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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Jim Robinette - June 27, 2003
I am a recent addition to the business travelers realm. I travel all over the US for portrait photography so I never know where I am going next. My company purchases the lowest ticket possible but will, within reason, stay with one airline when requested.
Last year I was thrilled that I would become a delta elite member... only silver... but I was still happy. Till I found that I was 2 segments short! I spoke to my travel bokking agent and told her to book Delta whenever possible from then on out! That was BEFORE they changed. Now it doesn't really matter because I cannot make it on segments anymore and the miles I get are 1/2 or less more often than not.
I do not need the pampering that most might but I sure looked forward to Boarding first to secure overhead room for my camera equipment. Now I fly 4 different airlines all over the board because there is no real incentive for me to fly Delta alone... even though I fly enough for the old program I can't convince myself that flying Delta exclusively now is worth it ... so Delta... you lose. Shame on you!
My combined 4 carrier total would have made me a Gold on Delta and maybe even a silver now... but I just don't like peddling twice as fast as the other carriers require. Dissappointed New Flyer!
Tammie B - June 25, 2003
I review the comments on this page about once every month, in the hopes of seeing something promising in the way of word on changes to the medallion program. To date, obviously, I am disappointed - at least that's one thing Delta is consistent in providing.
My situation is no different than many of you - I fly short routes EVERY WEEK. I am flying discounted fares because I think it's silly to for a consumer to pay higher fares, for business or pleasure, if lower fares can be found. I book all travel online, I rarely request an upgrade unless I'm on a flight of more than 4 hours, I book all my flights 1-2 months in advance, and I don't care about meal service.
What I do care about is the fact that I'm getting 50% mileage credit.
My husband was so thoroughly disgusted with the changes that he refused to fly Delta at all this year and has been using United, Southwest and American. In fact, he just contacted United and they matched his gold status. I fly about 50% more than he does but I too have been holding on to an apparently misguided belief that Delta would see the light on these changes. I think 6 mo.s is enough for me though - I have flown 25,500 miles and 54 segments so far this year. If that doesn't qualify me as a premium customer, I don't know what does. I've contacted United and if they match gold status, I'll be flying the friendly skys of United. Good luck to those who plan to hold out until year end.
John H - June 20, 2003
Looks like Anne Baker's approach (below) will be our best option since Delta is non-responsive. I know one thing--if I had delta stock I'd be dumping it before Jan. 1 as there is going to be a mass exit of passengers.
Larry Smith - June 19, 2003
Went to look for SkyMiles tickets to Maui for my family. There are two levels, Sky Savers and Sky Choice. Sky Savers are the advertised ones, 30,000 miles for an Economy ticket to Hawaii. So in taking four people in total, I looked for the Sky Savers. Guess what? There are no 30,000 mile Sky Savers tickets available, not just at Christmas, but none for a year. Zero, at no time, on any date, are there 30,000 mile tickets.
They do have plenty of SKy Choice seats available, which cost 60,000 miles.
If this is not the classic "Bait & Switch", I do not know what is. I should probably notify the FTC.
But the bottom line is, not only are they making it harder to qualify for Medallion status, they are making it harder to use miles (or in their case, quicker to use up your miles) by having so few Sky Saver seats available that flyers are forced to use twice as many miles per trip.
Tommy Wood - June 17, 2003
Needless to say, I am very disturbed at the treatment that is received from Delta as I inquire about the prices charged and the miles given (or not given) to the average Sky Miles Member.
I have recently started two companies (yes a small business) with 8 full-time travel consultants. It was my intent to stay with Delta throughout the entire process. However, as a small business, I had to make some very tough decisions about the carrier my company would use. After MANY efforts to get a personal word (not standardized response)from Delta, I finally pulled the plug on travel with Delta's home office in Atlanta. I have asked the hard questions, and got the "brush" off from Delta and Delta's service. The planes are older; the service is not up to par as those who are carriers with a hungry heart for the American business flyer. The upgrades to "Business Class" comes at a very high cost to the average small business owner who depends on air travel to carry on business.
