SkyMiles Technology Update Coming: What Will it Mean for the Program?

Delta has announced that SkyMiles systems will be unavailable early Saturday morning.

What will this mean for the SkyMiles program? Possibly nothing. Technology maintenance is common. I feel like it happens to the Chase website and to the Hyatt website constantly.

And yet when Delta removes award charts from its website, makes changes to technology to eliminate stopovers from pricing correctly online (and then eliminating stopovers on awards all together), and effectively imposes a 21-day advance purchase requirements on saver awards in most Delta markets — all without giving members notice, let alone advance notice — it’s hard not to get concerned any time Delta says their technology for the program is changing.

Delta would go a long way towards establishing trust by simply announcing its intentions in advance even when it’s taking important things away from its members.

Hit the comments with your predictions about what this technology update will mean, with a prize to the most creative one! (I’ll work out the particulars with the individual winner.)

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 SkyMiles page will return with an infinitely-looping and unstoppable voice-over of Donald Sutherland saying, “UP. The direction of award prices under our new calendar, because we’re in the business of up. We’re raising the bar on overpriced awards. You could say, ‘we’re upping up, and tomorrow we’ll up those prices again.”

  2. When you search and find a fare that is bookable with miles, as soon as you try to book the ticket the price in miles will turn into the Wyle e coyote’s roadrunner and go ‘meep meep!’ and disappear.

  3. The hour outage is enough time to merge SkyMiles data with credit bureau data. SkyMiles will soon know how much money you earn and charge you for redemptions accordingly.

  4. No longer being able to see the number of SkyMiles in your account.
    After all, if you don’t know how many miles you’ll be paying, why should you care how many you have?

  5. 1) Leaving it up and redirecting the award chart page to leave the appearance to the uninformed masses that the lack of award chart is temporary. This 5 minute activity naturally requires much more time for Delta IT.

    2) Deconstructing the pricing/booking engine. If we don’t need to know award costs in advance, might as well take that thought to its natural conclusion and remove pricing for paid tickets. A real life credit card roulette! Prices randomly decided at the gate!

  6. I think it will include a Big Six Wheel that you can spin to determine the price of an award. An alternative game is where you spin to determine how much the “Carrier-imposed surcharge” is going to be for your award.
    See how I did that Gary? 🙂

  7. Award search function will be taken away. You are now required to snail mail a redemption form with just a “No” if you want to forfeit your miles and a “Maybe” if you want to redeem. Must be mailed in USPS first class with absolutely no tracking number. Delta will tell you where and when you are going. Please allow 60-80 weeks for response.

  8. technology will now include slot machine wheels offering you the opportunity to find the award you are looking for one in one million times, an “enhancement” on the previous system.

  9. Technology “enhancements” will now allow for Richard Anderson to make asinine comments without opening his mouth.

  10. Gilbert, I was going to say something about great minds, but I decided that I need to wait to see if Gary gives the prize to one of us first.

  11. Starting Sunday, the ability to redeem Skymiles will get a whole lot easier! Confused by all those hard-to-remember award charts? Worry not! Starting on Sunday, round-trip domestic tickets in economy class will be a flat 100K miles r/t (Lower 48 only of course) and business will be 200K r/t. International or Hawaii awards? All you have to remember is 300K for coach and 600K for business. That’s Delta working for you! Now redeeming is easier than ever. And seats on every flight too!

  12. They are currently training an ape to throw his feces at a dartboard which will ultimately determine the amount of miles needed for redemptions. It’s a real shitty situation..

  13. I expect the Technology Tune-Up page will in place–and not working–until such time that the new “General Manager, SkyMiles Strategy & Analysis” (see your post of earlier today) has been hired.

  14. Skymiles will its terms and conditions to offer only the following redemption options:

    – By email request
    – By mail
    – By fax

  15. Due to the functionality working too well in people being able to tell the games Delta is playing with awards, the award calendar will be restored to the old calendar.

  16. They will remove all ability to see how many miles you have and all posting of miles. If you want to book an award, select the routing and date and if you are worthy you can book the flight. If you are not worthy they will not tell you why or what you need to do to book the flight. It will be a 100% guessing game.

    It will be billed as simplification. This eliminate the need to check if miles have posted or check balances. Also no more complaining award wallet does not work since there are no miles to display.

