Travel Loyalty Programs

Don’t fall for the misleading Delta marketing spin about #Skymiles2015

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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.

reader who pays a lot to delta gets more skymiles worth less in 2015

A reader tweeted this to me the other day and Delta, in effect, is trying to convince him that Skymiles2015 will be oh so good for him (but we already KNOW they are DECIMATING it bit by bit and day by day). Oh you only got one of these if you are already overspending with Delta, that is paying much more than you should for tickets either on your own dime or the company’s! How much will your Skymiles be worth as they keep cutting and cutting the value of those points (have you e-mailed them yet to complain)?

bad 1

The rest of us got the CLEARLY misleading 7 things Delta wants us to look “forward to” that mostly make me want to cry or reach for an air sickness bag. Don’t you agree they are all almost total bunk? Allow me to help you.

The first one. Oh great. We have one-way tickets on the way. Great. So many are saying how amazing they will be. You have been deceived. The loss of stopovers and open jaws is a DEVASTATING blow to the program. Oh you like one-ways better from Europe. Wait till it costs you HUNDREDS of dollars in tax for that ticket you did not have to pay with a RT and could do a stopover or add an open jaw for a few bucks. If you are naive enough to think the one-ways are good you have been drinking too much Delta kool-aid!

bad 2

Oh what a load of manure. If they mean easier means you will be over paying on a 5 level award chart then yes it is very easy to over pay for tickets. I can do that now thank you very much. Oh, I can use the E7 tips in the Essential page to get low level seats just about ALWAYS but I am hearing reports of Delta putting in changes (but I have not seen it yet) so reps can no longer do this in order to FORCE you to over pay EVEN WHEN LOW LEVEL SEATS CAN BE FOUND LEG BY LEG. It is so easy to deceive folks into over paying for seats. I guess that part is true (did they say that)?! It also will be very simple to sell the masses on the idea that spending say a few hundreds bucks plus low level points is a good deal – “see I got a low level seat and used my points” they will say. I say you just gave up your hard earned cash and overpaid for what should have been a free award seat for points only! Congrats to you. #Not-Winning

bad 3

This is true (for now). But Delta, this is not completely true either because the day I, as a flyer, expire so do my Skymiles a.k.a. Delta DieMiles. Nice to take away my hard earned miles from my widow and children (oppsseee, they maybe should have mentioned that in the ad as a disclaimer)! It would be nice if your Skybonus points did not expire. They do every 3 years even when you earn more.

bad 4

Well this is true but anyone foolish enough to redeem during the PEAK days are just flushing away the little remaining value of Skymiles. I mean if you are doing this you may just be in the very top category who got that 1st email from Delta who tell you that 2015 will be good for you 😉

bad 5

And we know that for 98% of us this punishing chart will pay us a TON less points. Flying next year will be the WORST way to earn Skymiles. There are so many better ways to earn that I now simply discount all my flying Skymiles from 1JAN2015 on. I will earn my Skymiles other ways.

bad 6

Another load of bunk. Why in the world would anyone be foolish enough to buy a Delta airline ticket with a Delta card unless you are just trying to meet spend. Now the card is good for making points, just not this way. The NON Delta  AMEX Premier Rewards Gold card  pays you 3x points when you book on Plus, you can send those points to Delta or even better use them so many other ways unlike the ever declining value of Skymiles. OH let me help Delta out – what I just said – that is EASY MATH i.e 50% more points for buying tickets!

The last one of the 7 is not in graphics but they say more seats for lower miles. That is yet to be seen as so far that is also false as all can see by just trying to look for seats (maybe made even worse if we cannot search leg by leg anymore). If, for some shocking reason, they are honest about this one bit, it would at least be one plus starting 1JAN2015. We will see – 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.


  1. I live here in Atlanta and see the “more seats for fewer miles sign” I just don’t trust delta any more to back that statement up with a material change. I am just waiting in a year or two that lifetime MQMs will become meaningless and after 1.5 M mqms we shift to a revenue based system there.

