Delta Air Lines’ SkyMiles frequent flyer program will change in 2015 to reward redeemable mileage to members based on ticket price rather than distance traveled.
The initiative is aimed primarily at rewarding business passengers, but it could also provide an incentive for leisure passengers to pay for more expensive seats. Delta is the first major international US legacy airline to announce such a shift to its loyalty program.
“The updated mileage-earning plan, for travel beginning Jan. 1, 2015, will better recognize frequent business travelers and those less frequent leisure customers who purchase premium fares,” Delta said in a statement. “The move is consistent with a trend in the travel industry of rewarding customer behavior based on price.”
Explaining how the new program will work, Delta said, “Customers will be able to earn between five and 11 miles per dollar spent based on their SkyMiles status, and continue to earn up to an additional two miles per dollar when using their Delta SkyMiles credit card, for a total of up to 13 miles per dollar.”
For travel ticketed on airlines with which Delta has partnerships, such as SkyTeam Alliance carriers, SkyMiles members will earn “a percentage of miles flown as determined by the fare class purchased,” according to Delta.
Delta VP-SkyMiles Jeff Robertson said, “The travel industry, including nearly all hotel and credit card programs, has already moved to a spend-based model.”
The airline said it “is providing 10 months advance notice of the upcoming program changes so that customers have ample time to make travel plans.”