Delta SkyMiles And Sky Club Changes Leak Early

We’ve been expected major changes to be introduced to Delta SkyMiles, and to Delta Sky Club access, with an announcement date of September 14th. The changes leaked early because Delta posted them briefly online. The internal non-disclosure agreements that kept “Project Orion” under wraps mostly worked, until they fumbled the communications ball at the five yard line. They’ve now had to release the full details.

Delta is changing how elite status is earned, eliminating the use of three metrics (dollars, qualifying miles, and segments) to focus on only a single metric (dollars) while allowing some activities other than flying to count towards those dollars. And they’re restricting credit card access to their Sky Clubs – limiting the number of cardmember visits, and not allowing visits when traveling on a basic economy fare.

Next Year’s Elite Status Will Be Dollars Only

Delta is ‘simplifying’ how elite status is earned to focus on how much you spend, and not how much you fly. For many years it’s been a combination of the two. Starting January 1, 2024 they just want to know how much you’ve given them out of your wallet. Qualifying miles and qualifying segments will no longer be part of the equation. And there’s no more ‘spend waiver’ for earning status.

Members with rollover qualifying miles will have a choice next year to transfer those to qualifying dollars, redeemable miles, or a portion of each.

Qualifying dollars will also be able to be earned via spend on co-brand American Express cards, rental car and hotel bookings through their portal, and with Delta Vacations.

  • Flying earns a qualifying dollar per dollar spent, while partner airline travel (that isn’t a Delta codeshare) earns qualifying dollars at the same rate as today.

  • Credit cards earn based on the product, with Reserve earning 1 qualifying dollar per $10 spent; Platinum earning 1 qualifying dollar per $20 spent; and lower category cards not earning qualifying dollars.

  • Car rentals and hotels: one qualifying dollar per dollar spent through Delta channels.

  • Delta Vacations: earns a qualifying dollar per dollar spent in addition to what you earn for the flight component of the package.

Here are the new status tiers, earn in 2024 for 2025 benefits:

  • Silver: $6,000
  • Gold: $12,000
  • Platinum: $18,000
  • Diamond: $35,000

It seems almost impossible for many people to earn status in this program without leaning heavily into a premium American Express card. However spending even $250,000 on a Reserve card, which used to ‘waive’ the qualifying dollars component of Diamond status, will only net $25,000 qualifying dollars – or just over 70% of the way to Diamond. Indeed, spending $25,000 on an Amex card will only earn $1,250 or $2,500 qualifying dollars – not a lot!

Earlier this year hotel and rental car bookings made through the Delta portal counted towards status. That must have been a test or dry run. And it’s edges them closer to American AAdvantage, where most partner activity counts.

These changes clearly put Delta in the role of follower, of United with spend-based status and American, recognizing that it isn’t just flying that matters to the business’s bottom line.

Overall this makes Delta status that matters unattainable for many. They are expecting high ticket spend business travelers, putting a lot of reimbursable spend on premium Delta co-brands, precisely as we’re seeing managed business travel stagnate.

New Delta Sky Club Entry Restrictions

I wrote recently that Delta would be introducing new entry restriction for its Sky Clubs, this time targeting access via credit card.

In the face of overcrowding of Delta’s Sky Club lounges, last year the airline limited lounge access to within 3 hours of departure. Then they made several more changes.

  • raised the price of club memberships, and restricted purchase of memberships to SkyMiles elite members
  • eliminated access to clubs by members traveling on basic economy fares.
  • eliminated access for mid-tier elites and above flying internationally in coach
  • took away access from employees with purchased memberships or premium credit cards (which they pitched to employees for lounge access just the year before, not to mention asking employees to volunteer cleaning the clubs).

These measures weren’t enough and clubs are still crowded. Delta lounges are modestly better than United Clubs and American Airlines Admirals Clubs, especially their food offerings. And more people gain access via credit card to Delta lounges, since it’s not just their own cardmembers getting access, but also American Express Platinum and Centurion cardholders flying Delta.

