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Problems: Delta has too many high-status frequent flyers

Problems: Delta has too many high-status frequent flyers

The airline has too many status members – this leads to crowded lounges and long queues. That’s why Delta modified its mileage program — and had to back down after the protest.

In fact, this is a good thing: after the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, travelers wanted and want to make up for lost experiences and are spending a lot of money on flights. They also treat themselves and book the senior classes especially often.

But this can also have negative consequences, as Delta Air Lines has shown. “Frankly, we have reached a point where the demand for our premium products and services has become so great that it far exceeds our ability to serve them effectively,” CEO Ed Bastian said, according to CNBC Weekly at an event.

The number of members with higher status has doubled

The airline has doubled the number of members in its top-rated frequent flyer program since Covid-19. This sometimes makes the travel experience suffer. At airports, lounges sometimes have long lines or are crowded when you enter.

So Delta announced in September that it would review its mileage program. Among other things, they make it more difficult for American Express credit card holders to access lounges and status. In addition, starting in 2024, the way frequent flyers can obtain status will also change.

Higher expectations

In the future, there will only be one standard — medal-eligible dollars — and the requirements will be higher than they are today. Customers didn’t like it at all. They expressed their anger on social media. Competition has also jumped on the bandwagon.

For example, Jetblue tried to capitalize on the outrage by offering to take over Delta’s frequent flyer status so they wouldn’t have to start from scratch if they changed. “We’ve made it easier for you to join a new loyalty program,” is the tagline.

“Maybe we went too far”

That’s why Delta is back at rowing now. Bastian explained that the changes were announced so that all state clients could be served as they deserve. “But there’s no doubt about it, we may have gone too far.”

They wanted to “rip the band-aid off and not keep making changes, saving, etc. every year”, but this may be the wrong tactic. So there will be corrections. “You’ll hear about that in the next few weeks,” Bastian says.