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Delta SkyMiles 2015

Reach for the SkyMiles
April 23, 2014
By , Managing Editor & Contributor

Show me the money. That pretty much sums up Delta’s new SkyMiles program, which goes into effect on January 1, 2015. Passengers will earn miles by dollars spent, not distance flown. As Delta explained in their announcement earlier this year: “The 2015 SkyMiles program will introduce a shift from today's current model in which customers earn redeemable mileage based on distance traveled to one based on ticket price.” It’s a bold move: Delta will be the first U.S. global carrier to adopt this system. But, as Delta and other travel experts point out, this decision is in line with current travel industry trends of “rewarding customer behavior based on price.” In other words, expect to see this gaining traction across the travel landscape. It’s about time, say many proponents. Frequent flyer programs have long been an aberration from the revenue-based model used by most consumer and retail industries, where you’re rewarded for what you spend.

The Reward System
Under the 2015 SkyMiles rewards accrual system, members will earn 5 miles for every $1 spent on airfare. The rewards increase with every level of loyalty status, with a maximum of 11 miles per dollar as a Diamond Medallion member. All members earn an extra 2 miles per dollar if using the Delta American Express card to buy their tickets.

It’s clear who will benefit most from these changes: Delta’s bigger spenders – business travelers and those who purchase premium fares. Economy passengers, as many aviation bloggers have lamented, will likely overall earn fewer reward points under the new system. But, there is also good news: Delta is making it easier for those who earn miles to use them more freely. The airline is releasing new features like Miles + Cash – the option to purchase an Award ticket with a combination of accrued miles and cash – and One-Way Award tickets, which will start as low as 12,500 miles. The airline is also eliminating blackout dates. Now, if only they’d start throwing in free meals again.