promise you I will blog about this every week at least once and tweet this every day until there is a change again. This is the line in the sand for me. Is it for you? Are you going to just sit by and let this stand or will you contact Delta and tell them to BRING BACK STOPOVERS for award tickets? – René
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. 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 American Express.

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


    • @FNT Platinum – That helps but EMAIL or US MAIL them copies of your AA tickets. Show them you are still flying – JUST NOT DELTA!

  1. I switched from united (years of Plt and gold) and delta to Alaska air. I fly them as much as possible (hard out of NY) and american and have not been happier as AK gold. Just as long as the new american and Alaska don’t follow I will be happy. If they do I will have to base flying more on price than loyalty.

  2. Given the choice between one ways or stopovers, i would rather have one way awards …i get that this move stinks, but this is by far not the worst change they did. You should have already left if redeeming miles was your #1 priority out of a loyalty program.

    • @John S – I see Delta’s marketing spin has worked on you. It has NOT on me.

  3. Don in ATL Reply

    @JohnS, I would go with stopovers! But if the DL IT guys are clever enough, they could set it up so that one way awards do not allow stopovers, but when you designate or put together 2 one ways to make a RT, then the system would allow a stopover. Do you think the DL IT people are clever enough to write a program for that? (Open jaws with a stop are a bit more difficult of a problem).

  4. Fortunately I’m not hub captive to Delta (of course MCI isn’t a hub for anything as far as I know). Heck I can’t even drive to a nearby hub like St. Louis, Wichita or Omaha. I guess I’m lucky in that I burned up all my Delta miles last year. The effect on current customers will be bad I think but the effect on potential customers like me is even worse. I guess they don’t call them SkyPesos for nothing. I guess there are always magazine redemptions 🙁
    It seems sad that I would pick some Spirit routes from MCI over Delta now.

  5. Well that about does it for me. I sent my email off to Delta voicing my concerns. While I know it will go nowhere, I feel better breaking my allegiance to Delta for all flights in 2016 and most of them in 2015. I have a few left to finish for 2014 to get the medallion bonus while it is still with it, but once these are done, hello American airlines for all my and my companies travel 🙂

  6. In Chicago you mentioned needing a blog about Alaska Airlines… perhaps Delta Points can be Alaska Points in the near future.

    Sad day for Delta Flyers…

  7. Sent my comments on how I feel about yet another terrible change, got a crappy form response…ugh…

    • @Paul C – If they do please cut-N-paste what they say here in comments. We can see if we all get the same stock response! 🙁

  8. Not a huge fan of Delta, and agree that this is too far. I emailed them as well. Keep fighting the good fight!

  9. Stopovers were part of the fun of booking award travel, and helped open so many possibilities!

    Sent the email with the Top 20 dissatisfaction points listed above.

  10. This is really bad news, I’ve emailed them but I imagine it’ll go ignored. All they seem to care about at the moment is their shareholders and how to make more money. I really hope they remember they are an airline and should be thinking of their customers first.

  11. Clearly no more HOOU snack option is the worst, I loved those snack boxes!

  12. Do you know that American doesn’t allow stopovers either? I think the voucher changes (can’t combine them, etc.), T-72 award re-deposit without warning, and Skyclub change were pretty scrappy, but I’m indifferent to most of the changes as I’m either not affected by them or I find an acceptable work around/alternative, and the 2015 changes are good for me. I should be clear that I do not fly Delta for the Skymiles…that’s what credit card points are for (for various airlines)! I fly Delta for the relatively good service and my 99% upgrade rate since I’m Chicago based and fly to Atlanta each week. It would not make sense to switch to American and have no chance at an upgrade since I’ll never reach Executive Platinum since they destroyed their program by increasing the number of segments required for top tier status. United’s customer service is legendarily horrible. Southwest doesn’t offer first class. I don’t see that there is another airline that meets my needs better than Delta. However, if Delta chooses to get rid of complimentary upgrades or the service goes down the tubes, then I’ll probably fly whichever airline offers the most valuable miles/points

  13. While this is obviously a negative change, I don’t think the amount of value lost should be what drives the outrage. This was not a perk for the most loyal travelers, like transcon upgrades and guest lounge access. Instead, it was a nice feature of SkyMiles that allowed savvy travelers to add a visit to another city as part of their trip. It’s bad that it’s gone, but I think it pales in comparison to the other changes that are directed squarely at Delta’s most loyal customers. Most of us frequent business travelers want upgrades and lounge access for guests, and don’t care nearly as much about the award travel changes. After all, how often does one with a non-travel related job get to take an international vacation anyway?