As expected,

  • Starting February 1, 2025, Delta reserve cards will no longer receive unlimited Sky Club access unless the cardholder spends $75,000 per calendar year on the card (in which case they receive unlimited visits for the rest of that year and the full next year). Instead the Reserve card will come with 10 visits per elite member year. (2025 unlimited access will be based on 2024 card spend.)

  • Starting January 1, 2024, credit card access will no longer be permitted when traveling on basic economy fares. (Paid memberships are already no longer valid on these fares.)

  • Starting January 1, 2024, the Delta Platinum Amex cards will no longer allow paid day access.

Changes to the American Express Platinum cards will align, and starting February 1, 2025, those cards will offer only 6 club visits per year unless the cardmember spends at least $75,000 per calendar year on their card.

This should both (1) provide some crowding relief in the lounges, and (2) incentivize card spend, both of which benefit Delta. At the same time, the value of holding the cards for very frequent Delta flyers falls somewhat which isn’t what they’re after. And to be clear, this is a benefit reduction to cardmembers.

The basic economy restriction especially stings, since Delta even publishes their cheapest award travel with basic economy restrictions. Members who save enough miles to ‘fly free’ will be treated as second class citizens when they do, which is the opposite of a ‘loyalty program’ meant to make customers feel valued.

No Changes To Earning And Redeeming Miles

The changes being announced are specifically regarding how elite status is earned, and how Sky Clubs can be accessed, and do not entail changes to how miles are earned or redeemed for awards. Delta has already made plenty of those changes, devaluing their points currency significantly. I see no reason to focus on SkyMiles over other currencies. The only reason to engage the SkyMiles program over other programs is if you fly Delta regularly and use it to earn higher levels of status

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Phenomenal news about the AMEX Platinum being down to 6/year, that was by far the biggest reason for overcrowding.

    I’m going to blissfully celebrate that and pretend that the rest of the changes don’t exist.

  2. Delta and Amex have an incredibly profitable and successful relationship but they vastly underestimated the demand for their cards driven esp. by Sky Club visits.

    It doesn’t matter who started it; elite benefits should be tied to dollars spent and not miles or segments. The fact that Delta isn’t the first to move to that system makes it certain that spend will be the standard for the industry going forward.

    There will be dozens of people that will come on here and tell us the DL Amex cards are no longer worth carrying – and that is undoubtedly part of the intent. Providing premium service to high value customers is where Delta wants to go and the high volume credit card benefits didn’t fit with that strategy

  3. For once it’s DL copying AA but DL’s version doesn’t seem like it’s going to drive the same level of engagement, as the tiers are simply unattainable for many.

  4. I didn’t expect much out of Delta but they managed to be substantially worse than I’d imagined. Delta truly hates loyal members. It’s a shame because they used to have both a good airline and a good loyalty program. Now they have neither.

  5. I’m not angry about this at all. I Fly Delta one, three times a year from ATL to HND. Currently, this barely gets me Gold. Next year unless ticket prices drop dramatically it will get me Platinum. I will go from being scum to being almost scum.

  6. @ Tim Dunn — Delta has finally blown it. We have already entered a travel recession (airfares are way down for fall and winter travel), and this boneheaded move will eliminate a majority of Diamonds and Platinums by 2/1/2026 and will eliminate a big share of their credit card holders. I wouldn’t call those desirable outcomes for Delta or AMEX. I presume that UA and AA will likewise inflate their elite requirements for next year. The result will be a stampede to free agency. The only gain for Delta will be in the number of SkyClub memberships that they sell directly to consumers.

  7. Well, this may be the end of my relationship with Delta. Million mile Diamond member for about 6 years or so and Reserve card holder. I purchase coach fares due to my company requirements and spend 50 to 60k on the reserve card a year. I realize I may not be a high profit customer but my butt is in a seat over 125k plus miles a year, every year. I suppose it was good while it lasted. I will no longer be able to make Diamond and Platinum doesn’t look good either. And I could use 10 skyclub visits in a week.

    Not sure which direction to go from here. Maybe just be a guy that buys a ticket on whichever carrier has the price and schedule that is best and forget about any loyalty program. I knew this change was going to be bad news for me but I had a little hope that it wouldn’t be too bad. Oh well, that’s life I guess.

