I want you to look at this envelope that came in the mail the other day. What is your immediate thought? Is it something like: “Oh my, I missed something as I got a “second notice” from Delta Air Lines award program SkyMiles that my miles are about to expire by 11/20/15″ ?
But wait, I thought Delta brags, and has even ADDED, due to a focus group’s suggestions, that their “Miles Never Expire“. That is sorta true-ish as they don’t expire as long as you are alive but once you die they are gone! But let’s dive deeper down this marketing rabbit hole shall we.
First off, as you can see, I am VERY proud of my wife’s spend totals with Delta for 2015. She has not, after the destruction of the SkyMiles program over the past year or so, given them one cent in revenue. All her flights have been free (or almost free) on points. She is burning not earning more SkyMiles (Good girl)! She was Gold Medallion in the past, and even Platinum for a few years, but not now. No way! Not gonna happen again until Delta stops the madness and destruction of the award program (not very likely btw, I expect more pain soon).
But just what was inside this “collection looking” envelope from Delta SkyMiles (using the official Delta widget and logo)? Oh, a letter that was for “official use only” and “instructions” for her to redeem her miles now with this “mileage redemption voucher”.
I think I am going to be sick. But why would Delta, with all the official logos, send her this hurry, hurry, hurry collections-like looking letter to spend her SkyMiles ASAP?
Ah, oh wait, if I look at the REALLY fine print on the back of the letter I see, despite all the very confusing and misleading official Delta Air Lines stuff plastered all over the marketing letter, it is in fact NOT at all from the worldwide recognized Delta Air Lines company but from someone called NewSub Magazine Services LLC.
Now I think I get why Delta is allowing this shameful marketing letter to go out and besmirch their brand and image in this way. While I personally was not fooled by this completely misleading and “Delta looking” junk mail I am sure many folks are and will flush their SkyMiles down the drain for magazines.
I also think the reason Delta is doing this is the same reason banks, after they cannot collect bad debts, turn over these types of account to 3rd party collection agencies for just pennies on the dollar. They see them as “dead, unrecoverable accounts” and are trying to extract any kind of value remaining before writing them “off the books” if you will. I think Delta views my wife as a lost cause only worthy of “collections” value. That is sad but very telling to me.
You see I, as a Diamond Medallion, did not get one of these ridiculous letters. I bet you did not get one either. But it tells us Delta has no interest in gaining a once valuable medallion back. It really is all about extracting every single penny rather than winning the loyalty of one who once spent money with Delta. How sad that is.
Now here is what Delta should be doing instead. They should want to win back a once loyal customer. They could, just maybe, reverse some of the changes to SkyMiles like putting the SkyMiles award charts back up on Delta.com. They could fix the hopelessly broken award page that does now charge 2-3x what an award should cost to motivate a flyer to start spending money with Delta again. They could bring back stopovers to awards, even including them on one-way awards like other airlines do. These would be changes that would be #KeepClimbing worthy to win back those who are not spending on Delta anymore.
Or, I guess, they can allow 3rd party sites to use their official logo to peddle magazines subscriptions! – René
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