I am a little leery about writing this post, as I think it might easily be taken the wrong way. However, I think it is an important message, and there’s no time like the present to get it out there. I wrote this post title on Sunday, so I didn’t just start thinking about writing this. That said, since Sunday I have made it completely through the FlyerTalk thread on Delta’s upcoming revenue requirements to maintain Medallion status, a thread with nearly 108,000 views at the time I am writing this.
If you decide to undertake a read of the thread, you had better pack a lunch, and perhaps a six pack of high octane beer, because it’s a doozie. You’ve got the usual back and forth, with some loving the idea of a revenue requirement, some hating it, and some who don’t care one way or the other. Then there’s the speculation about what Delta may be thinking regarding the redemption side of things too. And then there’s a vocal handful who are convinced that Rollover Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) are the root of all evil. (Seriously, don’t get that one, but whatever.) Much like political discourse in our country, the discussion really has taken on a kind of us against them tone with one person stooping so low as to acuse others of being racist because they are fond of the idea of a revenue requirement to maintain Medallion status. YGTBSM!
Seriously, it’s time to think about tomorrow, and that tomorrow is this. Mileage programs are going to change and there isn’t a darn thing you or I can do about it. Most of your big airline programs were created in a day when 65 percent load factors were considered a great year, the spread between the top and bottom fare was comparatively narrow, and a mile was almost a reasonable measure of value. The combined effects of airlines getting their business acts together (managing capacity to closely match demand) have converged with a history of minting too many miles (elite and redeemable) for the wrong reasons to bring us to where we are. That’s not our fault, but it is our reality, and not just for Delta fliers.
Tomorrow will come. Yes, it will be different, but we will adapt. There will still be value out there. We might have to work a little harder for it. We may have to change our techniques, look for value in different places or in different ways, but the world will not end because mileage programs are evolving. We will just evolve with them. Make peace with it, and get ready for the next phase.
-MJ, January 29, 2013