Delta Eliminates Extra Award Availability for Elites and Credit Card Holders

The Delta Points blog wrote that Delta had eliminated the ‘extra award availability’ offered to its elite members and premium co-brand credit card holders.

Enhanced Availability for Award tickets has been discontinued for SkyMiles Medallion members and Platinum and Reserve Delta SkyMiles Credit Cardholders. The enhanced availability classes will continue to be displayed, but will always have the same availability as N class of service.

This was from an unattributed source, so I reached out to Delta who confirmed the information. According to their spokesman,

With the launch of the 2015 program and the improvements to redemption including more redemption options, we now offer the same Award availability to all SkyMiles members. Award availability for all members in 2015 is improved over the enhanced availability Medallion members and co-brand card holders had access to in 2014.

Indeed I’ve found anecdotally that award availability is better overall. And of course paying a premium over saver award levels may just be a modest premium (‘level 2’ rather than ‘level 1’ pricing in their new 5-tier chart).

The issue here is that elites no longer have access to more space than general members — something that both United and American offer in their own fashion. (United offers it to elites and co-brand cardholders, American to top tier elites).


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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Comments

  1. The worst part is that it will probably be a matter of hours before United copies them. I’ve always felt that’s United’s enhanced availability was much more substantial than Delta’s.

  2. Nearly all of my UA redemptions are in XN space reserved for United elites. Without this enhanced availability, I would have a MUCH harder time using my miles. This is a treasured perk that causes me to quality for UA Silver every year, even if upgrades are nonexistent.

  3. yes, but I received an email this morning:
    Calling all Gold, Platinum and Delta Reserve SkyMiles® Credit Card Members: this sale is for you. Enjoy an exclusive two-day head start on Award Travel deals to exciting destinations in the sunshine state.

    Use miles and save with one-way Award Tickets starting at 10,000 miles* (plus $5.60 taxes and fees). Book at delta.com by January 23, 2015 and travel between February 12 and May 20, 2015.

    Log in at delta.com to view these special deals.

    Making amends?

  4. My guess is that Amex had this benefit in their co-brand contract, which was dropped with the recent renewal. Just a guess. For United to match they’d have to amend their own contract with Chase. So as far as timing goes, that’s what I would watch for. (Pure speculation.)

  5. That had been one of core reasons we kept wife’s status up. Things are better in 2015 but there still was an edge, and what about the better rewarding the best customers malarkey?

  6. My sense was that UA discontinued this sometime ago. I don’t recall XN > X on flights I’ve searched. As a 1K I do miss that.

  7. Delta has a marble in a bird’s brain, from which it will fly backward. What a backward airline, it’s been flying backwards. The boardroom must be filled with some real communist losers.

    I’ve yet to see anything positive come out of this airline.

    ED

  8. This will only mainly affect my willingness to keep the Plat AMEX card. But AMEX will probably only see a small loss of customers from it.

  9. Are you thought that the extra award availability for American Airlines executive platinum ended for all practical purposes early last year. Do you have the experience to the contrary? On business or first class seats? TATL or Lax-jfk?

  10. Levy Flight – in my recent experience, UA is still offering lots of flights where XN is much greater than X. Still a valuable perk which makes Mileage Plus much more usable for me than AA, DL, or AS.

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