The big travel news this week is the fallout from Delta’s bombshell of an announcement last Wednesday that starting January 1, 2015, SkyMiles points will be earned based on the actual cost of a ticket rather than number of miles flown. It’s great news for a small percentage of fliers that spend big money on tickets or fly short distances, but it’s terrible news for rest of us. There have been all kinds of stories written this week, and so I’ve compiled the best of them below. My two favorite so far are ThePointsGuy’s “Top 10 Reasons Why I Dumped Delta” and CrankyFlier’s “Delta Shakes Up SkyMiles but Fails to Give The Details Needed to Evaluate the Change Properly.”

I’m really bummed because I’ve started flying Delta a lot in the last few years and I’m now one of their elite frequent fliers. Since I normally don’t fly short distances or buy full-fare, expensive tickets, it would be wise of me to make a conscious effort not to fly them anymore. FYI: I’m actually not loyal to one particular airline or alliance as I fly close to 30 different airlines each year and have elite status on at least one airline from all three airlines alliances: oneworld (American), SkyTeam (Delta) and Star Alliance (United).

I already have a few trips booked on Delta and their SkyTeam partners coming up but once those are completed I won’t be paying extra to keep my elite status—though thanks to their generous rollover bonus and the miles I’ve already flown in 2014, I’ve achieved Silver Medallion through 2016.

I’m not mad at Delta as I think it could potentially be a smart move for them. According to Joe Brancatelli, “Delta executives have implied that 4 percent of their customers are responsible for as much as 25 percent of revenue.” But my problem (like others’) is they haven’t announced what it’s going to cost to redeem points going forward, as they haven’t released their new award charts and they won’t until the fall. Seems crazy and since Delta already has the worst redemption value out of all the carriers I have to guess the results are not going to be good.

I just hope American and United don’t follow Delta’s lead. But if they do, I tell you who the big winners will be here: JetBlue and Virgin America, because they already offer a superior product and better service. The only things that have been holding frequent fliers like me from flying them more regularly are the legacy carriers’ (American, United, Delta) mileage programs and the strength of their international networks. Obviously, the latter is still going to be a problem, but I know plenty of frequent fliers that don’t travel internationally.

Updated: Delta Publishes 2015 SkyMiles Program U.S. Award Chart

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6 Comments On "Big Time Fallout from new Delta Frequent Flyer Announcement"
  1. george|

    guess my Delta flying days are over.

  2. KKKawkaazhun|

    get rid of all sky mile programs completely… only a very small percentage of travelers really benefit but we all pay for it… how about this.. you need or want to fly.. but a friggen ticket.. get on the plane.. done.. the whole airline industry is messed up… all the games with fares.. it would be better for all if there were some standards followed… in most cases, I quit flying commercial all together… on short trips (<1k mi) I take my own plane… on longer trips I try to charter private… johnny, you have made a gig out of traveling.. good for you.. evolution may just force you to modify your path though.. what are you going to do when the US dollar collapses and the NWO imposes martial law? when the grid (internet/cell) is shutdown/throttled? when Russia/china make their move? you think your gravy train travel-blog world will survive? better enjoy while you can and make plans to survive.. it's not IF but WHEN… if you can't see it's already happening, then maybe your destiny is to become a victim of ignorance.. Leo LaPorte seems to want to ignore what's happening and it's effect tech too… i know he's your buddy… I'm in the tech industry too.. but I'm not delusional.. I know the gravy days are numbered.. sheep are easy to spot.. they are all carrying communist iphones/ipads…


  3. Lori|

    Thanks for this article, Johnny. I’ve been debating over whether or not to ditch my Skymiles Am Ex card, and this clinches it. If I was to consider switching to another mileage based credit card, which one would you recommend (if any)? What do you think of the Capital One Venture card? I can’t say I’m a frequent flyer — we fly maybe 1-2 times a year — so is it even worth it to have a mileage-based card?

  4. Steve|

    We have had this for years with Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia. You get NO miles or status credits for the cheapest fares. Welcome to our world.

  5. Ali|

    When the news broke with Delta I dumped those miles as fast as I could. Needless to say, I won’t be flying them any longer. Let’s hope UA and AA don’t follow them.

  6. Drew|

    I for one am happy about the change. I fly a lot of short hops from ATL and do not get rewarded. Instead, I see a lot of people making Elite levels not base on travel at all but rather based on credit card usage, etc.

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