Why Delta did not win anything at the 2015 Freddie Awards (it’s not all that hard).

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2015 freddie awards at delta atlanta

Delta was an amazing host for this year’s Freddie awards – they truly were. The event, at the Delta flight museum that I reviewed HERE was just about perfect. Also, just like Delta food on-board, was VERY good. There is not anything but heaps of praise that can be bestowed on Delta for all they and the other partners did to make this one of the most memorable Freddie awards ceremonies EVER!. There was just one teeny, tiny, problem…

Delta was not even nominated for any awards by voters

Yep, Delta not win anything at all because they were not even nominated to win anything and that is kinda a pre-requisite before you can win. So why did this happen? It really is not that hard to see why and it is all about loyalty rewards (or the lack thereof). Let’s make it simple and look why.

The end of stopovers on award tickets. This is the most crushing change Delta has EVER made to their award program. If you do not agree, you do not understand SkyMiles at all. Stopover’s is what for years and years made SkyMiles, to those who know and value the program, a jewel worth treasuring and keeping. It allowed, not just a stop along the way to explore some amazing part of the planet, but it made hard to find awards possible all at LEVEL 1 awards in coach or business class (or a mix as well). Stopovers on awards was the “oil” that made the SkyMiles engine work without overheating and dying.

Hiding the award charts. Delta still uses the 5 level award charts. They are still CLEARLY there as they use them when coding the redemption level of any award. Who in their right mind would vote for SkyMiles to win anything when you are hiding the award charts. This must be fixed.

Charging 2 or 3x what an award should be. Thanks to the end of stopovers and the end of mixed award with partners you can end up paying for 2 or even 3 one way award tickets to get from one place to another. What other frequent flyer program over charges you for one single trip 2 or 3 times what it should cost you? This must be fixed and bringing back stopovers would take care of much of this issue.

Revenue based earnings. Delta is NOT going to change this one. They feel this is “innovative” (unlike the program of the year AA that did innovate and pays MORE miles for big spenders). That program IS innovating, that is, rewarding those who fly a little and really rewarding those who spend the most. Those who say it is just a matter of time before AA does what Delta did is living in a fantasy world. AA is #Winning and many are switching to fly them for just this reason.

10k coach seats don’t cut it. Delta has twice now come up with el’Cheap’O 10k SkyMiles limited award tickets. Who cares! Delta seems to think that lots of coach level redemptions shows the new things they are doing are working and that “the numbers don’t lie”. But you know what won at the Freddie’s? KLM with their promotion that offered coach AND business class seats at up to 50% off. Now this is hard for Delta to do since they hide their 5 level award charts. You maybe see the point I hope.

I could really do this all day long like charging more SkyMiles if not 21+ day bookings, removal of more award space for medallions and Delta AMEX card holders, cutting Platinum and Gold upgrade shots from JFK to LAX & SFO, SDC changes, E-Class non-medallion upgrades and so on. There is so much busted with SkyMiles that in a good way there is just about no where to go but UP from here. So we at least have that. Delta needs to fix what they broke and really innovate for a change.

If Delta did not have a frequent flyer program at all, they would, hands down, have the best airline in the USA! No questions asked. I think most would agree with me here. But they do have an awards program. They do, on paper at least, say they want to reward those who spend the most with Delta. It is time they started to show that by the slogan “Keep Climbing“! – René


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  1. the Freddie Awards is nothing but a popularity contest to rank “which airline is the best for 3cpm mileage running top tier elites”, which is obviously AA

  2. It’s like wondering why McDonald’s was not nominated for a James Beard award. Meanwhile, they are still making record profit, so their strategy is working… from a revenue standpoint. People are still flying them.

  3. I am thrilled that due to Delta’s decisions about their programs they were not even nominated. Let that speak volumes to how they treat their customers.

  4. I’m curious as to what delta execs thoughts were about not being nominated. You posted that you thought it would be fun to see their reactions to not winning anything but to not even be nominated, at some level, had to have hurt. Sounds like they acted as if nothing was wrong and were gracious hosts regardless. Good for them on the graciousness, now let’s see if anything changes.

    One downgrade I would like restored is to at least be able to hold an award booking for 24 hours. I didn’t trust delta to refund my award ticket but they do and do it quickly. I guess that makes it work but I actually felt bad booking an award ticket, my husband couldn’t get the same booking at a reasonable cost, so I had to have that booking refunded in order to try again. Its tedious that way but, again, it works so I should just hush about that.

  5. I’ve just recently startly flying Delta and have been impressed so far. I’ve not used the awards program yet but given I fly weekly I expect to accumulate status quickly. My experience was primarily with United and what I liked particularly well was the ease at which I could accumulate upgrades. It got to the point where I seldom had to fly in coach. That aside the primary thing I look for in any loyalty program is ease of use, substantial status benefits, as well as clarity and simplicity around all requirements and limitations. I like loyalty programs that I can count on as much as they in return can count on my business.

  6. Voting on these things only makes things worse?

    AADVANTAGE is the best elite airline program after taking away the stop over and open jaw benefits and their website still not allowing partner award booking? AADVANTAGE IS ALSO WORST when it comes to finding saver level awards too.

    Why reward all these so called winners for their endless devaluations and benefit cut backs and pathetic customer service and useless website.

    No one should be voting for any of these.

  7. Delta is not in the business of winning Freddie awards. Delta is in the business of making money by flying people around. Maybe the Freddies are an indicator of things to come … But I doubt it. Frequent traveler programs only make a difference at the margin. And most important being regular business travelers whose spend will be dictated by many other factors.

  8. “(unlike the program of the year AA that did innovate and pays MORE miles for big spenders)”

    So why did I get more mile for my trip this week flying FC that when I didn’t fly FC on the same route? I spent more and got more miles. Seems equivalent to me.

  9. @JSW – AA rewards both and does not charge 2x or 3x per redemption non hide award charts and has a working award site.

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