Delta Points probably just wants me to link to him, he’s trying to get under my skin this morning with his attempt to speak out for Delta in spite of what I consider to be their fundamentally dishonest award chart devaluation which went into effect yesterday with no notice.
Even he has to acknowledge this a little bit:
Now one thing I do agree with that I do find utterly idiotic and insulting is the complete and utter cop-out that the airline can not alert us in advance. If [doing so] were against the law [as Delta claims] other airlines would be sued for give their flyers time to adjust to a change. I agree Delta is not being honest about this fact and this is sad and upsetting. It is also insulting to us as Skymiles members.
(Quotation above edited for clarity)
Nonetheless, he seeks to defend the indefensible.
However, again, they do not spend time flying Delta. I do. I will have 100 segments on “our” airline this year. I had a Rookie post about why Delta is the best airline in the world a while ago.
He then proceeds to offer 20 reasons why Delta is great. But of the 20 reasons he offers, only a small few are directly related to the frequent flyer program.
Delta is a good airline, and it has an awful frequent flyer program. The points he lists that are valid or defensible relate to Delta as an airline, and not to the Skymiles program.
And Delta is not a “GREAT” airline, in saying they’re good I am grading on a curve (comparing them to US carriers). In any case the vast majority of positives aren’t at all responsive to the issue of the value of Skymiles or the devaluations without notice they keep hoisting upoin their members..
Let’s take the reasons he offers are at least marginally responsive to Skymiles being a good program each in turn:
11) With work I 99.99% of the time find SAVER seats
Delta has fewer saver seats than its competitors. Their award pricing engine is broken such that it will often price partner awards higher than the routing rules and inventory should cause them to. They do not even allow international first class redemptions. They do not allow one-way awards at half the price of coach.
No one says Skymiles are worth zero, they can get you some awards. But they are not worth nearly as much as competitor miles, and when they become worth even less Delta doesn’t provide their members the respect and courtesy of notice — they make members’ hard-earned miles simply worth less overnight and at whim.
12) The partners are good
This just isn’t true — at least not true COMPARED TO DELTA’S COMPETITORS. There are more fully flat seats across the Atlantic with Delta’s alliance competitors than there are in Skyteam. And certainly the best top shelf world carriers are in other alliances.
Delta’s partners are good in that modern world airlines are good, but they aren’t better than or even as good as the carriers in oneworld or Star on average.
They do partner with Virgin Australia, and that airline offers good business class award availability to Australia. But Delta has just raised the price of that award to 160,000 miles roundtrip…
14) Elites are treated very good
No, they’re not, at least not if those elites travel internationally. Delta’s international upgrade program is pathetic. 125,000 mile flyers get upgrade certs that are useless compared to what are given to 100,000 mile flyers at United and American.
15) Elite phone reps are good
No, they’re not. Even elite phone reps do not know Delta’s partners or partner booking classes. There are some good agents in the Chisolm call center, but on average phone reps don’t know how to book an award properly or how to price an award properly and this is true of elite agents as well as general agents.
18) Credit card gives perks beyond other airlines
The only benefit that the co-brand card offers that’s materially better (and some would argue less good, at least if you fly enough to qualify for status without it) is the ease at which you can earn status via spend.
Of course the big downside of Delta co-branded cards over other cards is that you are earning Skypesos.
Can You Come Up With Better Arguments In Favor of Delta Skymiles than the Deltapoints Blog Can?
The best arguments he can come up with in defense of Skymiles are that he manages saver award seats, their partners are good, and elites are treated well (by the airline and their phone reps). I don’t find these persuasive. Do you? And can you do better in defense of the indefensible?
It makes sense to fly Delta if you live in Atlanta or the Upper Midwest. At Northwest they used to talk about many of the places they served from their Minneapolis hub, “It’s cold, it’s dark, nobody wants to go there.. but it’s ALL OURS!” And that’s true. Non-stop flights and frequency are worth something and Delta runs a pretty good operation. So by all means fly Delta, accepting that you are less rewarded for doing so.
But for folks with a choice — who don’t live in a hub city and are going to connect anyway — then don’t punish yourself with Delta.
And even if you decide to fly Delta because you like their inflight product and you only travel domestically and take good advantage of their upgrade program as a top elite, then by all means do not accrue Delta miles for your PARTNER earning activity.