It used to be that hardcore loyalty nerds would avoid Delta's SkyMiles program because of its poor earning and redeeming channels. Now thanks to constant product improvements, those concerns may be moot.
Frequent flyers on Delta Air Lines have lost a lot of faith in the carrier over the last few years because of constant tightening around the SkyMiles program. Slowly, however, customer sentiment may be turning, thanks to major cabin experience upgrades and a few tweaks to the loyalty program.
Just this last week Delta announced that it plans to upgrade the economy experience on international long-haul flights. Coming soon in November passengers in that cabin will enjoy welcome cocktails, hot towel service, and an elevated dining experience — not just the same old chicken and fish options.
This is on top of what many call Delta’s already superior passenger experience over American and United in the United States.
Separately, Delta has been making small improvements to its loyalty program that help drive retention and overall experience — with no real impact to mileage earning or spending, sadly. In May the carrier started a program to allow passengers to take a break from elite status after a major life event, such as the birth of a child or a death in the family.
All told, Delta’s improvements are making it a very attractive proposition for frequent flyers to spend time on the carrier. Sure, passengers may not be able to earn very many miles or figure out how to spend them — but at least they’ll be happier about it.
— Grant Martin, Business of Loyalty Editor
Skift Stories and More Expert Insight
New Air France-KLM CEO Ben Smith Begins Putting His Imprint on Air France: Insiders sometimes privately ask if Ben Smith will be a short-timer at Air France-KLM. He is trying to bring big change to a company plagued by inertia. But change is happening. Let’s see if Smith will have traction.
Southwest Air’s Paint Guru Keeps 750 Airplanes Looking Sharp: Peeling paint is a fact of life at an airline. But most carriers try their best to keep aircraft looking sharp. They view an airplane’s livery as free advertising. That’s why jobs like Corey Culbertson’s are so important.
How Loyalty Is Driving Marriott’s Luxury Rental Platform: Speaking at Skift Tech Forum on June 27, Stephanie Linnartz, the hotel giant’s global chief commercial officer, said one of the big drivers for getting involved in the first place was interest from members in its loyalty scheme.
British Airways Owner Quashes Talk of Reviving Norwegian Bid: British Airways owner IAG SA said it has no plans to revive a bid for discount rival Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA following a Spanish report that an offer was likely to be made in the next 15 days.
KLM Has Some Unusual Advice for Its Customers: Fly Less: Ever since the economist Milton Friedman claimed the sole responsibility of business was to maximize profit, there’s been a lively debate about whether companies should have other, more socially beneficial aims.
Scandinavian Airlines SAS’ Value Overtaken by Local Bus Company: Troubled Scandinavian Airlines operator SAS AB is now smaller than a bus company.
Delta Woos Economy International Passengers With Free Cocktails and Actual Place Mats: Everyone loves to complain about air travel: the nearly inedible food, the cramped seats, the fees for everything. Delta is trying to change all that — well, some of that.
The Complete Guide to All Current Loyalty Program Sign-Up Bonuses: Whether you’re just getting into award travel or already have dozens of different accounts, odds are there are at least a handful of programs you’ve yet to join. Play your cards right and you can score additional bonuses simply for signing up, and sometimes, completing your first qualifying activity.
Grant Martin [email@example.com] curates the Skift Business of Loyalty newsletter. He is also a director of product marketing at TripActions. Skift emails the newsletter every Monday.
Subscribe to Skift Pro
Subscribe to Skift Pro to get unlimited access to stories like these ($30/month)Subscribe Now
Photo Credit: Shown here, a Delta flight attendant offers complimentary Bellini cocktails to passengers. In November 2019 Delta launches upgrades to the economy cabin experience for international long-haul flights. Delta Air Lines
U.S. Airlines Look to Holiday Boost as Delta Variant Delays Business Travel’s Recovery
The Delta variant has set the travel recovery back with most U.S. airlines eating humble pie after overly rosy outlooks in July. With the business travel recovery delayed at least three months, the industry hopes to counter the tide of bad news with some possible year-end, holiday cheer.
Edward Russell, Skift | 2 weeks ago
Lufthansa Frequent Flyer Program Tests a Direct-to-Consumer Warby Parker Model
Lufthansa's test partnership may or may not work out. But what's certain is that all major travel rewards programs have broad opportunities to use their customer databases in ways that luxury retailers such as Aston Martin and Omega will actually like.
Sean O'Neill, Skift | 2 weeks ago