Starting next year, Delta SkyMiles members will earn frequent flyer miles based on how much they spend, not how far they fly.
Delta’s customer loyalty program is undergoing a host of changes, set to take effect January 1, 2015. The biggest shift is in the way travelers earn miles, moving from a mileage-based earning structure to one that credits customers according to what their tickets cost.
Redemption options are also being tweaked to make more seats available to travelers redeeming economy class award tickets. A five-tier structure is being put in place to designate different award ticket levels. The lowest redemption level, SkyMiles Saver tickets, will still cost 25,000 reward miles for travel within the continental United States and Canada.
Medallion levels not impacted by changes
Last year, Delta changed the way customers qualify for elite SkyMiles membership levels. As of January 2014, SkyMiles members must earn silver, gold, platinum and diamond status by spending a minimum amount in qualifying dollars each year. People with a Delta SkyMiles American Express card who make $25,000 in purchases each year are exempt from that minimum spending requirement. Those qualification guidelines will remain the same when the new program changes take effect next year.
Depending on their SkyMiles status—general, silver medallion, gold medallion, platinum medallion or diamond medallion—members will earn 5, 7, 8, 9 or 11 miles for every dollar they spend at Delta. Customers who use a Delta SkyMiles credit card to make their Delta purchase will earn an extra two miles per dollar spent.
Elite-level SkyMiles members get perks like free bag check, complimentary cabin upgrades, priority check-in and boarding, waived fees and preferred seating.
One-Way awards available at half price
Another change Delta will introduce next year is the option to redeem frequent flyer miles for a one-way ticket at half the price of a round-trip fare. For 12,500 miles, customers can fly one-way anywhere in the United States or Canada, excluding Hawaii. They can also use miles to pay for part of a ticket, combining it with another payment method through Delta’s Miles + Cash option.
Along with the changes to their SkyMiles rewards earning and redemption process, Delta is updating their website. They are introducing new online tools designed to streamline the purchase of award tickets.
SkyMiles redemption charts will be updated at the end of 2014, but folks cannot book trips using the new system until January 2015.