Jeff Robertson, Head of Delta Skymiles, to Chat Online with Members

The inaugural Milepoint chat with the head of a frequent flyer program or industry leader was a pretty rockin’ success. Maya Leibman, the President of American AAdvantage, was a good sport and shared some important details and explanations about the AAdvantage program and upcoming plans, like that those with current million miler status will have their accrued status miles continue to count even after any changes to the way they calculate those miles, and also that they’re planning to introduce online booking of partner awards by the end of the year.

Over 800 people participated in the chat, my only complaint would be that it didn’t go on long enough. An hour is a good bit of time to get out of the evening of an executive running a billion dollar enterprise, but I wish we had had more, typing takes time and there were a lot of people with a lot of questions. Mikel introduced a good random but representative sample of questions, but I still wanted more.

Next up I’m told that Jeff Robertson, who runs the Delta Skymiles program, has agreed to do a live chat with Milepoint members. Jeff was a great sport in front of tough questions at the Randy Petersen Travel Executive, though if 800 people tuned in for American the Delta chat could be even bigger because members will have a lot of questions about the Skymiles program. Robertson’s a candid guy (most of the time, except when he’s talking about pricing decisions) even when he’s telling members things they aren’t going to like to hear.

This is gonna be good…! When the date is announced for this chat I’ll certainly let y’all know.

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 »

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  1. This should be interesting, but I find many of Jeff’s comments to be disingenuous.

  2. Funny how at my son’s soccer game I talked with a fellow parent who recently redeemed 50k Skypesos for a domestic award to Seattle and ended with “I could not find any 25k awards, I hate Delta”. And Delta has made a business decision that so many of their flyers will continue to give up and pony up the “more flexible” double or triple miles. And Jeff confirmed that they ain’t gonna be fixing the award search engine as it will cost too much money. These guys don’t get it and, based on the recent financial results (conveniently blamed on the old reliable oil price boogey man) maybe continuing to do that is also NOT good for DL as customers get fed up with the shenanigans. Oh, excuse me, my Skypesos do not expire now…geez thanks. I am developing a real hate relationship with Delta, it will be the end of me flying them starting in 2013.

    Long Live NWA!

  3. I never had a hard time when using the NWA award travel site… seems to me they should just bring that back!

  4. Never understood why folks complain about Delta award availabilty yet stay with Delta?Yes its awful!I will assume they are stuck with Delta where they happen to live.Is there a program worse?Even US AIR has decent Star Alliance partner awards I’ll assume they are a close second to Delta in the stingy award availability dept

  5. I use DL miles to fly overseas. from my city they are the only ones who fly non stop and that’s one long flight so NS is the way to go. Sure, DL may be say 60k Rt when everyone else is 50k but the thing is, they actually HAVE seats and I have not only been able to book those awards 30 days out but in some cases only a few days out! NO ONE else does that! Not without a hefty fee!

    DL awards for my trip can often be 60k, 75k, 90k or 120k for econ. Depends on when you go and in some cases, how close to travel that you book it. But since it depends on how full their planes are, you may do better with using miles than paying for a ticket. I have seen econ seats be sold for well over $1500 when a miles award is still only 60k.

    For domestic, since I am a skier, if I needed to fly to Salt Lake City, Utah, they fly non stop from BOS where I live. That is key in winter when carrying skis and not wanting to get stuck. I have booked 25k awards but most are always a bit more miles than that. Of course, sometimes you get lucky and the business class is only 50k so I just do that. Why not?

    Again, they may charge a bit more in miles than many other airlines but they always seem to have a seat. The only other airline I have luck with in this way is American. For trips to islands, they seem to have seats when I want them.

    United has award seats for things but fees and connections and rules and restrictions seem to always attach themselves to your plans as you navigate through their website. At least that’s been my experience.

    For those DL awards overseas, I have often only paid a $50 tax on some flights. Then again, I’m not flying to London.

  6. I put up with Delta because my airport is Detroit…’nough said. But I can’t take the BS anymore so starting in 2013 I WILL make a move to United and Star Alliance…you can only take the beatings so long.

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