Delta went from two to three tiers of award pricing in 2008.
The three tiers were called Low, Medium, and High. And that’s how they stand as I write this:
Delta announced, however, that the names of its award redemption tiers will be changing to “Saver, Standard, and Peak.”
To clarify our Award Travel chart, we’ve updated the Award level names to Saver, Standard and Peak from Low, Medium and High, respectively. Please note that the change of names for the Award levels does not indicate changes with the program rules or mileage redemption at this time. Visit our Award Travel page to learn more about using miles for an Award Ticket.”
While some may speculate that this change is more than a wording change, we’d like to be very clear that this is only a modification to the way we describe Award levels. It is not a change to the levels themselves.
We can take the change for what we know at this point, which is simply a modification to the nomenclature. After all, that’s explicitly what they’re asking us to do.
Or we can start to speculate about what it might mean.
You know which of those I’m going to do.
- Why change the nomenclature at all? As they indicate, they know such a change will fuel negative speculation. If they intend to change nothing but the name, what do they get from the change change that outweights their customers’ consternation?
- Why change the names now at all if they’re planning to go with dynamic pricing?
- Perhaps the new nomenclature fits better with dynamic pricing, calling something ‘low’ or ‘medium’ may not fit a new world where award prices change day by day and flight by flight?
- High has a negative connotation and they realize that, why tell customers they’re getting fleeced?
- ‘Saver’ and ‘standard” matches United’s language. I guess it makes sense then that Delta has an even higher price than United’s top category for their awards. After all, isn’t Delta worth more?
- We can’t really trust their pronouncements about what changes to their program mean.
- Shouldn’t they change the name of the program to Skypesos and get everything done in one fell swoop?
- If this were really bad it would have been announced on a Friday afternoon.
Basically it makes little sense to do this in the absence of a bigger reason, so we’re left to wonder what that reason is. Delta isn’t saying.
I still expect them to move towards revenue-based redemption, although if they’ve pulled back from that brink the folks in Atlanta can snicker as they read this that I’m not all that in the know. Everything was supposed to be ready to go a few months ago, though timing and PR issues crept up and technology issues seemed to as well. Now we’re left waiting for the big changes, reading tea leaves from the little ones.
For now, this cigar must remain just a cigar.