  8. Makes sense… when you spend $10 on your card, Delta earns about $0.10. When you spend $10 booking hotels or cars through their portal, Delta earns $1. They’re just giving you points in proportion to how much money you’re earning them; earn them $3,500 a year and you can be Diamond!

    Of course, if you charge $350,000 to a Delta card, and earn 350,000 Skypesos, that’s a much worse deal for you than charging $350,000 to a Chase Reserve card and earning 350,000-1 million chase points.

    And booking cars/hotels on Delta’s portal costs you your elite benefits with those programs. (But not a bad deal if you can book other people’s hotel/cars.)

    Delta at least gets you to elite faster than United, where you have to spend $432,000 on your credit card to make 1k, and travel portal bookings don’t help you.

  9. @Tim Dunn writes “It doesn’t matter who started it; elite benefits should be tied to dollars spent and not miles or segments.”

    Are you suggesting that a $500 New York – Florida flight has the same value to Delta as a $500 flight to Tokyo? They both will count the same towards status.

    “There will be dozens of people that will come on here and tell us the DL Amex cards are no longer worth carrying – and that is undoubtedly part of the intent.”

    Not even close. **They want card adoption and card spend.** They are using the program to encourage card spend, but not generously enough. (It takes $200,000 card spend on a US AA card to earn Executive Platinum, $350,000 on the most premium Delta Amex to earn Diamond and $700,000 on a mid-tier card.) And that most premium card no longer even provides unlimited Sky Club.

    Some people will double down on their Delta cards with these changes, others will throw them away. And we’ll have to wait to see what the data shows on net effect!

  10. FFS, $6K MQD for Silver?

    25 years of loyalty ends after 2024, and I won’t pursue that last 100K to Million Miler.

    Being in Seattle, I guess I can direct my business to Alaska. It has been going there anyway – DL has priced themselves out of ‘in policy’ airfare range for my large company’s business travel tool for my predominantly domestic business travel.

    The problem with AS is their domestic AA codeshares – I have had nothing but trouble anytime AA is involved.

  11. @ Gary — Well, I guess we will keep one Reserve card each (we will drop our business cards). 10 lounge visits from the Reserve card + 6 from the AMEX Plat card should cover our needed access with our drastically reduced Delta flying. That plus the 15% redemption discount and the F BOGO should make it worth holding the Reserve cards until our miles are all redeemed. Then, buh bye Delta.

  12. The conversion rates on rollover MQMs are particularly insulting. 20:1 on MQDs, my 750k MQMs that would have been good for six years of Diamond or ten years of Platinum (if I were to meet the respective credit card waivers). Or 2:1 on redeemable miles. Delta redeemable miles.

  13. Looks like DL is following the true industry leader AA, but somehow with a much worse product. I guess the airplane toilet isn’t the only thing diarrhea is flowing out from DL in ATL. Imagine 200,000K spent on the Reserve and 12K on flights and you are still Plat. At least AA did it right and didn’t fully alienate 75% of their status members and card holders. With this move I doubt people will be paying for that “Delta Premium” that comes with old planes, 5.5″ screens and rivers of dysentery. I guess they could play it off as we now offer free open middle seats, ghost towns for lounges, quick check in and boarding, and a lazy river on every flight. I guess rather than rebuild ATL to make it ready for more transitioning passengers if you just reduce the number moving through the capital cost is nothing. Solid logic from DL today.

  14. There are clearly a very high number of customers that spend lots of money in their mind but when you see the length of standby lists for upgrades, there are no shortage of people that will remain.
    As Delta focuses even more on premium revenue in the midst of high inflation and increasing ticket prices, the belief that one is spending at the top tier will hit a reset just like the rest of the economy.

    a $500 longhaul international ticket is basic economy at best but just mid-tier leisure on domestic routes. Clearly a high value international traveler – multiples of times per year – will easily meet these thresholds.

