2015 Delta Air Lines Master list of devaluations, cuts and #KeepDescending events!

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Delta air lines errors 2015

Last year I had an EPIC post about all the #KeepDescnding worth changes Delta had made up to that point over the past few years. The customer hostile and punishing changes have truly been stunning and unprecedented in airline history.

2015 was touted to be a great year for Delta Skymiles. Delta has promised us the world. Everything from greater “lower” level award space to so many more Skymiles to those who are willing to overspend on tickets – some of those earning up to 75,000 miles on just a single ticket! The truth, however, has been even MORE drastic and nasty devaluations and #KeepDescending events week after week.

So this post will be a place-mark holder for 2015 so you may want to bookmark the page. I will be updating it each time Delta cuts a perk, program or benefit to loyal flyers (I think there will be lots of edits). I will also, below the implement list, have my predictions of what I see next and move them UP when they come to fruition or dump them if they do not implement that next “enhancement”. Let’s take a look:

  • Removal of the award charts. This was the granddaddy event of them all. There truly are few words to describe in polite company just how insulting this move was to ALL loyal Delta flyers. Delta has truly lost it!
  • Charging more SkyMiles for elites. A company who has enough IT power to run one of the most complex airlines in the world can not have this kinds of frequent flyer issues. If this is an IT bug it is beyond shameful. If it is intentional it is boarding on criminal!
  • Pulling upgrade chance for Platinums from JFK-LAX/SFO. I mean really Delta? Platinums are not gate-lice. We are talking someone who flies 75,000+ miles with the airline and even THEY are no longer eligible for even a SHOT at complimentary upgrades on this route? Sad!
  • Changes to Skybonus program. Sole proprietors and small businesses – we hate you! We don’t care if you spend a boatload of money with Delta – you no longer get to be a part of the program. Unless you have 5 employees who fly Delta, just once, each year we cannot be bothered with you anymore.
  • No Delta LEVEL 1 award seats from 0 Days to 3 weeks. One of the great incentives to have award points (and collect them) is to save a few bucks when you really need to travel. Say last minute due to an illness in the family or such. If you want to do that now, you have to get lucky and find partner space as all the Delta metal space is higher.
  • Hopelessly broken award page only choice for booking. Very closely tied in to the dumping of the award charts is the fact that the award booking page DOES NOT WORK. In my example (link at bullet) I show how Delta will overcharge double (or more) what the award price should be. Then again, without award charts how do you know they are overcharging you by so much?
  • Holding back of Choice Benefits. While we do not know if cuts are on the way for the Medallion program – it is a fairly safe bet. Many have already at this point in the year earned the 2016 medallion status levels to have a Choice Benefit selection, but Delta will not allow it. Wonder why? We will find out in a few weeks.
  • Pumping out more medallions in the west. Delta, even though they have backpedaled on making JFK-SEA a “Delta ONE” route as was once promised (now just domestic 1st class seats), they are still in full court press to “mint” as many low level medallions as they can. Good luck finding an upgrade from that market unless you are a Diamond on a high fare class ticket.


So the above is what we know for a fact is in place. Now for speculation of what will be cut next.

Earning for a Pay With Miles (PWM) award flights. Honestly folks I have no idea on this one. I have had so much conflicting information from Delta that we will just not know until we fly and then NOT because the T&C say this or that just the results of flying. I will be flying on a PWM in 1st class soon (on the 1st ever scheduled 1st class flight out of SBN btw).

Change to some kind of cash or distance based redemption. I expect this VERY soon. You should all be VERY afraid! I mean REALLY afraid.

Cuts to the Medallion Benefits. Who knows how far they will go. Loyalty is a one-way street right now and they seem to despise those who are loyal to the airline. I really don’t get it and why they seem to hate passengers right now who once loved to fly them.

Anyway, I just wanted to get this post up and live and have a page we can go back to again and again and again and again and again all year long under Skymiles2015 to keep up with all the improvements, I mean enhancements, I mean.. Oh you know! – 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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  1. @René –

    You do get MQM’s with PWM segments.

    Would you like my screenshots? Just did 8 segments, two different itineraries two weeks ago.

    The only cautionary step I took was NOT to buy down the base fare to zero.

  2. Can also confirm PWM getting MQM payout as I flew one this past Sunday. Posted bonus and base no issue.

  3. I’m very curious as to what Amex thinks of these devaluations. They just paid $2 billion, with a b, dollars to delta and I, for one, am giving serious consideration to giving up both my Amex platinum and Amex reserve card. If delta is not going to give additional low level award opportunities (as promised) to Amex card holders what’s to stop them from also not giving priority on upgrades to those same card holders. That might be one possible devaluation to add to your list. As I see it, the cost of the fees won’t be justified if delta continues down that path.

  4. I’m moving all of my discretionary domestic travel to Southwest (roughly $25k/year), which is something that I never would have considered a year ago. I did some cost/benefit analysis and moving to Southwest will be great for the next few years as I have several young children and any international leisure travel isn’t going to happen for some time.

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