Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian has recently expressed regret over the controversial changes to the SkyMiles loyalty program in late 2019. According to a statement from Bastian, the carrier “went too far in some of the adjustments that we made to the program” and promised to modify them in “a way that better balances the powerful experiences we deliver to our best customers with the smart economics that we need to sustain our business.”
The overhaul of the program, which was 19 years in the making, was aimed at rewarding Delta’s highest spending customers through more revenue-based points, but it was met with harsh criticism from frequent flyers. It meant that the miles they had worked hard to accumulate were virtually worthless as it was extremely difficult for them to use them for award flights. Instead, lower-yield customers such as those who buy cheaper, advance purchase fares were rewarded with more miles, while high-yield fliers weren’t.
Customers vented their frustration in all areas including social media and other forums, prompting CEO Ed Bastian to take action and assure members of the SkyMiles program that the company will try to make changes that will benefit all customers. He supports working “closer with our most engaged customers to ensure that we create an experience and rewards that are worthy of their loyalty.”
Although the changes to the SkyMiles program sparked outrage among some fliers, it seems like the company is now opting to tread carefully and start listening to its customers. The decision of the CEO to retract the changes made to the program and opt for a more personalized approach is a welcome move and one that customers will laud.