transcripts : November 29th, 2000


Moderator
Good afternoon all.....thanks for dropping by as we've got a few updates today.

opus17
Hi *.*

Moderator
First, let me give you an update on three things:

Moderator
I have received a comment back from the Executive offices of Delta regarding the SaveSkyMiles.com efforts. They are as follows: We look forward to receiving the collective feedback from the site.

Moderator
While the reply is certainly reserved, at least they have acknowledged the efforts. Next:

Moderator
We are now able to identify whom to direct our concerns as of just a few days ago. Hereís the release and notice the person's last name, Maybe this is a sign:

Moderator
ATLANTA, Nov. 13 /PRNewswire/ via NewsEdge Corporation - Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) has appointed Patrice Miles as its new vice president - consumer marketing effective immediately. Miles, who joined Delta in 1978, will assume responsibility for the airline's advertising, brand management, promotional marketing and sponsorships, frequent flyer programs and partnerships, and product development. "Patrice has a proven track record at Delta," said Frederick W. Reid, Delta's executive vice president and chief marketing officer. "She will lead the charge to strengthen Delta's brand and to build long-term customer relationships through the development and implementation of innovative products and programs." Miles brings a well-rounded background to her new position. She has held a number of key management positions within the company, specifically in e-Commerce, Marketing and Sales & Distribution. Most recently, Miles was vice president - e-Business, where she was responsible for the development of Delta

Moderator
And finally, I have had a very interesting chat with another executive at SkyMiles marketing and they are considering letting me post up the results of the research they used to make the upgrade decision. I've seen the results and they really are very similar to what is important to members of other programs whose research I've also seen so I don't sense that Delta is salting the results. I'll let you know as soon as I get something back.

Moderator
So, it looks like we're starting to get something done. As you might know, currently SaveSkyMiles.com represents the interest of over 400 million Delta SkyMiles.....

Moderator
400,820,216 Total SkyMiles Represented 104 SkyMiles members 248 Silver Medallion members 272 Gold Medallion members 108 Platinum Medallion members 732 Total 547,569 Avg. Miles per member

Moderator
That aside, are there any questions today or any updates from your talking to other members about this?

Rssrsvp
I refreshed and it just appeared. However the flashing "Sign the petition " is gone.

Rssrsvp
Moderator, there have been several posts on the DL board saying that they want to read the entire petition before they sign it. Can you include this on the site?

PremEx
I've now made 3 card pass-out sessions at Delta terminals. Very successful (and fun). I posted that I am a bit disappointed that 8 out of 10 eliteís don't really pay much attention (if any) to their program. They are just too busy and only hope for a free ticket for the family now and then. Secretaries open the mail and statements and stuff.

opus17
Moderator, what is Delta's research based on? Surveys?

Moderator
Sure, but as you know, we have yet to formalize a final position to give to Delta. The current intent of the petition is to simply show the level of concern, i.e. miles and level of membership to this issue. As we complete the final draft we will post all the wording....

Moderator
Their research comes from several city based advisory boards and other focus groups. We're lucky enough to have several of our best subscribers of InsideFlyer to be members of these boards so we always get a nice insight as to what's going on....

PremEx
...but 2 out of 8 are very surprised and appreciative of being informed. I have not met ONE person yet that already knew about the changes.

Rssrsvp
Moderator, many people will not sign up unless they see the entire petition, so please rush the wording.

PremEx
2 out of 10. Sorry.

Moderator
PremEx...many thanks. Gee you'll really be valuable if we ever have a SaveMileagePlus.com Web site.....

PremEx
;Rssrsvp....maybe the word "petition" is the wrong word to use at this time?

Rssrsvp
True

chix
You mean if we ever need one, right!

PremEx
Yes...Interest List maybe, or something else.

hfly
I personally liked the proposal made on the boards the other day where it was proposed that SWU's could only be earned on DL metal. I mean we would still want status miles from the Skyteam partners, but this would limit the damage of their fliers.

Rssrsvp
Moderator, on the "say the word" page you have the words "reconsider or compromise" the changes. Why is the word compromise even in there? Without the SWU's we have an inferior program.

hfly
This would either make Skyteam fliers true to Delta, or keep them from earning SWU's. This would be the best possible way of limiting liability to AF, KE and AM.

