Delta Nixes Weekend-Stay Requirement for Award Travel

Remember that new Delta policy scheduled to take effect in August, the one that would require a Friday or Saturday night stay when booking low-priced SkyMiles awards within 21 days of departure?

The one that appeared on Delta's website with no warning or explanation?

Well, it appears there no more.

Nothing, zilch, nada.

In response to my email query to the airline, a Delta spokesperson offered the following:

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The information related to overnight stay requirements for frequent flyer awards was published on our website in error. Delta apologizes for the unintended miscommunication as well as any confusion that it may have caused our customers. Overnight stays are not required for award redemptions. If this requirement changes in the future, we will communicate accordingly.

That's clear, as was the policy statement on Delta's website that this statement overrides. What's less clear is what's going on here. Why the flip-flopping?

Such policy changes are not made without due deliberation. In this case, given the recent public discussion of Delta's alleged award unavailability, such an obviously controversial change would naturally have been subject to extra internal scrutiny and debate.

And from an operations standpoint, putting a new policy in place requires that software be reprogrammed; that customer-service personnel be briefed; that program rules be revised and, where necessary, reprinted; and so on.

In other words, the appearance of the weekend-stay policy on Delta's website can hardly have been the result of someone's having mistakenly hit the "O" key instead of the "P" key on his computer keyboard.

The good news is that a bad policy decision was reconsidered—presumably in light of negative pushback from SkyMiles members—and reversed.

The bad news is that Delta seriously considered it at all. And that they may be considering it still.

This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.

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