Delta Air Lines, one of the largest air carriers in the nation, announced on Feb. 26 that it will change its loyalty program to offer members rewards based on how much money they spend on a flight ticket in lieu of how many miles they fly.  The changes are set to go into effect on January 1, 2015, and points accumulated in the Delta Skymiles prior to the effective date will not be affected.


Under the old mileage program, members who fly 2,600 miles round trip to Florida receive 2,600 points, irrespective of the price paid for the ticket. With the new changes, members stand to earn anywhere between five and 11 miles for each dollar spent on airfare, depending on their frequent-flier status. For example, members who pay $830 and $300 for a round trip flight to Florida earn 4,150 miles and 1,500 miles respectively.


Those who will benefit the most from this new change are premium members who take many short distance flights, as well as those who take advantage of the pricey last-minute tickets. Premium members were already enjoying the perks of being frequent-fliers, such as getting a confirmed seat on the next available flight if their original flight was canceled or delayed and also not having to experience sold out flights, as their reservations are always guaranteed — even when more seats are sold than are available on the flight.


Delta will also benefit from the changes as even a small percent increase in the number of flights premium business travelers embark on, will bring in a lot more revenue for the airline.


This is obviously bad news for many passengers who book the lowest fares and accumulate miles from infrequent vacation trips.


What do you think of Delta’s new customer loyalty program? Please sound off in the comment section below or tweet me @LindaAmaechi.