    Wait for Delta’s investor presentation tomorrow but I strongly suspect they are not backing down from their previous lofty growth expectations for Amex/Skymiles revenue growth. There are clearly people that are spending money not just for travel but also doing it with the credit card connections that increasingly airlines want.
    This is simply a move to thin the herd at the top of the pyramid. But there is still a very large and growing pyramid.

  15. @ Tim Dunn — DO you EVER admit you are wrong? You really should try it. It is liberating to recongize that one is human.

  16. @ Gary — I guess Delta is converting lifetime status on a 20:1 ratio also. So, if you are 20 and expected to live 60 more years, you’ll get 3 years of lifetime status; If you are 40, you get 2 years; if you are 60; you get 1 year; and, if you are 80, you should just be happy to be here!

  17. As some have noted, AA, at least so far, has done it right with their Loyalty Points program. More and broader spending opportunities, more generous LPs for spend, good multipliers for AA flight spend. In some ways it’s “fun”-in the same way a shopping spree with no money in the bank is fun. Delta, in contrast, has taken a punitive approach, with very limited spending options, no status multipliers for flight spend, and outrageous MQDs for elite tier status. UA will likely have an announcement before the end of the year and it will be interesting to see which model they copy. I’m betting it will be Delta’s.

  18. @Gene, even Tim knows this kills off the Amex Reserve. From OMAAT “The DL Amex Reserve card ended up being one of the most 0 to 60 to 0 credit card products. Ever.” He is trying to sugar coat this but sure it speaks to say 25% of their customers, but this will 100% devalue their AMEX partnership driving more people over to the vanilla plat as ill get close to the same number of Sky Club entries when flying delta but I also get PP and Centurion when flying any airline.

  19. @Mark — In the FWIW Dept., as an Alaska elite, the only time I’ve ever had a problem with AA was at DFW when there wasn’t enough time to make a connection , and that was AA all the way (i.e.: it was an AS ticket but I was connecting from one AA plane to another).

    @Tim Dunn —> I understand that spend is important to the airline, and I *do* see the importance of Delta rewarding the pax who fly in F or J over Y. But segments are also vital. If I commute back and forth from New York to Boston, or SF to LA in Economy, it will take a lot of flights for me to equal the cost of one round trip on Delta One to (e.g.) Paris.

    An example of another kind — same dates (11/7-11/11); same departure times — why would I fly Delta between (e.g.) SFO-JasJFK for $412.80 r/t when I can do it on AS for $277.80? Getting there on spend alone will be difficult for the average flier (but I’ve had mid-tier status [MVP Gold] on Alaska for 10 years in a row.

  20. Dwight James, Delta’s senior vice president of customer engagement and loyalty is so far out of touch. “With any program changes as you know, we know we won’t have 100% satisfaction,” he said, adding that focus group skepticism often morphed into enthusiasm when SkyMiles members analyzed their own spending habits. “I have an opportunity through Delta to do even more to achieve status. A lot of people got excited because they felt now they have an even better shot at achieving status,” James said.

    Putting 60,000K on a Reserve or 120,000K on the plat while getting skypesos in return to get Silver Status is looney tunes. Id rather have the 60,000-120,000 or even more AMEX or Chase points. Those at least I can transfer most places and with bonuses make them clearly head an shoulders over whatever this program is.

  21. Stopped chasing SkyMiles years ago, but always enjoyed SkyClub access via the AX Platinum card. But no way do I plan to spend $75K on a co-branded card when I can purchase an annual membership for 1% of that amount.

    Will be interesting to see during the investor presentation on how, exactly, Delta expects to achieve $10B in annual income from AMEX unless they expect the annual spend to increase 2X or 3X current levels…for something (SkyMiles) that is consistently worth less every year.

  22. So we should expect to see massive FA layoffs as Delta transitions from being an airline to a travel agency or a credit card company. Butts in seats don’t matter, they are going after another lucrative market (high spenders and execs flying exclusively D1)… which will lead to fewer (more profitable) demand and eventually layoffs.

  23. @Captain Freedom “Yes we’re positively hemorrhaging cobrand members but we’re making up for it in volume.”

  24. @ Gary — Well, after some number crunching, I have concluded that we are done with Delta status. Living in a DL hub city, we will of course fly Delta on occasion. We will make DM this year and then become LT Gold.

