This will surely not be my last post on the topic of the massive changes announced today by Delta SkyMiles. You can read my summary and initial take on the changes here. After having a little time during lunch to think about things, and read some of the hubbub on Twitter and other social media outlets, I thought I’d add to my initial post.
In my opinion, nothing that was announced today matters to the majority of flyers at the moment. I’d love to know the real math behind this, but I’d be willing to be that the percentage of Delta’s customers who really, really care about this is not more than 10 percent. But that’s beside my point. My real point in saying that this doesn’t matter yet is because we do not know what the redemption situation is going to look like come January 1, 2015. Now, Delta’s strict interpretation of the meaning of fare pricing being a reason why they aren’t telling the redemption side of the story now could warrant its own book. That said, there are too many unknowns for me to lose my mind over these changes.
Going forward, I would look for some migration of current Delta elites to other airlines. A change like this will prove to be a big burden for many. However, I think that is a behavior that Delta may be looking to drive with these changes. I would also caution those who wave goodbye to Delta and status match elsewhere to ask themselves a question – what will I do if my new airline changes to the same or similar revenue-based system?
While there is always a chance that the rest of the industry leaves Delta hanging, I don’t think it’s likely. The day may be coming when many people that hold elite status through innovative mileage running strategies need to ask themselves if it’s worth the bother? There are other ways to keep costs and travel comfort in check, and let’s face it, there are a lot of ways to earn miles that probably aren’t going away whether the industry moves to follow Delta or not.
Whatever happens, the fourth quarter of this year may be one for the history books. I’ll have the popcorn popped.
-MJ, February 26, 2014