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Delta Widens SkyMiles Options Following Uproar Over Rewards Reductions

Delta CEO admits benefit cuts went too far

Delta CEO admits airline went too far in reducing benefits for frequent flyers


Delta announced it had expanded its SkyMiles membership options Wednesday after an uproar from customers about cuts made to the rewards program in September. 

The Atlanta-based airline corporate offices faced both backlash on social media and customer outreach after limits were placed on the number of times members could access the “Delta Sky Club” and reach Medallion status in an effort to reduce crowds.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian said the company “probably went too far” in benefit reductions, and he promised modifications. 

As part of the cuts, passengers flying in basic economy class were no longer going to be allowed into Delta’s Sky Club lounges beginning in Jan. 2024, regardless of whether or not they had a platinum card or any other premium credit card. It also became more difficult for customers to use their miles to book travel. 

An email sent to SkyMiles customers from Bastian said he understood the disappointment “many of you felt by the significance of the changes,” but that the company has faced challenges in its delivery of “premium service experiences.”

Airlines have made it increasingly difficult for customers to redeem miles after the global pandemic ended and interest in travel increased significantly. But Delta customers pushed back, and some frequent flyers threatened to take their business elsewhere.

Based on the feedback received from customers, Delta announced on its website that it would be adding new benefits for SkyMiles members, which they could begin earning in 2024 and redeem in 2025. Changes include easier access to medallion status, greater flexibility with lounge access, and increased rewards for long-term loyalty. 

Highlights include:

  • Reduction of the number of Medallion Qualification Dollars (MDQ) to reach Diamond, Platinum, Gold and Silver Status.
  • SkyClub lounge visits include all entries within a 24-hour period after the first visit.
  • Additional flexibility to purchase daily SkyClub lounge access and an annual individual membership.
  • More options to rollover balances.
  • Enhanced rewards and choices for membership.

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