    Buh bye, Delta! I wish I could say it say it was fun, but not really.

  25. Can someone please tell me who all these “high value” business travelers are?

    I’ve worked at 3 large corporations including two Fortune 500 and all of them only allow coach. At my current company only c-suite executives can fly first.

    Maybe they’re trying to force behavior change but CEOs fly private these days and they don’t care. And companies are just too cheap to fall for it— the high-flying days of 1980s corporate America are over.

  26. So many things wrong here…first, if you want to limit the overcrowding in the SC’s…how about focusing on the SC’s that actually have the problem? Why not limit the visits on the Reserve to 10 for those clubs (i.e. JFK T4, ATL B18, etc.). Have any of you ever waited on a line at DEN, RDU, CVG, EWR, etc? Those should be unlimited. Good compromise. But, THAT might make too much sense.

    And the changes to the elite program? Makes me wonder…exactly how “elite” Delta do you think your program actually is? Answer…it’s not!

    Bye! (And I mean…BYE!!!)

  27. After talking these numbers over with 6 of my 9 coworkers it seems pretty universal that we will dump our Delta Reserve cards. The value was limited to begin with but now with the Skyclub cuts it will be a negative value proposition for us. So Delta loosing 7 Reserve card holders spending 30 to 60k a year isn’t a problem? Who is going to replace us? People spending that much on a card surely know there are far better options. And if they have that kind of money they will just buy a Skyclub membership.

    And I’m a Delta loyalist but on this one I think Tim Dunn is out of touch, just like Delta appears to be.

  28. Delta is simply in the best position it has ever been in relative to the industry both competitively and financially. There are millions of high value passengers that are moving their business from other airlines to Delta and the bar for being in the top tier of customers at Delta is moving higher.
    As hard as it is for some to hear, they don’t deliver as much revenue to Delta as they think.

    Delta is at the top of the industry because they know what it takes to deliver a top tier product which customers want to buy. Delta is growing its presence in the top key coastal markets even as AA, B6, WN and UA all deal w/ major strategic mistakes which are costing them significant revenue and profits

  29. I’ll be at 975000 miles toward million miler and easily spend $75k per year on my Amex. Therefore I’m only concerned about the million miler. I read they will remain at 1:1 regardless how they were earned. I just want to ensure I’ll still be 25,000 miles away (in seat miles now). Thoughts?

  30. @tim This essentially makes their AMEX branded cards useless. No one is booking a hotel or rental car through a third party. That is just stupid. The 10 uses of a sky club is at most 5 round trips until you hit 75,000 in spending. Business travel isn’t even close to where it was. OPM is only going so far. There is a reason basic econ exists and its because leisure travelers are price savvy. Again putting 60,000K on a Reserve or 120,000K on the plat while getting skypesos in return to get Silver Status is looney tunes. Id rather have the 60,000-120,000 or even more AMEX or Chase points. Those at least I can transfer most places and with bonuses make them clearly head an shoulders over whatever this program is. These cards are essentially useless. Look at the FlyerTalk and see all the DM’s and PM’s who are pissed. Those are the most dedicated travelers. If they were smart they would do something like this:

    Reserve and Plat – give an extra 3K EQD for reserve and 1500 EQD to Plat. Maybe an additional 1K EQD for something like every 25K spent on the reserve and 500 EQD for the plat. (75K spend on reserve = 13500 EQD and on the Plat = 6750 EQD)
    Skyclubs – Limit use in peak airports at peak times. 10 visits at JFK at say 4PM on a Friday but unlimited elsewhere. Imagine pissing away 10 visits at the Denver Airport SC.
    EQD Amounts – they can stay this would force people to sign up for their cards more.

    This deal is less valuable to AMEX and you will see revenue shrivel up.

  31. Delta has put attaining any meaningful status so. Far out of reach that even those that were “sold the hope” of getting to status under the old system, now can clearly determine there is no hope of getting to status come 2024 and cut up there cards. Delta will lose out incremental spend of the masses in exchange for the astronomical spend of a few.

