Effective September 1, 2012, Delta Air Lines will reduce the mileage earning rates on unpublished airfares, which “are normally purchased through a specialized agent, third party or to a group.”
Here is the chart of the new reduced mileage earning rates on what are known as unpublished airfares:
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 Rather, affected unpublished airfares given as an example include student fares, consolidator fares, flights included as part of a cruise package, discounted tour packages and group fares.
Regardless, some FlyerTalk members are still confused over what exactly is considered an unpublished airfare, as well as confusion over the statement that “Special /unpublished Fares purchased in the Asia Pacific Region are excluded and will continue to earn full mileage based on SkyMiles program rules.” Does this apply to unpublished airfares for flights in the Asia Pacific Region purchased from anywhere in the world, or to unpublished airfares physically purchased from within the Asia Pacific Region for flights anywhere in the world?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?