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EVP @ Delta called me personally regarding my letter about high Skymiles redemption.

EVP @ Delta called me personally regarding my letter about high Skymiles redemption.

Old Apr 4, 11, 4:00 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Programs: D E L T A Diamond, Starwood Platinum
Posts: 197
EVP @ Delta called me personally regarding my letter about high Skymiles redemption.

I posted earlier a letter I sent to Delta regarding the extreme frustration I had in booking a BE seat from ATL-BKK. It was 305,000 Skymiles to fly BE and I found it (and ended up booking on CX using AA miles) for 157,500 which included multiple other stops in Asia. In fact, the cheapest Delta award ticket in Economy was more than Cathay's First Class Suite.

My detailed letter (which I'll post the text of again at the end of this email) went unanswered by the leadership team. When I was contacted by the editor of the WSJ for a follow up story to the extremely high redemption levels required I decided to send my note again to Delta. Within 6 hours I had an email and a personal phone call from Tim Mapes. I must say after speaking to Mr. Mapes I am confident that the insanely high mileage redemption levels are being closely looked at and he acknowledged room for improvement.

As we have heard before, he stated there are less than 40,000 Diamond members world wide. He also said that United's new campaign to make it easier to use miles is putting pressure on Delta to do the same. He also mentioned that Delta is considering one way award redemption and are doing a top/down analysis of the entire Skymiles program. Tim Mapes also said the leadership team frequently monitors this board.

What started off being a very frustrating experience by not being able to use my miles for a fair amount at redemption and receiving no response was quickly turned around by what I felt was a genuine, candid phone call from someone on the executive team. I concur that the fact that the WSJ contacted me for their follow up story probably helped getting a response.

In a nutshell, I feel like they know there is a problem and they are working to fix it.

^^^ORIGINAL TEXT OF LETTER TO DELTA^^^
Jeff,

I want to start this email off by saying that I am probably the
biggest non- employee cheerleader of Delta Air Lines. .As a Diamond
and a Million Miler I literally travel all the time. .I still get that
feeling of excitement every time I board a plane. .The new, edgier
Delta is awesome. .The smell of all of the new leather, the hip
boarding music, the wifi, the live tv, the lie-flat seats, the new
attitude, .and the red dresses make me want to stay in the air! .Iím
appreciative of all of the amenities my loyalty provides me;
especially the 100% upgrade I received in 2010.

I read www.flyertalk.com as I know you do. .Iíve seen plenty of rants
about people not being able to cash in their miles or it is always for
a crazy amount. .I never paid it much attention because I usually buy
tickets as I continue to accumulate over 800,000 Skymiles. .The few
times I want to cash in an award ticket to visit the family in DFW,
Iíve never had a problem getting a 25,000 reward.

However, I was so frustrated, and in disbelief when I looked at
booking a ticket to BKK that I felt obligated to write. .The email
below (as well as attachments) is a very extensive trip that I used
only 157,500 miles for redeeming Aadvantage points. .The trip below
goes on to BKK, CMB and includes a night in HKG as well and is still
half of the 305,000 miles that Delta wanted for me to travel this trip
which would have only taken me to BKK on Delta Air Lines. As you will
see, this itinerary has significantly more .segments and .destinations
involved and is half the miles. ..As you know, Cathay has a First
Suite and this trip is booked in First on the ultra-long hauls. .I
thought that maybe I just lucked out with AA and Cathay so I decided
to check availability. .To my surprise, this 157,500 award ticket was
available EVERY DAY between October 1 and December 18th when I told
the agent to stop checking. .I decided to check .delta.com award
calendar and there was no low mileage in October or November on the
outbound or November and December on the return. .Not one single seat!

I know there is a top secret formula for all of this but I truly feel
that this is outrageous. .In fact, your cheapest ECONOMY award seat
only to BKK, is more than a First Class award ticket in First on
AA/CX.

Does Delta not release more award seats on Asia routes to Diamonds as
they do to other areas? .FYI, I was only looking for one seat, not
trying to take a family of 9 on a trip as the usual flyertalkíers
complain of.

My loyalty to Delta is probably a little too much. .I pay more to fly
Delta when there are cheaper options. I defend Delta in the boarding
gate when the causal traveler starts bantering about issues out of
Deltaís control. ..I would have loved to used some of my Skymiles for
the trip below but some formula that Delta sees to Asia that everyone
else is missing prevented that from happening. .However, I see no real
value in continuing my 100% loyalty and accumulation of Skymiles if
your mileage program is going to take me to the cleaners when I try to
use them outside of domestic travel. .Especially considering the
competition has a superior product at half the miles.

