Delta: its loyalty program will reward the biggest spenders

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Delta Air Lines, the partner company of Air France – KLM, announced that it was making big changes to its program SkyMiles and that it would soon begin to restrict access to its Sky Club airport lounges.

Big changes are coming to the way SkyMiles members Delta Air Lines are getting status starting in 2024 to fly in 2025, and the key takeaway: it’s all about spending. From January 1, the Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQD) will be the only metric that counts toward achieving elite frequent flyer status with Delta. Dwight James, Delta’s senior vice president of customer engagement and loyalty, told USA TODAY the changes were intended only to streamline the program. “We looked at a lot of different metrics and one thing we included was that MQD was already part of our build and it seemed to resonate the most with a lot of our members,” did he declare. “We wanted to achieve a single measurement. Customers indicated that they liked it. »

Thus, to obtain the status in 2025, $6,000 MQD will be required for the Silver Medallion, $12,000 MQD for the Gold Medallion, $18,000 MQD for the Platinum Medallion and $35,000 MQD for the Medallion diamond. This comes after increasing all tiers except for the Silver Medallion for the first time since 2015.

The context has changed, it must be said. When most travel was halted at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many airlines reduced their program qualification requirements and expanded membership.

But, the change generating the most interest on social media is Delta’s planned updates to its access to the Sky Club to help fight against overcrowding in popular airport lounges. Because Air France’s partner airline – KLM, will also reduce access to lounges for certain ticket holders. credit card to reduce crowds. Effective January 1, 2024, members of the Delta SkyMiles Platinum and Platinum Business American Express cards as well as those traveling in Basic Economy, regardless of card type, will no longer be eligible for club access, the company said Aerial. Then, starting February 1, 2025, Delta SkyMiles Reserve and Reserve Business American Express Card members will receive 10 club visits per program year. American Express Card members’ Platinum Card and Business Platinum Card will receive six club visits per program year.

Complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs lounges has been considered one of the best-selling features by American Express to justify high annual fees for card members

In parallel, View from the Wing notes that at Morgan Stanley’s 11th annual conference in Laguna last Thursday, Delta Chairman Glen Hauenstein shared an interesting statistic about the carrier’s success in selling airline seats. First class on domestic flights. As of August 2023, Delta had a first class revenue occupancy rate of 74%. This means that on average, 74% of first class seats were sold and not offered in upgrade to elite members.

The most important thing to consider here is trend. Since 2011, Delta has sold only 14% of its first class seats. Thus, in 12 years, there has been a five-fold increase in the percentage of seats sold in first class. The direction things are heading is clear, because the free upgrades in First Class are increasingly becoming a thing of the past.

John Walker Avatar