After mass criticism, Delta Airlines’ CEO is backtracking on the upcoming planned changes to the company’s SkyMiles memberships and ways to access its Sky Clubs.
During an event at the Rotary Club of Atlanta event on Monday, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said that the company was “listening to the feedback, reading the feedback” and now plans to make changes—to the planned changes.
“We’re still assessing what to do but there will be modifications that we make, and you’ll hear about it sometime over the next few weeks,” Bastian explained. “We need to make certain that we can serve our higher tiers with the level of premium experience that you deserve and you expect.”
Earlier this month, Bastian and Delta announced that starting in 2025, aspects of SkyMiles memberships would be making changes, such as only allowing members to reach elite status based on how much they spend on their select SkyMiles credit cards (regardless of how many points they earned through miles on flights), as well as severely limiting who would have access to the Delta Sky Club.
Another announced shift was that American Express Platinum Card and American Express Business Platinum Card holders would be limited to only six visits to the Delta Sky Club per year unless they spend over $75,000 per year.
The news did not go over well with customers, who called the changes “outrageous” and a “miscalculation” — with many threatening to cancel their credit cards and SkyMiles accounts.
— Clay (@we2clay) September 14, 2023
American Express $AMX and Delta $DAL is not going to be a positive regarding new skymiles loyalty changes. They are completely screwing over their loyal customers and I think they are going to see a mass exodus. No reason to stay loyal. I’m bearish into earnings
— Ephraim (@EphraimSng) September 14, 2023
“No question, we probably went too far in doing that. Our team wanted to rip the bandaid off and didn’t want to have to keep going through this every year with changes and nickel-and-diming and whatnot, but I think we moved too fast,” Bastian admitted of the “unsustainable” changes. “We will be making modifications and changes because it really matters to us.”
Bastain did not specify how Delta would be modifying the new Sky Club policies.
Delta had hinted at these changes last month after the managing director for Sky Clubs, Claude Roussel, pointed out that customers and loyalty members had grown frustrated with overcrowding.
“We continue to work with our partners and continue looking at this issue. It’s not a done issue,” Roussel told The Points Guy. “We have to continue making progress. Our guests are telling us that. They’re telling us: ‘Listen, we love the clubs. You need to fix the crowding.”
Delta was up just over 26% in a one-year period as of Thursday afternoon.