The economy is in freefall. Consumers are cutting back on discretionary spending, including travel. Planes are emptier and emptier. And the airlines are becoming increasingly desperate to fill those empty seats.
So where are all the frequent flyer promotions?
The Delta-Hilton offer announced earlier this week may be the beginning of a surge in bonus promotions designed to spur travel.
Here's the deal...
Through February 28, 2009, members of Delta's SkyMiles and Hilton's HHonors programs can earn six times the number of miles normally earned for stays of two or more nights at participating Hilton family hotels.
During the promotion, HHonors members earning Points & Variable miles will earn 10 HHonors Base points and six Delta miles for every dollar charged to their room, instead of the 10 HHonors points and one airlines mile normally earned.
And HHonors members who choose Points & Fixed Miles will earn 10 base points per dollar spent and 3,000 Delta SkyMiles per stay (or 600 miles per stay at Hampton and Homewood Suites), instead of the normal 10 base points per dollar and 500 airline miles per stay (100 miles per stay at Hampton and Homewood Suites).
Note: There are more than 3,000 hotels in the Hilton HHonors network, only 1,500 of which are participating in this promotion. So be sure to confirm in advance that your hotel is on the list.
My assessment: By any measure, this is a generous offer.
My prediction: It is just the first of many such offers we'll be seeing for the first quarter of 2009.