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What is Delta's justification for the 75K RDM cap?

What is Delta's justification for the 75K RDM cap?

Old May 21, 19, 3:37 pm
  #1  
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What is Delta's justification for the 75K RDM cap?

I know this has been discussed aplenty here, but I can't seem to locate a specific thread dedicated to this topic with my White Belt in Google-Fu...

I estimate we've "lost" over 100K RDMs EACH (myself and Spousal Unit-1) in the last 12-18 months specifically due to this absurd, seemingly arbitrary RDM cap on flights. It certainly feels like a penalty against DMs for buying high-dollar fares. If a DM spends $11K on a J fare, why on earth are they spanked to the tune of 50K RDMs for the privilege?

I know, I know -- I have "options" and this is a "First-World problem", blah, blah, blah. But I've been generally ecstatic with DL these last 6 months (after enduring a spate of issue during the last half of 2018).

I'd just like to know the rationale behind this, and if there's a legitimate issue at play that I'm not aware of.
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Last edited by TheHorta; May 21, 19 at 3:52 pm
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Old May 21, 19, 3:52 pm
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I suspect because at the time they went revenue-based earn, everyone else was pretty much still mileage-based and it would be difficult to earn more than 75K in a trip in most other programs at the time and thus they did not see going over 75K as a significant competitive advantage. Circumference of earth = 25K miles + 25K class of service bonus + 25K elite bonus = 75K miles.
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Old May 21, 19, 3:57 pm
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Originally Posted by xliioper View Post
I suspect because at the time they went revenue-based earn, everyone else was pretty much still mileage-based and it would be difficult to earn more than 75K in a trip in most other programs at the time and thus they did not see going over 75K as a significant competitive advantage. Circumference of earth = 25K miles + 25K class of service bonus + 25K elite bonus = 75K miles.
Kinda makes sense, but it would seem like a clear slap in the face of your big-ticket buyers. We're small-fry, in that this only happens 1-2 times per year (x2, since it's usually both of us flying), since we're poor and rarely buy refundable J. Perhaps this is something more keenly felt by we basement dwellers since it doesn't happen too frequently, and probably because the real Big Cheese don't think about RDMs.

Anyway, we'd sure like those 200K RDMs rather than feel like we had to give those to DL in addition to our hard-earned Benjamins to fly up front in their pretty Sky Tubes.
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Old May 21, 19, 4:06 pm
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Yes, the real big cheese probably don't pay much attention to it (if they even collect miles at all). They probably assumed most of the cheaper fare flyers who care are on Z fares where it tends to be more difficult to hit the cap.

Last edited by xliioper; May 21, 19 at 4:42 pm
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Old May 21, 19, 4:13 pm
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Originally Posted by xliioper View Post
I suspect because at the time they went revenue-based earn, everyone else was pretty much still mileage-based and it would be difficult to earn more than 75K in a trip in most other programs at the time and thus they did not see going over 75K as a significant competitive advantage. Circumference of earth = 25K miles + 25K class of service bonus + 25K elite bonus = 75K miles.
This all predates my enlightenment out of kettle-dom, but when they went revenue-based, was the award chart still fixed? If so I'd think that had something to do with it too, i.e. maybe they didn't want you to be able to just mint an arbitrary number of free trips by buying one single expensive ticket.
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Old May 21, 19, 4:24 pm
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Originally Posted by TheHorta View Post
I know this has been discussed aplenty here, but I can't seem to locate a specific thread dedicated to this topic with my White Belt in Google-Fu...

I estimate we've "lost" over 100K RDMs EACH (myself and Spousal Unit-1)...
Are there multiple numbered spousal units?
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Old May 21, 19, 5:10 pm
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I think it's just an assumption that nobody who pays that much for a ticket actually cares about the RDMs earned.
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Old May 21, 19, 5:29 pm
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Originally Posted by TheHorta View Post
I know this has been discussed aplenty here, but I can't seem to locate a specific thread dedicated to this topic with my White Belt in Google-Fu...

I estimate we've "lost" over 100K RDMs EACH (myself and Spousal Unit-1) in the last 12-18 months specifically due to this absurd, seemingly arbitrary RDM cap on flights. It certainly feels like a penalty against DMs for buying high-dollar fares. If a DM spends $11K on a J fare, why on earth are they spanked to the tune of 50K RDMs for the privilege?

