During one of my many visits to the Delta mothership in Atlanta, I was in the office where EOS (what Delta called the “Evolution of Skymiles“) was born. Many of us think of EOS as the “End of Skymiles” or “Evil of (the) Snake”! Yes, EOS slithered in with the lie that we would get more value out of our Skymiles.
But will it ever end?
As I have posted a number of times recently Delta, who was petrified that “we” would perceive the value of a SkyMile at one cent per point, has now fully embraced this. By their press and corporate comments, they in fact want you to think about a SkyMile this way now.
This is simply NOT good news for us. Why?
If Delta thinks, and wants you to think, that a Delta point is worth a MAXIMUM of one cent – this means under most circumstances you will be getting LESS than one cent value (remember one cent is MAX value)! Oh boy…
Chris had a brilliant post that you should consider as he really breaks down the math and value of SkyMiles as things sit right now — and especially so if you are working on Delta elite status.
But will things ever change?
For years and years, after EOS, many in the frequent flyers community with real venom in their hearts bubbled forth sayings like “just wait till the next downturn – then Delta will beg to have us back” and the idea of that is then we will see value return.
The US government has gifted again and again BILLLLLIIIOOOOONNNNS of dollars to Delta (they say it is for employees but if they had given all the money to employees they would all – YES ALL – be millionaires by now). On top of those insane numbers, Delta mortgaged SkyMiles for more BILLIONS and told those investing in Skymiles as an asset words that I find very far from the facts on the ground (they said things like the value of Skymiles will not dilute but BOY have we seen this is a flat out LIE with 2x partner award devaluations in a matter of months).
Gosh, René – so what will it take?
That, in the current environment, is highly unlikely. While I never would be stupid enough to invest my cash in any airline stock – I think shareholders are secure that money will continue to flow FOREVER to keep them out of bankruptcy even if COVID keeps earnings down for many more years to come.
So we are toast?
Yeah – pretty much – the truth hurts. The only way SkyMiles will ever be worth more than 1 cent each is for any one of a number of really harsh things to happen. What are they?
DAL bankruptcy! As touched on already this is unlikely to happen again. Let’s move on.
Delta Amex card mass cancellation! This too, I think, is highly unlikely. If during a once-in-a-century pandemic the mass population is still willing to spend on Delta Amex cards they can feel confident there is nothing that will stop the “average flyer” from spending on Delta cards. I have NOT been part of this as I was smart enough to downgrade and suspend all my Delta Amex spend during COVID!
A social media revolt! Many years ago there was a simply remarkable “Save SkyMiles” campaign that – unbelievably – worked. This was before social media but it rocked the Delta mothership into changing. Now, with social media the lifeblood of everything, all it would take is a MASSIVE event to overnight shame and shock Delta into taking a 180-degree turn to once again save SkyMiles. Do I think it will happen? No. But it should scare the daylights out of Delta as we are only one massive media event from this becoming reality.
The blogs wake folks up! We have tried. So hard. Years ago I can confirm the Delta CEO got a summary of what the blogs posted about Delta so that he could be both aware and be ready to comment if a post went “viral” and he had to respond. But during COVID, the blogs (and similar travel sites) have seen traffic crash by 25 to 75% (or more). The numbers have been staggering. So those yelling the warnings have been visited way less and thus few know what has been going on. Sad – as we bloggers have really tried all we can! Well, other than one of the biggest blogs that sold their soul to Delta to have its blog logo as a sticker on the side of Delta jets as you enter (I think you can guess who I am talking about)!
Competition. This one is the only one I think that I see as a glimmer of hope in succeeding (but it is a small one). Today the biggest direct competition to Delta is simply a cashback card earning at least 2% back. Remarkable and revolting. Will any of the US airlines step up enough in points value to make Delta HUB flyers to go – “….errr, why am I flying Delta when SkyMiles stinks so bad”? Maybe, but this is IMO the ONLY thing that we can all hope for.
Well, this is just depressing René – thanks…
Truly. Keep in mind I am just the messenger and at this point not the one who can really impact change or I would as someone who has nearly 1 million SkyRubles who is seeing their value drop day by day by day.
What do you think of my rant / analysis of where we find ourselves? Do you agree or see other things that could have a big impact on the value of SkyMiles? – René
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