Delta continues 5 year losing streak at the Prestigious Freddie Awards! Time for a change?

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Karen Zachary Managing Director, SkyMiles Global Program Management at Delta Air Lines From the 2015 Atlanta Freddie Awards

5 years in a row now. An impressive losing record. Then again, SkyMiles is becoming less and less relevant day by day and much of it is self inflicted. For those not aware, the Freddie Awards is the premiere loyalty award voted on by folks like you and me, thus it shows what “we” the users feel about who is the best. For airlines the categories and winners for 2017 are:

  • Program of the Year — Southwest Airlines – Rapid Rewards
  • Best Elite Program — American Airlines – AAdvantage
  • Best Promotion — Avianca – LifeMiles
  • Best Customer Service — Southwest Airlines – Rapid Rewards
  • Best Redemption Ability — Southwest Airlines – Rapid Rewards

This list is a clone of the 2016 winners other than the final one that Southwest won. While I am not a fan of Southwest, their program that is purely revenue based is simple to understand and clearly many folks like that. But let’s get back to Delta and why they were NOT EVEN MENTIONED again this year.


Program of the Year. No one trusts SkyMiles. They make changes without notice again and again. If you have no trust in a program they have no chance of winning anything. Clearly hiding the award charts that they do in fact use does not help things either. Add to this a broken booking page on Delta.dumb with additive pricing and no stopovers on awards and you have the clear as day reason they have lost 5 years in a row now.

Credit to TheForwardCabin

Photo credit to @TheForwardCabin

Best Elite Program. You know this was the one hope I had Delta could at least be on the board for a chance to win as the positive changes to the Medallion program over the past year have been good like the +1 upgrades at the same level as the elite. Maybe the Choice Benefits additions will mean they have a small shot next year (these changes apply to this year so would be voted on for next year’s awards).

Best Promotion. SkyMiles would have to have value to win here. Even when Delta does have any kind of promotion we all just go – MEH – because there are almost always better point values to be had vs. SkyMiles. SkyMiles only have value if you get them free. That is saying a ton!

Best Customer Service. I think the 3 meltdowns over the past year (granted two were this year) had an impact on voting and why Delta did not win this year nor will they win next year either. Time for some rebuilding work in customer service.

Best Redemption Ability. Sure it is simple to find award space on Delta if you are willing to grossly over pay i.e. pay LEVEL 3,4 or 5 for your award. But getting that kind of pathetic value for your points does not say “best” in any way. The monthly “flash sales” are nice but not enough. Also the recent change with partners to charge more hurts as well.

So there you are. Delta’s 5 year streak of winning nothing continues. Will it end next year? I really doubt it. The only thing that will impact SkyMiles is for the general public to wake up like we all have that the program is now all dead and “pointless”. I do not fly Delta for SkyMiles nor should anyone else. When the masses get this too – that is when something will change but that is not now! – René



  1. And Delta management is ecstatic. Quite frankly so are shareholders. They’re monetizing everything and squeezing pax at the margin. Why give anything away when congress has essentially rubber stamped an oligopoly of which Delta is part. The short term nature of their actions as forced by Vanguard, Blackstone et al will eventually bite them in the [backside] but not before the institutions cash out leaving Delta and other legacies scrambling to undo the treatment of their flyers. Bottom line: never receive and recognition at these awards.

  2. Let’s not forget that Hyatt has also fallen from its top status at the Freddies with the new “World” it has created.

  3. @Geoff – Last I checked Southwest has been making money for many many years now. 😉 Beyond that, if you are yelling about $DAL and profits you may want to peak at how much money Delta makes from SkyMiles. If this changes, shareholders will NOT be so happy anymore. #JustSaying

  4. Delta clearly does not care. They want to command premium pricing through premium service, excellent operations, etc. Frankly, I don’t see a lot of difference between the Big 3 in any area and certainly not enough to pick one over another EXCEPT based on schedule and price. In other words, air travel remains a commodity market.

  5. No surprises here. Hiding charts, middle seats to loyal customers with no real upgrade, less value overall. It is a laundry list of items they have made worse for their customers. This was doomed for the start for Delta I have dropped from Diamond, on purpose, and do love how easy it is to redeem on Southwest. Again, only a hit to the pocket book for Delta would change this situation.

  6. Stopped flying Delta myself for all of the reasons mentioned by my fellow travelers above. Went from Diamond to Silver …. plan to stay there ….

    (I live in Atlanta, if I can switch away from Delta, anyone can)

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