Delta

Today Only: 6 Bonus Delta SkyMiles Per Dollar Spent At Apple

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Online shopping portals can be a great way to pick up additional miles & points for purchases you’d make anyway. Just for following a specific link you can earn bonus points in addition to the ones you’d earn anyway for credit card spend.

It’s not uncommon to see huge mileage bonuses on high margin businesses that are hoping to gain market share (like flower shops, online dating sites, etc.). 😉 However, it’s rare to see increased mileage bonuses from retailers like Apple.

Via Frequent Miler, today only (April 18, 2017), the Delta SkyMiles shopping portal is offering six bonus miles per dollar spent with Apple.

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Are A Lot More NFL Teams About To Lose Their Charter Flights?

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Yesterday I posted about how American would no longer be providing charter service to six NFL teams for the 2017 season. Those teams included the Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, and Pittsburgh Steelers.

American cited a lack of resources for the reason why they can no longer offer this service. To me, that just means they think they can make more money with their regularly scheduled service than they can providing charters. In fact, I sort of expect that they simply raised the price for next year and only three teams were willing to pay it.

I didn’t really view this as too big of a deal since other airlines offer charter services to the sports teams as well and would probably be interested in picking up these contracts. But it turns out that a whole lot more teams might soon be affected.

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Delta’s Latest SkyMiles Devaluation Gets Even Worse

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A bit over a week ago, while they were in the middle of one of their biggest operational meltdowns in recent history, Delta devalued the SkyMiles program once again. Delta doesn’t publish any award charts as of a couple of years ago (“it’s the same as revenue tickets, the price you see is the price you get”), so we never really know when a devaluation is coming. That’s because we find out the hard way, when award costs are suddenly higher than they were before… and Delta hopes no one will notice.

Delta has devalued awards to specific regions a countless number of times in the past, but a bit over a week ago they took it to the next level. Delta raised the costs for virtually all award tickets on partner airlines, at least for travel originating in the US. However, the way they priced award itineraries was a bit odd:

— If you traveled exclusively on partner airlines, award costs increased
— If you traveled exclusively on Delta, or on a combination of Delta and partner airlines, award costs remained the same

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Wow: Delta Significantly Raises Voluntary Denied Boarding Compensation Limits

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I think it’s fair to say that United has a bit of regret for the policies they had in place that led to Sunday’s “dragging.” While we can argue all day about how the blame should be split between the airline and airport security, there’s one thing I think most people agree on, including United’s CEO.

Frontline employees should be given more discretion to apply common sense to situations, including oversold flights. United looked for volunteers to give up their seats on the flight from Chicago to Louisville, and presumably if they raised the offer someone would have eventually accepted it. Instead they involuntarily dragged someone off the plane.

United said they’d look at their policies and update them to make sure something like this never happens again. Well, rather impressively, United isn’t the only airline updating their policies following this incident.

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How Delta Is Compensating Those Impacted By Their Operational Meltdown

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Delta had quite a meltdown last week, following a big storm that hit their Atlanta hub. While there’s nothing they can do about weather, the degree to which it impacted their operations left a lot of people wondering just how operationally reliably they are. They had around 4,000 canceled flights, and their CEO admitted that they let their customers down, and that they’re taking steps to prevent similar issues in the future.

Let’s keep in mind that Delta trademarked the term “on-time machine,” and they think they’re so good operationally that they don’t even have an industry standard interline agreement with other major carriers, which allows them to rebook passengers on competing airlines.

Delta got a big gift this past Sunday, in the form of the United incident involving Dr. Dao, as it took all of the attention off their operational problems.

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Delta Just MASSIVELY Increased Award Costs On Partner Airlines

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With most loyalty programs it’s quite easy to tell definitively if a devaluation happened. With Delta SkyMiles, you can never be sure whether something is a glitch or devaluation. That’s because Delta SkyMiles eliminated award charts in 2015, and now award tickets work the same way as revenue tickets — the price you see online is the price you get.

The problem is that this doesn’t account for how glitchy Delta’s website is, and how it incorrectly prices awards, even by Delta’s logic. However, you can’t reason with agents on the phone when the pricing is wrong, since the price is the price, and there’s nothing else they can reference.

Since Delta eliminated award charts we’ve seen them increase award prices several times, and of course the only way you’d know is if you’re tracking the prices. Just to give a couple of recent examples, they raised the cost of one-way business class awards as follows:

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Delta Is Adding Elite Companion Upgrades On More Types Of Tickets

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As much as Delta SkyMiles very much leads the race to the bottom for the “big three” US frequent flyer programs, they’re also the program that proactively makes the most positive changes. That’s to say that once in a while American or United will make a positive change as a result of what Delta has done, but Delta has made some positive improvements long before their competitors.

Delta has just announced the latest SkyMiles improvement, which impacts companion upgrades for SkyMiles elite members.