I have taken a survey of my staff of 14 and found that they to are willing to pay the "Business Class" upgrades for their travel than to stay with Delta.
Please help us do something to regain our once "state of bliss" with Delta.
President -CEO The GreenField Group, Atlanta, GA
Myron Hayden - June 17, 2003
Just finished making all of my travel arrangements until the end of June -- exactly six months under the new rules. Thought I would share my observations.
It is important to note that I am looking at this situation from a different perspective then most of those that have posted in the past. I have been a United MileagePlus 1K (UAL's equivalent to Platinum) for the last four years and always qualify on segments.
At the end of last year, I was done with United Airlines. Bankruptcy, rapidly declining service and a generally hostile attitude toward any elite flyer on "the friendly skies" were more then I could take. Add to that the fact that after a recent move, I was one hour closer to an airport that Delta served then the closest United airport. I flew some "test flights" on Delta and was impressed by the outstanding service. The choice was obvious: Delta would get 100% of my business.
It is even MORE important to note that I work for a consultancy with 350+ full time travelers. We are based in Chicago, so a vast majority were Premier Executive or 1K with United (Gold and Platinum). Just the type of flyer that any airline would like to see walk through their door. We were ready to jump off of the United ship. After a very informal survey last year, almost 90% of those United flyers I talked to were ready to move with me to Delta.
Then I received the infamous email. I was literally devastated by the thought of having to stay with United as only United and Delta are "preferred" corporate airlines.
After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, I made the decision NOT to give Delta 100% of my business and try to qualify for status on both UAL and Delta.
So, after six months to "acquaint myself with the new program features" here are my numbers.
34,473 actual flight miles
31,434 qualification miles
Status – Silver Medallion
32,814 actual flight miles
As of right now, I am only 8 segments away from qualifying for Premier Executive (Gold) and 48 away from 1K (Platinum) on United. If I fly 48 more segments on Delta and buy more expensive tickets, I might make Gold on Delta. Maybe.
Another interesting fact has become very clear. United wants my business. Their service has improved by 1000%. Delta could care less about me and does not seem to want my business. Additionally, the overall service on Delta has slipped substantially.
It is clear to me that not only did Delta make a huge error in alienating their own loyal customers, they missed the opportunity of a lifetime. If they had only left the SkyMiles program alone, they could have pulled away a vast majority of United's elite and nailed the coffin shut on UAL.
Just in case anyone is interested... I ran my informal survey again. Not a single person who was going to switch to Delta from United ever did.
Bill Davis - June 16, 2003
I just completed flying 100 segments on Delta. I have been Platinum Medallion for the last five years (always on segments). I only accumulated 60,587 Medallion Qualification Miles for this year. I did not have one U, L or T class ticket in the bunch.
I can no longer justify paying $400 to $700 for a ticket. I have switched to flying US Airways and I will reach Chairman's Preferred status by the end of the year with my current rate of travel. They seem to appreciate my business and have better snacks in first class.
Adios, Delta. You have lost another extremely loyal customer.
Terilyn Reber - May 30, 2003
Response to Delta's response May 30, 03
Let me start by saying that I know the decisions that have been made to the programme were probably not even announced to you prior to implementation and that the message below was created as a canned response to communications such as mine. I realize you are simply doing your job and I'll bet it is a tough one.
But because you are the one that is responsible to respond to these messages, you will need to be the one to get my rebut to your message a it seems that your management totally missed my point.
Your messages says
"We are confident the program modifications will better
recognize and reward our premium passengers and help generate revenue
through our most valued products"
Am I to take this to mean I am not one of those premium passengers that warrant recognition nor reward? I would be if Delta had been my carrier of choice since your downgrading of the FF program.
"The airline industry continues to undergo significant change,..."
This is not my fault. I travel 30-35 weeks a year and at Y B or M fares, usually Y. There has only been two times in the past 18 months that I have purchased a deeply discounted fare. Of those numerous business trips at full coach fare I usually used another airline as many others have. You are exacerbating your own economic situation via your management of said changes.
"We hope that you will continue to fly Delta and acquaint yourself with the new program features."