Moderator
Actually, I find it strange that anyone would not sign the petition because they can't see the wording. We don't ask for any identifying things to publish on who they are and we do state that we are simply gathering support for the changes. I personally find what's posted a simple enough explanation: I want to add my name to the petition to encourage Delta Air Lines to reconsider or compromise recently announced changes to the Medallion level of the SkyMiles program. I want this program to stay competitive with other major airlines frequent flyer programs.

chix
Meaning I hope we will never need a savemileageplus.com site!

hfly
Several people in one of my offices couldn't sign up as someone had already signed up from the office before and the function was blocked. This hurts our numbers as these people would then have to sign up from home or somewhere else and could easily forget.

Moderator
Rssrsvp - in earlier chats, there was much discussion that members were willing to consider meeting Delta halfway or at a middle point rather than the complete end of SWU's to Gold and Silver members. In all politicking or negotiating, there is some middle ground, after all, we don't actually own the airline...

opus17
What else is going on with Delta -- they seem to be beefing up JFK at the expense of CVG and PDX. And they are moving some flights to LAX, but no feeder traffic! It is going to be tough for us West Coasters to stay at elite levels at this rate!

PremEx
Well, I can't comment on what, if any, reasoning someone might give for not signing up, as I have no way to follow-up with them. I give them the pitch, hand 'em the card, and they are gone.

hfly
People are afraid of retribution. Several have expressed this to me, especially in Atlanta.

Moderator
hfly - yes as we have done the petition with a cookie in mind so that we can't get too anxious and try and "stuff" the ballot box. As inconvenient as it is, we think that it represents that we are sincere in making our thoughts known to Delta on a very fair and honest basis.

hfly
I know the reasons, but it does discourage people in an office environment from signing up.

Rssrsvp
DL metal is a great argument to present. Also some have mentioned that they never use the 800-mile upgrades. How about a formula where you can trade a number of those for SWU's?

Moderator
Retribution.......? Again, that's why we ask no real identifiers and we don't even publish the names, though the names could be any thing you wanted to put in there.

hfly
I know that, but people that I have approached have been suspicious, that's all I'm saying.

Moderator
Then they can all sit in Coach next year......

PremEx
Right.

hfly
Fine with me

PremEx
No time to make converts. Let's get the folks that are already pre-disposed to support the cause.

Moderator
Rssrsvp...that is exactly the thing we have discussed. The concept which we have kind of come up with is "MySkyMiles" which will ask that members choose which benefits like these are best for them, not the other 600,000 Medallion members.

hfly
Is the number 600,000?

Rssrsvp
I was on a flight from YUL last week with a GM from Ernst & Young who was shocked about the changes. His whole office flies DL and I am sure that they use the office computer, is there a way to modify the cookie so that they will all add their names?

Moderator
I will make it a point to have the current position from those who have attended chats posted on SSM right after Thanksgiving. I do think you are all right that by posting some position, we will have at least got off the ground on what it is we are looking to Delta for. And it gives us something to start talking to the new lady on the block about.

Moderator
Rssrsvp....let me ask the tech gods around here. I just want to feel honest with anything we post as results.....

hfly
Have you been in touch with her yet?

Rssrsvp
Moderator, do you personally know Patrice Miles?

tulane85
Moderator, I like the "MySkyMiles" concept. I'm an upgrade maniac, but a colleague of mine is DL GM and never attempts to use 800-mile upgrades because "they never work." Furthermore, he is the only person I know willing to "pay" the premium for the no-blackout flights, which require double points.

Moderator
I don't believe I know her personally, but have sent an email asking others if I might have met her somewhere down the line.

Moderator
What's your all take on the new double miles at home improvement centers, grocery stores, etc.....

tulane85
...why not call around and find some place you

ROADRUNNER
Double miles are few for those outlets unless you are building a house and feeding the crew.

ROADRUNNER
I think the initial bonus points are the key to DL Amex card.

hfly
You, know, I mostly fly transatlantic, I've spoken with a lot of Europeans about these changes (up front) and they are totally aghast. You see, although the European programs generally stink and do not give upgrades, Premium European fliers are very familiar with the SWU's and are very pissed. These people will switch carriers very swiftly.

chix
I just received my first AMEX Delta statement. The miles earned did not reflect the double mile establishments. I called AMEX and said, oh, those bonuses don't print on your statements. They will post 6-8 weeks later.

missdenise
Neither my local grocery store nor drug store except Amex card.

ROADRUNNER
And the 50,000 mile reward after 6 months of using the card.

chix
I just hope I get the 50,000 next summer. I hope I was in the first 10k to get approved.

ROADRUNNER
Have you gotten your card?

PremEx
Everyone seems to be on a marketing synergy with Home Improvement Center. I don't get it. Even Disney is working on one. It HAS to be extremely limited. What...Winnie the Poohper Scoopers and Big Bad Wolf Leaf Blowers? I think corporate American is starting to grasp at straws. Everyone wants to be in bed with someone else on a co-brand or marketing alliance these days.

