Delta announces new miles award tiers

5:14 PM, Mar 7, 2014   |    comments
(Photo: Carlos Osorio AP)
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +
  • FILED UNDER

 


 


(USA TODAY) Delta, which announced major changes to its frequent flier program last week, on Thursday revealed the new award tiers that it says will make it easier for travelers to redeem free trips.

Starting Jan. 1, 2015, the airline's roughly 91 million SkyMiles program members can use two additional miles tiers.

Currently, fliers wanting a free trip in coach within the continental U.S., or to Alaska or Canada, have three levels of miles at which they can redeem an award: 25,000, 40,000 and 60,000. Next year, they will also be able to cash in 35,000 and 50,000 miles.

Those extra tiers, coupled with other program changes, such as Delta saying it will make more seats available for redemption at 25,000 miles and the introduction of one-way rewards, will collectively give frequent fliers greater access to award trips, said Jeff Robertson, Delta's vice president of SkyMiles.

"It's creating greater utility as well as lower pricing,'' Robertson said.

Last week, Delta announced that it would become the first major network airline in the U.S. to award miles based on how much a flier pays for his or her ticket rather than the distance flown, a significant shift to its decades-old frequent flier program.

Members who book a flight taking off after Dec. 31 will accrue miles according to the new model.

Some have criticized the change, which means that a passenger who pays the cheaper fares will no longer earn the same amount of miles as a fellow passenger who bought a pricier ticket.

Corporate trekkers are more likely to have to fly at the last minute, which usually means paying higher fares. But Brian Kelly, founder of thepointsguy.com, said that many business travelers are in the same boat as leisure travelers who have to stick to a budget.

"People say the new earning (model) is great for business travelers,'' he said, "but a lot of business travelers have to choose the cheapest fare.''

Kelly added that he wasn't certain that five redemption tiers instead of three will be better for consumers. "Delta has made the program exceedingly complex,'' he said.

Robertson said that many fliers have said they appreciate, or at least understand, the change to how they earn miles.

"While we know there's a subset of customers who receive fewer miles and who are disappointed, they also understand . . . the fairness of the model and why customers who pay higher fares should get more,'' Robertson said.

READ MORE: What you need to know about Delta's frequent flier changes

By Charisse Jones, USA TODAY

You may also like...

Beach Treasure: Lost wedding ring found 8 months later

Nudist Lawsuit: Blind woman sues for having service dog refused

Reptile Invasion: Exotic "tegu lizards" taking over Tampa Bay

Dream Date: High schooler taking NFL cheerleader to the prom

Underwater Secret: Hidden caves beneath Weeki Wachee

Send in the Clowns: Clown shortage threatens the nation

Sasquatch on Tour: "Dead Bigfoot" on display in Texas

Eat Up: Yoga mat chemical found in hundreds of store foods

#ShortYellows: Florida quietly shortened yellow lights

Kittens shot: Officer shoots kittens in front of children

Popular photo galleries:

Faces of Meth: Devastating before and after photos of meth abusers

Trayvon Martin Shooting: Trayvon Martin crime scene photos and George Zimmerman injury photos 

Hooters Winners: Winners of the 2013 Hooters swimsuit pageant

Rejected: Funny Florida license plates rejected by the DMV***warning graphic***

Deadly sinkhole: Home collapses, man dies in giant sinkhole

Popular Databases:

Florida Sex Offenders: Look up sex offenders in any Florida neighborhood here

Restaurant Inspections: Look up inspection reports for any Florida restaurant here


Most Watched Videos