SkyMiles

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SkyMiles
Delta SkyMiles Logo.svg
TypeFrequent-flyer program
OwnerDelta Air Lines
Introduced1981; 40 years ago (1981)
WebsiteSkyMiles

SkyMiles is the frequent-flyer program of Delta Air Lines that offers points (or "miles") to passengers traveling on most fare types, as well as to consumers who utilize Delta co-branded credit cards, which accumulate towards free awards such as airline tickets, business and first-class upgrades, and luxury products.[1] Created in 1981[2][3] as the "Delta Air Lines Frequent Flyer Program"; its name was changed to SkyMiles in 1995.[4] Originally all airlines including Delta, only gave miles for airline travel and not credit card spend.[5] Delta claims to have been the first major U.S. airline without mileage expiration, so travelers can redeem awards at their leisure, but others have since followed.[6] The airline also has a separate SkyBonus program that provides small to mid-sized business owners with a way to earn points for trips taken by employees, good towards free flights, upgrades, Medallion status and other travel awards.[7] It has been ranked fairly highly according to some independent news outlets.[8]

Partnerships[edit]

In addition to its Delta Connection, Delta Shuttle and SkyTeam alliance partnerships, Delta offers frequent flyer partnerships with the following airlines [9][10]

Former partnerships[edit]


In addition to the air miles, SkyMiles can be redeemed and even earned on SkyMiles cruises but that is actually a separate company.[18] Miles maybe used and accrued on Delta Vacations but that is also a separate company although Delta is the parent company.[19][20]

Medallion status[edit]

Delta offers four published tiers of elite status within the SkyMiles program. These are known as Medallion statuses and can be achieved by flying a certain number of Medallion Qualification Miles (MQM) or Medallion Qualification Segments (MQS) between January 1 and December 31 each year. Beginning in 2014, a certain number of Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQD) is required for the US members in addition to either the MQM or the MQS requirement.[21]

Tier name MQMs required MQSs required MQDs required Abbreviation
Silver Medallion 25,000 30 $3000 SM
Gold Medallion 50,000 60 $6000 GM
Platinum Medallion 75,000 100 $9000 PM
Diamond Medallion 125,000 140 $15,000 DM

[22]

Delta Private Jets Card holders receive Diamond Medallion tier status.[23]

Medallion status entitles members to unlimited complimentary upgrades, subject to availability, on most published economy fares on Delta and certain Delta-designated codeshare flights in North America within or between the United States (excluding Hawaii) and Bermuda, Canada, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Mexico.[24] In addition, preferred coach seating such as in the Economy Comfort section is set aside for medallion members for when first and business class upgrades are not available.[25][26] Although not a published benefit, certain top tier members of the program have been transferred at Delta hubs by an automobile and chauffeur pick up service (see photograph). There is also a Delta 360 level of status which is awarded by invite only to their very best customers. How to earn this status has not been published. There have been further updates in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic[27]

Porsche Transfer SeaTac airport
Porsche transfer Detroit Airport for Delta Medallions

History[edit]

On July 31, 2008, Delta adjusted the cost of award tickets by implementing a four-tiered pricing system. For example, a domestic coach ticket costed 25,000, 32,500, 40,000, or 60,000 miles depending on availability.[28]

On July 27, 2009, Delta introduced "Rollover" for Delta Medallion members. Flyers who reach an elite tier in a program year are able to roll over any extra Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) above their earned tier to the next year. For example, a passenger who earned 65,000 MQM in 2010 will earn Gold Medallion status for reaching 50,000 MQMs and will begin 2011 with 15,000 MQMs rolled over from the previous year.[29][30]

On October 1, 2009, Northwest Airlines' former frequent flyer program, WorldPerks, officially became SkyMiles. This remained until the reservation system and website became Delta on January 31, 2010.[31]

