For a while, it seemed as if United copied every bad move that Delta made. United certainly was not that smart when it came to public relations with those moves because they had to notice the flying public’s displeasure with Delta’s changes, yet they pretty much published carbon copies of Delta’s new plans and did it as their own.
Delta Is Copying United
But, this time, it seems as if Delta is copying United. There is no mistaking that Delta has had their share of bad reception over the last couple of months. Just when people were starting to deal with their new mileage program, they began to drop bombs on a weekly basis – removing the award calendar, switching to more of a dynamic award pricing model, charging Medallions more for award trips (which they have since said was a technical error), and requiring more miles for award bookings within 21 days. These were the big ones.
Last week, Delta released some information about their new changes to their Medallion program and many seemed happy with a headliner – Delta was reducing some domestic one way award tickets to 10,000 miles instead of 12,500 miles. The problem is that it really came with a big asterisk. It was not all domestic flights but on several routes of the short-haul variety. Not only that, but you could only book these somewhat cheaper award flights when you were farther than 21 days from departure. Yet, this was a change that Delta wanted to shout from the rooftops.
Purchase by | December 10, 2015
Travel Period | Travel may begin on or after March 26, 2015 and all travel must be completed by December 31, 2015 Advance Purchase | 21 days
For select destinations within the 48 United States, and between the 48 and the Caribbean and Mexico
That’s right – this discount is only available through the end of this year!
Except, United has already been doing this for years and it is just part of their award chart (remember those?!). Plus, there is no advance purchase required (though, as with all United awards, you must pay a $75 close-in booking fee within 21 days unless you are elite). And it works for all domestic flights up to 700 miles away from the origin – not just select routes.
Booking These Reduced Mileage Awards
With both airlines, there is nothing special you need to do. The short-haul, discounted mileage amounts are coded right into the award system so that, if they are available, they will appear. The only question it really comes down to (assuming you do not have status with either airline) is if your award flight on that short-haul route is within 21 days, what airline do you use? If you use United, you will only pay 10,000 miles for that one way but a $75 close-in booking fee. If you use Delta, you will not pay a close-in booking fee but will pay the extra 2,500 miles each way. Given the choice, all things being equal, I would choose to book such an award with Delta. 2,500 Delta Skymiles is worth far less than $75 in hard cold cash.
Still, it is fun to watch Delta “copy” United for a change – and feel the need to broadcast something that United has just had going on all this time. It tells you how desperate Delta is for some good news.