  2. As a loyal Delta flyer and avid BoardingArea reader I’ve really enjoyed your blog over the past few years. Posts like this, though, make me uncomfortable and make me want to stop reading. I’m a Diamond Medallion, my company books/pays all of my travel (mostly in coach), and I will definitely do better under Sky Miles 2015 based on the cost of my tickets. I’m guessing you have some other readers in the same boat. Appropriate frustration is one thing, but when you start to alienate your readers, maybe it’s time to tone it down – accept the changes and figure out how to work within them rather than ranting as if this is the end of the world.

  3. Poor Old Dave Reply

    As someone who just attained Diamond status (after 10 years as a Platinum) and who is now a Million Miler I have few Miles/Points/MQMs from corporate paid travel. I maintained my status so that I would have better options for redeeming my points. The allure of “Free Travel” marketed by Delta early on with the Skymiles program made it easy to accumulate points. Suddenly these points have lost the allure.
    I wonder how many of these business travelers would continue if they had to pay the high prices themselves? Also it is more than what is happening to the SkyMiles program … I challenge anyone who has not done so in a few years to ride in the back of the plane and then tell me that the experience was not similar to physical torture. Provided that is your knees do not touch the seat in front of you.
    I wonder what percent of travelers are on Company paid tickets vs the many who are on self pay?

  4. @Daniel: Obviously some folks may come out ahead, but you’re crazy if you don’t think that the vast majority of DL flyers will be worse off. And the over-arching concern is the pace of devaluations, the direction things are heading, and more importantly, DL’s bad habits of obfuscation and no-notice changes in the past. There is a lot of broken trust and it’s hard to overcome that.

  5. @Daniel – +1000.

    @POD – I actually don’t find the back all that bad, though of course I prefer 1st or EC. At six feet, I can’t make my knees touch unless I slouch. And in any case, it’s no better at UA, AA, US… Don’t know what % of pax are business, but expect that north of two-thirds of the revenue is. People vote with their wallets – infrequent flyers are objectively and demonstrably willing to put up with any airline’s cattle class for cheaper fares. Given that, outside the very frequent flyers “Loyalty” is dead, replaced by “rewards”, though I really wonder whether more than 15% of SkyMiles members ever redeem an award ticket.

  6. christine pincince Reply

    I for one am glad to see you angry as never before. I believe you are not just torked for yourself, but for us who depend on your well and deeply studied research to make financial decisions regarding air travel that effects our families and our money. Also, is the sense that you have been waving the loyal to Delta flag, as have I for 40 years, to friends and family, and now are embarrassed by their undefensible disregard for the folks who buy their gas. good on you!

  7. We got the above referenced letter. And, I can tell you that I have tried to book three different trips on delta using award miles for 2015. Two “priced” out at 60000 miles and one at 42500 – all economy, all domestic. What happened to, “in exchange for devaluing the heck of out of your miles, you will be able to find more low level award seat availability”? I better earn a hell of a lot more miles since it’s going to “cost” me a whole lot more miles to book an award ticket.

  8. I’ve looking for tickets to SVO (Russia) almost every day (sometimes few time a day), and no low seats were found! I mean, they show the low level, but they charge as high level in comparison to last Summer. This is so annoying. I am working so hard to get the miles to end up in business, and it looks like I might have to buy tickets in economy and after do the upgrade (with miles and $$$) uhhhhhhhh

  9. Deltasegmentflyer Reply


    You talk about Delta, but you have gotten the point of insulting some of us. Over pay for our tickets. Come on, I get the cheapest ticket I can every time. However with last minute changes etc is ends up costing money and nothing I can do. When it makes sense I fly other airlines like I will Monday with US Air.

    I do not over pay for tickets. The group I belong to of Mostly Diamond Business Flyers we have polled and about 90% of us will come out ahead.

    Are there things we are losing out on yes and I am not happy but you are getting as hard headed as Delta is. Please don’t insult the business flyers in your group and provide the accurate unbiased info you had been known for.

