Delta Making Major Changes to Frequent Flier Program

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Frequent fliers who collect rewards based on the miles they fly will see changes to their rewards when flying Delta. Delta Airlines announced today that it will change its frequent flier rewards program to provide rewards to passengers spending the most money on Delta flights.

Launching in 2015, Delta SkyMiles rewards will go to passengers who buy premium fares. This follows a change in the 2014 program, where passengers had to spend at least $2,500 to qualify for rewards status. This does not bode well for family travelers, who may have tighter budgets for flights and select discounted airfares, as those flights will earn less rewards. The new program will provide passengers with 5 to 11 miles earned per dollar spent, with general SkyMiles members taking the lower end of the rewards.

However, the new program will make it easier for passengers to redeem rewards, with more seat availability for the lower-priced seats, less miles needed to redeem for seats, the ability to use rewards points for one-way tickets, and the ability to pay for flights with both miles and cash combined.

While Delta is the first major carrier to change its program to a fee-based rewards program, both discount carriers JetBlue and Southwest currently reward passengers based on fare prices, rather than miles flown.

The changes will go into effect January 1, 2015.

–Lissa Poirot

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