  14. Isn’t Delta also going to limit how many miles you can transfer into your account in a year?!

  15. LarsErikNYC Reply

    If anyone else reads these comments before writing to Delta, please don’t copy and paste Rene’s list. Corporate communications departments place more value on individuals who complain (a.k.a. grassroots) versus any kind of form letter campaign. Just look at how we are quick to discount any kind of stock response from Delta. It works both ways.

  16. I am curious how much actual $$ you spend with DL? I for one am giddy about the changes and cant wait. Then again I buy most all my tickets less than 3 days in advance, so I drop a ton of cash with DL. I am tickled that I will start benefiting for that more than some guys doing repeated mileage runs or doing card tricks.

    • @John V – I feel very sorry for you – you really don’t get it. Oh btw, we gamers will do MUCH better under Skymiles2015. It is you and others who have no clue who will suffer the most and just don’t see it.

  17. Personally the stopover thing doenst affect me. I rarely do alot of those and Ill spend other miles as needed if I want to hit a second destination. With that being said there will be many more changes to come with Delta and probably the other airlines as well. Although if American doesnt go to a rev based system they might actually steal some business form united and delta. Usually airliens work in tandem. I do expect changes at American though, although they could sit it out for a year or two and see how things shake out.

    Its hard to say. Remember that the active people like us on flyertalk, the blogs etc in my opinion is a pretty small group. Maybe influential to a degree but small overall. The average person doesnt have a clue about changes and there are so many you can become dizzy about it. The people that work at Delta most likely cant keep up.

    • @robertw – I do agree that most people don’t have a clue but maybe those who matter can save them from what Delta is doing to us all!

  18. Every change is a negative change on these programs. Also I cant see why anyone would want to dump alot of points/miles into Delta anyway. I say this as Diamond with still 500K in my account

  19. Bernard Levinson Reply

    Renee: Please give us the best contact information to use in emailing them–what is best, email or fax? If email, through their website or do you have a specific direct address to use. Specify name of addressee? How do we make this as effective as possible?

  20. Rene…you are nuts if you think gamers will do better. The reason you are so upset over the Skymiles changes is that you are a gamer. Sky miles are all that matter to you. Those of us who fly week-in and week-out are much more concerned about operational issues than othe issues such as the Skymiles program. Skymiles don’t mean squat when I am overnighting somewhere because of mechanical issues or sitting in the lounge for hours waiting for a flight to leave. Delta is by far the best run legacy.

    • @Keith – I will end the year with about 120 Segments. You? I do fly most weeks. I know what I am talking about. Perhaps Delta should just end Skymiles. Soon there will be no value.

  21. In that case, you are even crazier than I thought. Do you not value operations at all?

    • @Keith – Thanks for the insult. If you read the blog you will see how many times I commend Delta for a well run airline. However, if you look at the list, many are very customer unfriendly for each week flyers. No?

  22. @Markj – Check the numbers. You will be overpaying in HUGE amounts with one-ways. Kill the one-ways if they must to give back what they have taken away.

  23. time to end your blog or focus on another program? no traveler, save a select number of premium biz travelers, is going to derive any value from Delta from 2015 onward.

  24. “You say the efforts that I make / will do no good; / they will never prevail / to tip the hovering scale / where justice hangs in the balance. / I don’t think / I ever thought they would, / but I am prejudiced beyond debate / in favor of my right to choose which side / shall feel the stubborn ounces of my weight.” — Bonaro W. Overstreet

    I, too, will be letting Delta know that they are now just another painted aluminum tube, like any other going my way.

