OK, two words. It sucks. How’s that? As you may have heard, Delta recently made a change to its SkyMiles award ticket policies that leaves me shaking my head. In summary, as of August 15, 2011, Delta is disallowing any changes to tickets paid for with SkyMiles within 72 hours of departure. Plans change 2 days before it’s time to go? Lose your miles, period. According to Delta’s post on Milepoint, they are doing this because fliers are booking gargantuan numbers of seats with SkyMiles that they never fly and that this will actually free up award space for those of us who have miles to spend and solid travel plans. I’ll believe that when I see it. If I’m wrong and Delta turns out to be right…well, I’ll admit it here first.

Now, Delta’s post on Milepoint goes on to say that they “understand that extenuating circumstances do happen” and their agents are equipped to make some case-by-case exceptions. I assume something drastic like family emergency might make the grade, but who knows for sure? One thing I know for certain is that I do NOT like this policy even though I can count on one hand (make that 2 fingers) the number of times I might actually have been dinged by a similar policy in 20 plus years of earning and burning miles.

You won’t hear anything else resembling a rant from me, or any threats about never flying Delta again. Not sure they’d miss me all that much anyway, and as you know, I really do like to fly Delta. That said, there are things you can do to protect yourself. Of course, you can status match to another airline that works for you and be done with it, but what if that’s not an option? I’ve said this before, and I’ll keep saying it until everyone listens…… three words this time…. Alaska Mileage Plan.