Monday, February 16, 2015

SkyMiles, SkyPesos, or SkyRubles?

I've had it.  I've jumped ship.  I don't give a damn that I live in one of Delta's fortress hub cities, I've ditched them for American Airlines.  Not because of bad customer service, or lost luggage, or anything like that.  I'm jumping ship because Delta does NOT value my hard earned dollar like it used to.  I'm sorry, all my widget-loyal friends, but I cannot stand to see the value of my SkyMiles get watered down further.  I just don't spend that kind of money per ticket, per year, yet.

What do I mean by this rant?  Let me spell it out.  Last March I blogged about Delta announcing changes to its award winning SkyMiles program, one that I was loyal to for a few years, and how it is more loyal to fliers who spend more money per ticket, thereby making the miles worth less per dollar, than to those fliers who don't spend quite so much to amass their miles, such as myself.  

A few days ago, Delta made a few small changes to this new policy, one that has further infuriated frequent fliers, and I haven't stopped hearing of the complaints from my clients.  One change is that Delta has upped the ante and now you have to fly 30 qualifying segments to hit Silver Medallion Elite status, or earn 25,000 qualifying miles PLUS spend $2,500 qualifying dollars.  This may not seem like a lot, but when Delta also announces that each dollar is only worth 2.2 miles, well, it becomes ludicrous.  Let me give you an example:  I'm flying from Burbank to Salt Lake City on March 28, and the fare is $191.  The mileage I'll be accruing is 509 miles, but only 317 are Medallion Qualifying, and only $79 of the fare is Medallion Qualifying.  See how someone could think that is a rip off?  

Luckily, this is the smallest segment of a larger trip to and from New York City.  Am I about to spend my hard earned money on Delta's longer flights?  Not a chance.  I'm flying on US Airways to JFK (due to time constraints), American to Los Angeles (how can you say no to those new A321T's?), and back home on Delta, only because of the time constraints and having to be back at work in the late morning on the 28th, otherwise I'd wait and fly on American or jetBlue up to Salt Lake City.

Another change Delta is making is increasing the fee for using those watered down miles.  This is what is infuriating my clients the most.  Its already pricey to use the miles, why the hell would Delta penalize the lower end just to make a few extra bucks?  Beats me.  But United does the same, and now Southwest has jumped on the bandwagon.  At least, for the time being while the merger is sorting itself out, American is not touching their legendary AAdvantage program, and I like that kind of stability.  It's making it worthwhile for me to earn miles on American, even if I have a lack of nonstop options out of Salt Lake City, I don't mind connecting.