Many comments have flooded in about the Save SkyMiles campaign. Some of them are listed below.
*Some comments have been edited for content and/or brevity.
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Justin S - April 11, 2003
I have just started traveling a few years ago and have made silver for the last couple of years. To me it was a big deal getting to the Silver level where I could just get on the airplane early, relax and finish off some paperwork before a flight, and get overhead space for my bag.
I got the silver level through segments. I don't work for a company that has deep pockets, so I would normally have to fly out of Dayton and back to Cincinnati to get to my final destination inorder to save money. I hated doing this because you would have to catch the 6:00 am flight out of Dayton and wake up around 3:45 am to start the day. I can't get my company to pay 4 time as much to allow me to get a 9:00 am direct flight from Cincinnati to my final destination. The only thing that kept me getting up early to fly Delta was that at least I will get a segment for the extra leg from Dayton. Last year I was only 4 segments away from getting Gold, which I was really looking forward so I could miss some of the long lines at the Cincinnati Security.
I have no hope getting back to Silver this year. I haven't flown a single flight that has earned more then 50% frequent flier points. I probably would have been Gold under the old program.
I don't really care too much for the first class upgrades because 1. Unless you are flying cross country, you only get free drinks and a slightly bigger seat; there are no more meals or even face towels anymore. 2. Most of my flights are Comair 3. When I do have a flight, where there is a chance to upgrade, I am bumped by a Platnium or Gold member, which is fine because they do fly more.
I just wanted to be recognized by Delta that I do fly more then a person that takes a vacation once a year. By not having segments, I don't see why I want to go out of my way to use Delta. Especially now, with expenses getting tight, how can you expect customer's to pay some of your outragious prices?
Lastly, I was in Chicago and flew United. The pilot came down the aisle and thanked every passenger personally for flying with them. They were increasing their rewards for frequent fliers as well. This really impressed me because it showed that they cared about my business. I would think that when business is bad, you would want to incent people fly your airline, not nickle and dime people away to someone else.
PLEASE BRING BACK THE SEGMENTS! You loose nothing keeping moderate fliers at silver levels, you just gain our appreciation and loyalty for going out of the way to maintain our levels. Otherwise if I know I can't make silver, I have know incentive to go out of my way to use Delta.
James Falk - April 11, 2003
I acheived PM (1.5 MM) status for many years based on segments . Since the changes I am using USAir and NWA . There is no longer a need for me to remain "The Loyal Elite" as Delta put on my luggage tags. I see no benefit to supporting the Skymiles program in the future. The only perks that I cared about were the ease of upgrades and the free Crown Room. These perks are no longer available to me because I fly short haul segments (high fares)and will never be able to achieve PM . I can not understand what they were thinking of when they made these changes but I know they were not thinking of me!
P. Szawranskyj - April 10, 2003
I think that the new changes stink. I have been a gold member for my second year, and made it based on segments, based on my current travel plans, it looks like I will make gold again, but flying more just to reach gold, and I will never see platinum, I was looking forward to platinum status, because I would have made it based on segments, but not the new miles system. And looking at what they are taking away, I see no advantage to platinum anyway except for the free crown room, they took away unlimited upgrades, which was my main reason to make platinum, both gold and platinum are the same in terms of benefits except for the free crown room, BIG DEAL, plus I enjoyed having the option of stanby, now we have to call within 3 hours of a flight that you want to change too, it was nice that if you showed up early and an earlier conection was running late and they have seats, you could have made that, now unless you are listed, you can't do standby, at least they could try to make the program more like Continental or Northwest since they formed an alliance with them and their programs are much better, I might sign up with Continental and put my delta credits with them when I fly Delta. I think that Delta was thinking that NW and Continental would reduce their programs to match Delta's, Does not look that way, SORRY DELTA
Dave M. - April 10, 2003
As I read through the other comments, a few thoughts came to mind that I want to share. There were comments that mentioned about getting things for free (Tim R.) which I do agree with - there are bigger and better things to worry about. But concerning the Skymiles Program, I like many others fly (flew) Delta twice a week, sometimes only two segments, but often four, per week. I am a small business owner and like others either pay for my flights myself, or pass that cost onto my clients. For either financial reasons (when I pay) or moral reasons (when pasing on cost to clients), I shop for the cheaper fares, which will basically gain me nothing as medallion status goes. I've been Platinum for two years, dropped to Gold for 2003, and will probably not reach Silver for 2004. I have decided that the reasons I've been travelling for work have been diminished to the point that I will now be looking for work locally. I know the airlines are hurting financially after 9/11 (don't forget those associated with that date - they and their loved ones have it much worse than us writing these comments), but when Delta is losing customers based on this program, they do need to reconsider their stance. What I was getting for "free", was not really costing Delta that much. What they're losing in lost tickets sales, will be much more costly than the two drinks I had in the Crown Room and the empty first class seat that I filled.
