When Delta Air Lines rolled out its new spending-based frequent flier policy, it was only half the story. To really judge a loyalty program, you need to know what your points will buy.
The new award chart was launched today. For most types of tickets, there was little change. The points required to claim a very few types of tickets even went down (!).
The devil may be in the details of the two new redemption levels Delta introduced and how those affect the number of seats available for other levels. Users of the Sky Miles program have long complained that, while it was theoretically possible to get a ticket in exchange for 35,000 miles, the availability of seats at that rock-bottom award level was akin to a unicorn sighting.
How this new system is received by travelers long-term will have a lot to do with whether they are actually successful in booking tickets at every award level.
Meanwhile, here are some of the initial reactions from the hard-core program watchers at Flyertalk:
“I’m honestly shocked at how ‘not bad’ this is.”
“Of course, the new ‘low’ amounts are just putting things back to where they were before they made the current award hikes. It does not look too bad – as long as they release enough of the level 1 awards.”
“The award chart, combined with the ability to book one way fares, seems to make redeeming SkyMiles significantly easier.”
“I worry that the new award calendar and search functions will be so easy to use that all the level 1 awards get scooped up quickly. “
“I think this is their way of doing damage control. If everyone wasn’t screaming bloody murder [about the changes in earning miles], I doubt this chart would be like this.”
You can take a close look at all the Sky Miles program changes here. Changes take effect on Jan. 1, 2015.Send travel questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Get travel news at www.sctimes.com/travel, www.facebook.com/sctimeslisa and on Twitter @LisaSSchwarz.