Delta could learn from KLM in offering discounts to general SkyMiles members

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old real klm flying blue ivory card

Lower than Silver is Ivory!

Much like Delta, being at the lowest KLM elite level doesn’t offer all that much. You are not going to get many Skyteam elite+ perks that Golds and higher do get on a reciprocal basis.

flying blue elite levels from klm web site

Some of the perks of Flying Blue

But what about the level below Silver elites with the Flying Blue program? Unlike Delta, that just calls everyone in the program “general member”, KLM assigns them a title, that is, an Ivory member. And there is more than just a name.

flying blue ivory perks

IVORY matters (a little anyway)

KLM is really encouraging you to join their frequent flyer program and even gives you some tiny perks for doing so. Take a look above. You get discounts on bags (intra-Europe) as well as a discount when it comes time to buy up to a preferred seat. How brilliant is that to reward, in a small way, just belonging to the frequent flyer program.

Now before you roll your eyes about the discounts, it is better than nothing and costs you nothing to join. Do you know what Delta gives you as a discount for joining SkyMiles?

(cue the sounds of crickets for a good 10 seconds in background)

Yeah nada, zip and zero. You simply have the chance to earn points for travel that those who are not members do not get (unless they are crediting to another partner that is).

This to me is a missed earning opportunity for Delta and Delta is, after all, about earning from every possible resource they can possibly utilize. But wait, how can they make more money giving a discount to those who only fly now and then? It is all about opportunities. Take a look.

Converting to more Delta. We already know those who are interested in perks and rewards tend to frequent Delta more than other airlines. By making flyers remember that they get a little something better being a SkyMiles member could make them choose Delta over others.

Chance to market ticket sales & upgrades. If you have already paid up to get a “discounted” preferred seat why not buy other things Delta sells you. Not to mention more who may consider a Delta AMEX card they would not before.

Opportunities with partner marketing. Closely tied in with the above is the chance to drive what we see every time we call or click with Delta.

All of this together could really add to the Delta coffers. Now notice I did not talk about SkyMiles at all. It will take a long time for this basic customer to reach award redemption levels unless they start to really focus on the program but treating even a non-elite level member as just slightly more than everyone else is just brilliant. I hope Delta picks up on this.

Now how about a name other than SkyMiles member. I am not a fan of IVORY with KLM but what about something to compliment what is in place. How about we call them. “Widget Members” or something Delta-ish. What do you say? – René


  1. How about “tin” level SkyMiles member? Or maybe aluminum?

    Tin. silver. Gold. Diamond.

  2. I am all for the name “Delta Red”. I’d have preferred “Delta Blue”, but blue is decidedly not a Delta color.

  3. I was thinking Delta Blue, but blue is decidedly not the corporate color. I guess “Delta Red” would be nice.

  4. @Rjb maybe is the olympiads in me but i guess bronze would be good: bronze, silver, gold and Diamond

  5. Another thing with KLM, they let me upgrade with miles and $ on a fare that Delta will not let me upgrade. I fly KLM iron as much as I can

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