Yesterday I wrote that Delta has introduced one-way awards for as little as 5000 miles one-way.
I showed the first example of this: Los Angeles – San Francisco.
It turns out that:
- This isn’t the only route
- It isn’t the only Los Angeles route
- Los Angeles isn’t the only city
- But not all similar-distance destinations are available as cheaply.
From Los Angeles, once you get to three week advance purchase we have Los Angeles – Sacramento
And we also have Los Angeles – San Jose
…But not Los Angeles – Las Vegas.
…And not Los Angeles – San Diego.
These awards are available Seattle – Portland.
… But not Seattle – Spokane.
Interesting which routes they’re doing this. I do not like it.
- It’s not like British Airways short haul awards, which are distance based. These are discounts on the cheapest flights, and we can expect more expensive flights to cost more miles.
- For a frequent flyer program to have value it needs to hold out the possibility of outsized reward. Otherwise it’s just another punch card program. These didn’t become billion dollar businesses, the most successful marketing innovation in history, but being rebate programs.
- If they eliminate the ‘wins’ from the program, where you get more than your 1-2 cents per mile in value, there’s no reason to choose SkyMiles. There’s no reason whatsoever to choose a SkyMiles co-brand credit card.
In many ways this presages the end of value. And now that the Suntrust debit card is no longer going to be a worthwhile product come end of July, there will be no reason to collect SkyMiles at all.