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Delta announced last week on FlyerTalk that it is implementing a new SkyMiles award ticket policy. If you don’t cancel your award ticket before the departure of the first flight, you will forfeit the miles altogether. That’s similar to the rule for non-refundable paid tickets — if you don’t cancel those before the departure time, you won’t be eligible fo residual credit.
This probably doesn’t impact the rank and file frequent flyer too much as there’s already a $150 penalty for any changes or cancellations — so you’re already very likely to take the flight you’ve booked. But it does impact the elite Platinum and Diamond Medallion members. For them, there are no fees for changes and cancellations of reward tickets. So, they have an incentive to be lazy — book a ticket as a placeholder, and then forget about it. Well, that forgetfulness added up to 400,000 seats going out empty last year according to Delta. Now, the threat of losing the miles altogether should keep them organized.
This is a more draconian rule than other airlines, but it does make some sense. If you don’t plan to use the free ticket, have the courtesy to cancel it before departure so others can use the seat. Just don’t say you weren’t warned…
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