On a positive note, I appreciate the money and resources you are
putting back into Delta. .Whomever pushed for the new Skyclubs should
be thanked. .They old ones were old, dated, and definitely needed an
update. .The snack baskets, the upgrade to meals, both domestically
and internationally has been awesome. .The recognition of my status
and using my last name in the First cabins is nice. .There is a
general appreciation throughout the system to give Diamonds the best
service available and for that I am grateful.

I look forward to a response in helping understand this.
muntz73 is offline  
Old Apr 4, 11, 4:07 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Programs: Delta, UA
Posts: 127
I've felt like emailing the same thing many times, but never have for thought that it would fall on deaf ears. It's encouraging that you got a response like that.
kylesuo is offline  
Old Apr 4, 11, 4:08 pm
  #3  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
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Originally Posted by muntz73 View Post
I posted earlier a letter I sent to Delta regarding the extreme frustration I had in booking a BE seat from ATL-BKK. It was 305,000 Skymiles to fly BE and I found it (and ended up booking on CX using AA miles) for 157,500 which included multiple other stops in Asia. In fact, the cheapest Delta award ticket in Economy was more than Cathay's First Class Suite.

My detailed letter (which I'll post the text of again at the end of this email) went unanswered by the leadership team. When I was contacted by the editor of the WSJ for a follow up story to the extremely high redemption levels required I decided to send my note again to Delta. Within 6 hours I had an email and a personal phone call from Tim Mapes. I must say after speaking to Mr. Mapes I am confident that the insanely high mileage redemption levels are being closely looked at and he acknowledged room for improvement.

As we have heard before, he stated there are less than 40,000 Diamond members world wide. He also said that United's new campaign to make it easier to use miles is putting pressure on Delta to do the same. He also mentioned that Delta is considering one way award redemption and are doing a top/down analysis of the entire Skymiles program. Tim Mapes also said the leadership team frequently monitors this board.

What started off being a very frustrating experience by not being able to use my miles for a fair amount at redemption and receiving no response was quickly turned around by what I felt was a genuine, candid phone call from someone on the executive team. I concur that the fact that the WSJ contacted me for their follow up story probably helped getting a response.

In a nutshell, I feel like they know there is a problem and they are working to fix it.

^^^ORIGINAL TEXT OF LETTER TO DELTA^^^
Jeff,

I want to start this email off by saying that I am probably the
biggest non- employee cheerleader of Delta Air Lines. .As a Diamond
and a Million Miler I literally travel all the time. .I still get that
feeling of excitement every time I board a plane. .The new, edgier
Delta is awesome. .The smell of all of the new leather, the hip
boarding music, the wifi, the live tv, the lie-flat seats, the new
attitude, .and the red dresses make me want to stay in the air! .I’m
appreciative of all of the amenities my loyalty provides me;
especially the 100% upgrade I received in 2010.

I read www.flyertalk.com as I know you do. .I’ve seen plenty of rants
about people not being able to cash in their miles or it is always for
a crazy amount. .I never paid it much attention because I usually buy
tickets as I continue to accumulate over 800,000 Skymiles. .The few
times I want to cash in an award ticket to visit the family in DFW,
I’ve never had a problem getting a 25,000 reward.

However, I was so frustrated, and in disbelief when I looked at
booking a ticket to BKK that I felt obligated to write. .The email
below (as well as attachments) is a very extensive trip that I used
only 157,500 miles for redeeming Aadvantage points. .The trip below
goes on to BKK, CMB and includes a night in HKG as well and is still
half of the 305,000 miles that Delta wanted for me to travel this trip
which would have only taken me to BKK on Delta Air Lines. As you will
see, this itinerary has significantly more .segments and .destinations
involved and is half the miles. ..As you know, Cathay has a First
Suite and this trip is booked in First on the ultra-long hauls. .I
thought that maybe I just lucked out with AA and Cathay so I decided
to check availability. .To my surprise, this 157,500 award ticket was
available EVERY DAY between October 1 and December 18th when I told
the agent to stop checking. .I decided to check .delta.com award
calendar and there was no low mileage in October or November on the
outbound or November and December on the return. .Not one single seat!

I know there is a top secret formula for all of this but I truly feel
that this is outrageous. .In fact, your cheapest ECONOMY award seat
only to BKK, is more than a First Class award ticket in First on
AA/CX.

Does Delta not release more award seats on Asia routes to Diamonds as
they do to other areas? .FYI, I was only looking for one seat, not
trying to take a family of 9 on a trip as the usual flyertalk’ers
complain of.

