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Will New Delta Mileage Program Be a Winner?

Dear Tim,

For years, I was a loyal Delta customer. But recently (long story) I switched my flying to Northwest. Now they’re merged.

A couple of questions for you.

We’re being told that eventually there will be a single program, “consolidating” the existing SkyMiles and WorldPerks programs. Does this mean that all miles I already have in these two programs will be combined into the new program?

My other question is more general. It seems that every time an airline makes a change these days, it’s a change for the worse. So I’m skeptical about the new program and am thinking about making another loyalty change, this time to Continental. What do you think?

Thank you in advance.


Dear Brad,

So far, [[Delta Air Lines | Delta]] and [[Northwest Airlines | Northwest]] have done a pretty good job of keeping members of their programs apprised of upcoming changes to their mileage programs.

Regarding the program that will replace the two existing programs, we know that it will retain the SkyMiles name, although it will have some features carried over from the current SkyMiles, and some from WorldPerks.

No miles will be lost. Some time toward the end of 2009, travelers like you, who have earned miles in both programs, will be issued a single account number, and Delta and Northwest miles will be combined in the new account. Given that miles are not generally transferrable between programs, this is a nice plus for SkyMiles and WorldPerks members: A significant number of people will find themselves with significantly more redeemable miles as a result of the consolidation. In fact, Delta has promised that early this year, SkyMiles and WorldPerks members will be able to freely transfer miles back and forth between the two programs, months before the programs are combined. Nice!

As I’ve written [% 2784601 | | elsewhere %], the changes announced to date have been largely positive for members of the new program. My advice would be to wait until further details of the combined programs are made public. You might find that the new SkyMiles more than meets your needs.

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