Travel Loyalty Programs

Delta Air Lines responds to award “pricing issue” where Medallions were overcharged!

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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.

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I have, at last, got an update from Delta SkyMiles PR representative Anthony Black who has advised me about yesterday’s award pricing issue I blogged about:

“We found the pricing issue, corrected it and are now identifying the impacted accounts to refund the overcharge of miles. This was not an attempt to display higher pricing for medallion members.”

I asked for additional information but this was all that was provided. The really sad part is the “fix” to the issue seems to be that Delta is now just charging EVERYONE the higher prices we found for elites. Plus, I would LOVE to know just how they are going to identify the impacted accounts!

Digging for more information on FlyerTalk the following was posted supposedly by someone who works for Delta:

“Delta had extra booking classes for enhanced medallion availability. They removed the enhanced availability a bit ago, but haven’t yet removed the fare classes that coincided with the enhanced availability. So when a Medallion’s logged in, it’s trying to pull from those enhanced fare classes, which are all zero’d out. Once they remove those enhanced fare classes, it’ll all be good”

That does sound reasonable to a certain degree as when you look at the fare codes for the awards from yesterday you will notice that the 17,500 award fare code for Medallions was NL or LEVEL 2 while the non-Medallion fare code was N or LEVEL 1 (fyi they are, in order, N, NL, ND, NS, NK).

Now to my thoughts on this all. Delta has done REAL harm with this one. They had already and keep doing REAL harm by first hiding the award charts and by continuing to hide them from us ALL. Delta can tell us they did not do this intentionally, but how can we trust them? Seriously? They cut perks and don’t have the decency to tell anyone. Everything they do in regard to the award program is sneaky and dubious at best.

I guess then we could look at it this way – let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and AGREE this was an honest and incompetent mistake of IT. Then Delta, since you have a track record of near worthless award IT information, give us the charts back as a way to say I AM SORRY?

Are you OK with Delta’s final answer in regard to this issue? – René

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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 know you have the Delta name in your blog, but honestly, Delta could kiss the Pope, mess-over their shareholders and donate all their profits to take Putin out, and they still would have zero chance of getting back my loyalty.

  2. PS I’m only still reading your blog, because I enjoy your contributions, not because I have any interest in Delta. You could rename it Rene’s Spirit Points and I’d still be a reader. Take care… S

    • @Steve – LOL thanks for supporting the blog SO much. Who knows, I may run one day! 😉

  3. Seems to me the right hand and the left hand are not communicating. Total Disconnect!
    Typically IT will not go live without the consent of the department being represented, ie: The Delta Awards Program. IT doesn’t dream up these programs, they merely handle the mechanics. With an update like this, all of this should have been Beta tested forwards and backwards by the responsible department. In other words, Delta Awards Program, is this really the experience you want your valuable, loyal, customers to go through?? Is this how you want to treat them?!?
    My guess, the deadline was either long gone, or rapidly approaching, either way, an EPIC FAIL on the part of DELTA AWARDS PROGRAM. A PR nightmare in the making!

  4. Rene – I second another readers comments. Barely care about delta but enjoy your take on airline/ events and appreciate the “authentic” nature and passion that comes through in your writing. Last thought, if you don’t have an award chart then how will we know about all the future system error

  5. John DELTA Reply

    HECK No!

    Just rollback to Jan 1st, 2015 when it at least ‘appeared’ that DELTA was going to do the right thing and the booking & award calendars showed some promise.

    The absence of their interaction with us on FlyerTalk underscores their lack of trustworthiness.

    Their’ fixes’ from here on in will come at our expense! 52+ years I have been loyal (above and beyond the call…one of the first SkyMiles members) and what love have they shown me? A spit in the eye, a 1 MM stick up my back side and the most deliberate silent treatment!

    Mark my words: March 1st we’ll be reeling again from another gut punch via SkyMiles.

  6. My question is this: if you and other Bloggers had not shouted about this issue, would it have ever been addressed? At least they are refunding the impacted accounts!

  7. Blacked Out Reply

    “We found the pricing issue, corrected it and are now identifying the impacted accounts to refund the overcharge of miles. This was not an attempt to display higher pricing for medallion members.”

    This tells me that Delta took away the mistake that resulted in low award levels and the refund will actually be “claw back” of more miles from those affected accounts to pay for the increased points in the new system. Hence those affected will have less miles in their accounts the next time they check the balance.

  8. I am hoping I can find someone to sell my 990,000 miles to … that thinks it is deal! Maybe that PR guy will buy them?

  9. This is the sort of pricing glitch that should be taken to the DOT. Delta descriminated against certain members for the same flight at the same time of booking via the same channel.

    without an award chart, how would we know there were pricing problems? Shame on Delta

  10. Delta is one step above Spirit Airlines. Things will change only when enough people stop flying with them.

  11. AlohaDaveKennedy Reply

    Steve, there are other things that Delta can kiss with the same result. The elephant in the room is that Delta has created major trust issues with its customer base.