My loyalty to Delta is probably a little too much. .I pay more to fly
Delta when there are cheaper options. I defend Delta in the boarding
gate when the causal traveler starts bantering about issues out of
Delta’s control. ..I would have loved to used some of my Skymiles for
the trip below but some formula that Delta sees to Asia that everyone
else is missing prevented that from happening. .However, I see no real
value in continuing my 100% loyalty and accumulation of Skymiles if
your mileage program is going to take me to the cleaners when I try to
use them outside of domestic travel. .Especially considering the
competition has a superior product at half the miles.

On a positive note, I appreciate the money and resources you are
putting back into Delta. .Whomever pushed for the new Skyclubs should
be thanked. .They old ones were old, dated, and definitely needed an
update. .The snack baskets, the upgrade to meals, both domestically
and internationally has been awesome. .The recognition of my status
and using my last name in the First cabins is nice. .There is a
general appreciation throughout the system to give Diamonds the best
service available and for that I am grateful.

I look forward to a response in helping understand this.
Any bets on whether Tim Mapes responded to you because he was made aware that the WSJ was interested in the matter too? Bad press about how DL Diamonds earning miles from flights for flights are also targets for DL fleecing won't help DL with the the far more numerous Platinums, Golds, Silvers or others too. So it's not a surprise that a response would come in some situation like this.

So did Mapes fix the problem for you? That would be a positive surprise.
GUWonder is offline  
Old Apr 4, 11, 4:14 pm
  #4  
 
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Posts: 7,303
Good job. ^^^^^

How did your story come to the attention of the WSJ?

David
DiverDave is offline  
Old Apr 4, 11, 4:14 pm
  #5  
uxb
 
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Originally Posted by muntz73 View Post
I posted earlier a letter I sent to Delta regarding the extreme frustration I had in booking a BE seat from ATL-BKK. It was 305,000 Skymiles to fly BE and I found it (and ended up booking on CX using AA miles) for 157,500 which included multiple other stops in Asia. In fact, the cheapest Delta award ticket in Economy was more than Cathay's First Class Suite.

My detailed letter (which I'll post the text of again at the end of this email) went unanswered by the leadership team. When I was contacted by the editor of the WSJ for a follow up story to the extremely high redemption levels required I decided to send my note again to Delta. Within 6 hours I had an email and a personal phone call from Tim Mapes. I must say after speaking to Mr. Mapes I am confident that the insanely high mileage redemption levels are being closely looked at and he acknowledged room for improvement.

As we have heard before, he stated there are less than 40,000 Diamond members world wide. He also said that United's new campaign to make it easier to use miles is putting pressure on Delta to do the same. He also mentioned that Delta is considering one way award redemption and are doing a top/down analysis of the entire Skymiles program. Tim Mapes also said the leadership team frequently monitors this board.

What started off being a very frustrating experience by not being able to use my miles for a fair amount at redemption and receiving no response was quickly turned around by what I felt was a genuine, candid phone call from someone on the executive team. I concur that the fact that the WSJ contacted me for their follow up story probably helped getting a response.

In a nutshell, I feel like they know there is a problem and they are working to fix it.
+5

I used to be a Gold Medallion member, but found it frustrating to use any of my SkyPesos on DL or SkyTeam, so I decided to stop flying them last year. I applaud you for your efforts, but I remain sceptical that it will lead to any substantive change.
uxb is offline  
Old Apr 4, 11, 4:16 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Chicago
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Posts: 1,912
Its great to see that Mapes contacted you. It is indeed beyond outrageous that Delta doesnt have a single low level BE award to Asia (BKK) for MONTHS on end on Delta metal. Even the most flexible person cannot redeem in that case!

What is the WSJ article you mentioned? Has it been published?
Winkdaddy is offline  
Old Apr 4, 11, 4:18 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: SLC
Programs: DL DM-1MM
Posts: 309
This also illustrates how a thoughtful inquiry to Delta (versus the holier than thou stories we see on here all the time) can acquire better results. Now obviously Delta isn't turning around and giving you a free ticket to Asia, but it was a nice response.

"You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar"
phatpaw is offline  
Old Apr 4, 11, 4:20 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
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Posts: 6,398
I think that is a very nice touch - DL contacting you directly to talk to you seriously about this. I applaud this effort. ^

However...

Originally Posted by muntz73 View Post
I must say after speaking to Mr. Mapes I am confident that the insanely high mileage redemption levels are being closely looked at and he acknowledged room for improvement.
[...] He also said that United's new campaign to make it easier to use miles is putting pressure on Delta to do the same. He also mentioned that Delta is considering one way award redemption and are doing a top/down analysis of the entire Skymiles program. Tim Mapes also said the leadership team frequently monitors this board.
...we've heard ALL of this before. It's been what... almost 2 years? They have been saying that they acknowledge the SM redemption issues and that something would be done. Initially they were focusing on the merger. When that excuse got old they started saying that there would be improvements "soon". Just a few days ago a poster was quoted 720K miles for a trip to EU, in Y. Where are all the improvements?