  25. Kate Everingham Reply

    I do get it but I am still curious why so few PMs are upset about the dropping of GUs for us? Delta says “many flyers couldn’t redeem them so they weren’t considered valuable”. I have never had problems redeeming them on ATL-JNB (a 16 hr flight) 90 days in advance. That was the single perk that kept me flying Delta. Unlike Rene and some of you, I can’t spend $$$$ on an Amex card (BTW do tell how you can spend quite so much money on multiple cards?) to qualify – I have to fly my way to status With so much loyalty and money going their way I am enraged that Delta took this away.

    • @Kate – the list of things to be enraged about is long. I think it will get longer very soon! 🙁

  26. The stopover change doesn’t impact me greatly, but your rant on that topic prompted me to send a different complaint to Delta. As follows:
    >>>My Visa credit card rewards program, which is administered by something called CURewards, recently posted a notice that, effective 10/1/14, rewards tickets purchased on Delta — and ONLY Delta — would not earn status miles. I responded to that by instead purchasing our two tickets on American. I realize that reward program tickets and other “consolidator-type tickets generate less revenue than tickets purchased from Delta, but they do generate revenue. Why did Delta choose to go that far out of its way to poke a stick into the eye of a loyal Delta customer? Isn’t some $ revenue better than none? And, as I’m sure you’ve heard from others, this particular obscure downgrade in SkyMiles comes on top many other recent downgrades. I usually fly out of Indianapolis, where virtually every other airline offers lower fares than Delta. My pursuit of Medallion status is the ONLY thing that has kept me flying Delta. Why work so hard to ruin a program that’s been good for all concerned?<<<

  27. Hi! I’m new here, and i just managed to hit Silver Medallion status but i cant find any information about what the exact perk reduction is

    8) Silver Medallion perk reductions

    Please help!

  28. Here’s the response received:

    Thank you for contacting us about the 2015 SkyMiles program.

    We understand the 2015 program updates will affect members in different
    ways, but they best balance the needs of our customers and our business.
    We’re confident the updates are the right moves for our customers and

    As we continue investing in the SkyMiles program, we want to better
    reward customers who spend more with Delta. We’ve also heard that it
    should be easier to use miles, so we’re adding more flexibility to the
    redemption process and more redemption options overall. Beginning
    January 1, 2015, members may enjoy more Award Seats for fewer miles,
    book One-Way Awards, take advantage of new Miles + Cash Award options
    and enjoy new Award Travel shopping.

    Please visit for full details.

    Be assured, however, we take customer feedback seriously, and your
    comments will be forwarded to our SkyMiles Leadership Team for
    consideration. Mr. K., we appreciate your Diamond Medallion status
    and hope we remain your airline of choice.


    Diamond Desk

  29. Jeff Stuart Reply

    I’m not with you on this one. First – this is what happens when competition disappears and mergers are continually approved. Who’s left, SW, JetBlue, Alaska, Frontier, Spirit? Otherwise our domestic choices are now DL, AA or United. Same thing is happening in the cable TV business – wait until Comcast/Time Warner is completed – your cable bill will skyrocket and the premium packages (HBO, Showtime, NFL, MLB, etc) will do the same. DL stock closed at $44.65 yesterday, $27.48 this date last yr and $9.42 in 2012. I’m PM and only fly DL AND I’m a stockholder. I for one am thrilled at their results.
    SECOND: If you have a seemingly endless amount of $$ to charge on a seemingly endless number of credit cards and a seemingly endless amount of time to churn cards and a seemingly endless amount of time to spend gaming the system, i see your point. Consider this – if there are multiple hundreds of people gaming the SkyMiles program, imagine what the cost is to DL’s bottom line. It’s not a little bit of money.. There needs to be guardrails on the program so $$ isn’t leaking out the back door. Oh and then there’s this. What about the multiple hundreds of thousands of SkyMiles members that don’t game the system, remain devout DL fliers, value the perks they get and who are now seeing them ebb as a result of the actions of a few (gamers) Left unchecked, the program will continually have to be re-engineered in a way that dials back loopholes. There’s is no such thing as a free lunch. You do have other choices (AA and United). Good luck with that.

