Let me be clear from the onset: I am not a Delta guy. In fact, I’ve flown like 5 Delta segments in my life, 4 of the 5 were on awards.
To recap what others, like One Mile at a Time have written about: Delta has pulled their award charts. The general sentiment is that Delta will price awards as the computer prices them and that is that.
I have two opinions on this. First, its customer unfriendly, second, I’m not sure how much I agree with it, because they still have an award calculator (a la British Airways).
Further, you can even get the award costs:
So, yeah, I’m not sure how much I agree with the concerns here.
But then I got into what may become an infamous twitter argument with @Milestomemories – discussing whether Delta’s changes may warrant government intervention. My opinion is simple: We–travel hackers–treat airline miles as “currency.” Banks pay money for these miles. In fact somewhere (which I haven’t been able to find in a quick search), View from the Wing has highlighted Chase paying, I *think* millions of dollars for United miles, when United made its way out of bankruptcy. The fact of the matter is though, that frequent flier miles are not true currency. There are few regulations, airlines can change the terms any time they want, and frequent flier miles are not regulated by any government body.
You know what? I’m comfortable with that. In fact, I would prefer not having government involvement in frequent flier miles. But my concern with folks that are highlighting it, is that someone will take notice. I would propose to you, that if politicians take notice, and there is government intervention, we all lose.
So, next time you see a devaluation, consider how much you publicize it. Have United’s or Delta’s devaluation hurt? Yes. Have they materially hurt you? I question that. I’ve paid 2x for a United award already, but I don’t feel like that experience warrants pushing it to government intervention.
What do you think? Will government intervention kill loyalty programs, or do you feel it is the answer?