As promised in my Delta state of mind post yesterday, I am going to offer a wish list for SkyMiles. Like I said in my post, I am quite comfortable with Delta’s product, and frankly, I like the airline. I have even had some success with SkyMiles this year. It is not my intent for this to be seen as a rant or even a complaint. It is simply a short list of things I think Delta could do to improve SkyMiles.
One-way awards – Yes, the lack of one-ways is my number one wish for the program. After United followed AA and began offering one-way awards, I thought Delta would soon follow. Perhaps I should have known better. I have heard through word of mouth that Delta isn’t necessarily opposed to offering one-way awards, so I don’t understand why it’s taking so long. My guess is that we see one-way awards as part of what is certain to be a much different SkyMiles on the redemption side next year, perhaps sooner.
Working award calendar – Well documented issue here. I will list it anyway, though I don’t know that it will matter when we see a new, completely revenue-based program on the redemption side. Maybe I’m wrong and there won’t be a change on the redemption side as soon as I think, so it never hurts to wish for a working award calendar. I guess you can include an improved Delta.com booking engine for awards here too. I suppose some of this would help make more partner awards available for booking online. As a side note, I can’t wait to see how a purely revenue-based program deals with partner awards.
Improved Systemwide Upgrades – The limited number of high fares you can use SkyMiles systemwide upgrades with is another thing that I wish would improve. I know I frequently say SkyMiles’ limited SWUs do not impact me because I fly outside the country so infrequently, but that may not always be the case. Further, a systemwide is just that….systemwide. I could use them on longer domestic flights.
I’m going to stop here. For one thing, I really did intend to pick only three things, though I admit, I did not know what those three things would be when I started the post. And second, I started this post before I became aware of Delta’s announcement about changes to MQM earning with partner airlines. I actually mentioned the news yesterday here, and Lucky offered an excellent analysis here. While it is true that this change has little impact on me with my current, mostly domestic flying patterns, I have to wonder what comes next? Yes, I am sure a revenue-based redemption scheme is coming soon. I haven’t really feared it, because from my perspective, SkyMiles went revenue-based the day they introduced three-tier pricing. But I have to admit, I’m beginning to feel a bit of trepidation about what may be around the corner. On the other hand, is there anything else left to change? Unfortunately, I think I know the answer. And I wonder if the other airlines know too?
-MJ, June 5, 2013