  30. traderprofit Reply

    You can really fool them by switching airlines but keeping the blog name and calling it “Delta Points Downward”

  31. No surprise here. Delta is interested in firing the non-profitable customers. In business, that is a very smart move. The question is if those who actually spend money that Delta profits on will benefit under Skymiles 2015??? That is what Delta is promising and we shall see. I wish I bought their stock when it was $9 a share.
    As far as the Stopover rule, I would have to agree with Delta. I think most of the mile/points manufacturing folks will need to concentrate on something else (SPG before they change their reward/award system), but it was really a great ride with Delta while it lasted. Again, from a business point of view, it really doesn’t make sense for Delta to keep flying folks like you Rene (and I love your blog and I think what you were able to achieve with Delta is amazing) in First without making money and then providing food vouchers and hotels and bump vouchers. Yes, as someone who loves the points/miles game it stinks. But as a business owner who spends with Delta I look forward to actually getting rewarded over someone with infinite amount of MS.

    • @Marty – how can A-B-C vs A-B-(stopover)-C cost Delta more money? how can this not be a touted PERK of the program that there is value. GO where we fly. Enjoy the trip. 🙁

  32. Several years ago, when Delta stopped allowing upgrades on L U and T fares, I wrote Delta a letter of complaint.

    Delta responded unsatisfactorily, so I left for Continental/Northwest.

    The only way to win is to take your business elsewhere.

    I only ended up back at Delta because of the DL/NW merger.

  33. @Michael – Yep to me all the other changes are either grrr or I can at least in a strange way get them – THIS – is a no go for me and just hurts us all!

  34. What if we organize a Slowdown? Of course, disruption without a message is useless. We need a way to communicate to DL why operations are getting bungled. There are ways to do that.

  35. Hey Rene, I agree these changes are terrible. Curious on your thoughts on my situation, although only time will tell I guess. I booked a VA award to Australia in J for 160k. It included an international stopover so I had to get it booked by phone to price correctly. I have domestic flights in J/F to get to/from LAX but they suck (12 hour layover JFK-LAX on the non-stop and 14 hour layover LAX-MSP-JFK on the return). If saver availability for something better opens up on these legs will I be able to make changes without any more miles, or do you think the computer will then reprice the entire award to 250K SkyMiles because of the international award stopover (this is the price that my trip was calculating out online before I went to a phone rep)? I don’t plan on touching the VA legs, including the stopover.

  36. Rene,

    Edit as you seem best. Here is my response to Delta

    Delta, You have absolutely caused me to re-think my spending strategy on transportation with the you. I have been a tried and true, dyed in the blood defender of the Delta Sky Miles program until now. This latest “enhancement” you have made to the EVER CHANGING SKY MILES PLAYBOOK is not tolerable. How can you really end Open Jaw and Stop Overs? REALLY! I am so mad I cannot stand it. You know, I get solicitations daily from United and American on how they can be my preferred provider for my significant international business travel. I must say, I have determined that Delta has now given me the final push to move my airfare purchases to either of them as soon as possible…..and they welcome me with open arms, status match and none of the current attacks to their frequent flyer reward programs like you have. This is the beginning of the end for so many of us who have built our trust in you, on how we can have our mutual interests achieved. Not now Delta, not now…………… Change and reverse thrust by adding back so much or what has been taken away or I will be forced to leave…………

  37. Where to begin? I guess by applauding your decision to encourage us to give delta a piece of our minds about the changes to skymile$$. I think other issues are the devaluatiion to earning miles and mqms on other skyteam carriers like KE and the fact that delta has yet to inform us how we will be credited for flights on skyteam partners in 2015. Those like Marty who seem to be unable to contain their joy over the revenue-based change don’t realize that their time will also come as delta is certainly going to continue to destroy the value of the skymile$$ program even for those who spend lots of other people’s money for their tickets. The restrictions on SDCs and skyclub access don’t do business travelers any favors. Interestingly, I think many of those business travelers who buy the high-priced tickets aren’t even motivated by earning miles. Under the 2015 program, the average traveler won’t be able to earn enough miles from flying for a round-trip domestic award much less an international one. Maybe that is why delta is introducing one-way awards, which will still be a stretch goal for most leisure travelers and business travelers who fly a few times each year. The one change that adds value is the GUs for Diamonds. Delta gives four. AA gives eight. But be careful with delta if you are waitlisted when using a GU on an international trip that includes a domestic flight. If the domestic flight upgrade is confirmed, the GU is gone even if the international portion never clears and you end up flying the international flight in coach. I will take your advice and email my displeasure (again) with these changes. I expect that I will get the standard “thanks for your comment but we really don’t care” response. I agree with Kevin that the best way to impress delta is to take the business they seem not to value elsewhere.

