Mileage Earning Rates Reduced on Unpublished Airfares

Effective September 1, 2012, Delta Air Lines will reduce the mileage earning rates on unpublished airfares, which “are normally purchased through a specialized agent, third party or to a group.”

Here is the chart of the new reduced mileage earning rates on what are known as unpublished airfares:

Chart courtesy of Delta Air Lines.

The mileage earning rates of tickets purchased at the official Internet web site of Delta Air Lines — as well as at Internet web sites such as orbitz.com, travelocity.com and expedia.com and corporate bookings — will not be affected. Rather, affected unpublished airfares given as an example include student fares, consolidator fares, flights included as part of a cruise package, discounted tour packages and group fares.

Regardless, some FlyerTalk members are still confused over what exactly is considered an unpublished airfare, as well as confusion over the statement that “Special /unpublished Fares purchased in the Asia Pacific Region are excluded and will continue to earn full mileage based on SkyMiles program rules.” Does this apply to unpublished airfares for flights in the Asia Pacific Region purchased from anywhere in the world, or to unpublished airfares physically purchased from within the Asia Pacific Region for flights anywhere in the world?

Frankly, this policy change will not affect me, nor should it affect most frequent fliers. If reducing the mileage earning rates on passengers who purchase ultra-cheap airfares is a way to preserve the benefits which most SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty program members enjoy, so be it. However, some FlyerTalk members solemnly predict that this is merely a segue for additional future devaluation of the Delta Air Lines SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty program. I personally do not believe that, as it contributes to the revenue of Delta Air Lines. Cut the benefits too much and the SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty program will see an exodus of loyal members as they leave the program for greener pastures, potentially rendering it less profitable.

Is this latest policy change by Delta Air Lines a smart move in an attempt to preserve the benefits of the Delta Air Lines SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty program for its loyal members, or is this a nefarious move portending negative changes and devaluations yet to come? What do you think?

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Comments (Showing 3 of 3)

  • peachfront at 1:43pm August 18, 2012

    Brian, I like the post and the way you have gathered the information here in one place. However, may I respectfully ask, in the future, that you also put in your “tweet” that the policy refers to Delta? Thanks. “DL” would add only two more characters to your tweet: “mileage earning rates reduced on unpublished airfare.” A tiny change but it would make it much more eye-catching for Skyteam flyers.

  • peachfront at 1:44pm August 18, 2012

    Oh, as for the policy itself, I guess I think it stinks. Apparently it does affect you if you book on Vayama. More about it in the thread…I book on delta.com whenever I can but if another seller is offering a much better price, what do you do?

  • BrianCohen at 5:42pm August 18, 2012

    Thank you for the tip, peachfront. I appreciate the excellent suggestion. Sometimes my attempts to keep the headline as short as possible do not always succeed.

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