Okay, here are the changes

Okay, here are the changes to the Delta Skymiles program. Delta won’t discuss them until 3pm today, when they become official. These don’t affect general members — this is all about the Elite program.

The good:

  • New Million-miler recognition program — 2 million miles gets you lifetime Gold status and 4 million miles gets you lifetime Platinum Medallion status
  • The cheapest fares (L, U, and T booking classes) — which were previously not upgradeable at all — are now upgradeable by elite members on the day of departure
  • The ability to upgrade a companion with points
  • Travel on SkyTeam partners counts towards elite status
  • Gold members and Platinum members can give status to a friend when they reach certain mileage thresholds
  • 50% bonus miles instead of 25% bonus miles for flying paid business class
  • Elites will not decrease status by more than one level in 2004 from their 2003 level

The bad:

  • Platinum Medallions may only confirm upgrades at purchase for M fares (nearly full fare) and higher. They used to be able to confirm on H and K fares.
  • No more North American Medallion Upgrades (NAMUs).
  • No more elite qualification by segments
  • The cheapest fares (L, U, and T booking classes) only count for half-credit towards elite status. If you fly on these fares exclusively, it will take you 50k, 100k, and 200k miles for Silver, Gold, and Platinum status instead of 25k, 50k, and 100k miles. (On the other hand, full fares earn 1.5x mileage towards elite status and Business Class earns double mileage towards elite status)
  • 800-mile upgrade certificates will become 500-mile upgrade certificates in May
  • Price increase for purchased upgrades ($40 for 800 mile cert becomes $50 for 500 mile cert –> that’s a doubling –> 5 cents/mile to 10 cents/mile)
  • Platinums no longer get unlimited upgrades

For all the fine print, see http://www.delta.com/skymiles/skymileschanges/index.jsp.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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