Delta Air Lines is changing its frequent-flier program to lure higher-spending customers, including business travelers who often book flights on short notice and pay more than bargain-hunting leisure travels.
Rewards for ‘elites’
The move aims to favor customers who buy the priciest tickets instead of those who fly the most miles.
These so-called “elite” fliers account for only 2% of the company’s customers, but generate more than 20% of the revenues.
Starting 2015, Delta will base frequent-flier rewards on the fares its customers pay instead of the miles they travel. This will affect all classes of travelers.
A historic shift
Delta will become the largest U.S. airline to make such a change.
The strategy of distance to dollars signifies a huge benefit to the elites in the form of lots of free flights.
The bargain-hunting leisure travelers flying on cheap fares, on the other hand, will suffer.
Delta’s major rivals, American and United, are likely to watch to see how passengers respond.