I appeared on ABC’s World News Tonight talking Delta’s planned shift on January 1 to a revenue-based frequent flyer program.
A major evening newscast, time is short, I explained the changes early in the segment and then came back at the end and explained that they’re risky — that other airlines will wait and watch, and how consumers respond will offer some direction to Delta’s competitors.
Now, I get pretty darned impassioned when anyone puts my miles in jeopardy…
I had a little more time to talk ‘winners and losers’ on WTOP Radio tonight in my home market of Washington, DC. I spoke to a print journalist today, and put together a piece for Conde’ Nast as well.
I’m not sure I remember the last frequent flyer program change (as opposed to ‘air travel issue’) that had so much intense mainstream media interest. The rest of the world, it seems, cares about their miles too.
Clearly the narrative that’s the starting point with journalists is that “Delta is rewarding business travelers and taking away from leisure travelers” and to some extent that’s true. High fare passengers earn more miles.
It does forget that business travelers are also leisure travelers when they go somewhere with family and not for work.
And as I showed this morning, it’s more complicated than that. You can pay the highest coach fares on long haul flights and still earn fewer points than before. And we don’t yet know what the changes on the redemption side will really look like, other than that the program is getting more complex.