ExpertFlyer is one of the travel tool subscription services I pay for, given that it saves me a ton of time and does display some information which isn’t otherwise readily available online.
Over the past couple of years they’ve certainly fought their fair share of battles with airlines over which space they can and can’t display. ExpertFlyer is a great service and makes life easier for the frequent traveler, but in many cases that’s not something the airlines like. For example, if you can set alerts whereby ExpertFlyer emails you when award or upgrade space opens up, the airlines aren’t a fan of that for obvious reasons. While they create the rewards systems, they don’t want to make it easy for you to find. For example, late last year they stopped displaying most Star Alliance award space, as well as British Airways award space.
Which brings me to the recent news. Last October Delta requested that ExpertFlyer stop displaying elite upgrade space, and ExpertFlyer complied. However, they were able to continue displaying other upgrade space.
Unfortunately over the past few days it looks like Delta has requested that ExpertFlyer stop displaying all upgrade space, as the following message now appears on ExpertFlyer when trying to search space on Delta:
Delta has unfortunately chosen to remove their upgrade inventory from ExpertFlyer and as such it is no longer available at this time. More information about the change and how to send feedback to Delta about it can be found here. Thank you for your understanding.
ExpertFlyer Voice posted the following information on FlyerTalk:
Delta has unfortunately chosen to remove all of their upgrade inventory from ExpertFlyer and as such it is no longer available at this time. This is after previously being authorized by and told by Delta that upgrade inventory would continue to be made available. As such all Flight Alerts for the affected upgrade classes will be set to Expired later today as to not count against your active alert limit. We will then email ExpertFlyer subscribers that currently have active DL upgrade alerts to notify them of this change.
To be clear, not only was the data legitimately purchased via our GDS data contracts, but executives at Delta were aware that ExpertFlyer was showing DL upgrade inventory and we were allowed to continue doing so until a recent policy change.
We agree with the sentiments of our customers that ultimately this does more harm than good to their best customers and suggest that you contact Delta and express to them how you feel about the ability to see, evaluate and use these various upgrade inventories and the value it adds to your elite status with Delta. Please use the following link to email them.
As always, thank you for your continued support.
-The ExpertFlyer.com Team
Based on that explanation it’s not entirely clear to me whether they were legitimately authorized to display that space (like, that they had a contract in place), or if they just knew that Delta knew what they were doing, and Delta didn’t say anything about it at the time.
When you really break it down, you’ve gotta love these loyalty programs that we get emotionally attached to. ExpertFlyer ultimately makes the lives of their most frequent flyers easier, and that’s not something Delta wants. And that’s not exclusive to Delta, sadly it’s the case with most loyalty programs nowadays, with a few notable exceptions…
Sadly loyalty isn’t really a two way street. Then again, I think that’s why most of us have polygamous relationships with loyalty programs nowadays… or perhaps nowadays they’re just better referred to as friends with benefits?