It is my familiarity of the new program features and the insult it provided that prompted my letter.
"We appreciate your support and trust your future flights will be entirely satisfactory."
Delta totally missed the point. I am neither in support of nor satisfied with Delta. I know I am not alone.
Multi-Year PM - May 25, 2003
I have been a loyal Delta flyer for many years, and have recruited others to learn how to gain M staus or purchase membership to the crown room.
While I will continue to qualify for PM under the new program, I am horrified by new pricing structure that has caused my travel to increase by a minimum of 25% if I fly K class tickets compared to K class tickets in the past. In many cases, I find that the difference between the L(out), U(nderclass) or T(orpid) class tickets and a K class ticket is several hundred dollars. I simply do not understand the rational behind this. Undercutting those of us who are the bread-and-butter in favor of the 1-2 time per year flyer makes no sense at all. Moreover, the website--which we are encouraged to use to save the company money--does not allow me to specify K, Q, H vs. Y, B, M should I want to gather up all those famulous 1.5x credits toward my PM.
In the late 1990s,I literally changed my job in order to move out of U.S. Air's terratory. I felt like I had been given a gift of reason when I started flying Delta full time. I could count on Delta to help me make my busy travel schedule (more than 150 segments per year, about 130,000 base miles and 150 nights) possible. Now, I feel like I am back flying in the "war zone."
My heart is with the rank-and-file Delta employees who seem very disheartened by this turn of events. Think about how much harder their job is when the bulk of their passengers are infrequent flyers who do not understand the rules and protocols like the seasoned travelors do. If you are not clear on this, think back to the last time you flew on a business trip over the Christmas holiday and it took twice as long to load the plane, people had to be reminded repeatedly to take their seats so that the plane could push back, and the carry-ons include monster size, open shopping bags.
I have been been offered new, higher paying jobs over the past several years and one of the strongest incentives to stay where I am has been that I live near a Delta hub. That incentive is no longer there.
I do hope that Delta wakes up and takes notice of the impact of their new policies on their employees and on our loyalty.
Anne Bakker - May 19, 2003
Just want to let everyone know that Northwest matched my Gold level and one of the other folks I work with got his Platinum Status on Delta matched by Northwest (I expected Gold but not Platinum). We have both been loyal Delta flyers but that is coming to an end today. After reading all the notes in this section I cannot believe that Delta hasn't seen the light and returned segments and upgrades. As a travel agent for my small company I now have the pleasure of telling our people that they can be treated to all around better service by another airline. Thanks for this site! Keep up the great work....maybe someday Delta will actually listen.
G. Wilson - May 19, 2003
My story echoes many others already posted. Medallion for years (currently Gold) entirely through segments. No option to mandate purchase of more expensive tickets, etc, etc...
I wanted to add however my recent travel experience. I requested a bereavement rate for my family of 4 on a Thursday night for Saturday travel. Flying out of CVG my bereavement rate = $961 (50% of $1922). For a family of 4 that came to $3844. Friday morning I called to request mileage tickets & was awarded such for 25,000 miles/ticket. Lately I've given up on anything other than 50,000 mile tickets so this was a pleasant surprise.
I mention this for two reasons:
1.) I consider the quoted prices to be a "business gouge" rate & not suitable for personal bereavement fares.
2.) One out of the 4 round trip segments was half full. The other 3 segments were less than half full and yet Delta was going to gouge me with those prices.
This experience and the dismantling the SkyMiles program are just two examples of how Delta is driving away yet another loyal customer.
David Nobles - May 16, 2003
I have been at Silver Medallion for the last several years and finally made Gold last year on segments only to have the program changed beginning this year. Wonderful! All of my trips are short haul but I qualified on segments. I could still make Gold with my usual short haul trips and a few long trips each year except my company,(and many others) does not allow me to pay for the highest fares needed to earn the full MQM's. Thanks Delta for rewarding my loyalty to you by penalizing me.
