Delta has announced several changes that appear at first blush on net positive, although they appear worded to sound better than they are and despite making proactive announcements Delta still fails to explain changes in award availability to restrict most domestic markets to 21 advance purchase for saver awards and changes in terms and conditions that suggest a shift towards revenue-based redemptions coming.
Here are the changes:
- Some North American economy awards will be 10,000 miles one-way. Normally US domestic coach awards are 12,500 miles one-way. These new lower priced awards are available through December 31 only are require a 21-day minimum advance purchase.
- More partner airlines awards at Delta.com They’ve announced what we’ve already known, China Eastern, China Southern, China Airlines, and Gol redemptions (all of which I’ve reported over the past couple of months here). They say more partners will be coming online.
- Book awards via mobile I’d rather see them improve their award pricing engine than the mobile site, get the fundamentals right first, but some people will value being able to book award tickets (regardless of price) via their phone.
- Most partner flights will earn qualifying dollars regardless of whether it’s a Delta ticket or a partner ticket. That’s a big IT advance, and something United hasn’t managed to do. It was absurd that buying an Air France business class ticket — Delta and Air France are metal-neutral joint venture partners — didn’t help you earn Delta status at all. They’re making this change retroactive to January 1, and say it’ll take until March 20 for all of this to post. Lots of details to be revealed here, not available yet on the website as of this writing, “may earn MQDs based on a percentage of distance flown as determined by the fare class paid.” and “we’ve also made minor changes to the way you earn Medallion status on Alaska Airlines flights, effective April 1.”
Delta claims they have “expanded award availability at the lowest prices by greater than 50%” although there are weasel words here, they aren’t saying that saver awards have 50% more inventory but rather ‘lowest prices’ which presumably incorporates at least levels 1 and 2 of their new 5-tier redemption chart (it was always expected that some mid-tier awards would be level 2 awards when they moved from 3 to 5 redemption levels).
The fact though that they’ve announced 10,000 mile redemptions through December 31 suggests that they won’t move to pure revenue-based redemptions for Delta flights until – at least – January 1 (unless they change their minds, but it would appear to reflect current thinking).
(HT: MJ On Travel)