It seems that every time Delta has announced updates to its SkyMiles program recently, we all braced for bad news.
But today, Delta rolled out come changes for the good…for a change. Here’s what’s in store:
- New one-way award tickets for 10,000 miles plus taxes and fees, available through Dec. 31, 2015 for travel in select U.S., Mexican and Caribbean markets– these appear to be only short-haul markets like Atlanta-Florida, Los Angeles-Las Vegas, or San Francisco-Los Angeles. Catch: there’s a 21-day minimum advance purchase for most of these awards. But still this is good news since the previous minimum was 12,500 miles– too much for a short flight.
- Improved award redemption on more airline partners when booking on delta.com in addition to the new Fly Delta app. [UPDATE:] However, Delta quietly cut the number of MQMs earned on Alaska Airlines flights to as little as 50% and won’t offer MQDs on Alaska flights at all starting April 1.
- Delta is now offering MQDs, regardless of ticketing carrier, for travel on most of its airline partners. And it’s making the MQD offer retroactive back to January 1 of this year. Delta says that MQD earning varies based on carrier, percentage of distance flown as determined by Delta and fare class paid.
Increased award availability
When we announced the SkyMiles 2015 program we committed to making more award seats available at the lowest prices and since the start of 2015 we have expanded award availability at the lowest prices by greater than 50%. We are seeing a double digit increase in award redemptions since January and other customer-positive award redemption trends in terms of the average number of miles redeemed, partner awards, and one-way award usage.
New (lower) One Way Award
In 2015 we will be offering One Way Award tickets beginning as low as 10,000 miles (plus taxes and fees) in select markets in the contiguous 48 United States and between the 48 contiguous United States and select Mexico/Caribbean destinations. Travel will be valid through December 31, 2015 with a 21 day advance purchase.
Award shopping calendar additions
We are pleased to confirm that we have added four new airline partners to our award shopping engine over the past few weeks following a quiet soft launch. You can now book awards online with China Airlines, China Southern, China Eastern and Gol. We will be adding more partners in the coming weeks and even more by summer of 2015.
Mobile award shopping
In January, we added the ability to book Awards from your smartphone. You can shop for our new One Way Awards, our new partners and other Award Tickets using the Fly Delta mobile app. We are seeing great usage of this new and easy to use feature right out of the gate.
Earn MQDs on most partner-ticketed flights, exception fares
New for 2015 when you travel on flights ticketed by most of our airline partners you will now earn MQDs, which will help you qualify for Medallion status faster. This change will be retroactive to January 1, 2015 to include your travel from this Medallion year. Flights marketed and ticketed by partners may earn MQDs based on a percentage of distance flown as determined by the fare class paid. You can visit www.delta.com/partnerairlines for details by carrier. It’s going to take us a little bit of time to process retroactive credit for past flight activity, but they should post to your accounts between now and March 20. You can also earn MQDs on most exception fares, such as bulk, consolidator and group tickets. Learn more by visiting www.delta.com/exceptionfares. In addition to the MQD changes we’ve also made minor changes to the way you earn Medallion status on Alaska Airlines flights, effective April 1.
Diamond Medallions now board first
Many of you have caught on to this already, but as part of our branded products experience that launched on March 1, we are pleased to confirm that Diamond Medallion members are now invited to board the aircraft with customers in Delta One or First Class as part of our Premium boarding zone.
So what do you think? Does any of this make you feel better about SkyMiles?
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