Delta Air Lines is revamping its frequent flyer program and the new program will offer mileage based on the actual price of an airline ticket rather than the traditional method, which is based on miles traveled. And, according to BusinessWeek, two other network airlines may follow suit.
The change will not take effect until next January and it is designed to reward Delta’s business travelers and others who travel frequently on the airline and spend significantly on airline tickets.
When new SkyMiles program takes effect, leisure travelers will be impacted as they will now be least likely to accrue significant miles, as they tend to book tickets long in advance in order to save money. In other words, penny pinching travelers are going to miss out with the new program.
The Dallas Morning News explained the changes succinctly - the more you pay for your ticket, the more points you’ll earn.
The winners of the revised system will be people who buy more-expensive tickets, like business travelers and first-class customers. And the losers will include people who buy the cheapest ticket available, which is what most vacationers do.
“The updated mileage-earning plan, for travel beginning Jan. 1, 2015, will better recognize frequent business travelers and those less frequent leisure customers who purchase premium fares,” Delta said in its announcement last week.
“The move is consistent with a trend in the travel industry of rewarding customer behavior based on price.”
According to BusinessWeek, every dollar that is spent on a ticket will earn five to 11 miles, instead of the traditional method of earning one mile for every mile that is flown. And, BusinessWeek explained, Delta will cap the “mileage awards at 75,000 per ticket, which appears to be priced at $15,000 for international flights, based on the airline’s calculator.”
These new rules for 2015 are following the airline industry’s new trend of emphasizing the elite status of a carrier’s loyalty program to reflect 0customers’ revenue yield instead of reflecting the number of miles flown.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the top 4 percent of Delta customers account for 25 percent of the airline’s revenue. Furthermore, BusinessWeek has noted that the airline carriers Southwest, JetBlue Airways and Virgin America have reworked their programs to emphasize ticket spending over miles as well, and other large international airlines have done so as well.