American Airlines has released their 2015 Frequent Flyer program and it looks really good to many. After all, the idea of a frequent flyer program, for an airline, is to drive profits to the company. Great idea and I agree 100%. But to me the way you accomplish that is to offer a program that incentivizes buying choices by all elites to choose one and only one airline even when maybe not the cheapest or most direct or convenient choice as the perks we receive and value we get drives us to spend all we can with that one airline! Delta.com says about the medallion program:
“As a Medallion member, your loyalty is rewarded with exclusive perks. Enjoy our industry-leading benefits including Rollover Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs), Unlimited Complimentary Upgrades and new Choice Benefits for Diamond and Platinum Medallion members. Each of our four Medallion levels – from Diamond to Platinum to Gold to Silver – delivers an added level of service, exclusivity and rewards.
Each year, you can earn status through a combination of the miles or segments you fly, and your annual spending to enjoy added perks at the airport, on board and beyond.”
Good basic pitch but let’s look at these more closely as this is what Delta seems to think is what we want and is their marketing pitch to sell a flyer to fly Delta.
- Loyalty is rewarded. Humm…. I see spending is rewarded with Skymiles 2015. Loyalty means very little if talking Skymiles.
- Rollover is a big plus and does drive loyalty since this is an incentive to keep flying.
- Unlimited UGs. Well if it were not so hodge podge this would be amazing as I will touch on later.
- Choice Benefits. Yes, we love these but this needs to be tweaked. Again see below.
- Service, exclusivity and rewards. Humm… Delta service is always good, but yes medallion reps are often very good and higher MQD spend will make it more exclusive and we are really fine with MQDs but as to rewards.. Well… We are talking Skymiles here.
- Perks at the airport, on board and beyond. Perks like Skypriority rocks and boarding first. Onboard Delta has devalued HOOUs and beyond now so much as I will show below.
Not listed really in this little narrative, but touched on below, are some things we really do LOVE about the program. We do love:
Crossover Rewards, Skybonus, that Skymiles never expire, solid perks for each medallion level, free bags & that our status really is recognized by Delta people!
So now it is my turn. Delta. Dearest Delta. Here is what WE want to see for the most amazing and spectacular announcement that would make frequent flyers SCREAM how great Delta is. Yes, some will cost the company a little money, but if you reward us this way we WILL spend more and more at Delta rather than going to other airlines (that is the point right?)! Let’s go and really in no particular order of importance:
1) Stop taking things away from us. We are sick of “enhancements” that are really just cuts to what we already have.
2) Stop the take away when you give us something. There is nothing more madding to see an announcement you get this.. but… and then we see the other half of the equation.
3) Please fix the partner award space issue. Sure this may cost you but we should be able to find Skyteam award space on Delta.com (at least).
4) Oh fix the award page. We know you are working on that but when you don’t fix it so much that the only thing we see are low level seats plus CASH functioning as a new profit center for Delta. We earned our awards – let us spend them. Don’t charge us for EVERY low level award we find (I know you are thinking about doing this Delta – DON’T YOU DARE)!
5) Global upgrades and Regional upgrade are amazing. We really appreciate them. They are an amazing value and they do drive our buying choices to go Delta to attain them. But we are not getting enough. At least match what other airline programs have, that is 8 Global as a Choice Benefit for Diamonds.
6) Delta Skyclub for Diamonds should be Executive so +1’s can come in. You, Delta, are trying to make Diamond more exclusive. That is great. At least then give Diamonds full access not just individual access to the clubs (and don’t tell us the clubs are worth it – they are not all that special compared to others).
7) Enforce the upgrade list at gates including after boarding. Please, on Delta.com, and in training and memos to Delta GA s tell them to stick with the list. If an elite boards and space is open take the extra minute or two to pull them up from coach. An elite should not have to wait to board to not risk shenanigans from happening.
8) Million miler program. You are still giving MQMs and using them as part of the equation for elite status as well as MM status. How about a clean chart for status as well as a shot at DM. How about:
1MM = Silver
2MM = Gold
4MM = Platinum
6MM = Diamond
With these numbers flyers have shown loyalty to Delta. Delta should in equal measure show loyalty back to a flyer. This would be simple, straight forward and good. Oh, and please change the wording back to lifetime while you are at it.
9) Expand rather than takeaway award stopover choices for award tickets. Why should you care if we stop once or twice along the way if we are flying the same distance or the same number of flights. Make this a way to see the world and enjoy the points we worked so hard to earn.
10) Upgrade from ALL of USA including transcon and Hawaii (even from ATL). Give us all a shot at all domestic routes. This would be a big perk that would drive us to fly Delta that much more! Having the sorta-kinda-maybe-not-in-print upgrade from JFK-SFO/SEA/LAX is just insulting and not being able to upgrade to Hawaii from ATL/MSP/NYC is beyond frustrating. Give us the perk (at least for PM & DM’s).
So this, IMO, would be an announcement that would make people FLOCK to Delta. To see, not only is the airline the best in the world, but the frequent flyer program is a reason to be loyal and always fly Delta! What do you think. Agree with me? Please add what else would be a home run for our medallion program – René
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