Sweeping changes coming to Delta Skybonus in 2016 – sole proprietors no longer welcome!

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Skybonus has been a very nice way to triple dip flying on Delta. That is, you earn a Skymile for your ticket, you could earn a Crossover Reward as a Medallion and then if your company was included in Skybonus you could earn Skybonus points as well. The latter, as the new current Skymiles program, was very much MQD spend determined.

my skybonus spend for 2016

Then, to weed out undesirables, Delta came up with an MQD spend number of 5k and last year many exited the program for failing to meet revenue requirements. I myself spent almost 10k last year with Delta, but thanks to Skymiles2015 will try my best to keep that under 2k this year so this was to be my last year in that program anyway. Well Delta has decided sole proprietors, or even those with less than 5 employees, are now undesirable to the program – even if they spend a bunch! Take a look at the latest update that tells us:

“SkyBonus Minimum Traveler Policy
Beginning January 1, 2016 the SkyBonus program will require that each SkyBonus account have a minimum of five unique employee travelers each calendar year”

So if this affects you, you will want to be sure to spend all your points before 31DEC15 as you will be out after that point.

skybonus elite

And moving the other way, for those of you earning 2 million Skybonus points or more and have more than 5 who do fly each year as part of the program, you are now going to be a Skybonus Elite! You get more perks, points and such. Take a look:

“Introducing SkyBonus Elite
We are proud to introduce a new tier to the SkyBonus program, SkyBonus Elite, for companies that earn 2,000,000 SkyBonus points each calendar year.
10% more points on every eligible flight
Priority access to SkyBonus representatives
Detailed quarterly Sky Partner reports
Access to Elite flight certificates with enhanced availability”

Now Delta has already devalued Skybonus points in the not too distant past and redemption, even for discounted awards, is dependent on higher fare classes so use of the points is for those who are big spenders already.

The next bit is a devaluation for earnings as we can see from the WayBackMachine here. Now there will be level 1, 2 & 3 groups dependent on fare class and or partner tickets ( the latter being really cheap Delta and AF / KLM buckets).

The list of the new T&C of the program is pages long and if you want to look at it the link is HERE.

In a nutshell, Delta seems to be sick of too many taking part in the program and only wants to reward those who are REALLY big spenders and, according to some I have talked to, the real target audience for the program, that is, big businesses that spend large amounts. Why not try to sway those who perhaps have a choice in where the company spends those flight dollars!

It was fun while it lasted Skybonus! Now back to earning Skymiles the SMART way and that is by not flying Delta 😉 – René
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28 comments

  1. good info but lack of interest here indicated ppl may have been too fed tp to knock it. the heads at sky headquarter just had so much fun re-designing something nobody wants just like the heads at the you-know-what

  2. I now refer to them as Nickel and Dime Airline.
    Every freaking week it’s something else! A never ending reminder of bad marketing and dumb decisions.

    Hey, as a one man consultant who flew 95,000 miles last year, if Delta doesn’t want my business then you know what, it’s time I oblige them and move on. I just cannot believe these people making these decisions!
    Like all the businesses before them that have sunk to the bottom, in five years people will wonder “What happened to Delta, they used to be good”.

    I won’t go as far to say, “Spirit Airlines here I come”, but American and Alaska are looking very promising!

  3. Let me get this straight…

    A company with 5 flyers that spend $5,000 a year are welcomed to participate.

    But…

    A company with 3 flyers who spend $25,000 a year are NOT allowed to participate.

    I don’t understand that logic! Must be the new math.

    I blame the schools!

  4. Renée, if you read the TnC’s closely you’ll see they may require a W2 to prove EMPLOYEE status.

    Consulting groups that buy tickets for ICs are out!

    Wow, this is really targeted!

  5. This is why we can’t have nice things. People who game the system ruin it for the real sole proprietor/independent consultant who really does fly as a major portion of the job.

  6. @KD – Wait what? Please tell me how people who are invited by Delta, after they reviewing the qualifications to join Skybonus, and earn based on dollars spent pert ticket, are gaming the system. Are you even part of Skybonus and know how this works?

  7. There are plenty of people who promote this program (for referral bonuses) and tell people that they can get a TIN and run a shell business to join the program.

    That, my friend, is gaming the system.

