Why This Petition to Reinstate the Benefits of the SkyMiles Program Will Not Work

ell, it was bound to eventually happen: first came No Fly, No Buy United on the first Thursday of every month; and now there is a petition calling for the reinstatement of “the valued benefits of the SkyMiles program (esp. Diamond tier)” and to “communicate and behave in a trustworthy and transparent way with your most valued customers.”

Although I stated clearly in this article posted one week ago the reasons why this campaign will most likely not be effective, I am hoping that I am proven wrong.

Still, it may be worth a couple of minutes of your time to sign this petition if you believe that there will be a positive return in benefits for frequent fliers.

I personally do not like the stipulation that the petition is geared primarily for Diamond elite level status members of the SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty program, as I would prefer to see benefits reinstated for all levels of elite status…

…but the bottom line is this: unless Delta Air Lines is significantly impacted on its financial bottom line, do not expect changes which benefit frequent fliers to occur anytime soon — if at all…

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

15 thoughts on “Why This Petition to Reinstate the Benefits of the SkyMiles Program Will Not Work”

  1. Tyler says:

    Usually I agree with you almost 100% of the time, but in this situation I find no need to be so negative. Will it work? Probably not. But at least they are making their voices heard. Any action is better than nothing.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      It is not a question of being negative, Tyler. Personally, I want for the petition to work…

      …but honestly: when an entity such as Delta Air Lines is raking in billions of dollars per year — even per quarter — what incentive is there currently for management to acquiesce to a petition pertaining to a frequent flier loyalty program?

      I wholeheartedly agree that any action is better than nothing. I just do not believe it will work; but like I said, I would be very happy to be proven wrong…

      1. Tyler says:

        What is your goal of this post? To discourage people on the fence from signing the petition? That’s my point- this post really doesn’t benefit anyone, it’s hampering at least one effort. If you have a better idea and implement it I’m all for it, but bashing an idea that might at least cause some visibility causes nothing but harm no matter which way you look at it.

        1. Brian Cohen says:

          My goals are two-fold, Tyler:

          One goal is not to pin any hopes or expectations on a petition which in my opinion will not be effective. I have professed in past articles to manage expectations accordingly. People will be disappointed if they expect the petition to be effective and it turns out to fail; but on the other hand, people will be pleasantly surprised and happy if the petition is not expected to work but it turns out to be successful.

          The other goal is what is currently happening: exchanging thoughts and views. For example, AlohaDaveKennedy already posted to “Petition with your dollars, not your keyboard or pen.” I currently have no groundbreaking ideas myself; but short of an economic downturn, viable increased competition or disruptive technology — or a true coordinated effort which would threaten a significant enough amount of revenue for Delta Air Lines unless many of the changes in the SkyMiles program and policies are reversed — I just do not see the petition being effective.

          I will be more than happy to lead the effort if enough people are interested. What would be your thoughts on that?

          That does not mean that no one should sign the petition; in fact, I have stated in the article that “it may be worth a couple of minutes of your time to sign this petition if you believe that there will be a positive return in benefits for frequent fliers” — so I am certainly not attempting to discourage anyone from signing the petition. Just do not be disappointed if it does not work.

  2. Jake from MSP says:

    Add me to the list of fans that find this post uncharacteristicly and unnecessarily pessimistic.

    You can’t say you hope it works on one hand and claim it’s a waste of time in the title.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      …then why were the perceived negative — and, at times, inexplicable — changes to the SkyMiles program implemented in the first place, Jake from MSP?

      There could be an argument which suggests that some “givebacks” may be in order to have SkyMiles members happy and appreciative to receive some benefits return — benefits which should have never been lost in the first place — and that would not be the first time that has happened with SkyMiles members.

      I really hope that I am wrong; but I believe that I am being realistic rather than pessimistic solely due to the reasons I outlined last week in the linked article. Like others, I would benefit if what I wrote was indeed wrong; but as I asked Tyler, what incentive is there currently for management to acquiesce to a petition pertaining to a frequent flier loyalty program?

      I have yet to read a viable answer to that question…

  3. john says:

    You are definitely wrong Brian. The petition can be very effective as part of a larger campaign. Sign the petition, avoid buying delta tickets and buy tickets on other airlines. All are better than relying on any one action.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      …but what is the larger campaign, john? I know of none as of now. The petition is all that currently exists, as far as I know.