Rick Walker - May 15, 2003
Like everyone on this site, I am fed up with Delta, but have felt "handcuffed" to the airline due to my Gold Medallion Status each year. However, on a flight from Seattle to Atlanta on May 12, I learned that Delta has decided to cut back on meal service -- for one of the longest flights in the continental US, they served (in First class!) cereal and yoghurt on "paper linen" and plastic utensils. The flight attendant explained to me that Delta has discontinued hot meals in First and they no longer have any meal service at all in economy. Now, it's a sack meal, the "Little Blue Bag." This wouldn't have happened during Ron Allen's tenure. I am done with Delta.
Dennis Reid - May 15, 2003
I have flown Delta exclusively since I moved to Tampa in 1994. I've been Gold Medallion for the past few years and Silver Medallion before that. Delta has rewarded my loyalty, through their recent program changes, by preventing me from attaining Gold for 2004. The way it stands now, I may earn enough for Silver Medallion, but that's unlikely. When I complained, Delta told me about all the wonderful new perks I have, like being able to upgrade a T, U, or L fare the day of the flight. I'll have a better chance of winning the lottery than getting an upgrade just hours before my flight.
Thanks Delta. I'm glad I spent so much of my company's money on your higher fares. If Delta doesn't restore our perks for 2004, then I'm transferring to United or I'll start flying Airtran.
Bob Cardone - May 15, 2003
It would seem that the only reason that Delta changed the qualification for Silver Medallion Level was to insult the members that were Silver level. It wasn't costing them anything to give the frequent flyer the few perks that Silver level offered like early boarding. It seemed that it was just a way to insult and punish the Medallion Level Flyers because their companies would not allow the flyer to buy expensive tickets. Delta continues to exhibit oor and arrogant management practices towards their customers just as Eastern did prior to their demise. No wonder Delta is losing Millions of dollars every week with "mostly full" flights.
I now go out of my way to fly Air Tran and other airlines and so do other Delta FF in my company. I am voting with my feet....
J. Patrick Rick - May 10, 2003
At 2.3 million miles with Delta, I am so pleased my business travel declined during the recent years Delta went to Hell in a hand basket. I am disappointed with the airline that gave me Flying Colonel status in the early 80s, and then abandoned any mention of it, since. Unfortunately, for Delta, I am not nearly as disappointed as the more recent loyal that would have brought Delta more business in the future. Delta, you blew it!
Jonathan Breazeale - May 8, 2003
It is very disappointing that, in light of the current airline ecomonic situation, that Delta would consider stepping on their customers. Working for a company that pushes the lowest fare possible, Delta is penalizing the business traveler - the lion's share of their revenue.
Steve Limperis - May 7, 2003
I recently lost my miles with very little warning. I emailed them only a few days after and even pleaded to havethem transferred to Hilton Honors or given to charity. They elected the charity (themselves). Nice that Delta expires your miles, United does not . I will never fly Delta again
Mark Seelig - May 7, 2003
I was a Gold Medallion Sky Miles member with Delta.
Due to the changes they made I had no choice but to switch over to United. They transferred the
status I held with Delta over to their Premier Executive Status even though my Gold Status with
Delta was running out!! That's customer service, I'd say.
The 2-Million-Miler person you quoted is absolutely right: Delta's Sky Miles program is no longer
competitive. And that's mildly put.
Thanks for all your work.
V.Rozansky - May 6, 2003
Finally, after 20+ years, Delta has unchained me. I no longer feel shackeled to a FF program. I now feel free to fly other airlines. irrespective of miles or status. My PM status is now worthless, as is loyalty to one particular Program. You have lost, yet. another, loyal customer. I flew DL from Los Angeles and dealt with miserable connections. I am no longer willing to do that. At this point in my life, it is just not worth it. I now fly the most convenient flight from point A to point B. Delta, with it's changes, has made me think more about the most bang for my buck as opposed to the most miles (or MQM's) for my buck. I am not going for status-matches on other airlines. I will fly the best economy class and pay for the best First or Business class and not give a rats a** about status. I'll pay for lounge access on a need-to- basis and even though I may stand in line with the peons, I will know that this peon will not have overpaid to stand in a special line, and sell her soul for a worthless upgrade.
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