  8. @KD – Wow. First off, I think, you mean and EIN. BTW you don’t need an EIN to join Skybonus (I have a post on how to join linked in the post should you care to read). Next, that will not work i.e. what you said. SKybonus reviews ALL apps. Then, as we saw in 2014, you had to have $5000 in MQD spend to stay in the program. Can you tell me how spending $5000 with Delta is gaming the system? I think you need to rethink and read up before you attack on a program you clearly know nothing about.

  9. @KD – As someone who owns my own business and has no employees, yet still has to fly for a living, these new rules are total crap.

    No gaming here. Just using the system that was offered to me.

    PS: American has the same exact program. Problem is that I hate USAir and Charlotte…

  10. Renee, I’m a sole proprietor with three employees. In 2013 my Delta tickets were over $22000 and in 2014 came to just under $26000. We always purchase Business Elite on foreign trips and First for domestic. I guess from now on I’ll be shopping for the lowest fare carrier to our destinations. Guess I’d best get to using up the SkyBonus awards as well.

  11. @Robert – I just do not understand Delta logic on this. I was reading on FT that the idea of having to give W2’s to Delta is, well, in nice words, NEVER going to happen. Plus why upset someone like you. What is wrong with Delta. Maybe one day when all elites are over with AA they will see the light? #KeepDescending Delta

  12. @robert and @drjohn, I couldn’t agree more with your statements. It’s amazing how many negative changes are taking place at the expense of the consumer. Not a chance I’m going as far as to send my W2 and I will not take-on the liability of sharing the information of employees.

  13. Skybonus just robbed 43,000 points from my account, because my business was shy by $700 from the required $5,000 a year spent on tickets, without any offer to extend this time limit!

    As others suggest, Delta is going down fast. Can’t even compete with domestic airlines, let alone foreigh ones!

  14. I just applied to the AA program, I have over 500k on Delta program in just 1 year, I will use all of the points this year before program changes bye bye delta

  15. Attempted to burn some Skybonus points today for an upgrade to Nassau and of course there were no seats available in whatever class is required to use them. Delta makes it very difficult to redeem our benefits. (Admittedly I am a novice at this)

  16. I cancelled my Delta AMEX this last week. Delta is just no longer an airline I want to deal with anymore.

  17. Renee, as a follow-up to my earlier post noting we’ll have to burn our SkyBonus points. If the certificates must be used within a one year period, I assume the meter starts when the certificates are issued, right?

  18. Glad I emptied my account days before they took the last few hundred points. These were really only good for free drink coupons that I end up sending to @Rene anyway so it’s really a DeltaPoints loss more than anything! 🙂

  19. I just checked my Skybonus account…the 49909 miles that were there last week are gone, without warning. Delta sure have got my back.

  20. As a sole proprietor who hires freelancers, I spent about $20,000 with Delta last year. I issue 1099s not W-2s so I’d be out if they ever require paperwork. Now I’ll just have to see if I hire five different freelancers this year. Ugh.

  21. I’m right there with the sentiment behind most of the comments. I have a two-person small business which spent about $10,000 on Delta directly in 2014 but flew about $25,000 worth of tickets purchased for me by others, which I why I made Diamond. As disappointed as I am about all of this, I won’t let it bother me too much because, when I initially researched joining SkyBonus about 2 years ago, I noted that the counterpart program from United works in much the same way as SkyBonus will. I knew that this day would come, sad as it is.

  22. I am wondering if Delta is trying to end the FF Program completely – not only at their airline, but at all others as well? There is a large liability with all the miles out there so they need to reduce their exposure by making it harder to redeem/accrue. Other airlines need to do the same, so DL makes changes and they play follow-the-leader (typical in the airline industry).

    And while I am on my soapbox, the idea that the SkyTeam is a seamless operation is a joke. You can’t be sure that you will get the seat you select on delta.com when you check in with KLM or AF. About all SkyTeam is good for is transferring bags, which is done with or without an alliance.

    The downgrade of the alliance started two years ago with DL not giving SkyMiles on Korean Air flights. Last year Delta started down a similar path with Alaska. Now with SkyMile2015, one must be sure the ticket is booked on DL ticket stock (ticket number starts with 006) to be sure you get your miles on all SkyTeam metal. Could it be that the SkyTeam alliance, which DL is a founding member, is beginning to break-up? Does DL want to try to go on its own? With all the changes they are making, perhaps they want to try to fly with empty aircraft. The corporate client can put only so much.

    #KeepDescending Delta!

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