      I have actually thought of signing the petition myself. As I stated in the article, it could be worth the couple of minutes of time — which is all that would be lost if nothing good comes out of it…

      …and as for buying tickets on other airlines, I am currently scheduled to fly as a passenger on Etihad Airways for the first time next week — and, of course, I plan on posting reports of that trip.

      I hope I am definitely wrong; but if you read this discussion on FlyerTalk — which includes content posted by one of the organizers of the SaveSkyMiles movement twelve years ago — you will find that I am not the only person who feels this way:


  4. AlohaDaveKennedy says:

    Petition with your dollars, not your keyboard or pen. Simply put Dickey Anderson on the no fly list.

  5. Darth Chocolate says:

    This smacks of some people not liking a business decision and whining about it like a bunch of 3 year olds who are told “eat your dinner or no dessert”. The over entitled (and mostly people who abuse the system for freebies) are annoyed their little game is coming to an end.

    Has Delta made some changes that are bad for me personally? Yes. Am I disappointed? Again, yes.

    Do I complain about it? No. It is, after all, their business and they have a responsibility to run it in the best interests of the stockholders, not in the best interests of the customers. Now, don’t get me wrong, they have to keep customers, and as long as they provide superior service, they will have them. They are taking back the “loyalty” program to give only a little something back to the customers instead of giving away the store.

  6. DiamondGrant says:

    Already re qualified for diamond for the year, now I am taking my $$$ to another airline for the rest of the year unless they back peddle and change things. I know my $39k spend last year is just a drop in the bucket for them but if you get enough of those that spend 40k a year they will notice!

  7. Scott Weinberg says:

    I dislike a new SkyMiles program and I didn’t appreciate for the behavior. You can’t be change a new program. You have to eliminate medallions qualification dollars. Lots of those people who complaining about new SkyMiles program. Which is not acceptable. This is outrageous!! You have to be reinstates with any SkyMiles level. You have to bring 100% base miles for all airlines and MQM, as well. So please no more reduced the miles. They don’t like it at all. You can’t take advantage of it. You had to change it back the old way again. They didn’t upgrade me into First Class by last year. Why they didn’t do it, but I seen a empty seat in the First Class. It’s unacceptable!!! I am loyally frequently fliers program, and also, you have decide to reinstates with real 100% base miles and MQM, as well as any SkyMiles member level. You are very disrespected on those customers. You don’t have any rights to change new SkyMiles program. You had to stop changing new program. All I say enough is enough!!! Please change it back the old SkyMiles benefit. I’m tired of waiting!!! Good riddance to Delta SkyMiles program!!!!!

  8. Andy says:

    @Darth chocolate, wow…finally a voice of reason I agree with. Delta is a business that is in business to…. This may come as a shock to some people… Make money. Not in fact to fly people around for free or shower them with gifts and benefits. I love, love, love my free travel but know I’m lucky to do so, when I do. I’m on a freeloading round the world trip right now in fact, with my whole family flying first and business class and staying in incredible 5 star joints for mainly zip. I’m clearly not good for airlines or hotels, but while it lasts, I’ll milk it. If and when it ends I won’t be surprised or go mental like DeltaDork, or whatever he’s busy rebranding himself into, and his loyal followers.

    We have had it really good for a long time playing the system. If Delta wants to optimize their business by giving as little away as possible, I say that’s smart. If they want to strengthen their bottom line for the next recession or major crisis while they can, I say that’s their perogative. Do you work for others to take advantage of you? Do you give your customers or employer what they want even if you lose money?

    The entitlement and selfish greed of people is sickening. Take a free flight to somewhere in the third world and see people that have zero hope of ever touching an aircraft in their whole entire lives, and guess what…some of them are happy.

    I know this is a rant and I will be completely flamed. Go for it.

  9. RaflW says:

    Unless the petition is redone to include all 4 levels of medallions, it’s not going to do much. Even then it is unlikely to matter, though I am starting to wonder if the drop in Q4 ’14 and early Q1 ’15 that DL and UA have acknowledged (see skywriteraviation for info on that) are at least in part some medallions seeing the writing on the wall and shopping price over programs.
    I hope so. Delta needs to experience some relative loss in enplanements vs. their competitors to see that their core customers are reciprocating on the loss of loyalty initiated by DL.

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