In the latest move to combat the combined United/Continental Voltron, Delta has announced that the miles accrued on its SkyMiles frequent flier program will no longer vanish when they go unused for too long.
Until now, SkyMiles had expired 24 months after a member’s last qualifying mileage activity. To keep them alive, members had to earn or redeem the miles within that period.
Delta claims this makes them the only major U.S. airline whose miles don’t expire.
This change is the latest of several enhancements made to the SkyMiles program in the last year including the new Diamond Medallion tier with complimentary lounge access and Rollover Medallion Qualification Miles. These features complement other recent changes such as the elimination of all award redemption fees and a free first checked bag on Delta flights for Gold, Platinum and Reserve Delta SkyMiles credit card holders from American Express.
Members can look forward to more in 2011, including significant improvements to delta.com such as an upgraded award travel calendar, improved booking process and better flight information displays. Additionally, Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallion members can expect several new benefits when flying select alliance partner airlines – including Air France, KLM, Alitalia and Alaska Airlines.
Now in its 30th year, SkyMiles is one of the longest-running and most successful loyalty programs in the travel industry. Last year, frequent flyers redeemed more than 264 billion miles in the SkyMiles program for more than 12 million award redemptions. In 2010, 8.3 percent of revenue miles flown on Delta were for award travel. Delta offers more ways to redeem frequent flyer miles than any other airline, including airline tickets, mileage upgrades, car rentals, hotel stays, Delta Sky Club memberships, merchandise and more than 30 types of gift cards. SkyMiles was named “Best Domestic Frequent Flyer program” for 2007 through 2010 by readers ofExecutive Travel magazine and “Best Frequent Flyer Program” for 2006 through 2010 by Business Traveler magazine.
For more information on the SkyMiles program, Medallion status and mileage redemption options, click here