Delta just made their much maligned SkyMiles program even less valuable by making all awards non-changable and non-refundable within 72 hours of flight.
Well, at least DTW is a nice airport to have a layover in...
This is a terrible change, except maybe for the bean counters in Atlanta. I'm especially concerned about this, as I have a Delta award ticket on V Australia booked for later this year, and I've already made several changes to my routing, and am hoping to optimize it even more as my departure approaches. This rule change has now made that much more difficult. From what I've seen, seats open up as departure dates get closer, and in come cases inside the 72 hour window, when going forward, within the timeframe, that option is no longer there. I realize most people don't make last minute changes like this, but flexibility is a key benefit of elite status.
Interestingly, I didn't receive the initial notification message containing these changes from Delta that Fozz and others did. I also have not yet received any communication about this change to my upcoming itinerary. This is something the official SkyMiles representative on Milepoint mentioned would be sent out here. Their stated reason for change includes this:
...more than 1,000,000 award seats that were going unused at the 72 hour mark prior to departure. That is 3 days in which those seats could otherwise be sold or used for other SkyMiles members who truly intend to sit in the seat and travel.
1 million seats? really?!? In another very disingenuous comment from the SkyMiles rep, this change was justified as a way to help availability? Somehow, I am not sold on that justification.
Will disgruntled passengers follow Kenny Powers' words and tell Delta, "You're ....... out"?
One of the main reasons I made the effort to requalify for Delta Platinum in 2010 was so I'd have the flexibility to help in my fight with their terrible award availability without paying $150 per change. Unfortunately, this is the nature of the beast with Skymiles, often you have to be very creative in award bookings to get anything approaching the 'low' level. Now that's even more difficult. I think the term SkyPesos may now be too generous. How about SkyShillings, after the Somalia Shilling? This is approximately 33,300 per US$1.