Skift Take

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.

Series: Business of Loyalty

Travel Loyalty News

The Skift Business of Loyalty covers the world of hotel, airline, and other consumer loyalty programs in the travel industry. Read more coverage of loyalty here.

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

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Grant Martin [[email protected]] curates the Skift Business of Loyalty newsletter. He is also a director of product marketing at TripActions. Skift emails the newsletter every Monday.

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Tags: delta air lines, delta skymiles, frequent flyer miles, loyalty, skymiles

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

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