NOPE! Delta Air Lines did not win anything at the 2016 Freddie Awards. Nor did they win anything in 2015 in Atlanta. Nor in 2014 in Seattle or even in 2013 in Virginia (a four year losing streak). And the above is not a a slide from the Freddie Awards. It is a PR slide Delta put out that I have modified a bit to more accurately reflect the fact not the spin Delta has put out. Had Delta SkyMiles become something more than just “A REWARD PROGRAM”, one that, like in 2012, could win a category in the most prestigious loyalty program award voted on by users each year.
First let’s knock out the silliness of the PR slide above. Delta brags about 2.2M and that it has MORE awards bookings by 14%. Well I would guess with one-way awards more folks would book more. Plus, lest we forget, prices for so many awards are massively up to Level 3, 4 or 5 and even resulting in cumulative awards where a connection adds a ticket on top of the first ticket.
The next one, that is “lowest levels” awards. Er, what? Don’t you need award “levels” that is an award chart to have “lowest levels” or even claim this? I mean I know Delta still does USE the Level 1-5 award charts.
Then we have “award sales”. You know when a store has a sale, it is some percentage off the published price. As with the last point, where are the published Delta award charts? Oh yeah, once again, just come to my blog to see them. Maybe Delta should have included a link to my site?
The one good thing Delta can brag about is cheaper awards. However, with PWM or Pay With Miles you can simply pay the price for 10,000 SkyMiles per $100.
So that takes care of the feeble attempt of Delta to brag about the all but destroyed SkyMiles program. But then we have more from Gary’s post with Karen Zachary of SkyMiles.
The post is hilarious and the claims by Karen are so sad. Keep in mind this is the same person who, at the private event before the Freddies last year, when I asked her about the busted SkyMiles booking page and that it often prices as two tickets for partner awards was shocked that I minded paying two tickets when it should only be one. I should have asked why revenue tickets don’t work this way. But then again, now with many one-ways costing more than one booked trip maybe even revenue tickets are this way as well! Sigh.
Now let’s move on to again why Delta has not won anything for four years in a row (it’s not that hard) and what Delta needs to do to have the remotest shot at winning an award voted on by those loyal to and using the SkyMiles program.
1) Re-pubish the hidden award charts. Delta is the laughing stock of the industry. To have award charts but hide them from users. Shameful and ridiculous.
2) Bring back stopovers on awards. This is a no brainer. It was the oil that made awards work well. Plus it rewarded loyalty in that you could enjoy two cities on a vacation.
3) Give us notice before changes (and then tell us about them). Other airlines do this so it is NOT a legal issue. We cannot trust your SkyMiles when you are not honest with us. It’s not hard and other airlines do this.
4) Remove penalizing fees from awards originating outside the USA. Personally, I think it is just a matter of time before someone steps in and forces you to do this anyway!
5) Fix the award booking page. I mean make it work even with multi-segment booking. It worked before and you broke it. Allow us to search leg by leg and build an award. Again, this is not hard, it worked before. Just un-break it.
6) End additive award pricing. Again, this is not hard, don’t charge us 2x or 3x what should just cost 1x (oh as it did before btw).
7) Play nice with Skyteam partners. Work with your partners rather than a sham that you offer awards on their metal. In the past booking KLM flights was simple, not so much today.
8) Bring back Round The World awards. This was a lifetime goal for many and a real award for a lifetime of loyalty to Delta.
9) Innovate with a promotion. You have made 1st class upgrades so hard to get. Even using a Regional is a challenge so why not offer some sort of Regional cert promotion ether via spend or miles flown. Think outside the box here Delta.
10) Bring back MQM or other bonus for AMEX transfers. Are you seeing a pattern here? In years past we were rewarded for sending AMEX Membership Rewards to Delta. Just do what you did before!
So there you are. Did you notice one overriding theme from the list above? Most of them are simply a return to what Delta once had and what worked and what made folks like me stand up for and praise the SkyMiles program as a great program if you just took the time to learn it and use it.
Years ago I was an uber Delta fanboy and would go toe to toe with anyone and prove that it was a great program and you were just lazy if you did not find outstanding value and rewards. Truly it was a “rewarding program”! Delta, time to make it so once again and not end up with a FIVE year losing streak at the Freddies! – René