We all know this history of Frequent Flyer loyalty award miles programs and how American, so many years ago, started what has become the monster of miles that has fallen so far below the mark of rewarding loyalty that we have today.
Delta, in what seemed like a brilliant idea at the time, changed from the well-known (and much loved, BTW) award chart way of issuing frequent flyer tickets to a hybrid of charts (non-published but used nonetheless) that have pushed the value of SkyMiles near or sub-1 cent.
This is a MAJOR problem for Delta and American Express!
Once everyone figures out that it is stupid to earn SkyMiles, worth ONCE CENT (or less) when they could earn CASH of 2% on any number of cashback cards – the spending choice becomes simple. There is no way Delta and Amex can pile on enough card perks to justify USING (not holding) a travel card to earn such low rewards.
OK. So SkyMiles is hopelessly broken. Now what?
I have a brilliant solution and Delta (we all know you read the blog) you have my fee-free permission to take this template and implement it at the airline (you can thank me later 😉 ). Here is my brilliant, revolutionary, and simple fix for SkyMiles.
- Step one – DUMP all the award charts.
They are so convoluted and broken and simply make flyers SO MAD they want to walk away from Delta. Instead, it is time to think outside the box. OK, how?
- Step two – SkyMiles will be worth a FIXED value.
Delta has always wanted “the price is the price” model for tickets — and we can do that with SkyMiles as well. But the fixed value of a SkyMile will depend on the massively profitable partnership with Amex. Take a look:
If someone holds the Delta Amex Blue card, the value of a SkyMile is FIXED at .75 cents for redemptions.
If someone holds NO Delta Amex co-branded card then the FIXED value for a flyer is at ½ a cent!
It really is that simple. It would be a revolutionary change in the frequent flyer world, set Delta Air Lines apart from ANY of the other airlines on Earth, and truly drive someone to WANT to spend money on their Delta Amex Cards!
Let me give you a simple example:
For me to fly to Sweden next summer, if we look at a two-week trip during June, in Delta One the price is shown above. If I held a Delta Amex card the price would be the following for the Skymiles redemption (round trip) at the price circled above:
- Delta Amex Reserve card holder: 113,800
- Delta Amex Platinum card holder: 170,800
- Delta Amex Gold card holder: 341,500
- Delta Amex Blue card holder: 455,300
- No Delta Amex card : 683,000
Simple, right? The price is the price and the value comes from earning SkyMiles AND being a Delta Amex card partner!
Now before you say anything, there would have to be ways to prevent gaming like just getting a Delta Amex card to get the price then dumping it. Like what?
That is up to Delta and Amex, but it would not be hard to say add that someone would have to hold the card at both the time of flight and the time of redemption to get the SkyMile value. Not just that, they could make it so if you cancel during the card member year, you have points clawed back to your current card status (or non-card status).
Amex has PROVEN as of late their RAT teams have fierce claws so gaming could be prevented with minimal effort.
Why would this straight forward model be so simple and beneficial for both Delta and Amex? Let me break it down so that even those in the Delta SkyMiles department could understand. 😉
It is simple. If I am a normal everyday person, I get that I will want to hold, despite the yearly fee, a Delta travel card that will bring me value. I will want to use the card. And when I go to buy a ticket I know all I have to do is live with the price that is the price published that someone paying cash would pay – but I get better value by being a cardholder and earning my Skymiles at a fixed value that I can quickly understand.
It is flexible. I know as a user Delta will not, as they have done for YEARS, devalue to death my SkyMiles when I go to spend them. I know their fixed value – I just have to put up with “the price is the price” to fly but so does everyone else paying cash!
It is better than the rest (I know some will flame me on this but OK). We know other airlines have copied Delta and this has not gone over well. If Delta does this change it will upend the travel industry yet again but this time for the better for everyone.
When it comes to the earning side of SkyMiles, Delta can tinker however they want with how many miles a Diamond, Platinum, Gold or Silver Medallion will earn compared to a regular SkyMiles member. This part is up to them and could float depending on conditions without massively impacting the core Skymiles program itself.
What do you think? Do you like this idea? Would it motivate you to stay loyal to Delta and the Delta Amex card? Let me, and Delta, know! – René
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