  32. @tim finally this kills Delta at LGA. Centurion is by the UA AA gates and in EWR by the AA and DL gates granted in T8 at JFK its just the 3 AA/BA Lounges (which are better than anything in T4 DL or AMEX has to offer) and their subpar AC. I assume the EWR and LGA Centurions will still be able to limit traffic because DL isn’t big at EWR and those traveling delta with a reserve wont have access at LGA. JFK will be even more packed. DL get hosed in this sense, unless you have a reserve or plat and flying out of JFK (which will be packed) then DL really comes out on the losing end.

    LAX AA and AS gets to use 3 different lounges plus a flagship and if traveling internationally with emerald use of the best lounge at LAX in Qantas and the centurion on top in T5. Delta is going to rely on the centurion outside of the 10 SC visits. AA with their AS partnership and if holding a Vanilla Plat have more options than ever.

    In the case of LGA AA and UA are the winners hands down in this. We shall see in the long run.

  33. Let’s see how well all of these prognostications play out.
    Methinks that Delta and Amex know exactly what they are doing and their revenue will increase stronger than the competition which is what has happened for months.
    The people that are being culled from the elite ranks are those that do not spend enough money between flying and credit card spend compared to others that do.

    Delta is at the top of the industry in revenue production and profits because they have a consistent track record of making the right calls.
    Sure, they could slip on a banana now but that is extremely unlikely as much as some might wish otherwise.

  34. I don’t fly Delta, and after reading this, I’m really happy about that. I’m 1K on UA after switching from AA where I was ExecPlt for 15 years. I’ve got lifetime Plt on AA and Gold on UA. Both give me free choice of seats in economy, lounge access on international flights, and better multipliers for “miles” earned on spend for when I stop flying so much and just do a bit of leasure flying. And in few years I’ll be in spitting distance of 2 million UA miles and permanent Plt. So as long as there are no drastic changes for UA, I’ll still be 1K until then. But the spend needed to get Diamond on Delta is prohibitive.

  35. Gary, use LinkedIn from time to time. You will see SkyMiles is currently being run by a largely ex-finance group of leaders. No surprise these bean counters are unable to properly value loyalty. These are the same people who kept loyalty, a more valuable department than the entire airline, in the basement for decades. Ironically, the basement is where Delta’s loyalty department literally currently sits with the main building of their campus. Sad day for Delta, and to Tim Dunce’s point I have no doubt that some SMB CEOs may be dumb enough to run $350K through their Delta cards, but brand loyalty will take an enormous hit.

    This is a bold move. If it works, Delta will look genius, but that seems unlikely as this was too much too soon. Delta’s customer base is not a rectangle it is a pyramid, and these moves alienate most of their customers below 360. I will cancel my DL and Amex cards over this, and I am not alone. Hub captive or not, I have other options and while I patronized DL for international redemptions (Lol, I know), I may as well reap value from WN, B6, AS and others domestically and just pay cash for my overseas adventures. DL, your redemptions were only semi-tolerable because status was achievable and lounge access was accessible. Now? I wont be seeing Atlanta anytime soon. Good riddance, DL.

  36. I have never commented here before but have read the site for a long time. Tim Dunn’s comments in this thread are some of the dumbest I’ve ever seen a person post in a comment section.

  37. The only theory I can up with here is that Amex has data that shows their card holders with multiple Reserve and Platinum cards do not spend on those cards, but their card holders with one Reserve or Platinum card do spend on those, therefore the Amex goal is to weed out the non spenders. If you are a Delta hub captive, you might as well pay one annual fee and hit the 75k in spend, rather than pay multiple annual fees and try to keep track of your club entry coupons by card. This means that the annual fee is not worth it to Amex, Amex wants spend on the cards and is willing to reduce the number of cards out there to get it. This isn’t so much Delta following AA’s lead as it is Amex following Citis.

  38. @Tim Dunn “Delta is simply in the best position it has ever been in relative to the industry both competitively and financially. ”

    Delta’s relative performance compared to the industry has fallen. They are a more reliable airline most of the time, but not by as much. They offer a better club product, but not by as much. Their service has declined in many ways, from telephone to twitter.