In January 2011, Delta eliminated its mileage expiration policy, making it at the time the only major U.S. carrier to have a non-expiring mileage policy.[32][33] The announcement was made on 15 February 2011. (United Airlines matched their policy by 2019.)[34]

In January 2013, Delta announced that beginning in the 2014 program year qualifying for elite Medallion status will require meeting spending thresholds. Each tier of elite status will now require a certain amount of Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs), in addition to the existing mileage or segment requirements. 1 MQD is earned for every dollar spent on most Delta issued airline tickets and on Delta marketed flights on other tickets. Only the base fare and carrier imposed fees earn MQDs. Government fees and taxes, as well as ancillary services such as baggage fees, change fees, etc., do not earn MQDs.[35] Medallion members who spend at least $25,000 on a cobranded Delta American Express card annually are exempt from this new requirement.[36] On September 26, 2017 Delta announced that the Credit Card waiver for Diamond Medallions only, was being increased to $250,000 which effectively eliminates it for many travelers.[37]

In late February 2014 Delta announced significant changes to the SkyMiles program that shifts away from miles traveled to earning based on Medallion level and dollars spent, ceasing to be a frequent flyer program and becoming a spending program.[38][39] Also announced was a new mileage redemption structure that will approve Award seat availability. The minimum number of miles earned per dollar is 5 and the maximum per dollar is 13. SkyMiles members that use the Delta SkyMiles Credit Card by American Express will receive a bonus of 2 additional miles per dollar on Delta spent. It was also announced that the maximum number of miles that can be earned on any ticket is 75,000.[40]

SkyMiles Program Status Miles per dollar Miles earned with Delta AmEx Total miles per dollar
General SkyMiles member 5 +2 7
Silver Medallion 7 +2 9
Gold Medallion 8 +2 10
Platinum Medallion 9 +2 11
Diamond Medallion 11 +2 13

The updates to the 2015 SkyMiles program will not impact how one earns different Medallion levels from the 2014 MQD scheme.[41] Partnerships with Airbnb have also been announced.[42][43]

Covid-19 pandemic effect[edit]

