My wife and I have been married a long time – almost 30 years. We rarely ever have “strong disagreements” anymore as when there is an issue we settle it quickly. But years ago, there was this one time when we were arguing and my dear bride began to see in this one case that she was flat out wrong, but she wasn’t quite ready to admit it completely. In the end she concluded the discussion with :
“Well – I never said I was smart”!
We both stopped “disagreeing” and started giggling. Also know my dear wife is WAY smarter than me so that statement made it all the more funny!
Nice story, but what does that have to do with Delta Air Lines you may ask? Plenty. Yesterday I blogged about the current and ongoing issue where Delta is over charging it’s elites for redeeming their SkyMiles. Shocking? You bet and then again not really as we expect stuff like this and that is sad. This is just part of a massive problem with SkyMiles 2015. At some point Delta needs to stand up and say:
“We never said SkyMiles 2015 was smart”!
Trust is a HUGE part of frequent flyer programs. Folks go “ape” when any airline makes changes to a program without first letting it’s members know the change is on the way (and Delta is FAMOUS for doing this over and over and over). I think if you asked anyone who participates in the program if they trust Delta, specifically about SkyMiles, they would tell you that they have no trust left.
That can change and MUST change soon. Notice the chart I have tossed up on top of this post. Want to make everyone happy? Make a simple program everyone can trust! Make it simple. With Delta partners we must find “low” or level 1 space right now. There is no mid, high or other “level” space. Now if Delta wants to play with their inventory they can jack up as many awards as they want into the “flex” bucket. Sure folks will not like paying 2x the “saver” but they will accept the reality of what it is.
The same thing can work for business class. For example, 125,000 saver for Europe and then the MAX would be 250,000 or the “level 4” award (when we could find those charts that is). Again, I think spending that many points for such a trip is crazy, but most folks would grumble and pay that if they see that for their perfect days that is just the price it is.
This type of system also makes future price changes super simple. Add 5,000 to saver then it adds 10,000 to flex. I think most expect price increases now and then and if Delta were to just do this, say every 2 years and do this consistently EVERY 2 years or so it will be an expected thing and people can plan and adjust bookings. Again, it will not be popular but will be accepted as the way it is.
Bottom line about all this is simplicity is beautiful. Most folks don’t want to spend the time to learn all there is to learn about programs. But if you make the choices so clear cut that ANYONE can understand them (again, not saying like them), then it builds trust and confidence moving forward.
Do I think Delta will listen to me and do anything remotely like this? No. I fully expect the program to get worse and maybe MUCH worse real soon. This sure is a sad year for Delta frequent flyers! – René
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