I got an e-mail from Delta with the text “In response to your feedback and as part of our ongoing efforts to improve your travel experience on Delta” … As I’m reading I’m thinking “that’s BS so whatever comes next is going to be bad”. And it was. Now instead of being rewarded for miles you travel, you earn “miles” by spending money. Obviously, that rewards those who travel on the full-fare, book last minute, and are reimbursed by well-monied companies. It does not reward the travelers who plan in advance, get non-refundable fares, and are the bulk of the passengers. In other words, Delta is no longer rewarding you for the discomfort endured by sitting in the too-small seat. Instead it will reward those who don’t actually need the free travel because they can clearly pay as much as they want already. At least Delta isn’t pretending that there will be any trickle-down benefits for the flying middle class.  If Delta really wanted to listen to the general public’s feedback, they’d remove a few rows of seats, increase the seat pitch, and include checked bags in the cost of the airfare.

To add insult to injury, when I was traveling a few weeks ago on Delta, the connection had me in Detroit for 3 hours.  Oh well, I figured, what are you going to do.  But when I landed, I found that there was an earlier flight that was going to leave in 40 minutes.  I hoofed it all the way across that huge yardstick of an airport and nicely asked the gate agent if there was room on the earlier flight.  There was.  But since I wasn’t a “medallion” member, it would mean a $50 change fee.  That’s just about exactly the amount that was too much for me.  (I could have saved 2 hours but I would have been in a middle seat on a nearly full plane and wouldn’t have the time to go get the food I was looking forward to.)  And all I could think was “no, I’m not a medallion member and unlikely I am going to be given the new program and Delta’s general dislike of *people*!”.

Another unwelcome change is Amazon increasing Prime from $79 to $99.  Do I want to pay $100 for free 2-day shipping?  I don’t know.  I feel pretty good that the $79 has been worth it.  Especially with the volume of stuff we’ve been getting for the house projects.  But I’m not sure that we’ll have the same volume of stuff as the house projects dwindle down and $20 more may be too much even if the volume was the same.  The only good thing for me here is that my Prime membership expires in January so I have 10 months for Amazon to change their mind.  (Though Amazon doesn’t seem like the kind of company that would pull a Netflix by announcing a change of plans and then change their mind.)

4 Responses to “Delta and Amazon changes to loyalty programs”

  1. BikingBrian says:

    My bank has gone in the direction of catering more towards the customers with more money. If you don’t have as much money, they’ll be happy to take your business, but they’ll nickel and dime you with fees. And if you happen to leave as a result, they won’t really miss you. So I’m not surprised to see the airlines seem to be going the same direction.

    I’m pretty sure Amazon put quite a bit of thought in raising their Prime fees. Let’s face it, do most people get Prime because they’ve done a cost analysis of the Prime fee versus how much it would be for expedited shipping if they weren’t a Prime member? I’m guessing that most people get Prime so that they can have the flexibility to get what they want quickly and not have to worry about the shipping. Sounds like Amazon is banking on the notion that if the convenience is worth $79, then it’s still worth it at $99.

  2. BikingBrian says:

    FYI, paying more didn’t get me more on American. Actually, it got me less, because when I booked the flight last minute, I was not assigned a seat, as the only seats remaining were the extra leg room ones where they charge more. And today, less than 24 hours before my flight, they won’t let me check in early because they still want to hold those premium seats as long as they can in the hopes that someone will pay to upgrade.

    https://twitter.com/BikingBrian/status/449258600980951040

  3. BikingBrian says:

    I just ordered something through Amazon tonight, Friday at 11PM Pacific Time, and I was pleasantly surprised (and, at first, confused) when I found out that it would arrive on SUNDAY. Then I saw that Amazon is rolling out Sunday delivery. The Prime membership may be worth the $20 more after all.

    http://articles.latimes.com/2013/nov/10/business/la-fi-amazon-usps-20131109

  4. Ken says:

    I had heard about Sunday delivery in some markets but Easter Sunday? That’s crazy.

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