S B Sedgwick - April 9, 2003
I'm a Gold Medalion member (who almost made Plantium on segments last year). "Playing" with medallion status has been the only thing that made that much flying bearable. Delta has been good to me and I understand that they need to make money. And other airlines base status on miles. But I have no incentive to buy more expensive tickets (and they have more reduced priced tickets these days) and so I not only have no segments - I only have half credit on all the miles I have flown this year - and on the old system would have already reached silver for 2003. Think of it. I could fly 100 segments and only be a silver level flyer (Min. 50,000/2 = 25,000 miles...)
I like the new changes on eliminating standby for same day flights. Think there could be a better way to handle upgrades. (Many times I would have gladly given double or triple "points" to use them or because of the length of the flight.) Also I think Delta is the only airline that puts restrictions on upgrades on their Platinum members. This doesn't work.
David Garlikov - April 9, 2003
I've been a Gold Mediallion member for several years. This is to be my last year because I always earn it with segments.
My home airport is CVG, but since the change I have been flying out of Dayton more often than Cincinnati. I never looked at any other airline's prices, unless my schedule dictated a change from Delta. Now, I visit Travelocity or Orbitz before checking Delta's website.
I am paying substantially less on American, Northwest, USAir and Continental than I was paying on Delta. Yes, occassionally I have to change planes rather than fly direct, but to save up to $600 on a round trip flight it is worth it. I never really cared before, because I felt the benefits of Gold Medallion outweighed the extra money I was paying. However, at this point, there is absolutely no benefit for me to remain loyal to Delta.
Each year, I throw away between 18 and 30 upgrades that I could not use because so many of my flights are on Comair. That always bothered me, but I lived with it because of the other benefits. Well, now there are no other benefits for me. I still fly 65 to 75 segments a year. But, Delta is only getting a fraction of them since they decided that I am not the type of customer who's loyalty they want.
Thanks for Nothing Leo!
Philip Ryan - April 9, 2003
I've been a medallion member for 5 years now... and I am sort of happy it's not just me that realizes that lately Delta has resorted to pi$$-poor customer service, in general, and then also trickled it down to us loyal customers.
I would urge anyone who has the choice, do what I did...Switch to NORTHWEST!!!
When I first moved to the Cincinnati area, I really hated Northwest, but now I won't fly Delta except to drain off my remaining miles. Northwest of late, really treats their customers better.
Since I have switched loyalty a number of things have happened.
1. I've only once not recieved an upgrade. (plus they do it automatically in advance, and email you)
2. My upgrades are not tied to "segments" and fare codes
3. It takes less segments to reach the levels
20-S 40-G 60-P
4 Most of the time I have access to the crown room
5. The promotions Milage Mania / Milapalooza yield incredible returns
Meanwhile, Delta Nickle & Dimes you for everything with no mercy!
One more thing (I know I am on the soapbox)
Why does Delta charge you $75 for altering a trip, but they can be late, cancel YOUR trip, and alter YOUR travel plans with no return?!!!
GOD Bless The Troops for a safe return ...(even on Delta flights)
Brian D - April 9, 2003
Great web site. Perhaps Delta's Senior Management Team has hired same folks who advised Audi to blame the sudden acceleration problem they had a few years ago on "short women who could not reach the pedals"!
Unfortunately I am stuck with the bastards.....
Platinum (treated like tin) flyer in Beantown
Celeste Ebbers - April 9, 2003
I'm a loyal Delta customer and am very pleased with the service I receive every time I fly. I fly one to two times per week, and Delta seldom lets me down. I prefer Delta over all other airlines.
Charles Evans - April 9, 2003
Delta's new rules to qualify for Silver Medallion status now makes it too expensive to continue to fly Delta exclusively. Being retired and able to travel extensively I have made it a point to only fly delta for the past eleven years maintaining Medallion status even though less expensive flights were offered by other airlines. In addition I have created extra trips just to stay in that club.
