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Musing over the executive changes at Delta Air Lines. Richard, Ed and Glen. What impact on us?

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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.


golden ceo
Don’t think RA will fly coach anymore! 😉

The news broke about Richard Anderson’s (RA) impending retirement last week while I was on a mileage run. It did not surprise me as I had been tipped off it was on the way as well as number of others that will soon announce including Jeff Robertson, that is, the man who oversaw the destruction and obliteration of the once valuable SkyMiles program.

I really was not going to post about these current changes because when you get down to it, as a frequent flyer and loyalty program enthusiast, it is hard to imagine anyone could have done a worse job than RA over the past few years for us who love to fly Delta. I mean just look at the extensive and shocking list of cuts under RA’s leadership. But then the Delta PR SPIN HUB came out with a post that said: “Social media celebrates Anderson, welcomes Bastian“. Really.

Well if you add up all the followers, in total, for all those who are celebrating RA and welcoming Ed it is, drum roll, 12,836! Oh and I ran twitteraudits of a number of the “larger” ones and they have a substantial amount of fake followers. I have read a great many comments on social media with sentiments of being thrilled to see him go and they are celebrating RA’s departure!

Personally, every time RA is on the video screen on a Delta jet I hold my ears or reach for an air sickness bag because he does not have my back as an elite Delta flyer nor is trust and integrity any part of the SkyMiles and Medallion program. #KeepDescending is the enhancement after enhancement that we have been handed for years now.

But that is the departing CEO. What about Mr. Ed and the now promoted Glen (who thinks of you and I as “ham sandwiches”)? What impact will this have on us who fly Delta. I have been warning about what is on the way for years. I have alerted you to knife cut after knife cut. That is not going to change. I think in fact it will get worse.

I hold no Delta stock, that is DAL, nor do I plan to buy any, anytime soon. I do not measure the success of Delta by the price of the stock. I measure it by how well Delta rewards me for spending my loyalty dollars with the airline. When I go to fly, or spend on a credit card, do I always search for Delta flights first and even choose them over other airlines even if they are a little more expense? And, when it comes to reaching for a credit card in my wallet do I reach for my Delta AMEX co-branded credit card because I value SkyMiles? Or, is the other way around that I consider any airline because Delta has cut loyalty to the point that it is all but worthless. And, has the SkyMiles “live currency” devalued to the point of being all but a joke. I think you see my point.

So is there a glimmer of hope things are going to get better now that RA will be gone? Unlikely. None of the current group is a fan of loyalty. Heck, I don’t think those who run loyalty programs are fans of loyalty. Expect more cuts. More bad “enhancements”. More #KeepDescending announcements soon. The new crop of suits must prove they can cut as much as the group before them – that is bad news for us. That means pain.

The only thing that could maybe save us is data. It seems, according to my sources, Delta had a massive and alarming number of Diamonds and Platinum Medallion not re-qualify this year. I know a number of big spenders who are SO upset with Delta that they refuse to spend one dime more on the airline. They have gone out of their way to fly AA or WN or AS and have status matched to other airlines. Since Delta is so data driven, maybe, just maybe, the departure of so many high MQD spenders will make someone ask the SkyMiles team – what caused this. All they have to do is look at THIS post for the answer why. – 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.

7 Comments

  1. Dr. John

    Does Delta really need to ask why?

    Like they don’t know!

    Last year I flew AA twice for the first time because it was a lot cheaper and I had already requalified for DM. I slowed my Amex spend. I also bought tickets for my employees on other airlines because of the Skybonus issue.

    The fact that the executive team at Delta doesn’t care about the $30+k of revenue my company generates is why my business is going elsewhere. I’m sure there are more like me that are hedging their spend, than not and its starting to become apparent by their “bean counters”.

    I’m sure the people at DAL read these posts. I hope they can feel the anguish in my words. I love the GAs in MYR and the FAs are better than any other airlines. I don’t want to fly on an other airline.

  2. Corbett Kroehler

    I am one of the Diamonds who deliberately did not requalify. When I made my decision, I already had reached Platinum for 2016. However, based on my current rate of moving money to the competition, it is entirely possible that I will stop my spending at Silver, which was the threat I communicated to Mr. Anderson by snail mail when his people refused to treat a Diamond properly after an error made by the airline damaged my small business. The response I received was insulting. I extended my threat and received a token response. Bye-bye mileage runs!

    Under no circumstances will I spend more than necessary on Delta. When I need air travel, if Delta is the most convenient option with a competitive fare, I will be happy to reach for my Marriott Visa Signature, which awards double points on direct purchases from all the airlines AND free trip insurance (top that, Delta AmEx!).

    Since I made good on my promise, Delta has lost $2,500 of my business and I expect that number to reach about $10,000 by calendar year-end. I could not be happier. I have returned to playing the competitors against one another for my business and it feels great. I spend my own terms, choosing the itineraries which meet my needs at my own discretion. Loyalty unreciprocated shall not be repeated.

    My small business’ needs often leave me little option but to fly Medallion-heavy routes at peak hours. Even as a Diamond, my upgrade percentage had dropped in 2015. For a while, I maintained my 90% rate but it cratered in the summer.

    I appreciate Mr. Anderson’s innovations in the area of baggage handling. Since the guarantee was instituted, I am up 15,000 SkyRubles (and that counts a silly error on my part which cost me another 2,500 because I didn’t submit a claim within 72 hours). That program has heightened my awareness about the speed of handling by competitiors (jetBlue used to be the worse but has prioritized improvement in this area). Beyond that, I now see Delta as on par with American, my second choice for most itineraries.

    One final point: the other reason I am happy to move a large chunk of my business away from Delta is because AA, B6 and UA tend to have lower fares. AA and UA also tend to offer competitive upgrade prices which, when measured against Delta coach fares, oftentimes are cheaper and with better departure times for business travelers.

    If Anderson had resisted the suggestions of his executive team to eviscerate SkyMiles and left the program as it was, I would be happy to hail him as the departing, conquering hero who shepherded a floundering legacy carrier onto the path of industrial strength, investment-grade. Instead, he will leave beloved by shareholders, whose ranks do not include me.

  3. Since you mentioned the security video, I may be in minority, but even without the RA part, I think it’s wacky. I wish they did animated videos and leave RA out completely.

  4. I recognize that I am alone here, but I think Richard has been the best thing to happen to Delta. I often spend extra (as long as it isn’t more than say $150 extra) to fly Delta because I am loyal to what I believe is the best airline in the USA. They could completely drop their SkyMiles program and it wouldn’t impact my decision. My flights on Delta arrive on time more often than other airlines, the staff are generally outstanding, and they are investing in their future bottom line.

    Again, I chose an airline not because of the loyalty program but more based on the product offered and, in my opinion, Delta meets more of my expectations than other airlines do. I don’t need to be rewarded for my loyalty; I’m not entitled to anything. However, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and, if the loyalty program is what keeps you loyal to an airline, I can understand many of the complaints surrounding #KeepDescending.

    Also, while I don’t currently own any DAL stock, their current performance under RA has given me serious thought about adding it to my portfolio. To each their own, though! 🙂

  5. Dale Williams

    I thought part of the slicing and dicing of SkyMiles was to reduce the number of DM and PM so the big spenders felt more elite. Just too many riffraff in the lounges!

  6. Pingback: Delta Announces Ed Bastian as Retiring CEO Richard Anderson’s Replacement | TravelZork

  7. Pingback: Delta Announces Ed Bastian as Retiring CEO Richard Anderson's Replacement

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