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Delta Customers Worry "Worthless" Loyalty Program Is About to Get Worse

They voiced their concerns about potential changes next week.

For frequent fliers, airline loyalty programs are an easy way to save money and capitalize on travel spending. These programs often come with a slew of perks—the more you fly, the more exciting offers you're typically entitled to. But rumors are now swirling about the Delta Air Lines loyalty program, which customers are worrying may soon get worse. Read on to find out why travelers are concerned, and what changes could be on the docket.

RELATED: Travelers Are Boycotting Southwest Over New Boarding Change.

An alleged internal Delta memo was posted on Reddit.

delta skymiles logo on phone
rafapress / Shutterstock

Changes to Delta Air Lines' SkyMiles frequent flyer program may be imminent, View From the Wing reported. According to a post on Reddit, the carrier's team members are receiving training before these changes take effect next week.

"On Sept. 14, Delta will announce changes to its SkyMiles Program. Since we know any change to our SkyMiles Program can generate questions or concerns from customers, we want to ensure our frontline team members are fully prepared to respond," an alleged internal Delta memo reads.

Per One Mile at a Time, routine changes are typical for airline loyalty programs, so it may be that these are just annual updates. However, because employees are reportedly receiving training, the outlet speculates that there may be bigger changes on the horizon—and these aren't always in customers' favor.

Best Life reached out to Delta for comment on the situation, and will update the story when we hear back.

RELATED: Delta and American Are Finally Upgrading Their Seats—But It'll Cost You.

Multiple outlets speculate changes will encourage credit card spending.

swiping credit card at store

Currently, to move from level to level in the elite SkyMiles Medallion program, you need to reach different milestones based on the distance you fly and the fare (measured in Medallion Qualification Miles, or MQMs), as well as the actual number of flights you take (measured in Medallion Qualification Segments, or MQSs), according to Thrifty Traveler.

At the same time, you also need to spend a certain amount of money with Delta (measured in Medallion Qualification Dollars, or MQDs). However, MQDs are waived for different statuses when you spend a set amount on your Delta credit card.

On Reddit, the user who posted the memo said they've heard Delta will consolidate these three metrics. This would align the carrier with United and American, who recently shifted to single metrics that allow you to earn status by spending on their co-branded credit cards, according to One Mile at a Time.

Essentially, this change would be a way for Delta to incentivize spending on its credit cards, as there's not really a reason to charge more once you reach the necessary status thresholds. This is particularly relevant since Delta announced plans to up its revenue from its American Express partnership by 50 percent by 2028, One Mile at a Time reported.

The outlet also suggested that another potential change could be an increase in credit card spending requirements for MQD waivers.

Some also wondered about changes to Delta Sky Club lounge access, with One Mile at a Time concluding it's unlikely to be announced with SkyMiles changes, because they're two different programs.

RELATED: American Airlines Slammed for "Bad" New Upgrade Policy.

Members weren't too enthused by the idea of changes.

Delta Airplanes sit in a row at Kansas City International Airport

View From the Wing posited that passengers don't choose to fly Delta because of SkyMiles, calling its loyalty program "weak," and asserting that the airline hasn't had to focus on customer loyalty. In the article's comment section, passengers also offered bleak views about the SkyMiles program.

"One could ask how much more can Delta devalue a program that is already pretty worthless? My guess is that Delta's response would be similar to 'hold my beer and watch this,'" one comment reads.

Another wrote, "I have three Skymiles Amex cards. This time next year, it will be zero. Fees keep going up and award values go down. I hope more people will vote with their card cancellations. I will be shopping airlines going forward."

Other passengers stressed that the airline is "charging more and giving less."

"I'm moving into another direction where customers are still important and valued, today," a comment reads.

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Other customers weren't as concerned.

Delta airplane airplane interior with person deplaning.

While the comments were largely dreading the impending changes, some Delta SkyMiles members said they've benefitted from the program. One passenger said that he's gotten a bargain on domestic trips, as well as international flights.

"Worthless? I've flown to MSP-LAX-SYD [Minneapolis-St.Paul to Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia], First Class to MSP-AUS [Minneapolis-St. Paul to Austin, Texas], and have tix for MSP-OGG [Minneapolis-St. Paul to Maui, Hawaii] in the last year for a total of less than $500 total using award flights."

On One Mile at a Time's post, another commenter wrote, "Most people dislike skymiles because of the delta one redemption rates. I've been able to get several great redemptions like Sydney round trip for 40K, Auckland round trip for 43K, and a few European destinations for 35-40K. I also always inform my friends when there's flash sales like these."

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Abby Reinhard
Abby Reinhard is a Senior Editor at Best Life, covering daily news and keeping readers up to date on the latest style advice, travel destinations, and Hollywood happenings. Read more
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