My records indicate that my wife and I have increased Delta's revenue by over thirty five thousand dollars the past 11 years.
Because of Delta's new rules, I and I'm sure many others will now find the least expensive and convenient airlines for our trips.
I want to see Delta survive the current crises that has befallen the airlines, however the new rules have caused me to cease flying Delta.
Mark W - April 9, 2003
Finally, Delta has done something to benefit me. I think Delta has entirely too many Platinum, Gold, and Silver Medallion Members.
I live in Cincinnati and will be the first to admit Delta rapes it customers in this market. But why should a person who lives in Louisville or Dayton that is flying to Baltimore connecting through Cincy or Atlanta on a cheaper ticket earn more medallion qualifications than me. I am paying a lot more for my ticket and receiving half the amount of medallion qualifiactions and miles.
Now Delta has evened the playing field. Most of my tickets are purchased within 7 business days of travel, I generally have to pay full fair, and I am sick and tired of getting stuck in the back.
I remember on several occassions last year when I was in Atlanta getting ready to board a flight and more than half of the passengers were medallion. This was even the case last week on a flight from Chicago to Cincinnati. There are too many medallion level passengers.
I think Delta's new plans are going to eliminate a lot of the folks who used to earn 4 segments for their trips. A lot of the business travelers in Atlanta, Cincinnati, New York, Dallas, Las Angeles, and Salt Lake are really going to benefit from this new plan.
I can already feel the difference. I can now get upgraded almost every flight. And next year it will be even better. Thank you Delta for taking care of customers like me who pay top dollar for business tickets.
Karen K. - April 9, 2003
I fly twice a week each week and have for the past several years and between flight cancellations and unfriendly service they can count me out of the "Loyal Customer" column.
The newest trick that Delta has implemented is stranding you at the end of a flight for 15 to 20 minutes, as you wait for a gate agent to bring down the jetway. It doesn't matter if you land early, late, or even ontime you will now wait for a gate agent to bring down the jetway.
Delta has decided to cut the number of gate agents leaving one gate agent to handle anywhere from three to five at one time. I can only imagine that this new cost cutting measure was implemented to allow senior management to collect their hefty bonus for the year.
Cinnamon - April 9, 2003
I certainly appreciate your concerns since I am simply a regular SkyMiles card/number holder and was looking forward to reaching the previous limits.
However, you may want to rethink your communication efforts... I was trying to figure out how this would affect me since I had anticipated hitting certain milestones under the SkyMiles program this year and the Js, Us, Ts and Ms really mean nothing to the average SkyMiles cardholder (you may want to clarify what you mean).
ddoering - April 9, 2003
I am going on my 5th year of medallion status with the last two being gold reached through segments. With over 20 segments ytd I have barely reached 10,000 qualifying miles. I'll be lucky to reach silver.
I have gone through great lengths to achieve the gold status, not for the miles but for the status and the perks that expedite the entire travel process, check-in and security. Both of which do not affect Delta's bottom line.
Delta can keep their miles just give me back my segments!
Tim Adair - April 9, 2003
I am very upset about Delta's decision to change the Medallion program. I live in the Cincinnati area and Delta pretty much has a monopoly of the air travel here, being their second largest hub. I have been flying only Delta since the age of 2. I have ALWAYS been very pleased with the service I have reveiced from them. I am currently a Silver Medalliom Member, but not for long. I have been elite for the past three years in a row. I have family in Europe and have been travelling over there several times a year. I was so happy when I finally achieved Medallion. Making the whole experience much more comfortable for me. I have earned that status by paying my own money for trips overseas to visit my family. And only being 25, I think it is a pretty big feat to achieve such status for 3 years in a row buying my own tickets. It makes me very upset that I am going to lose that status after this year due to Delta's changes of the program. I am totally on track to achieve Silver again under their old rules as well. I was just planning on achieving it again this year. It makes me very unhappy that I will probably not achieve it now. I was especially looking forward to my status when I take my honeymoon in Greece next summer. Now I will just go with the lowest fare. Sorry Delta, you've let me down in a big way.
tcurran - April 9, 2003
I have been a PLATUNUM member of Delta for over 5 years now. I actually moved to Cincinnati so that I'd have access to a Delta Hub.... duh!!!
I know I'm preaching to the Ministers here, but what could they be thinking? And, when you do tell them what you think, they actually simply ignore you.
I have to agree with others who have fled (or flew) to other Airlines who treat their loyal customers with much better service, prices and 'skymile' programs.