I know, I know -- I have "options" and this is a "First-World problem", blah, blah, blah. But I've been generally ecstatic with DL these last 6 months (after enduring a spate of issue during the last half of 2018).

I'd just like to know the rationale behind this, and if there's a legitimate issue at play that I'm not aware of.
Playing Devilís advocate here - did the ďlossĒ of RDMs discourage you from buying the ticket? If not, and DLís 75K cap cost you 50K miles, or $500 worth of miles, thatís essentially $500 DL isnít losing down the line via a SkyMiles redemption and thus itís the same as an additional $500 in DLís pockets. From their perspective, if itís not discouraging ticket purchases, why not find ways to increase revenue?

For an $11K J fare, would the ticket have fared out the same at two one-ways at $5500 a piece that then would have allowed you to come in under the 75K RDM cap?
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Old May 21, 19, 5:31 pm
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I also think that once fares approach the limit, they assume you arenít really being motivated by SkyMiles earning - if youíre paying usurious rates, itís probably a trip you have no choice but to take where thereís no logical alternative on a different airline, probably booked with someone elseís money to boot.
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Old May 21, 19, 5:45 pm
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Originally Posted by ATOBTTR View Post
...

For an $11K J fare, would the ticket have fared out the same at two one-ways at $5500 a piece that then would have allowed you to come in under the 75K RDM cap?
Assuming there isn't a RT-requirement for the fare and depending on destination, might there also be a 1 way-specific return-fare YQ (e.g. CSG-USAex EU) to add to it?
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Old May 21, 19, 6:07 pm
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I believe they are limiting the liabilities on their balance sheet and feel consumer behavior will not change over it.
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Old May 21, 19, 6:18 pm
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Originally Posted by Troppy View Post
consumer behavior will not change over it.
I think it's this. If you purchase tickets that expensive and have that status to get the multiple, they probably assume you're going to fly Delta anyway, and since you aren't buying these fares all the time, they probably figure the limit, applied sporadically, will not factor into your decision to move all your business to another airline.

If you're buying these tickets all the time, they probably figure it's business travel and you're either required to use Delta, or you aren't really paying attention to RDMs. I'd be pretty surprised if there are this many people who pay these fares personally and on a consistent basis, but still opt to fly commercial.

The 75k may or may not be an arbitrary number, but a limit itself is not crazy.
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Old May 21, 19, 7:54 pm
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Originally Posted by Troppy View Post
I believe they are limiting the liabilities on their balance sheet and feel consumer behavior will not change over it.
At the end yes, it's about cost. But I would be surprised if "lost" RDM miles account for more than 1% of annual miles awarded each year so from that perspective it's not going to have much of a balance sheet impact.
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Old May 21, 19, 9:27 pm
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Originally Posted by jetsfan92588 View Post
I think it's this. If you purchase tickets that expensive and have that status to get the multiple, they probably assume you're going to fly Delta anyway, and since you aren't buying these fares all the time, they probably figure the limit, applied sporadically, will not factor into your decision to move all your business to another airline.

If you're buying these tickets all the time, they probably figure it's business travel and you're either required to use Delta, or you aren't really paying attention to RDMs. I'd be pretty surprised if there are this many people who pay these fares personally and on a consistent basis, but still opt to fly commercial.

The 75k may or may not be an arbitrary number, but a limit itself is not crazy.
Bingo. I am going to fly Delta regardless of the 75k cap. While I find it annoying, there really isn't anything I can do about it, and still want to fly Delta metal.
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Old May 21, 19, 9:36 pm
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Originally Posted by ryandc99 View Post
Bingo. I am going to fly Delta regardless of the 75k cap. While I find it annoying, there really isn't anything I can do about it, and still want to fly Delta metal.
Interestingly, I have at times applied the opposite model. I have status with Delta (and fly enough that I will get status regardless).. and because of the cap, I have no incentive to fly Delta. I'd rather get the far more valuable 75K United miles on a $9000 ticket (Despite being only Gold) than the 75K SkyPesos on Delta. If the product is comparable (and often it's not.. half of Delta's J seats are 767 seats...) and I have to make a connection, I'm going to take the one that is worth ~$400 more to me. But I realize I'm probably an outlier here.
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