Delta eliminates award redemption fees for frequent flyers

Delta eliminates award redemption fees for frequent flyers

Delta Air Lines is eliminating award ticket redemption fees for SkyMiles frequent flyer members. Effective immediately, members will no longer pay fees of up to $150 for award tickets redeemed within 20 days of departure. 

Before this change, the fee to book an award ticket for travel within three days was $150 per ticket; for travel within four to seven days the fee was $100; and for travel within eight to 20 days the fee was $75. Award tickets booked 21 days or more before departure continue to have no redemption fee.

“We want members to be able to redeem their miles – whether it’s for a last-minute trip or a vacation of a lifetime – and eliminating this fee for our loyal travelers makes doing so significantly easier,” said Jeff Robertson, Delta’s vice president – SkyMiles.  “We are actively listening to customers’ concerns about the SkyMiles program and are responding.” 

Last year, frequent flyers redeemed more than 230 billion miles in the SkyMiles program for more than 11 million award redemptions.  In 2009, 8.5 percent of revenue miles flown on Delta were for award travel, among the best of U.S. network airlines according to data filed in airlines’ 10-K annual reports.  Delta offers more ways to redeem frequent flyer miles than any other airline – including airline tickets, mileage upgrades, car rentals, hotel stays, Delta Sky Club memberships, merchandise and more than 30 types of gift cards. 

Today’s announcement is the latest in a series of changes Delta is making to improve the frequent flyer experience, including:

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  * Introducing a Diamond Medallion tier in March and the industry’s first rollover Medallion Qualification Miles for 2010.
  * Launching a “first checked bag free” benefit – up to a $50 savings per person on a round-trip ticket – for customers with a Consumer or Business Gold, Platinum, or Reserve Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express which began June 1.
  * Increasing the allocation of preferred Economy seats to ensure the most frequent travelers are guaranteed the best seats on all Delta and Delta Connection flights by August 2010.
  * Allowing Delta’s most loyal customers – Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallions – flying on domestic award redemptions to be eligible for complimentary upgrades by September 2010.
  * Re-engineering the online award calendar at delta.com to make it easier to find and redeem award seats.  These changes began in May and will be completed by November 2010.


Delta also has changed award ticket redeposit and reissue fees to make them consistent with fees for non-award tickets.  These fees, which have increased from $100 to $150, will continue to be waived for SkyMiles Diamond and Platinum Medallion members.