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Northwest's WorldPerks -- R.I.P.

After a 23-year run, Northwest's WorldPerks program has issued its last frequent flyer mile.

According to an email from Delta, "the IT switch was flipped in the early morning hours" of October 1, converting the accounts of WorldPerks members into SkyMiles accounts.

Depending on their situation, WorldPerks members will experience one of the following three consolidation scenarios:

  • 1. WorldPerks members who were not already members of the SkyMiles program will find that instead of a WorldPerks membership number, they now have a SkyMiles number. The number of miles—both redeemable miles and elite-qualifying miles—in their accounts will not have changed.
  • 2. WorldPerks members who also have SkyMiles accounts and already manually linked their accounts should now have a single account, with a SkyMiles membership number, combining the miles from both programs.
  • 3. Lastly, and most problematically, WorldPerks members who also have SkyMiles accounts and did not manually link their accounts will find that their accounts have been merged automatically, provided the names and other contact information in the two accounts matched. However, if the account information did not match, the computerized merger process will be stymied, resulting in the creation of a second SkyMiles account. In that case, the member will have to manually consolidate the two accounts.

Action Items for WorldPerks Members

If you're a WorldPerks member—a former WorldPerks member, I should say—there are several steps you should take to ensure that your miles are properly transferred to Delta and that you are positioned to get the most value from your SkyMiles membership.

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First and foremost, check to insure that you do indeed have a single account, with a SkyMiles membership number, that includes all your Delta and Northwest miles, and correctly reflects your elite status.

Delta expects to complete the conversion process and notify customers by the end of October. If you still have unresolved issues after that, contact Delta or Northwest by phone, using the contact numbers shown on your membership card.

While WorldPerks and SkyMiles are different programs, they have been brought into closer alignment in the run-up to the merger, so today they're more alike than they are different. Still, a review of the SkyMiles program's rules and policies would be appropriate for new members.

One major difference: Whereas Northwest miles expired after 36 months, Delta miles disappear if there's no account activity for 24 months.

Another housekeeping tip: If you have elected to earn Northwest miles for stays in one or more hotel programs, be sure to change your account options to reflect a new choice.

Finally, there's the matter of which program-affiliated credit card to consider. Former WorldPerks members who plan to earn Delta miles for charges will have to sign up for the American Express SkyMiles credit card, or another card that awards points that can be converted into Delta miles.

Resources

Both Delta and Northwest have detailed FAQs on their websites addressing most of the questions that are likely to arise during the merger process.

Are you a former WorldPerks member? If so, how has the consolidation process worked for you?

Read comments or add your own insight!
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