I give up – well sorta. I mean, I really wish I could be more positive about Skymiles2015 and Delta, but I know better. Delta is not Alaska or American Airlines who is adding features and rewarding their loyal customers. No, Delta is rewarding Delta and cutting everywhere they can. They have hoodwinked and bamboozled over spenders into thinking they are being rewarded while “behind their backs” removing perks so when they go to spend their “bonus” points they are worth-“less”. Plus, as I have blogged about before, Delta has steadily been withdrawing involvement with the social media and blog world. They don’t care about frequent flyers anymore – no matter who you are. I even shared with some Delta CORP folks that the end of stopovers and open jaw awards was an absolute game changer for me – for the rest of you – take your pick what was your game changer with Delta!
So a change of direction is needed for me and the blog; really what is needed is a move back to the “roots” of the blog where I started so many years ago now. What Delta Points was from the get-go was a travel “hacking”, or better wording, a Delta enthusiast blog. Not one that is rah-rah Delta CORP but rah-rah what we can get from Delta if we know how to game it. Now I am not trying to alienate DELTA360 and huge dollar spenders with Delta readers of the blog, but you know what, we all know Delta will cave to anything you ask nicely for so you really don’t need my help all that much! 😉
Just what is Delta going to inflict on us all next – that is what we need to start thinking about and planning on how to deal with when it arrives. Clearly, expect the worst! Here is what I see happening NOW and will be on deck next.
- End of segment by segment booking. The (E7) Essentials posts have been lifesavers and educated so many for years on how to find low level awards when Delta.dumb would not show them. In my searches yesterday there were routes I could find low level awards leg by leg but Delta.dumb would not show them as choices, instead showing much higher totals and route choices. When I attempted to do them leg by leg they error-ed out as “sold out”. Several readers are saying Delta reps have been directly told NOT to book leg by leg and only allow what their system shows. Not good news. While not ILLEGAL for Delta to sell us over priced routes, when lower ones clearly exist, it is slimy and nasty by Delta to make this change. Welcome to #Skymiles2015 – who says a dollar does not go as far as it once did? (oh yeah, Delta marketing says that – rrrriiiiggggghhhhttt)!
- More restriction for awards. Shockingly we have the chance to Pay With Miles (PWM) at any award and earn – in many ways, since MQMs have not changed, Delta is ENCOURAGING DeltaMileageRunning with points to earn MQMs. But this is the only change and maybe a result of the new multi-year contract with AMEX. Either way, look at BASIC fares that have so many restrictions. I expect over time more restrictions on awards. We have, after all, seen the return of the 72 hr no changes allowed to not just the outbound but the return as well (other than right away, when the 72 hr came out, return was wide open to change all you wanted – not anymore).
- Delta marketing/sales vs Delta employees. When I asked some FA s about policing C+ overhead space as space ONLY for C+ flyers they just about lost it. Not gonna happen. Their priority is NOT making sure those who have often PAID for this upgraded “seat” get what they were PROMISED when they purchased it on Delta.dumb. No, what we will see is so many of the Delta employees jobs will be directly at odds with what the paying customer is expecting. This is going to just get NASTY I tell you and there will be, mark my words, times when folks get tossed off a jet due to not getting what they paid for and tempers flair up. Nothing like making the already tense world of flying in a tiny metal tube even more so and putting FAs in the middle of it all with sales spin (they are after all there to sell you, err, for your safely I mean). See the problem?
- More prices going up (including Amex spend). Sometime after 1MARCH the 2017 Skymiles program will be introduced (we are currently earning now for the 2016 Skymiles year) with all it’s glorious changes. I do not see changes to MQMs or rollover as some have suggested or the silly notion that the Delta AMEX card(s) MQD spend waiver will go away. However, I fully expect it to go UP from the current $25,000 to something like $30,000. Also expect price jumps for onboard purchases and forcing flyers to PAY if they must gate check their bags (now free and loudly announced at every flight). Keep in mind Delta must keep thrilling shareholders and that means cutting your perks more so you can pay more.
I could go on but I think this is enough to make my point. By all means I will praise our “beloved airline” when they do good things and shame them when they do bad. I am sick of all the #KeepDescending events and I have come to accept they are going to trash the frequent flyer program into oblivion. Until something massive changes and they see a measurable impact on earnings – nothing we say or do will stop them – they don’t care. Thus I/we need to go full “game-on” to eke out the best perks we can and I will be focusing on just how we can do this with the new program in place. #Winning.
What this means is finding the best space, even if on partners, to score level 1 & 2 seats for us. If we have to call and game the phone reps, we will do that and I will show the way. It will mean mileage runs sub 4 CPM to keep our status. It means working to get MAX bump vouchers and tricks to get reps to combine more than one for a trip (yes you can get them to do this). How to use AMEX for elite perks – since Delta is thinning the elite herd for us, we can game the best perks! Really not all that much new, but tweaks to get the best for US each and every time we interact with the mothership from this point forward. If there are better choices, we can go there rather than Delta (I know I will), in both where to credit our trips or spend our money. This will be my 2015 focus for the blog. – René
PS – On a side note, my 2015 Ski trip award price, dropped to 25k today from 30k each! #TheReasonToBeDiamond (or Platinum) as I switched for free. #Winning!
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