Skift Take

The new partnership in the works between Delta and Latam may drastically affect the way that Oneworld and SkyTeam loyalists shift their business. But there's still no timeline for when any changes will happen.

Series: Business of Loyalty

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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.

News broke late last month that Delta Air Lines is buying a stake in South American carrier Latam. American, which is already invested in Latam and which was pursuing a joint venture with the carrier, would get pushed to the side in the transaction.

While the partnership is for the most part still business as usual for American, Latam, and the Oneworld passengers that fly up and down the western hemisphere, many are waiting for the other shoe to drop. For years American and Latam have owned a big part of travel between North and South America. And if Latam starts working with Delta and the SkyTeam alliance, there may be some major loyalty shifts in the works.

Latam, for its part, maintains that it is not joining the Skyteam alliance, but it would also be foolish to show its hand.

Indeed, that may be why Delta was so interested in the carrier. Traditionally, Delta and the SkyTeam alliance have been relatively weak in South America. With Latam in play, however, a whole new world of travelers may open up. Now passengers just need to figure out whether and when to keep their eggs in the Oneworld versus SkyTeam baskets.

News of any alliance transition is still under wraps.

— Grant Martin, Business of Loyalty Editor 

Skift Stories and More Expert Insight

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Why Delta Air Lines Covets This Not-So-Profitable Latin American Airline: Delta Air Lines shocked travelers and investors late last month by making a major investment in Latam Airlines, a large but marginally profitable South American carrier.

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Delta Hints at Return to Days of Simpler Fares: Airlines aren’t always the most customer-centric businesses, so any move to make things easier to understand should be welcomed. As usual, we’ll believe it when we see it.

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American Airlines Targets January 16 for Boeing 737 Max’s Return to Service: American Airlines has canceled Boeing 737 Max flights for six more weeks, through Jan. 15, but finally is targeting a date for the aircraft’s return, the carrier said Wednesday morning.

EasyJet Takes Advantage of Rival Airlines’ Troubles: EasyJet Plc said earnings for the year through September were toward the top end of its forecasts, helped by strikes at British Airways and Ryanair Holdings Plc.

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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: american airlines, delta air lines, latam, loyalty

Photo credit: Latam's new livery on a B787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. Delta and the SkyTeam alliance have been historically weak in South America, but there could be some major loyalty shiffs once Delta's deal with Latam is finalized and set in motion. Latam Airlines

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