Rssrsvp
Moderator, can you also print up a back side for the cards listing a few of the program changes for 2001 so that there will be more of an impact when people read them later?

chix
Nothing in writing says I was in that bunch but AMEX said I am.

Moderator
OK, I learned a few things today, hope the update helps you all and as usual very much appreciate your contributions. Again, we'll look to adjust the cookie and more importantly present the current petition ideas online right after Thanksgiving... Have a great start to the holidays to all of you.

PremEx
....nobody seems to be focusing on their core business.

ClubChamp
Thanks, Moderator

Moderator
Rssrsvp....maybe the next batch, I've got 10,000 of the latest to pass along first, but it is a good idea and one that will certainly help you in getting their attention....

PremEx
Yes, what Rssvp said!

Rssrsvp
I am still printing up more and would like to add it to the back

Moderator
Thanks again, see you all another time - online and off.

Moderator
We'll make a back to the PDF file online as an option...good idea and thanks to that.

Moderator
Greetings and good day, how is everyone?

twinship
Good, Moderator.

Moderator
We had a pretty lively update for the earlier lunch crowd and I thought Iíd get you all up to date with the latest..... Here are three things you need to know:

Moderator
First, I have heard back from Delta and their executive offices about SaveSkyMiles. They were very polite and are certainly aware of the concern of this group of members to SkyMiles, In their own words: We look forward to receiving the collective feedback from the site

Catman
Iím just going to be an observer here.

Moderator
Next, the good news is that we have just learned they have appointed the new person responsible for the overall duties of SkyMiles. As a reminder, we've been bidding some time because with the departure of Martin White, there really has been no formal decision-maker Iíve felt comfortable to approach. Here's who the new person is (look at her last name): ATLANTA, Nov. 13 /PRNewswire/ via NewsEdge Corporation - Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) has appointed Patrice Miles as its new vice president - consumer marketing effective immediately. Miles, who joined Delta in 1978, will assume responsibility for the airline's advertising, brand management, promotional marketing and sponsorships, frequent flyer programs and partnerships, and product development. "Patrice has a proven track record at Delta," said Frederick W. Reid, Delta's executive vice president and chief marketing officer. "She will lead the charge to strengthen Delta's brand and to build long-term customer relationships through the development and imp

Catman
Very appropriate name.

Catman
for a program named SkyMILES.

Moderator
And finally, I have seen the research, which Delta used to make the decision and frankly it marries up well against similar research from other programs. The research attempts to "value" those benefits which members cherish the most for. Anyway, I've asked for permission to post that research on our site since it's currently just an internal document. If I get permission, it will help you all understand the decision making process of Delta....

Catman
Thank you Moderator.

Moderator
So, that's the update from here. We will now spend the next two weeks preparing the formal petition and platform of change for Delta and right around the first of the month we will present it to Patrice....Now, open forum....

Moderator
Who's got questions? I'll see if I've got answers....

opus17
Looks like Delta is aiming for the "high ticket" traveler, not the leisure flyer. True?

Moderator
Not really because they have yet to formally implement on the back end of their program a revenue model like United, TWA, American and others, now including Continental and Northwest....

twinship
Moderator... you think a petition will trump DL's internal research? Seems unlikely. My guess is that they have quantified the cost-benefit outcome of the change, and will stick with it.

Moderator
I think their aim is "managing" the success of BusinessElite. They claim that the move was caused by memberís inability to actually use SWUs

opus17
I was on a BE flight Monday when the upgrade took 7 weeks to clear. The section was half-empty at flight time. Others are reporting similar stories. Sounds like the B/E shortage is maybe stretching the truth a bit...

Moderator
In all honestly, I do think they will stick with what they have done. Delta has not a history of admitting in public that they might have erred, like other programs. however, based on any members concern, they is certainly a new way that members can and probably will try and use concentrated resources to let programs know of their concerns.

twinship
Agreed...

hfly
They backed down from the charging drinks in the CRC thing...

Catman
Good.

Moderator
But let's remember, that doesn't mean we don't try.

Catman
It only goes to show that we all have a voice and if there's a problem we should speak up.

Moderator
hfly.......that wasn't in the same league as $6000 seats in BusinessElite....

twinship
Any mention of anything on the positive side, to offset the negative...? New features, benefits, etc.?