    They haven’t paid the price yet, but they believed their former investments here mattered so the lack of them should matter too. Remains to be seen!

  39. @ Gary — AAs phone service is pretty horrible now, too..I always have to wait at least an hour for a return call. That is pathetic.

  40. @Gene – what’s your current status? AA’s phone system quotes the same hold times regardless of status, but prioritizes status, so for instance an Executive Platinum might wait a few minutes even when they say an hour. But return calls aren’t prioritized as far as I know.

  41. Guess I’ll cancel my Delta Amex card. I already dropped back to platinum from reserve because my job no longer requires travel It’s absolutely crazy–$120k non-flying spending to have silver status. $360k non-flying spending to maintain current platinum status. No thanks, Delta. I’ll use other cards in my wallet with better benefits and better mileage rewards than skypesos.

  42. Gary,
    financial and competitive positioning has nothing to do with former investments.
    Delta is competitively in its best position ever because
    1. The NEA is dead and AA and B6 both have already indicated they are dismantling parts of their NE operation.
    2. UA is having to cut its EWR operation due to overhubbing after failing to regain access to JFK. NYC is a huge corporate travel market and DL is best positioned there than ever
    3. Building BOS has been an incredibly successful mission.
    4. AA has reduced its presence in NYC, Chicago and LA so much that they aren’t near as much of a consideration as they once were. remember, AA execs themselves said their schedule is their service.
    5. The low cost carriers are a financial basketcase. B6 and NK are fighting to stay alive financially.
    6. WN has failed to regrow its domestic revenue far worse than any of the big 3. They have lost hundreds of thousands of high value passengers and DL and UA have been the biggest winners.
    7. AA does well w/ corporate and high value revenue in its hubs but they are becoming less of a factor in major markets that compete with DL because AA simply does not offer near as good of a product.
    8. You are free to believe that DL’s product is slipping but real data shows they still run a far higher quality operation than any other US airline including AA and UA. DL has long been and is even more so the corporate airline of choice and was limited only by its network in the corporate travel-rich markets.
    9 DL’s network shortcoming and UA’s advantage has been UA’s stronger position in corporate markets and DL’s strength in its interior US hubs but DL is now much stronger competitively relative to UA on the coasts and is set to start growing dramatically across the Pacific, the last bastion of UA”s dominance. UA will be nowhere near as successful in growing into the center of the US where it competes with AA, DL and WN than DL will be growing across the Pacific.
    10. DL’s equity investments took a lot of attention to remain alive during the pandemic but they all made it and are about to deliver massive benefits, esp. in Latin America.

    DL is simply on the verge of building a far better network on its own and via its partners than any other US airline has now or ever has had and also delivering a higher quality product on the ground and in the air.

    DL’s non-transportation efforts including its refinery, its Amex relationship and its maintenance overhaul business are reducing costs and generating high margin revenue that no other airline can match

    Not sure what price you think DL hasn’t paid but they simply had too many elites and moved the line up a lot higher. As much as some people want to believe that they will quit flying Delta, the vast majority of passengers have done so because of schedule and price as part of negotiated agreements. People can say that they will take high revenue travel elsewhere but that simply will not happen. Alot of people are simply jilted that they aren’t considered special any more but if they were chasing any airline because of loyalty program or credit card benefits, they weren’t as valuable as they think they were.

    And every other airline will do the same thing and more – and still not deliver the network breadth or level of service.

    Just watch the financial statements and investor guidance over the next year and you will see that I am right. Delta knows what it is doing. Their revenue growth will still be at the top of the industry.

  43. @ Gary — LT Platinum. I expect to get lesser service vs EXP, but it is ridiculous. Good to know that return calls are not prioritized by status.

  44. @ Tim Dunn — Now that DL will be alienating a huge portion of its best customers, it will be much easier for all of the other airlines you list ro regain strength in the markets you list. You act as if DL operates in a vacuum. Angry customers WILL seek out alternatives even if those alternatives are less convenient for them. Americans are angry at corporations, and DL presents a great case study regarding why they are angry.

Comments are closed.