CHANGES TO DELTA’S FREQUENT FLIER PROGRAM COMING IN 2015

CHANGES TO DELTA’S FREQUENT FLIER PROGRAM COMING IN 2015

Delta made some big changes to their frequent flier program that took effect in 2014,  including mandating that passengers enrolled in its SkyMiles program spend at least $2500 in order to qualify for the lowest tier of frequent flier status. Currently, SkyMiles members earn miles to put towards future trips based on the distance of past flights; ticket class or price is not tracked.

Late in February 2014, Delta announced that beginning in 2015, the tiered structure of SkyMiles, Delta’s frequent flier program, will no longer be based on miles flown, but instead on spend and price of ticket. Beginning January 1,2015, SkyMiles members will earn anywhere from 5 to 11 miles for every dollar spent on a ticket. Diamond Medallion members, of course, will earn top miles for each dollar spent.

The goal is to award higher-spending business travelers who usually book less in advance and spend more than the average leisure traveler. In 2014, many airlines are putting an important focus on catering to the business traveler – from receiving better rewards as a road warrior to providing better seats, more amenities and VIP treatment.

Currently, Virgin America, JetBlue and Southwest operate on a similar structure; enrolled frequent fliers are awarded miles based on the amount spent on each ticket. United and American will most likely wait until Delta unveils the new program in 2015 to gauge traveler feedback and decide whether or not to follow suit.