Now that Continental has matched with a double EQM promotion, will Delta?

Continental has matched American and United’s double elite qualifying miles promotions, although they’re even more lenient. Instead of only counting travel booked after the start of the promotion, Continental is counting all travel within the qualification dates, regardless of when it’s booked. That means you can earn Platinum, their top tier, for a mere 37,500 flown miles within the qualification period.

Many people are now wondering whether Delta will match as well, given that they compete a bit more closely with Continental than American or United. If I had to guess, I’d say no, they won’t match, which probably surprises many.

Why don’t I think so? Northwest. Delta/Northwest has a *HUGE* elite pool right now, despite the recession. So far it’s not too bad since both carriers are still operating their full fleets, but as soon as they cut back on redundant routes and trim out the schedule a bit, I’m betting upgrades will become more difficult.

It would be in Delta’s best interest to not further artificially inflate the elite population, because the last thing they want to do is annoy their current customers, since many aren’t pleased about the merger as is.

Only time will tell and I might be wrong, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re the one legacy carrier without a double EQM promotion this year. Also, it seems like they would have put out this promotion during the week in order to garner the most attention, so the fact that it’s Friday night doesn’t help their chances either.

Comments

  1. I don’t know that your average elite who isn’t traveling for the sake of travel thinks as much about what other passengers are getting out of promos. I do think though that airlines want to make sure they don’t have too many elites so that elites can upgrade, and get awards at an acceptable level.

    But in this economy, aren’t the numbers of elites going to be on the decline without a DEQM promo? Also, isn’t there some business sense to wanting to have a lot of elites for 2010 assuming the economy rebounds and travel picks up? I am not sure why DEQM promos aren’t structures so that the EQMs don’t post until the end of the year.

    Lastly, I think you are trying to make an interesting case, but betting on airlines to differentiate themselves is always the less likely bet right?

  2. Justin makes some good points, but I agree with Lucky…it’d be nice to see Delta hold off and not match the double EQM offers.

  3. I’m (selfishly) hoping that Delta offers the DEQM promotion since I’ve got a quite a few flights scheduled during the time….

    However, I see it a bit of a competitive disadvantage with the other majors currently offering a DEQM promotion (US doesn’t count…). Plus, at the end of the day, adding additional “loyal” customers is always a positive, no matter how big the elite base is.

  4. I’m hoping that United will allow previously booked travel to count… Lucky what do you think?

  5. echohorn, as nice as it sounds, I don’t see that happening. At the end of the day this is a generous promotion on the part of United, and as long as American doesn’t have that in their terms, United has little incentive to add it. Ultimately they want to generate more business, and bookings that have already been made don’t really help with that.

    I think UA would be smart to offer a program whereby you can pay a fee to have your itinerary count. Maybe charge $100 per domestic itinerary and $150 for international itineraries. Basically they would retroactively be making your itineraries eligible. That’s the only thing I can see UA doing, although I don’t think they’re that creative.

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