  17. You will now be required to enter a recaptcha code every time you perform an award search and will only be able to search 5 times each day.

  18. The SkyMiles site will actually be down so that the technology resulting in the removal of Delta’s award charts will be lifted and applied to revenue tickets.

    You will only know the dollar price of your ticket after you have selected specific flights.

    Queries on the above change will be directed to the following tweet by Delta – “Delta’s expanded search capabilities and calendar at delta.com offer more flexible and accurate view of ticket prices.”

  19. They are working on a groundbreaking brainwashing technology. My sources at SKYPESOS tell me the website will from now on flash images of all the places you wish to redeem miles for, while transmitting a special “Delta-bot” signal and brainwashing you in to believing you were allready there!

  20. It’s going revenue based! And guess what it’s an improvement and it’s good for you – loyal medallion members!!

  21. I hope it is to fix the bug so that my first flight of the year in January can get posted. Still waiting Delta……

  22. I think they’re working on an enhancement which uses your IP address to locate where you’re searching from. After you reach the point where you think your’re ticketed, a “pending” message will appear. Then, the next day a “delivery” van will appear. Whose driver will promptly “deliver” a swift kick in the crotch and drop a parcel saying “nope.”

  23. New Delta technologies will allow the company to identifyand punish those who acquire the bulk of their miles through churning and credit card spend. They will especially focus on players like DeltaPoints and TPG, forcing them to into only regional jet economy redemptions.

  24. In order to make it even simpler and more exclusive for high-value customers the following will be enacted:

    *Diamond: No change to how much your are being the once-over, but do keep in mind that all awards must be booked via our 877-FLY-DELTA premier line. You must present your SkyMiles number, guess the birthday of the operator and use your promotion redemption code found in every eighth six pack of RC Cola. We use RC Cola because of its popularity with our members. Please keep in mind that all redemptions will only have 5 minutes once on the phone with an operator to book, standard blackout dates apply and every sixth award ticket may be subject to cancellation. If your award takes more than 5 minutes to book than you will be subject to an automatic 25,000 award charge per ticket. That’s 5,000 less than those pesky Platinum members who want to take your precious seats! To keep this exclusive, our operators only speak in Aramaic.

    *Platinum: By popular demand we have made your level very exclusive with an all new Platinum reward system. You are awarded a new $25,000 spending requirement, you can redeem any time you want, no other medallion member can do this! You also have access to a lounge. Not ours, but we will give you a paper map of other lounges. This keeps the Delta lounge very exclusive. We want to save you money so instead of the normal fees that no one likes (even us), we have implemented a new 30,000 mile fee on top of your award booking. All tickets will be subject to this fee, but its so much better than fuel charges and passenger fees. A $237 airline convenience fee applies per ticket.

    *Gold: The spending requirement will go up to $12,000 and your points can only be used with ‘Pay With Miles’, but as a Gold Medallion you get the added benefit of being able to book within a 10-day window! That’s an added benefit no other elite gets. Feel good. Feel free. Feel free to move about the cabin. Standard blackout dates apply and is only redeemable at the following airports: ICT, CVG, and ABQ.

    *Silver: The spending requirement will go up to $6000 and your points can only be used to ‘Pay With Miles’! Exciting and simple, nothing to remember, no chart, just an easy way to book your next location. Miles are redeemed at $0.005 each. Subject to blackout weeks and can only be redeemed for flights that depart within five days…you know, the ones that might be a little pricey. But you are a Silver so you get great benefits and that’s almost five times the lead time that Member Medallions get.

    *Member: Your points are ‘released’ back into the system after 39 days of non-use, this is a great way to incentivize customers to spend more and redeem more. As a Member Medallion you will not get a statement or be able to check your balance unless your account has been open and in good standing the last 26.7 weeks and 3 minutes, and you have at least three award tickets booked/used as a sign of loyalty. The excitement doesn’t stop, each mile is worth $TDB and can only be redeemed for flights that depart within 37.5 hours. The standard 37 hour blackout schedule applies.

  25. my guess is that douchebag DeltaPoints.com will be in charge of awarding all tickets, and then tell us how we are over-entitled and don’t deserve any better. A bigger liar and fraud has never roamed the internet than he.

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