person with frown on face and thumbs down

Dear Delta, What Are You Doing?

The rumors were true. As a longtime (25+ years) loyal fan of Delta Air Lines and as one whom, when asked, "What do you think is the best airline in the United States?" my answer has always been Delta, I am disappointed with their recent announcements.

Over these years, I have maintained solid brand loyalty with Delta. Of course, I sometimes had to fly on other airlines based on specific reasons such as price, flight times, or routes, but I would ALWAYS check for Delta first before booking anything. I recently (last week) flew from Austin (AUS) to Los Angeles (LAX) and had a great experience and enjoyed my time in the Delta Sky Club, both in Austin and Los Angeles. Just two weeks ago, I decided I would re-earn my Medallion Status in 2024, at least until this news dropped.

What is Changing?

Delta claims if everyone is special, then no one is special. I don't think they are going to make much difference in lounge crowding or flight experience by changing the terms of the program. I think instead they will lose customers and reputation.

Lounge Access Changes

  1. Delta American Express Reserve card members will now be limited to 10 total visits per year* (effective Feb 2025)  Bad
  2. American Express Platinum card members will now be limited to 6 total lounge visits per year* Bad
  3. Delta American Express Platinum card members will no longer be allowed to pay for lounge entrance (effective Jan 2024)  Bad
  4. Basic Economy class fares will no longer be allowed access to Sky Clubs (effective Jan 2024).  Good

* unlimited Sky Club access can be restored if you spend $75,000 annually on your card (starting on January 1, 2024)

Earning Medallion Status Changes

  1. Delta will no longer use segments (MQS) or miles flown (MQM) to calculate status, instead they will only use dollars (MQD)  Bad

My Recommendations

  1. Lounge Access:
    Delta Andorid App showing lounge information.
    Limit Amex Lounge admittance based on occupancy to help control lounge overcrowding. Keep it simple: if the lounge is 75% full or there is a line in the lounge entrance, then simply deny Amex entrance into the lounge. This should also apply to paid ($50) entrance for Delta American Express Platinum card members. My thought here is, if the lounge is 25% full, why would Delta not want to maximize the space to 75% and make some money at the same time? Customers could use the Delta app (see below) to determine if the lounge was too crowded for access.
  2. Earning Medallion Status: Use Medallion Qualifying Segments (MQS) and/or Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQD) to determine status. United Airlines has a process such as this for this loyalty program. Many have said the current process is confusing, and I do agree. I recommend switch to a system that rewards you on either a total spend or total segments to keep it simple. Medallion Status is a driver for brand loyalty, and that is what Delta should be striving for.

Closing Thoughts

The renewal for my American Express Delta Reserve card expires towards the end of 2024, and I have to really think about what I want to do. I ❤️ Delta, but I need to think about how they value people like me vs. other customers. I know I am a drop in the bucket when it comes to Delta revenue, but I still think brand loyalty is something that is hard to gain and something brands should really consider before making significant changes. So, in closing, I ask Delta, What are you doing? Please don't make these changes; instead, consider a different approach. You are known to be the best, and this is not the best for your brand.

Press Release: Simplified paths to Status, more ways to earn: Delta transforms its SkyMiles loyalty program