What to Know Now

For the six of you still loyal to Delta Air Lines, you may now have another reason to drift over to American or United. The airline just ratcheted up the minimum spend required to earn status for the 2016 year. Only one year after changing SkyMiles to require a minimum spend of $2,500 to earn silver status, Delta has the gall to make the 2016 requirement $3,000. That same 20% increase applies to Gold, Platinum, and Diamond status as well.

What’s going on here? According to my friend (and former head of DTW PR) Scott Wintner, “Delta is wisely recognizing that you make more money offering the best product than by the generosity of your loyalty program.” But I think it’s more than that. I think that current, loyal SkyMiles members are being categorically taken out back and shot.

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Social Quote of the Day

I will say simply that these #Delta thresholds are one of the reasons I am switching my loyalty to @VirginAmerica.

@GoldWineTravel | Erica Golden, Editor of The Golden Rules of Wine and Travel site

 

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Airlines

Brazil Prohibits Airline Bag Fees But that May Change: Brazil’s consumer-protection rules make it one of the most passenger-friendly places to fly, forcing airlines to handle extra luggage at no extra cost, put stranded travelers on competitors’ planes and face lawsuits for delays of as little as 30 minutes. Read more at Skift

Delta Air Lines Makes Mileage Program 20% More Expensive, Eliminates Upgrades For Discount Tickets: Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines continued the bloodletting in its SkyMiles mileage program late last week, announcing new qualifications for earning elite status in their 2016 program and eliminating upgrades on some deeply discounted fares. Read more at Forbes

Interview: The Indie Airfare Deals Site That Has Flight Geeks Talking: Over the past years, the group has been tirelessly scouring for and posting airfare deals, posting them to their WordPress-backed site and earning a place as a core competitor to Airfarewatchdog, the gorilla in the indie flight deal game. Read more at Skift

Southwest Airlines May Not Be Done Changing Its New Livery:  Southwest Airlines has come to believe that it may have more heart than it initially gave itself credit for. Read more at Skift

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Airports

Portland Airport Imports City’s Food Carts for Flyers: Visitors to Portland, Oregon, don’t have even to leave the airport to sample the city’s famous food carts. Read more at Skift

Indianapolis Airport Debuts Customer Service Robot: A new customer service robot has started roaming around the passenger terminal of Indianapolis International Airport. Read more at Skift

JFK Airport Begins Ebola Screening for Visitors From 3 West African Countries:  John F. Kennedy International Airport began added screening for arriving passengers to help stem the spread of Ebola, the virus that’s killed more than 4,000 people this year in three African nations. Read more at Skift

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Tech

Will Alaska Air’s Thumbprint Check-In Herald the Death of the Boarding Pass? The next breakthrough in paperless airline ticketing may be under your thumb — literally. Read more at Skift

Is Social Media Changing the Way Flights Attendants Do Their Jobs? There’s no question that social media has affected the way we fly – it’s become a direct connection between passengers and airlines. Read more at Yahoo Travel

These stunning driverless trains are the future of London’s Tube network: Want to see what the Tube could look like in the next ten years? Thanks to Transport for London and design studio PriestmanGoode, we now can, after they unveiled designs for a new fleet of driverless Tube trains due to be rolled out in 2022. Read more at Engadget

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Hotels

Marriott Adding Futuristic Wireless Charging Stations to Lobbies: Marriott has quietly launched a partnership with Kube Systems to add cutting-edge wireless charging stations to 29 lobbies across the U.S. with more to come. Read more at Conde Nast Traveler

Lawsuit Claims W Hotels a Haven for Hookers: A lawsuit alleges the W Hotel chain is not only permitting sex workers to toil in its lobbies, but also protecting and managing them. Read more at Flyertalk

Marriott to adopt new hotel cancellation policy on Jan. 1, 2015: Starting Jan. 1, 2015, Marriott International will officially adopt a stricter reservation cancellation policy than what is currently in place at most of its properties. Read more at TravelUpdate

Your Turn

Grumpy American Airlines elites are grousing about service with the new US Airways over in the LA Times. Read the letters to the (travel) editors here.

Tips and Comments

Can be sent to gm@skift.com and @grantkmartin. We publish the Business Newsletter twice a week on Monday and Thursday.

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Photo Credit: The Delta airline logo is seen on a strap at JFK Airport in New York. Joshua Lott / Reuters