Will a New Delta Skymiles Third Redemption Tier Bring Back Last Seat Availability?

One Mile at a Time points to a Wall Street Journal piece on the coming three-tiered structure of the Delta Skymiles redemption program.

Earlier in the month I wrote that the coming three-tiered structure would be bringing back ‘last seat availability’ to the Skymiles program; that the highest third tier would mean more miles but at least true redemption for any seat, as offered by most other frequent flyer programs. Delta’s earlier removal of this option was a real affront, but the hope was that this was temporary.

The Wall Street Journal piece, though, either misrepresents the coming change or suggests that Delta won’t be bringing back last seat availability.

Delta also plans to increase the number of “tiers” in its SkyMiles plan this spring. Instead of offering domestic tickets for either 25,000 or 50,000 miles — with many more tickets available for 50,000 miles — the airline will offer 50% of its total seat inventory for 40,000 miles, while maintaining the same amount of seats in the 25,000-mile tier. Most remaining seats will fall into the 60,000-mile tier.

Most remaining seats? At 60,000 miles?

American offers true last seat availability for 50,000 miles domestically in coach.

United offers true last seat availability for 45,000 miles domestically in coach.

If (and this remains to be seen) the Delta program’s introduction of a third tier does not include true last seat availability, Jeff Robertson will be frequent flyer program public enemy number one.

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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