Award tickets that you buy with frequent-flier miles used to be otherwise free of charge. Then there was an additional $10 charge to cover the Sept. 11 security fee. Now Delta has announced plans to tack on a fuel surcharge — $25 for domestic tickets and $50 for international travel.
This fee, which will be charged on tickets booked after Aug. 14, is not
surprising. But it is alarming, especially coupled with this from the
New York Times story on the topic:
Jeff Robertson, managing director of Delta’s SkyMiles program, “also said Delta would introduce a ‘new, multitiered award
program’ in the next 60 days but gave no details. Industry analysts
have predicted that airlines might increase the number of miles
required for a frequent-flier ticket.”
My first response was to get on Delta’s Web site to book award tickets to get the kid back from the West Coast for the
holidays. The fares for those trips were looking pretty crappy,
anyway. And if Delta is going to devalue my miles in a couple of months, I’ll burn them now.
My next response will be to cancel my Delta Skymiles American Express card, perhaps in favor of a more flexible preferred rewards card. I’m not inclined to pay $80 a year for the privilege of earning miles if I also have to pay to redeem them.
Some Delta customers are getting pretty worked up about this. I get that, but I’m looking at it as a practical, business matter. Delta is looking out for itself. I’m going to look out for myself.