Good Bye Delta.... I'm moving to Phoenix!
scott p - April 9, 2003
As a Delta employee who worked in the Cincinnati Crown Room, I was happy to see so many frequent flyers upset at the recent changes made to the Skymiles Program. Working for Delta was at the time, one of the best experiences of my life. I was one employee who enjoyed my job and enjoyed seeing the medallion travellers on a daily basis. Anyone who knows me, knew that I was on a first name basis with many of the members.
I was saddened to leave the company, but with all the changes that have occurred and that are still to come, I'm glad I am no longer there. My friends that I worked with are feeling the stress associated with decisions made from above.
I feel for all the loyal flyers and understand your choosing other options to travel.
Its my hope that the company will finally take your concerns seriously when they see their profits shrink even further.
and to think the old timers at Delta hated Ron Allen....hmmmmm
Ben Lott - April 9, 2003
Last year was the third year in a row that I have qualified for platinum status. Most of my travel last year was between CVG and ATL. Not a lot of mileage here but I traveled every week of the year and made platinum on segments only. If my travel continues this year at the same rate that I did last year I will be lucky to qualify for gold status.
And for all those people that fly out of CVG you know that the prices we pay are outrageous! I have reached my end. I am tired of paying their high prices and low service. The last two trips I have taken I have departed from Dayton. This requires an investment of my time (app. 2 more hours) but I am willing to do this to know that I helped lower Delta's cash flow by over $600 per trip.
For all those travelers with a home base of CVG I highly encourage you to travel to Louisville or Dayton to fly alternative airlines. Let's stand up to Delta and say ENOUGH!
Matthew F - April 9, 2003
I am self-employed marketing consultant, and have accumulated nearly half a million Delta miles. Thus, I have tried to understand these recent changes from both the marketing and the consumer angles. To the best of my abilities, I cannot.
Delta has made the classic mistake of confusing "retention" with "loyalty." To understand the difference between the two, one simply needs to stand in the Medallion check-in line, and listen to "loyal" Delta flyers talk about how much they dislike the airline.
I fly most often from Cincinnati, a market on which Delta has a stranglehold. Thus, Delta has been able to RETAIN my business over the years. However: If a competitive airline made major inroads in this market - or if I were to move to a different city - I would immediately consider my options. Delta has my business, but not my LOYALTY. Based on conversations with other Medallion-level fliers (and not just recently), I would say many of us fall into the same camp. With the recent changes to the Medallion program, that camp can only be expanding.
It was bad enough when I was not allowed to use a segment upgrade to First Class if I was smart enough to locate a discount fare. It is infuriating that Delta would allow a ten-year Silver Medallion customer to sit in Coach, while First Class is two-thirds empty. And in forcing me to pay a higher fare to use my upgrades, the value of these "free" upgrades is nullified, is it not?
Now, in a tight economy, people are flying less for both business and pleasure, and have less money to spend when they do. As relates to my business specifically, travel costs come out of one of two pockets - mine, or my clients'. I don't have a gigantic corporate travel slush fund to abuse at my whim. So, if I find a great fare that saves me (and, therefore, my clients) some money, I will only see half the benefit of that from a mileage standpoint.
I'm sure Delta has run the numbers that suggest that the high-spending corporate clients are the ones that really keep it in business. With the recent changes, however, Delta has lost an opportunity to embrace, rather than alienate, the rest of us. And Delta will feel the impact of that decision for years, in the form of migrating and disloyal customers.
John R Lee - April 9, 2003
Delta altered the skymile program after I had purchased tickets. This was dishonest, they would only change them for a huge fee. What delta got in return was the following:
1. I will not renew crown room membership. I was using it l0 time per year or $40.00 per visit for two cups of coffee and a free newpaper.
2. I sold my stock in Delta, so now I do not have to watch it go down when the officers declare huge stock options and bonus for themselves.
3. If it is under 400 miles, I drive rather than wait in line to be frisked by some ex-gestapo agent or worse.
4. Since the senior program was terminated I do not take joy ride trips, easier to drive in most cases.
5. The new program of outrageous charges to change tickets or loose them is something I would expect from Air Iraq.
6. Soon as I earn l0,000 base miles for spending on the Delta American Express Card, that too will be terminated.
So what did delta gain from me, nothing, I can fly out of Dayton and avoid delta. I flew many miles and got the shaft for it.
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