As of today (April 6, 2017), companions of Medallion members are eligible for complimentary upgrades on just about all kinds of tickets, including award tickets, Miles + Cash tickets, Pay with Miles tickets, SkyMiles Companion Certificate tickets, etc. Previously there were restrictions on what kind of tickets were eligible for companion upgrades.

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Delta Promo: 1,000 Bonus Miles For Each New Partner Activity

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Delta has a fun promotion offering 1,000 bonus miles for each new SkyMiles partner you earn miles with between March 24 and June 30, 2017. Those dates are based on the reported activity date by the partner.

By “new partner” they don’t actually mean that you’ve never used that partner before, but rather that you didn’t have any activity with that specific partner between March 24, 2016, and March 23, 2017.

Registration is required, and all SkyMiles members outside the APAC region should be eligible for the offer. It can take up to 60 days from the transaction for eligible bonus miles to post.

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You Can Now Redeem Delta SkyMiles On WestJet

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For a few years now, Delta and WestJet have had a partnership, allowing you to earn Delta SkyMiles for travel on WestJet.

WestJet is a “Group 4” SkyMiles partner, which means that you can’t earn Medallion Qualifying Miles or Medallion Qualifying Dollars for travel on WestJet, though you can earn redeemable miles, which is better than nothing.

Well, Delta and WestJet have expanded their partnership, as it’s now possible to redeem Delta SkyMiles for travel on WestJet. Per the SkyMiles News & Updates page:

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Delta & Korean Air Announce Transpacific Joint Venture

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A bit over a month ago, Korean Air’s president hinted that a joint venture would be coming shortly between Delta and Korean Air. Well, that has now been confirmed.

Delta and Korean have signed a memorandum of understanding to implement a transpacific joint venture agreement. Here’s what the highlights of the agreement are, according to the airlines:

— The intent to create a fully integrated trans-Pacific joint venture arrangement, with both airlines sharing the costs and revenues on flights and coordinating schedules for seamless, convenient connections.
— A combined network, serving more than 290 destinations in the Americas and more than 80 in Asia, providing customers of both airlines with more travel choices than ever before.
— Enhanced frequent flyer benefits, providing customers of both airlines the ability to earn and redeem miles on Delta’s Sky Miles and Korean Air’s SKYPASS programs.

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Delta Is Cutting Complimentary Elite Upgrades On 2 Transcon Routes

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Delta has just announced that they’re cutting complimentary Medallion upgrades on their routes from Washington to Los Angeles and Boston to San Francisco. Actually, they didn’t announce that directly, but it can be inferred when reading between the lines. Delta will be launching two additional transcon routes over the coming months:

— Starting April 24, 2017, Delta will launch nonstop flights between Washington National and Los Angeles
— Starting June 8, 2017, Delta will launch nonstop flights between Boston and San Francisco

We already knew that these routes were coming, and that they’ll be operated by internationally configured 757 aircraft. These flights will feature fully flat seats up front, which we’ve also known.

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Why I Have ZERO Sympathy For U.S. Airlines Whining About Gulf Carriers

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For over two years now, the “big three” U.S. carriers have been trying to stop the “big three” Gulf carriers. The basis of their claim is that Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar, have been violating the Open Skies agreement because they’re government subsidized, and therefore the playing field isn’t level.

They argue that it’s not fair that a reciprocal agreement causes them to have to compete head-to-head with airlines that are really big government vehicles.

I haven’t been very sympathetic towards the arguments the U.S. carriers make. Many people have assumed that it’s because I love the glitz and glam of the Gulf carriers, and don’t think of the impact it has on U.S. jobs, etc. That’s not the case. My main issue is that the U.S. carriers are making their case so poorly, to the point that it really feels to me like they’re targeting and bullying three airlines.

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Delta Increases Their Same Day Flight Change & Standby Fees By 50%

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Delta has quietly increased their fees for same day flight changes and standby. As of March 15, 2017, Delta has increased the fee for both same day flight changes and standby from $50 to $75. This new fee structure applies for tickets issued as of that date — previously booked tickets still qualify for the old fees.

As before, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Medallion members are exempt from same day flight change and standby fees. However, keep in mind that basic economy fares aren’t eligible for same day flight changes or standby, regardless of status.

Obviously this is a negative change, as Delta is increasing these fees by 50% overnight. At the same time, Delta is simply catching up with both American and United here. Both American and United charge $75 for same day flight changes and standby, and Delta’s same day change policy is certainly more generous than American’s.

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Is There No Limit To How Expensive Basic Economy Fares Get?

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American, Delta, and United all sell basic economy fares. Delta pioneered this concept back in 2012, and in the past couple of months American and United have started selling these fares as well. The restrictions associated with these fares vary by airline. They all don’t let you select seats and upgrade on these fares, while American and United don’t even let you bring on carry-on bags when purchasing these fares.

Airlines have justified basic economy fares in two ways:

— It allows them to compete with low cost carriers, who charge for all kinds of extras
— It offers passengers a lower fare option

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