Moderator
I actually like the idea that members can feel free to voice their opinions. Other programs have changed their proposed announcements and who knows. I will continue to personally pass out the "Boarding Cards" and host chats and try to do what I can for the members of the program who have asked for my help.

hfly
I spend $40K a year with Delta rather than $60K if I didn't have upgrades. Guess what, I can take that spend somewhere else. Also, I have made several long haul flights in off season because I had SWU's, if I don't have them, I won't fly as much. BTW, we are still talking as much as $2-3,000 for a B or Y ticket!

hfly
BTW except for Rio at Carnival time and Nice before several trade shows, I have never seen a full BE cabin (except of course when they start making operational upgrades at the airport or stick non-revs in at the last minute).

Catman
I'm just observing to see if I can learn something. But I have to say I've flown delta little and probably will cash out when I find a good use for my 43K miles.

Moderator
Sorry, I bumped myself off for a second.... I was saying that it is too bad something like this hadn't come up sooner for changes, like with the L fares so that members were familiar with voicing their concern in mass....

Catman
I signed the petition though.

Moderator
I think when we start a dialog on December 1st or so with the new lady boss, that we'll have a much clearer picture and of course the success of you all continuing to pass out Boarding Cards to get more people involved.

twinship
Seems the airlines rarely solicit feedback in advance... mostly after the fact. I'm sure NW didn't ask WP members whether they would prefer to continue earning miles for cyberfares.

hfly
What have the outgoing and caretaker people have to say so far?

Moderator
Also, in the next few weeks you'll probably start to see some media coverage of this effort. That will help us get more members and ideas for presenting to Delta....

hfly
Also, is DL aware of the fact that UA is quietly but actively trying to woo us away from Delta?

Moderator
Cyberfares wasn't actually a decision by WorldPerks. It was made by Revenue Management as a way to balance their relationship with contracts to other points of distribution....let's remember that as an equal opportunity group and with Hotwired on the horizon, airlines are facing litigation over their use of miles as an unfair point of comparison......

hfly
By offering us like for like trade-ins, all the way up to 1K.

opus17
Is that true, hfly -- I just sent in for a comp

Moderator
I believe they are but not to the severity of it. Let's remember that it is not a good time to compare that since Delta is comfortable with their own internal research that they are gaining just as many if not more United members because of the service problem United continues to have.....net members: Delta

hfly
Also, how many Delta employees here tonight, I'd love to hear your opinions

PremEx
Most airlines do solicit opinions in advance. But most of their "questions" are cleverly worded to support whatever they were trying to justify changing in the first place. My favorite is "What means more to you...status or free tickets". This helps them say we're taking away some miles from you because you told us status is most important to you." :o(

hfly
Opus, pc.

PremEx
I've heard CO comping to highest level, but not United. Just the opposite. "No Way" is what several readers have told me.

Moderator
I think if I can get the permission to post the Delta research it will amaze you. None of it will align itself with your particular position, but it is the greater average that is amazing. After all, how many of you have asked other Delta members regarding the change and they aren't even aware of it.....an educated flyer is a terrible one to waste....

Catman
Do airlines actually comp to their HIGHEST level? I would be surprised if United did it since 1K is coveted and you have to earn it.

Catman
I know CO comps to silver. (as I got) I think Gold in some cases.

hfly
In case you were not aware, UA has been having a lot of problems recently and is hurting. UA would pick the lint from between our toes at the moment to get Plats.

FewMiles
I am hearing anecdotes of AA comping to Executive Platinum.

Moderator
As the clock winds down for the Miles Lunch Time conversation, any last minute questions? If not, continue to look to SaveSkyMiles for updates and the new position for our petition on or about December 1.

PremEx
I wouldn't be surprised at the numbers Moderator. I think we FlyerTalker are the exception by far. Not the norm.

Moderator
That's is exactly the problem sometimes.......

Catman
I asked a non-flyertalker and a Delta member of the changes. Did not have a clue.

Moderator
Remember, the 'silent majority' wins elections, not the outspoken few......

PremEx
6 Plats I know of that tried were told "No Way" by United just this week.

Catman
I had him read the Delta forum.

FewMiles
Education is the great equalizer.

Moderator
The exact purpose of SaveSkyMiles.com

FewMiles
Every airline can use a good unofficial website like that.

Moderator
OK everyone, thanks for your time today. We'll see you all online and off and again, let's keep working on this for ourselves and our benefits.....

Chat Transcripts:
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(Transcripts have been edited for brevity and editorial content)

February 3, 2003

January 29, 2003

January 27, 2003

November 16th, 2000

November 1st, 2000

October 19th, 2000

October 5th, 2000

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