Delta Backs Off a Change Without Notice — But Only For Customers Paying Attention

Delta made some changes to the elite qualifying miles you earn flying Aeromexico effective for travel April 1 onward.

Discounted business class fares (C, D, I) will earn 150% of flown miles as elite qualifying miles — instead of 200%. (HT: One Mile at a Time)

Delta did publish the changes on their website which is more than they do when they change award redemption prices.

However they didn’t exactly notify customers who bought tickets and would earn less. And they made the change retroactive — tickets purchased prior to April 1 would still earn the lower April 1 onward mileage.

  • Delta owns a stake in Aeromexico, this isn’t one of their partners which is more loosely tied. We ought to be able to rely on the earnings chart they publish.

  • Delta’s elite frequent flyers choose to fly on Delta partners rather than competitors because of SkyMiles earning. Changing earning after they’ve purchased their tickets is unreasonable at best.

  • It’s not like customers can just refund most discounted fares and buy on another airline. They may have chosen to spend more money to stick with one of Delta’s partners, and now they’re paying more without the expected benefit. Or even if they could get a refund, fares may have gone up since the time of the original purchase.


Copyright: noratm / 123RF Stock Photo

Delta seems to have heard an outcry from their customers because they’ve updated the post-April 1 earning chart for Aeromexico to say that the old earnings rate will be honored for tickets purchased before the change is published. (HT: @KendallRissela2)

In cases where these changes result in a loss of MQMs for tickets booked prior to 3/27/18 and flown on or after 4/1/18, customers may request mileage credit through the Mileage Request Form after all travel on a given ticket is completed.

But note that customers have to request the extra elite qualifying mileage. So it’s only savvy customers ‘in the know’ who realize they’ve earned fewer miles, and know to ask for the difference, that will get what was originally promised to them.

The right thing to do would be to credit the miles that were offered at the time of purchase, to do it automatically, and not to do it only for the customers who read blogs or revisit the fine print and only upon request.

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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  1. I am heading to Asia in May and again in June. I had planned to route myself thru MEX on at least one of the trips (maybe both) to take advantage of this offer. That will no longer happen. I’m just glad I didn’t already buy the ticket. Delta can be so incredibly good at some things and seem to completely miss the boat on others.

  2. Another day, another blatantly sneaky, super shady and shamelessly sleazy product degradation/devaluation being done one of our oligopolist airlines!

    What a shock! So, what else is new?

    Yeah, coz those already super devalued 50bp fractions of miles are worth SOOOOO much that the skinflints just can’t do the right thing and credit everyone instead of forcing them to take time out to jump through flaming hoops just to get back what they thought they were paying for when they bought their tickets – if they even KNOW to do that at all, of course, as Gary notes.

    If that alone doesn’t SCREAM SLEAZY, SHADY AND DISHONEST, not to mention abject GREED, nothing will!!!

    Put this mileage credit stinginess all in the name of greed by Delta as a shining example of what is meant when one says our airlines are hellbent on “nickel and diming”…coz this sure smacks of just that.

    …right up there with the forms of sleaziness by disreputable hucksters seen in late night infomercials who say with a straight face things like “Get the 2nd one FREE…just pay (the conveniently omitted amount for) separate PROCESSING and HANDLING” or the ridiculousness of “take an additional $50 off AFTER mail-in rebate”!

    Yeah, this is THAT kind of sleaze, DELTA.

    Which, like just about every day in the current era where an airline industry oligopoly is all the rage proves, is there no low our airlines won’t dare to go?

    Sheesh.

  3. Just flew on DL to MEX with a couple of stops in Mexico. DL would not give me points because one of the flights was AeroMexico operated using an AM partner code share. I purchased via DL and supplied the ticket number and reciept but didn’t have the boarding pass (who saves paper copies in this day?). Multiple calls to the Diamond line…no luck.
    So this change is no surpise. The SkyTeam alliance in MX is NOT seamless, costs more typically and doesn’t really work as you have to use each brands own desks and service.

  4. At least DL didn’t bump down the MQD earning rate for these tix. That’s where there is still good value in these AM flights. As for things not being seamless between DL and AM, I agree. Did a SFO-EZE trip in biz class on AM a couple of months ago. Only my return trip mileage activity posted to my SkyMiles account. Delta Diamond help line cannot find any evidence of my outbound flight, so I submitted the boarding passes to the DL online mileage credit link – still waiting for a response 3 weeks out. Fortunately I did save the real boarding passes issued at the check-in counter and gate. Looking forward to more flaming hoops.

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