  38. Rene,

    I think it is a waste of time to email Delta over the change… You are free to do so, but obviously they decided it made financial sense and it’s not coming back with the one way awards.

    I think it would be more powerful to find sweet spots in the new program, which must exist somewhere.

    It’s better to be positive than negative.

    Nobody forces anyone to collect skymiles or fly DL.

    This has been the year of the AAdvantage mile for me

    Amex messed me out of a DL bonus as well.

    There’s always something new brewing

    Maybe time to get out of the DELTA POINTS biz and find a new angle if you are so upset.

    Just sayin’

    • @asdfasdf – appreciate your frequent comments on the blog. I will not leave delta, I will help fix the biggest mistake they have made in 20 years or more! they fixed (sorta) the no-transcon upgrade issue at least for PM & DM. They can fix this!

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  40. @Rene Ugh I saw this posting after work today, really disappointing how this program continues to devalue. While I understand the company is trying to please shareholders, removing benefits like the ones you listed and losing loyal customers over time just isn’t the right way to do this. I’d like to *think* that all the folks writing in will “make them change their mind” …but I’m not that optimistic. I will write an email to them, but sadly think that this change is going to stick. I admire your dedication to the airline, and all that you do to promote them. I guess I think of Delta as a good airline, with a bad loyalty program (well OK the website could use some work as well).

  41. @rene – “how can A-B-C vs A-B-(stopover)-C cost Delta more money?”

    You’re assuming that each segment is fungible. Here’s a simplistic hypothetical: DL has a popular route A-B-C available on the 1st and 8th of the month and expects to book one saver-level award itinerary on each day. By booking a week-long stopover in B, you have now effectively used up BOTH inventories – nobody else can fly A-B-C on the either the 1st or the 8th. Only if DL can book B-C on the 1st and A-B on the 8th is it a complete “wash”.

    Obviously, the situation is neither infinitely fungible nor that 50% reduction, but my guess is the reduction’s real, and likely somewhere in the single digit %age range. But I’d also guess the %age of award flyers using stopovers is itself in the low single digit range. Why keep a free disruptive feature that very few members use?

    • @JEM – Then I am sure all those booking ONE WAY only segments will have no impact on your idea? Humm… 😉

  42. Here’s what my wife and I sent to Skymiles
    I doubt they will do anything
    the Buck is king to Delta Customers are way down the line.

    “My husband and I believe the changes announce recently regarding no further stop overs or open jaws are unacceptable.
    our company is a member of the Skybonus program.
    We have spent thousands and thousand of dollars on Delta and have been faithful and loyal to Delta. In return Delta has continued to cut benefits for the Skymiles program drastically. Time for us to find another Airline
    You have lost my business by this last change
    We have 4 bookings already in 2015
    We will look elsewhere for future travel.”

  43. Once upon a time we broke up monopolies like AT&T into tiny pieces. During the S&L scandal we sent bankers to jail.

    We CHOSE to allow a society where the Golden Rule is sacrosanct. Where interest rates are so close to zero, that it is absolutely incentivized for businesses to buy each other out and grow until there is a duopoly. One where high-functioning sociopaths are given free reign at running the place and making the rest of us dance like puppets.

    So don’t expect this to get anything but worse.


  44. @rene – “Then I am sure all those booking ONE WAY only segments will have no impact on your idea?”

    Exactly! award inventory can be dynamically allocated on the basis of demand for each segment without regard to total itinerary.

