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There is a lot of consternation in the frequent flier enthusiast community about Delta SkyMiles’ moves over the last few weeks, especially eliminating a published award chart altogether.
The moves appear almost inexplicable, and stoke a value seeking member’s worst fear – moving to a system where the number of miles required for a trip is directly related to the cash price of the trip – eliminating ‘jackpot’ awards with high value, and forcing us all to settle for 1 – 2 cent per point redemptions.
But this is not the first time a loyalty program has made moves similar to Delta’s.
And in fact it is Delta’s cross-town neighbor in Atlanta, IHG Rewards, that has set the precedent.
Here are some examples…
It’s hard to directly compare hotel and airline mile programs. The competitive dynamics are entirely different. But the history is so similar you have to think there has been some cross pollination of ideas in bars, in bedrooms, or in hiring between IHG Rewards and Delta SkyMiles.
Using IHG as a template, here’s how you might think about SkyMiles:
Yes, the Delta changes are hard to call anything but disappointing.
But IHG’s experience shows they are not without precedent, and you should be able to find decent value from your miles, even if SkyMiles never will be (or never was) a leader in value.
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