Update on your Northwest and Delta miles

As we barrel forward into 2009 and the processing merger between Delta and Northwest Airlines, small facets of the company are slowly being integrated. Just a few weeks ago, the first NW 747 was repainted in DL colors, and ever so gently the NW routes are starting to disappear.

Throughout the year, mileage accounts between the two airlines will also be integrated, with the joint rules pulling from both carriers current programs. Here are the basics:

  • Miles from each program are safe.
  • Partway through this year you’ll be able to transfer miles between each account at no cost. You won’t be able to transfer elite miles, but before year’s end they should be integrated. So miles on each airline will count towards 2010 status on the new, merged airline.
  • New award fees for non-platinum members will be instituted. Booking award tickets:
    • Outside of 21 days of travel = free
    • Between 8 and 20 days = $75
    • Between 4 and 7 = $100
    • Inside of 3 days = $150
  • A new award tier asking for more miles with “better availability” will be offered. You can check that out here, but effectively if you want better flexibility with your tickets you’ll now need to cough up 30-40% more miles.
  • All passengers will now be able to earn elite status with segments.

Are these changes for the best? Most passengers I’ve listened in on are unhappy with the new fees and award tiers, but I think they’re being a bit gloomy.

I concede that in 2009 it will be harder to spend your Skyteam miles, however, so if you’re thinking about booking a ticket this year, it’s never too early to start looking.

Got a question about your miles? Shoot us a note at editorATgadlingDOTcom and we’ll try to help out.