Delta to Honor Miles Promised By Clear

The demise of Clear security lanes at airports has been much discussed, which is precisely why I’ve remained quiet about it.

Of course, it really shouldn’t surprise anyone. The original promise was that Clear would mean basically skipping security (‘trusted traveler’) but the TSA didn’t go forward with that, and it just meant skipping lines (‘reigstered traveler’). But Clear was only in about 20 airports, most of which had elite security lines as well. The market for paying to skip lines was frequent business travelers who essentially got the same thing free from the airlines. In spite of several free trial offers for Clear I never had a desire to go through their process and sign up, it offered virtually no incremental benefit to me.

The one piece of the story that does strike me as interesting is: what about those folks who signed up for Clear with the promise of frequent flyer bonuses? Clear partnered with Delta, hadn’t in all cases yet awarded the bonuses (and thus purchased the miles from Delta).

Delta will honor and award the mileage anyway.

Delta also offered frequent flier miles for new Clear customers. The Atlanta-based carrier says it will honor those miles. “We are working to obtain the full list of CLEAR members who enrolled with SkyMiles mileage offers and will be contacting them in the coming days,” Delta says.

Good move, Delta. Your customers don’t distinguish between who does and doesn’t buy and award the miles. They see a Delta-marketed offer, advetised in a Delta e-newsletter, and put their trust in Delta. When customers take advantage of the offer, they expect their Delta miles. If customers get burned and don’t receive the miles, it’s Delta goodwill that suffers — not the goodwill of defunct Clear.

When you enter partnerships, and a partner fails, sometimes you have to eat a little something for your own good. Fortunately in this case it appears that Delta recognizes that.

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, 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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Some CLEAR airports did have Elite lines, but even those backed up. I found CLEAR especially helpful at SFO, where my CO status did not allow me to use the UA/US elite line and at EWR where the CO elite line was a mile long. My business travel is flat so far this year, so the $149 to renew just wasn’t worth it. CLEAR is just another victim of the downturn in the business travel economy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *