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SHAMEFUL Delta SkyMiles marketing sent to my wife. “Second Notice” & “Redeem by 11/20/15”?

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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.


magsformiles marketing you to spend your skymiles (3)

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″ ?

my wifes skymiles spend for 2015

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).

magsformiles marketing you to spend your skymiles (2)

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”.

magsformiles marketing you to spend your skymiles (1)

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?

from newsub home page

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

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.

17 Comments

  1. United does the same thing. I got a “Final notice” to buy some magazines.

  2. Rene, as I wrote to you before, I’m just under 3K from Platinum this year with only 180K Sky Miles to burn. If I stay GM for 2016 and roll over my 22K MQM, I can probably make Platinum next year- I anticipate mega CC spend. Scary what you say about more pain to come. I fly only international for leisure- I’m worried for GM Sky Team Elite benefits- you think those are anywhere near the chopping block? If they did mess with it, I could be Platinum when it hits. They wouldn’t dare do it without a year’s notice, would they?

    • @Jeff – Skyteam, for now, seems to be on-board, if you will, with unified perks for all members. However, notice how Korean and Delta don’t play nice at all and the KLM/AF situation is frosty at best.

  3. I got the same letter in the mail a week ago. I wasn’t going to redeem for an magazines but thanks for your indepth looking in to the shady company behind the letters.

  4. Unbelievable! Given the use of logos and mileage data, I see no way this scam could be perpetrated out without delta’s prior knowledge and consent. So much for integrity, honesty and respect. As you say #KeepDescending

  5. I think you’re making an unwarranted assumption, and very likely getting the filtering backwards.

    Rather than Delta trying to get anyone off the books, or anything else nefarious, I think it’s MUCH more likely that the magazine company simply identified non-medallions as more likely to want to get rid of low balances. Why waste printing and postage costs on people who aren’t likely to buy their product?

    Mail campaigns are expensive, and eliminating unlikely customers can make a huge difference in profit/loss. This is especially true if the magazine company only pays Delta for a filtered Data set, I.e., $X/1000 names.

    • @Jem – When it comes to SkyMiles, nefarious is a good word, there are many other equally good similar words. Again, I think VERY SOON this year we will hear some more really bad news. Just wait! 🙁

  6. Mike from DC Reply

    @Rene,

    That is a pretty big teaser. 2 Questions;

    1) Do you have an inclination as to what the cut will be?

    2) Do you see this impacting partner award travel? (Just hit PM and will book flights ASAP if so)

    • @Mike – It is SkyMiles. Do you really think things are going to get better? 😉

  7. Corbett Kroehler Reply

    I’m with you most of the way. However, there are some magazine redemption levels which are a genuine value. Entertainment Weekly is the only print magazine to which I subscribe. I receive it by mail in the conventional manner. A quick visit to ew.com shows a new, one-year subscription priced at $25 and a two-year at $34. Paying with an award, a one-year renewal costs 1,300 SkyRubles for a weekly publication. I consider that a decent value for a periodical which I cherish. Sure, some other magazine offers are a joke. However, this one strikes me as reasonable and I have used it to extend my subscription by 5 years with no regrets.

  8. RE: Death and Delta Miles
    Hi Rene, A close friend of mine had a trip to Italy scheduled for this month and his wife died unexpectedly. He had revenue tickets for the Italy trip and miles tickets to Arizona in January. Delta fully refunded the revenue ticket and put back the miles into the account. The rep told him to go ahead and use the balance of miles in his wife’s account at anytime in the future! Nice touch! Mr. G.

    • @Mr. G – Well that is amazing that a Delta rep would go directly against the in print stated policy from their employer Delta Air Lines. But that does go to show how SHAMEFUL Delta “DieMiles” is that even an employee of the company will TELL a person to break the rules of the program. 😉

  9. Shameful… I thought delta held a lot more control over their logo and usage of branding. Aren’t the core values ‘honesty, integrity, and respect’? Hmmm…

  10. I’ve gotten these from every airline I’ve ever flown. They all warn of ‘expiring’ miles. For the airlines that I don’t fly often, it’s a good use of the miles I’ll never use.

  11. My elderly parents always ask me a couple times a year about how to keep their miles alive, because they got some letter telling them that they are going to expire. I’m glad to see this post. It confirms what I thought – – these letters are just trying to trick people.

    • @Kelly – Keep in mind other airlines points DO EXPIRE. Delta’s don’t. That is until you do. They they do, unlike others like AA, that for a fee will send them over to the ones you love! 😉

  12. Yeah, we get those from time to time. I don’t know that the idea is shameful, but their execution sure is. Remember, miles sitting in your account are a liability on the airline’s bottom line. Any way to liquidate them is positive. As noted, some people do find some value in the magazines, though I personally don’t. That’s fine, and as an option, it’s not the worst way to entice people to spend miles. The execution, however, with its telemarketer techniques, is not just shameful for a company of the stature Delta claims, it’s downright insulting to my intelligence. I don’t even open that envelope – it goes straight to the recycle bin every time.

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