    • @JEM – So, then, having a stopover would have little effect? I am fine really with open-jaw going away, if it must, it is stopover that is just punishing and so destructive to the value of Skymiles awards!

  45. When flying, I find that Delta is the best of the legacy carriers. By far.

    Yet, the SkyMiles program has been the least user friendly of the US carrier programs for quite awhile now.

    I can understand why you are unhappy about the loss of stopovers on award flights. I suspect that most of us don’t use this feature often, but it’s a nice feature to have available.

    I look forward to being able to book one way award tickets. Is this a trade off? Well, I guess it depends upon how frequently one uses either feature. Of course, it would be nice to have both.

    My problem with redeeming Skymiles has been the awful availability of saver awards from my home region to locations in the U.S. and Europe. Redemptions are often too expensive to make any sense to redeem. I know that Delta is moving to a 5 tier system. I’m not overly optimistic that this will be a fix, but time will tell.

    While I like flying Delta, this problem does impact my choice of carriers when purchasing tickets. Assuming that carriers’ prices are the same or similar and that flight times are convenient, I’ll choose to fly with the carrier that offers the most available Saver level redemption options for me.

  46. Rene, your blog helps many of us ‘small time’ Silver Elites. My fly time is now down to one trip to Asia or Europe a year,but with careful attention to getting every extra mile possible I can upgrade and/or go business class free each year. Reading the responses from your readers who fly for business, some of their 1 percenter attitude, who cares anyway is disconcerting. The little Silver Elites not so frequent flyers are very negatively affected by 2015 program. And we care!

  47. Ugh. This gives me serious grief. The great flexibility in a single award that could get me to far flung places was one of the things I valued about Skymiles. I have two long international trips between now and the end of the year. I’m wondering if I should credit them to a partner versus Skymiles for DM status. Thoughts on this, Rene?

  48. For me the stopovers were not so much a way to see an extra city, but a way to book an itinerary that could be refined later as saver seats opened up. Specifically for international A -> domestic hub B -> destination C, often B->C is where Delta usually is quite stingy, so I would book B->C whatever allowed (2-3 days later), then as the closer dates opened up, refine it without losing the A->B crucial portion. One could even standby B->C worst case. Now it’s going to be challenging to do so, unless they let one add B->C later on as it opens up without repricing A->B as well… we’ll see…

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  51. Just received the following response which is just more spin:

    Thank you for contacting us about the 2015 SkyMiles program.

    As we continue investing in the SkyMiles program, we want to better reward customers who spend more with Delta. We’ve also heard that it should be easier to use miles, so we’re adding more flexibility to the redemption process and more redemption options overall.

    Please visit for full details.

    As always, thank you for your feedback and comments. You will be happy to know that we have forwarded them to our Leadership team.

    We appreciate your Gold Medallion business and trust your future flights will be enjoyable. We hope you will continue to make Delta your airline of choice.


    Medallion Desk

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  53. For what it’s worth, I wrote to Delta and this is what I got back from them this morning. In my note, I emphasized the hardship of stringing one way tickets together for international travel and what that means for practical things like customs, security, baggage. In short their response was, “Yeah. So what.”

    Days-long transit visas and destinations where some other mode of travel just makes more sense for short, international moves. A one way ticket from Lagos or Dakar? Really? That’s a mess just waiting to happen.

    Dear Dr. Durham,
    Thank you for contacting us with your feedback and thoughts about the changes to the 2015 SkyMiles program.

    Please accept our apologies for your disappointment with the changes in mileage accrual and that award tickets will no longer permit stopovers and open jaws. It is certainly understandable that you would prefer the convenience of having one ticket for a multi-stop itinerary. Your comments will be shared with our SkyMiles leadership team as they consider future enhancements to the program.

    As a Platinum Medallion member, you are an integral part of our customer base and we are always interested in your feedback. Thank you for taking the time to write. We deeply value your business.
    Medallion Desk

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  55. As a Delta Diamond I’m tired of the continued devaluation of the SkyMiles program. The program is worth just about as much as the peanuts served in coach. I’m definitely switching to another carrier next year.

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