  12. Awesome graphic at the top Rene. Appropriate. And no, I am not OK with the response. How WILL they see who was overcharged? Anyhow I exploited this into a free change a few minutes ago. Booked a two seats from ATL to TPA last week and by chance the pay with miles option was better than the mileage award. Whodathunk with all this mess? I booked pay with miles in first (yes a waste but who cares it’s a mile fire at this point) and I just realized I needed to make a change. Of course non refundable and comes with a $200 change fee per ticket. After jovial banter with DM line I was informed of the change fee that was as expensive as the tickets cash cost. No thanks, I will eat it and book a flight back on another carrier – because I paid with miles because of your broken IT was showing me too high miles cost – but wait the DM line reached out and helped me come up with a reason that was acceptable for the change and poof no change fee. I’m still pissed at Delta but my experience is the employees are still the best. The DM line group are the best IMHO but the management is another story.

  13. Danny… u said… “Things will change only when enough people stop flying with them.”

    Yea, well, that’s not the world we find ourselves in, at least in commercial aviation. With the reduction in capacity, as a result of the mergers and the steps taken by the airlines to reduce capacity, your seat will simply be taken by someone else who is not reading this blog. It’s not like boycotting your local Safeway.

  14. I was considering DL last year but now I’m glad I didn’t join in. This is terrible — how can you trust an airline when it has shady practices in the first place? Honest mistakes (if this was a mistake) can result in terrible PR like this! IMO, once you lost trust, it’s really hard to gain it back.

  15. I agree with a number of comments here. It’s time to not only ditch Delta but also their co-branded credit card. I have already!!

  16. Pingback: Delta Responds on SkyMiles Pricing Issue - MJ on Travel - MJ on Travel

  17. And this is exactly why Delta needs to publish the award chart. How is anyone to know if there’s an “IT error” otherwise?

  18. Don in ATL Reply

    We are in this mess because the government allowed too many mergers. Experts warned that all the mergers was NOT going to be good for the flying public, and now we can see they were right (look at prices as well as award programs). For capitalism to work properly for the public AND the companies, you need good healthy competition. We don’t have that in the airline industry anymore. I vote for making the airlines a regulated industry once more — making it like a utility, because in a sense, it is a necessary entity in today’s modern society.

  19. delta didn’t find the pricing issue. FT found it, and Rene and others brought it to delta’s attention. All of these IT issues seem to work in favor of delta.

  20. Corbett Kroehler Reply

    I’ll only be OK with the answer when I see a partial refund of points for the 3 award itineraries I’ve booked in recent weeks. The cost in points was so high as to make my nose bleed (and one was for a flight 9 months in advance!)!

  21. Bernard Levinson Reply

    Something was missing from the Delta reply: a simple apology. The response you received took no real meaningful responsibility. It does not send a message of Delta having our backs–or giving a darn.

  22. Frustrated Reply

    I am fed up with Delta and I voted with my wallet. I used to do 300,000 a year with them and now I have moved my business else where!

  23. Kate Everingham Reply

    Of course there is no apology. Frankly, Rene, if it wasn’t you there wouldn’t even have been a response. I have three outstanding cases with Delta regarding the complete absence of any upgradeable seats on the ATL-JNB route every single day, out to 331 days. No response at all. What does a single PM with only three quarters of a million miles flown matter. Complacency rules at Delta.

  24. Thank you, Rene, for your good work on our behalf. Delta’s lack of apology is appalling -especially as it is contrasted to the generally very high quality of its staff, especially those who serve on the lifesaver of the Medallion line. This lack of transparency with award charts is such a basic negative – I really wonder how the folks at the top can see their organization as corporately ethical. An idea for recompense: To give every medallion member 10,000 real travel miles. ( as they did in 2009 when corporate travel was cut due to the recession…)

  25. I couldn’t agree more with @Steve and @Don. It’s lack of competition. Delta isn’t stupid, they might lose some business from FFs but most will just grumble and fly Delta anyways. The ones that leave seats will be filled with paying customers. Skymiles are a negative on their balance sheet, something they’d like to get rid of. But I do believe Rene provides a valuable service by pointing out their hypocrisy. I hope the chickens come home to roost someday.

  26. Agree with Steve but you can’t call it spirit – I understand that airline doesn’t do a bang up job either. Maybe you could run a swag Saturday type contest to re-name the blog?!

  27. I love your blog and maybe one day Delta will catch on that it’s customers communicate with each other and read blogs like yours. I live in a small coastal community so my options for airlines are very limited. It’s pathetic when you have to chose the least bad one.

  28. Jerry Udell Reply

    At least you can be sure they are reading your blog.
    Too bad they continue to hose us in spite of the fact you have pointed out their errors and inequities. Keep the watch for us!
    Without your voice we are silent

  29. had a funny thing happen in atl i got upgraded so asked for new boarding pass GA asked for ID so i gave her my GOES she said I need a GOVERNMENT issued ID i said that is what this is i had to get an interview and finger prints for this she refused to accept it since as far as she was concerned it was NOT GOV ISSUED but it got me into the airport and thru TSA DAAAAAAA

  30. Pingback: The frustration of: Do I or don't I blog it! Where should I draw the line? - Delta PointsDelta Points

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