In a press release
today, Delta Air Lines
announced its elimination of SkyMiles expiration. This is the first of major airlines to make this customer loyalty move.
Previously set to expire within 24 months of mileage inactivity, this SkyMiles
change is effective as of Jan. 1st, 2011 for all accounts.
"Now that our massive frequent flyer program integration is complete, we are focused on smart ways to improve the SkyMiles program for all members. We know how much customers value their miles, so eliminating mileage expiration is a major win for them. This is yet another benefit that sets us apart from the pack, making Delta a clear leader in loyalty program benefits,” said Jeff Robertson, Delta's Vice President of SkyMiles, in a press release.
The SkyMile program has been in existence for 30 years. Recognized as the Best Domestic Frequent Flyer program by Executive Travel magazine, SkyMiles is a fairly successful loyalty program in the travel industry. Members last year were awarded more than 12 million flight redemptions which equaled 8.3% of all Deltas’ annual revenue miles.
This is a smart move for Delta. Allowing patrons to keep their miles will encourage customer loyalty. It could also easily create a new customer priority for Delta flights in an effort to acquire more miles toward flight redemption. As airlines get more frugal and the industry gets more and more expensive, perks for customers are not only needed, but immensely appreciated. It will be interesting to see if other competitor airlines follow suit.