Delta Cuts Some Mileage Earning Rates On Aeromexico

Filed Under: Aeromexico, Delta

Delta SkyMiles is no stranger to making program changes without notice. On the redemption side they don’t publish an award chart, and on the earnings side we’ve frequently seen them make changes with limited or no notice.

One of the things that makes SkyMiles as a program unique is the huge variance in terms of the mileage earning across their SkyTeam partner airlines (though they did a bit to equalize that late last year). With American AAdvantage, for example, you can earn a significant number of miles on virtually any oneworld airline. Meanwhile Delta SkyMiles issues lots of miles for travel on their joint venture partners, and significantly fewer miles for travel on their non-preferred SkyTeam partners. For example, last year I flew Xiamen Airlines business class and didn’t even earn 100% elite qualifying miles.

Xiamen Air 787-9 business class

However, for travel on Aeromexico, Air France, KLM, etc., you can earn tons of miles, which brings us to the change that’s being made. While this change is fairly minor, I think it’s still worth pointing out. As of April 1, 2018, Delta SkyMiles is reducing the number of Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) you earn for discounted business class tickets on Aeromexico. Under the current chart you earn 200% MQMs:

Under the new chart you’ll earn only 150% MQMs:

On the plus side, you’ll continue to earn 200% redeemable miles, Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs) for 40% of the distance flown, and Medallion mileage bonuses. This isn’t a huge deal, and frankly I still find the ability to earn MQDs for 40% of the distance flown to be pretty generous.

I’ve written about several lucrative Aeromexico business class fares lately, which have been a great way to earn Delta MQMs and MQDs. This change makes travel on Aeromexico slightly less lucrative. I’m just surprised they didn’t cut the MQD earning from 40%.

Aeromexico 787-8 business class

Probably what annoys me most here is that there’s no footnote on the chart saying that you can still earn the original number of MQMs if you booked before this change was announced, as they’ve done in the past. This will be an unpleasant surprise for those who booked tickets on Aeromexico and are now finding that they’ll earn fewer miles than they thought.

Update: Delta has now added the following to the page, which is good news:

“In cases where these changes result in a loss of MQMs for tickets booked prior to 3/27/18 and flown on or after 4/1/18, customers may request mileage credit through the Mileage Request Form after all travel on a given ticket is completed.”

(Tip of the hat to @laptoptravel)

  1. There are a few typos when it comes to elite qualifying stuff. MQM stands for Medallion Qualification Mile and MQD for Medallion Qualification Dollar. It’s not … Qualifying …
    Still, an interesting change considering the joint venture.

  2. This is why we can’t have nice things.

    Delta only changed this because Rene and a couple other bloggers were publicly bragging about what was probably a loophole or mistake on Delta’s part.

    We have lost so many perks across several programs over the years thanks to people who can’t keep their mouth shut.

  3. @Nick – I kind of feel like this whole hobby is a game of “too good to be true”/loopholes. Some examples from the past that are no more…most fall under the too good to be true.

    – Mistake Fares are in general loopholes
    – Club Carlson Credit Card – extra free night
    – SPG Stay 2, Earn 1 free night 7-8 summers ago
    – 60K Biz Class R/T redemption USA-Sydney on Virgin Australia
    – Hyatt 75K summer bonus 3-4 years ago

    And the pink elephant in the room….credit card sign up bonuses.

    Curious which other good mems readers have of “deals gone by”…?

  4. @ Ben — Delta to continues to confirm our decision to allow our Diamond status to go bye, bye. Sadly, the only top status worth keeping is now AA EXP, and I question how much longer that will last.

  5. Is there a way to confirm if this is applies to current reservations? I have to think there should be something preventing them from making a change that affects reservations people have already made. Fingers crossed.

  6. Ben, it is especially egregious on the part of Delta if they simply made this change and did not honor the higher MQM earning rate that was offered to those already ticketed. Would you kindly reach out to your contact(s) at Delta to find out if the lack of a footnote (and protection) was an oversight.

    If indeed, Delta chose to change the MQM rate and not honor the higher rate for those previously ticketed, even if contractually allowed to do so, this would show that consumers should have no trust in the airline to treat its frequent travelers fairly. I do not have any Aeromexico tickets, btw, but I would like to know if I can trust Delta in the future in a similar situation. Thanks for checking!

    (I posted this on your previous blog post in error.)

  7. @ Ryan — This change retroactively applies to existing reservations. The earn rates for partner flights are based on travel date, not ticketing date. It has long been that way.

  8. @ Jon — You haven’t been able to trust Delta for several years now. This is standard Delta operating procedure.

  9. @Gene – I do think bloggers like Lucky have the power, based on the number of their followers, to affect change on the way airlines like Delta choose to conduct business with their customers.

    Lucky is much more eloquent than I am. If he and others (VFTW, for example) chose to write a simple email to Delta (advising the response would be posted), or even a specific post addressing what is really a “bait and switch” for all intents and purposes, Delta might at least honor tickets purchased with clearly outlined frequent flyer benefits, higher MQDs in this case, as an important element of the buying-decision/proposition.

    Lucky benefits by publishing beneficial information for the benefit of his audience (credit card signups, for example). In this case, he recently outlined the benefits to his readers of buying discounted business class tickets on AM due to the overly generous earning rates (see his recent post on Aeromexico business tickets to Mexico). I would suggest that Lucky has a responsibility to be an advocate for his readers as well. He should clearly call out dishonest business behavior when it happens by the airlines and strongly encourage them to do the right thing. I will be curious to see if he feels as strongly about using his platform in this way.

  10. @Gene – Thanks for the information. While disappointing, it’s also very helpful. That’s the last straw for me with Delta. It’s not worth paying more to stay loyal to an airline in such a one-sided relationship. This year alone, I’ve missed 3 days of work when Delta had non-weather related delays of 8+ hours. My total compensation for that mess was 40,000 miles and a couple certificates. They’re able to do that because they have 100% of the power and we have zero. I’m just buying the cheapest premium tickets available from here on out – regardless of carrier.

  11. Looks like this was added:

    In cases where these changes result in a loss of MQMs for tickets booked prior to 3/27/18 and flown on or after 4/1/18, customers may request mileage credit through the Mileage Request Form after all travel on a given ticket is completed.

  12. THey have a joint venture with VS and they reduced the earnings rate with them starting in 2018. I did earn $1550 mqd, yet only actually paid $750 on an economy flight to dubai from Miami in which I only paid last year which was awesome.

  13. @Nick Don’t be a FOMO troll. If you read other blogs too and know about it, you should have taken advantage of it.

    Good things (in customers’ opinion) never last once the bottom line or spreadsheets catches up. Enjoy it while you can. You can blame the blogger to kill the deal faster, but ultimately it is the airline who killed the deal. You should blame the airline for being dumb enough to let customer take advantage and blame your self for being too slow.

    I hate to defend bloggers but when their defense is due, they deserve it.

  14. Shoot. That affects me. I have zero mqms so I’m not sure how they work anyway. About to earn some more kris flyer miles today.

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