The "we know, we're working on it" is getting old. The excuse been applied to:
- SkyMiles redemption aberrations
- lack of PTVs in Y on long haul aircraft
- poor integration with JV partners KL and AF
- broken/stupid revenue reservation system

They continue to roll out one revenue-generating program after another (up-sells to F, P fares, premium economy, selling PE seats on AF) and they don't bother to do anything customer-friendly. I understand that revenue is a priority, but either (a) just for the heck of it, do something nice for the customers once in a while, or (b) stop lying and admit that you will NEVER address anything that does not bring about instant cash.

I am trying really hard to like DL and to stick with DL and KL. (The only reason I avoid AF is CDG.) I have slowly moved away from FF programs and have been booking increasingly based on price/convenience.
florin is offline  
Old Apr 4, 11, 4:25 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Originally Posted by dd992emo View Post
MEM-LAX on April 3. Short blonde lady who I heard tell someone is LA based. Didn't get her name, but she was like the Tasmanian Devil in F. No glass was unfilled, no trash left lying, meals out quickly, pleasant demeanor...she was great! Gave her a Job Well Done cert as I left and she seemed genuinely appreciative. Hope I get another of her flights soon. ^
How is that related to this thread?
Winkdaddy is offline  
Old Apr 4, 11, 4:27 pm
  #10  
 
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
Any bets on whether Tim Mapes responded to you because he was made aware that the WSJ was interested in the matter too? Bad press about how DL Diamonds earning miles from flights for flights are also targets for DL fleecing won't help DL with the the far more numerous Platinums, Golds, Silvers or others too. So it's not a surprise that a response would come in some situation like this.

So did Mapes fix the problem for you? That would be a positive surprise.
To be fair, though, Tim and Jeff Robertson (VP Loyalty) have said this before. Both at the 2010 DO last year, and online:
http://boardingarea.com/blogs/viewfr...han-its-peers/

And yet, nothing seems to have changed.

I understand things move slowly at large organizations but this is something over which they have a lot of control. And, without issuing specifics, it's easy to say "We're working on it" (Award Calendar anyone?) and sweep it under the rug. I appreciate Tim's call, but it smells like damage control, not an actual fix.
BobRoss is offline  
Old Apr 4, 11, 4:32 pm
  #11  
 
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Originally Posted by muntz73 View Post
He also said that United's new campaign to make it easier to use miles is putting pressure on Delta to do the same. He also mentioned that Delta is considering one way award redemption and are doing a top/down analysis of the entire Skymiles program. Tim Mapes also said the leadership team frequently monitors this board.
It would be nice to believe this is true.

I zip to 50K (GM) in Q1 on DL and then coast because there really is absolutely no incentive to advance further at DL/SkyMiles.

I do not like being away from my family and earning miles to enjoy a vacation, or have a daughter come with me on a business journey is paramount to me. But, often it takes double the miles to redeem an award on DL as it would on CO/UA.

Bottom line, this is why after I hit Gold at Delta, I dedicate 90%+ of the balance of my flying to UA/CO. I cruise well past PP/1K, never have redemption issues international or domestic; and, earn SWU's that I can actually use.

In terms of value versus peer programs, SkyMiles is by far the worst, as you can share vs. AA and I can relate vs. CO/UA.
idriveuride is offline  
Old Apr 4, 11, 4:38 pm
  #12  
 
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This is basically my only complaint w Delta. My wife literally spends hours looking for award tickets at a reasonable cost. Lately we have just been buying upgradeable fares and spending SWUs. That is OK while I am working full times and more miles are earned. I do hope to someday use the many miles I have. Now I have used MANY, but not a lot recently.
We want to make a trip to South Africa or Australia but the BE tickets range from 250000 each and up. At that amount I won't have too many trips for retirement.
I have discussed this directly with high Delta personnel more than once. We shall see what happens.
oldtirednbusy is offline  
Old Apr 4, 11, 4:39 pm
  #13  
 
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I agree. I will believe that Delta is serious about addressing this glaring flaw in the program when I see concrete moves.

Actions speak louder than words.

Meanwhile, I am getting a UA status match.
Buster CT1K is online now  
Old Apr 4, 11, 4:42 pm
  #14  
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Calling Mooper...
avidflyer is offline  
Old Apr 4, 11, 4:44 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by DiverDave View Post
Good job. ^^^^^

How did your story come to the attention of the WSJ?

David
From an aviation blog posting.
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