Skift Take

Delta says it wants to improve the customer experience by participating in the Apple Passbook program, but it risks alienating these same customers already using TripIt Pro and AwardWallet.

On the heels of Delta Air Lines forcing AwardWallet to cry “uncle,” TripIt began informing its members of its premium TripIt Pro service today that it could no longer track their Delta SkyMiles accounts.

In emails to members, TripIt stated: “Delta has restricted access to SkyMiles accounts by third-party services. As a result, TripIt Pro can no longer track your Delta SkyMiles points.”

TripIt wasn’t forthcoming about precisely what transpired between it and the airline, but loyalty-program tracker AwardWallet received a cease and desist letter from the airline several days ago accusing it of computer trespass and threatening litigation.

Actually, the actions taken against TripIt and AwardWallet are very related because TripIt used the AwardWallet API to access Delta SkyMiles information.

Like TripIt, AwardWallet dropped Delta SkyMiles in the face of the pressure and undoubtedly other sites, including those using the AwardWallet API, will be facing similar wrath.

Asked to comment on the matter, a TripIt spokesperson states:

“In line with TripIt’s mission to make life easier for travelers, our goal is to give TripIt Pro users access to as many of their loyalty programs as possible, in one place.

“However, there are differing opinions among the airlines about how their customers’ loyalty program accounts are accessed by third parties. Unfortunately, this is causing service interruptions in point tracking for TripIt Pro users.

“We hope that together with travel industry partners, we can come up with a solution that works for everyone, and that travelers can ultimately decide who they share their account data with.”

In addition to Delta, American Airlines and Southwest have played hardball with loyalty tracking programs, citing intellectual property transgressions and burdens to their infrastructure.

No solution is in sight.

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Tags: delta air lines, loyalty, tripit

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