Your paltry Delta miles aren’t accepted here

If Delta Skymiles could be equated to a currency, they would be Zimbabwean Dollars.

Over the past several months, numerous changes at the Atlanta based company have brought significant detriment to the joint Delta and Northwest frequent flyer program. These modifications range from an increase in mileage fee for economy tickets (tickets to Europe, for example, went from 50K to 60K miles,) application of fees for award bookings (up to $150,) and the reduction of benefits such as free miles redeposits and system wide upgrades.

There are plenty of small annoyances, but what all of these program changes boil down to is a change in the model in which award tickets are exchanged. Formerly, supply of award miles was lower, availability was higher and the top few passengers who earned numerous miles could spend them fairly easily.

Now, supply is higher, availability is lower and the masses all generally have access to a few scrappy seats. The very few extra that are booked are done so at excruciating costs. So as a result, the airline loses less money on award bookings and gives passengers the false sense of reward with useless miles.
No passenger is in a better perspective to observe the change than he who was a Northwest Worldperks member. Over the last six months, that customer watched his counterparts at Delta reap the benefits of numerous mileage bonus offers, virtually dumping miles into the pockets of passengers and severely diluting the mileage pool.

Meanwhile, program changes continue to cut Worldperks down to the level of Skymiles and defectors leave in droves. At a poll on the frequent flyer website Flyertalk, nearly 30% of passengers queried are leaving the conglomerate to join another airline program, another 20% are leaving at year’s end and 20% are too distraught to know what to do.

Out on the underground mileage exchanges, Delta/Northwest miles have lost their value. Most don’t even bother trying to trade, and one passenger trying to exchange Delta miles for an equal number of competitor miles was laughed at. The best offer so far? A few beverage certificates.

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