The only thing worse than an increase in award prices: an award-price increase with no advance notice.
That’s what members of Delta’s SkyMiles program are facing. And not for the first time.
Since Delta ditched its published award charts, assuring program members that they could simply look up award prices on the airline’s online booking app, awards have been priced at whatever level Delta deemed appropriate. When it was discovered that the lowest-available prices for flights between the U.S. and the Pacific would be increased from October 1, with no advance notice, SkyMiles members’ worst fears were realized. Their miles could be, and would be, devalued willy-nilly, according to the whims of Delta’s marketing department.
It’s happening again.
As discussed on FlyerTalk, prices for the lowest-priced business-class award flights between the U.S. and Europe will rise from 62,500 to 70,000 miles each way on January 1, 2017. Once again, SkyMiles members were given no notice of the impending change, no opportunity to lock in the lower award price before it increased a hefty 12 percent.
Program members have no recourse in such situations. As do all airline loyalty programs, Delta reserves for itself the right to make any changes to SkyMiles, at any time, for any reason. That doesn’t mean that SkyMiles members are powerless, however. It is after all a loyalty program, and travelers who feel disenfranchised by such consumer-unfriendly policies can take their loyalty elsewhere.
What goes around, comes around.
Reader Reality Check
Is this action-worthy, or just another predictable setback to be stoically endured.
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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.