    Still can’t wait to meet you!

  10. Mary Roser Reply

    I tried clicking on the link for the American Express card you suggested and it stated in red letters that I cannot apply for that because I already have American Express!

  11. Keep up the good work Rene. The vast majority of us are with you 100%.

  12. Rene,

    This latest rant of yours sounds like the one the other day I almost responded to. I enjoy the travel blogs, like yours, to learn valuable information that I can glean for my own purposes. But you got too far. You sound like a spoiled 5 year old. I have worked for 3 different airlines in my career, and I can tell you from a business perspective, Delta, as well as the 3 I worked for are not flying charities. Loyalty programs have been in existence since Bob Crandall started them at AA decades ago. They still serve a purpose, but you act as if your mother took away your favorite toy. The lesson is obviously to remain loyal only to yourself, and derive what you can from the businesses you do frequent. We have been very spoiled for years. Yes, it is tough to have our supposed “entitlements” we are used to, whittled down, taken away or retooled. But geez, get a life. I for one, am a Diamond member as well as a stockholder of Delta. I would much rather them make money than lose money and what they are doing makes good business sense. Maybe not for those seeking freebies, but to their stockholders it does. All businesses push here and push there to see if the consumer will bite, or push back. Time will tell if Delta gets so much pushback that they retreat. I have worked for the airlines for over 24 years in corporate sales and I can tell you that making money is why they are in business and they will find every way to do that they can. You can vote with your wallet as I know many will do, but just how much that will hurt, only time will tell.
    I do agree they charge way too many miles for award tickets, compared to others. But I have also found that my status, my DL Reserve card, etc. have gotten me favors and service I would never have gotten with another airline I don’t have any status with. That is why I remain loyal. The bottom line for me is, they have helped me out on the front lines, at the gate, on board, way too many times for me to get upset about a few rule changes. Service is everything.

  13. @ALL – Thanks for some great comments. I will have a follow up post later in the week to show where some of you are wrong in your thinking 😉 And, why what I am pointing out is so very important to all of (not just to those who spend a ton on tickets)!

  14. It’s refreshing to read this post. The last thing I want to read is another “rah rah” Delta post in the face of further devaluation of the program which began awhile ago. I used to fly Delta even when it cost more, which it usually does. I am one of those people who began voting with their wallets. In 2013 I began using other carriers. In 2014 I didn’t fly Delta at all. I am willing to pay more for service. I am not willing to pay more while being taken for a sucker.

  15. Some of the worst is already true on your miles use from Europe and no more JAW and stopover. I have been looking at award tickets from Oslo to US on Delta next year and the fees charged to originate in Europe are absurd! About 3000 NOK or 500USD! When you can buy a full revenue and MQM ticket for 2000 more NOK why flush the miles down the toilet? #Keepdescending

  16. Renee,

    I agree with you 100%!

    The others that have commented on this in a negative manner don’t really understand that this isn’t about “crying like a child” or “get a life”. This is all about Delta removing benefits related to past business that I/we have already given them with the hope of utilizing those miles. But, now due to the devaluations the value of those miles have dropped significantly.

    Also, with regard to shareholders and profits. If Delta is profitable now in their current business model, why upset their customers or remove benefits since they’re ALREADY making money? This is simple… Greed! If I were a Delta stock holder that bought at $9 and is now closer to $40, I’d be on the phone to Dick and giving him my full blast attitude of WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL THE GOOSE THAT IS LAYING THE GOLDEN EGG?!?!?

    This is just the beginning of the end for Delta as they continue down this path of running off their “symbiotic life partners”.

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  22. Well, 2015 is here and the entire program is a total smoke and mirrors……just talked with 3 reps, including 2 supervisors,,,,and no one seems to know what is going on…..and there are less seats for more miles …lots more miles. those 2015 charts are one way compared to the rt 2014……will cancel delta amex and this will be my last delta flight.

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