The Delta Skymiles program was valued at $6.5 billion. The program was in effect mortgaged to keep the airline afloat in view of the catastrophic drop in demand for air travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Delta reported a 78% decline in miles redeemed in the first half of the 2020 year, resulting in a 60% drop in passenger revenue. However, frequent fliers continued to use their Delta SkyMiles credit cards, and cash from sales to American Express declined only 5% year-over-year to $1.9 billion.[44] Overall Delta raised 9 billion in this cashflow issue.[45] Most airlines, Delta included, instituted rollover of status and miles programs to keep its loyal customers in the wake of the pandemic.[46]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kartashova, Anya (2019-12-11). "Delta SkyMiles Platinum Credit Card 2020 Review". Forbes Advisor. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  2. ^ "Airline Frequent Flyer Miles, 30 Years Later". ABC News. Retrieved 2021-02-10.
  3. ^ "The First Frequent Flyer Programs". InsideFlyer.com. Archived from the original on 2012-03-27. Retrieved 2009-03-01.
  4. ^ "Delta SkyMiles: Everything You Need to Know About the Frequent-flier Program". Travel + Leisure. Retrieved 2021-02-10.
  5. ^ Tribune, Charles Lockwood, Special to the. "Frequent-flier plans after 9/11". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2021-02-10.
  6. ^ "About SkyMiles". Delta.com. Retrieved 2013-01-22.
  7. ^ "Learn more about the benefits of SkyBonus®". skybonus.delta.com. Retrieved 2013-01-21.
  8. ^ "Travel USNews Rankings". Travel.
  9. ^ Staff, Bankrate. "Frequent Flyer Guide to Delta SkyMiles | Bankrate.com". Bankrate. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  10. ^ "Earn Miles with Delta Airline Partners : Delta Air Lines". www.delta.com. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  11. ^ "Garuda Indonesia Becomes 20th Member of SkyTeam Alliance". www.skyteam.com. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  12. ^ "Hawaiian Airlines Partners". hawaiianair.custhelp.com. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  13. ^ "Associated Airlines". www.latam.com. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  14. ^ "system-unavailable". www.virginatlantic.com. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  15. ^ "Virgin Australia's Airline Partners". Virgin Australia. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-12-16. Retrieved 2014-12-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ "| oneworld". www.oneworld.com. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  18. ^ "SkyMiles Cruises". www.skymilescruises.com. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  19. ^ "Packaged Vacation Deals | Delta Vacations". www.deltavacations.com. Retrieved 2021-02-15.
  20. ^ "WorldAgent Direct - Travel Agent Tools & Resources". www.worldagentdirect.com. Retrieved 2021-02-15.
  21. ^ "Delta Reveals Fascinating Details On The SkyMiles Program". Simple Flying. 2020-09-15. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  22. ^ "MEDALLION QUALIFICATION DOLLARS". Delta.com. Retrieved 2014-02-26.
  23. ^ "Delta Private Jets Card". Archived from the original on 2014-06-25.
  24. ^ "Unlimited Complimentary Medallion® Upgrades". Retrieved 2013-01-21.
  25. ^ "Reservation Benefits". Retrieved 2013-01-21.
  26. ^ "The 13 Best Ways to Earn Delta SkyMiles in 2021". Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  27. ^ Ben (2021-02-07). "The Real Reason Delta Keeps Devaluing SkyMiles". One Mile at a Time. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  28. ^ Maynard, Micheline (2008-07-31). "Delta Redoes Mileage Plan for Its Fliers". NY Times. Retrieved 2012-01-16.
  29. ^ "Gulliver". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  30. ^ "Medallion® Benefits Terms and Conditions : Delta Air Lines". www.delta.com. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  31. ^ "Northwest's WorldPerks -- R.I.P." SmarterTravel. 2009-10-13. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  32. ^ Reuters Staff (2011-02-15). "Delta says loyalty program miles now won't expire". Reuters. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  33. ^ "Delta Air Lines ends expiration of SkyMiles - Feb. 15, 2011". money.cnn.com. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  34. ^ "Delta Eliminates SkyMiles Expiration (Delta Air Lines Inc.)". News.delta.com. Retrieved 2012-01-16.
  35. ^ "Delta Changes SkyMiles to Require Minimum Spend". ABC News. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  36. ^ "SkyMiles News & Updates". delta.com. Retrieved 2013-01-19.
  37. ^ "Delta increasing Diamond MQD Waiver to $250,000 - FlyerTalk Forums". www.flyertalk.com. Retrieved 2017-11-08.
  38. ^ Ben (2014-02-26). "Delta SkyMiles Going Fully Revenue Based". One Mile at a Time. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  39. ^ "DELTA INTRODUCES 2015 SKYMILES PROGRAM WITH NEW MILEAGE EARNING STRUCTURE AND MORE REDEMPTION OPTIONS". Delta.com. Retrieved 2014-02-26.
  40. ^ Yamanouchi, Kelly; Journal-Constitution, The Atlanta. "Delta to boost top frequent flier threshold". ajc. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  41. ^ "2015 SKYMILES PROGRAM". Delta.com. Retrieved 2014-02-26.
  42. ^ "Delta | Airbnb". Delta. 2016-09-21. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  43. ^ "Delta SkyMiles® Airbnb partnership program - Airbnb Help Center". Airbnb. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  44. ^ Manfredi, Lucas (2020-09-16). "Delta takes a 'mortgage' out on frequent flier SkyMiles for $6.5B". FOXBusiness. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  45. ^ "Flitch Ratings Structured Finance". www.fitchratings.com. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  46. ^ Markwat, Christian (2020-04-12). "Delta extends Medallion Status with 12 months". InsideFlyer. Retrieved 2021-02-09.

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