08-16-2011, 08:56 PM
Delta Award Changes Effective 8/15/11
Often when one airline makes a negative change, others follow suit. Let's hope other airlines don't follow suit. This change impacts flyers using Delta miles for award tickets.
I received an email from Delta today, August 16th, announcing a change that was effective yesterday, 8/15/2011, affecting award fights. This new policy even affects award fights for tickets purchased in the past but not flown yet.
"Effective August 15, 2011, SkyMiles members must now request Award Ticket and mileage upgrade redeposits at least 72 hours before their original flight departure. Miles for Award Travel are nonrefundable for flights canceled or changed within 72 hours of the original flight departure time. For cancellations made at least 72 hours prior to departure, Diamond and Platinum Medallion® members will continue to receive reissue and redeposit fee waivers, and fees will continue to apply for other members. Changes and reissues made to Award tickets must be made at least 72 hours prior to the scheduled flight departure time. This applies to both outbound and return flights. Award Tickets booked within 72 hours of departure are nonrefundable and cannot be redeposited or changed."
In other words, if award tickets need to be changed or cancelled within 72 hours of departures, the miles are no longer redeposited, instead the miles are forfeited.
08-17-2011, 07:03 AM
- Join Date
- Nov 2006
- Blog Entries
It had to happen. They lost multi-millions on FF no-show and last minute cancellations by allowing redeposits. Those were seats that could have been sold to create revenue to cover the huge losses due to fuel costs. I don't know if other airlines have such a high rate of that activity. They're treating miles like a nonrefundable $ ticket.
This is staggering--one MILLION seats went unsold.
Last edited by kyshel; 08-17-2011 at 07:06 AM."wherever you go, there you are"
08-17-2011, 08:41 AM
- Join Date
- Dec 2006
- South Florida
- Blog Entries
Good Decision By Delta- Ω -
"Perspectives & Travel Experiences"
08-17-2011, 11:39 AM
While other airlines are announcing new promos, Delta is announcing a change like this - and after the effective date - applying it retroactively to tickets purchased before the 8/15 effective date of the change. Negative changes to a frequent flier program should be announced before the change, not after the change. Unilaterally changing the rule for existing reservations is just wrong.
I think that the "one million seats" figure in the corporate announcement is a bunch of hooey and most of it is caused by the airline itself. I know I have NEVER cancelled an award flight after the fact, leaving the seats to go unused. In fact, who knew you could even do this - cancel a flight after the fact and get miles redeposited for it?
It has been well documented and reported online in forums and in articles like the Wallstreet Journal that Delta is one of the most difficult to find award tickets. Here's 1 example from a Wallstreet Journal article that shows only US Air ranks lower than Delta.
For Frequent Fliers, a Ranking of the Stingiest Airlines - WSJ.com
Its common knowledge that it is almost impossible to get Delta award tickets at the low level and that most of the low level inventory is released within 72 hours of departure. So Delta's frequent fliers are forced to initially buy award tickets at a higher level. Then when low level award seats are released within 72 hours, the knowledgeable frequent fliers change their award tickets to a low level. This practice inflates the reported million seat number.
As for treating them like a nonrefundable ticket - totally false with this announcement. With a non-fundable ticket, you can cancel or change your flight within 72 hours of departure for its full value minus a $150 change fee for domestic flights or a $250 change fee for international flights. That's certainly better than losing the FULL VALUE of your award ticket, especially 100,000 or 200,000 miles that took someone years to earn the miles.
Actually with this change, k, it may be better for last minute non-revenue fliers. If I have a last minute required work schedule change or a family medical situation that arose, I may need to change the date of my ticket at the last minute, but to do so, I would forfeit all the miles used and would have to come up with more miles to repurchase it on a different date. For many people, that may be impossible to do because they may have saved miles for a couple years for that one big international family vacation.
I would prefer it if they would treat award tickets like real nonrefundable tickets. If the reservations goes unused at departure, everything should be forfeited, whether it is an award ticket or a revenue ticket - this change would stop the "unused seats at departure problem". Likewise, if I change a ticket before departure, restore my miles but charge me the typical change fee, that applies to a revenue ticket.
I say........"Don't throw the baby out with the bath water".
Since most of the LL Community members are frequent fliers, what do you think the policy should be for award tickets? What's fair for the airlines? For the FF flier with the award ticket? And for other customers?
Last edited by jmbklj; 08-17-2011 at 08:36 PM.
08-20-2011, 09:38 PM
The word is spreading and travel journalists start to weigh in on this policy change for award tickets.
From the article by Tim Winship.....
Sound harsh? It is. Which probably explains why Delta takes pains to rationalize the move:
"Over the past year, more than 1,000,000 Award Tickets were reissued or canceled within 72 hours of departure. As a result, a significant number of these Award Seats departed unused as other members did not have time to rebook them. Effective August 15, 2011, SkyMiles members must now request Award Ticket and mileage upgrade redeposits at least 72 hours before their original flight departure."
So, Delta would have us believe, the new policy is designed to make more award seats available to more SkyMiles members.
That's a commendable goal, if that's all there is to it. But Delta isn't telling the whole story here."
......the change amounts to penalizing SkyMiles members for responding altogether rationally to Delta's customer-unfriendly practice of withholding low-priced awards until close to the departure date.
A more customer-focused approach would have been to deal head on with the root problem, by freeing up more low-cost awards, further out.
For the full article: http://www.smartertravel.com/airfare...A8677453%3A%3A
Last edited by jmbklj; 08-21-2011 at 07:10 AM.