Just got off the phone with Platinum agent and I was told that effective August 15 and to be announced today, Delta is yet again changing the terms of the Skymiles program.
She communicated that all award travel will need to be made at least 72 hours in advance. That includes redeposits and changes to an itinerary. This allegedly is for Platinum members as well ...not sure about Diamonds. I haven't seen this online yet. And this is different than the change made on July 27, which stated awards must be canceled prior to travel or miles would be forfeited.
Delta please tell me this agent was wrong. I am following up with an email to Jeff Robertson and Richard Anderson. My ire towards Delta was in abatement for the last year. Based on this, it's back!!!
Please feel free to update if you hear differently.
someone asked me to add this to original post for reference. also the moderator changed the headline ...the original would have probably given this more interest!
If they allowed for a reprice if low became available AND/OR if they allowed for a routing change (same Origin, Destination and Dates) as long as it is permitted within the fare rules that would be ok but this is far too sweeping.
"Whenever competition is feasible it is, for all its imperfections, superior to regulation"
What's the worst about this change is that low level seats tend to drop in those last 72 hours. It has been a huge perk for PM/DM to change for free. For example, last year I was able to change CDG-IAD//DCA-LGA to CDG-JFK the day prior to departure for no fee when the CDG-JFK low level seats dropped. Now this would be impossible. I was going to have to really push to renew PM this year and the award change fee waiver was one of the biggest perks since you could usually do great things a day or two prior to departure when seats opened up. Probably will settle for GM now.
I think that Delta will say the reason for this change is so that unused award seats don't fly empty, however, I think the real reason for this change is to lock passengers into using more miles since the low level seats tend to drop at the last minute.
I dont think it is a bad move at all though. It has always ticked me off that people buy mileage tickets they never intend on using. It takes away the space that others would love to book. I think DL should limit the number of holds people can do as well. This new policy should hopefully make lower level award seats easier to find and also allow for more SDC options since people will have to cancel ahead of time. As a PM this change won't effect me since I didn't abuse the redeposits but I'm sure many will ..... and moan about it. I'm sure DL will still redeposit awards if u have a valid reason or emergency but for those that abuse the system and screw the rest....they will now be out of luck.
Another change that I have heard is taking place is mileage upgrades. They will have the 72 hr policy as well. This policy will hurt those that have been buying K fares and upgrading with miles only to cancel without penalty and get their complimentary upgrade. Ironically though it won't impact PMs or DMs too much if the upgrade windows clear at 5 days like they do on many routes. Fortunately, SWUs won't have the same policy.
Overall, I think the changes were aimed at the PMs and DMs that have been abusing the system and holding inventory that DL could easily sell and others want. For the mass majority this will be a welcome change. For the self-centered that has been booking award tix not intending to use them and holding space, it will be tough. If people don't like the change, I guess they can go elsewhere but many airlines charge their highest elites redeposit fees on award tickets. DL is just trying to fill the empty seats they have due to the award tickets that are never cancelled or flown until right before the flight (or in many cases right after the flight). Flame me if you want but I think this is actually not a bad change at all for the skymiles program. 95% will like this change since it ****should**** open up more inventory to book low level tickets and SDC. Thankfully they still will allow PMs and DMs to redeposit for free 72hrs in advance which to me seems fair. I'm sure some bean counter did the math and I'm sure DL has lost millions due to empty seats on award tix never flown (and PMs and DMs are the biggest perpetrators since there was no penalty).