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Continued: Schafer: Rewards plan at Delta never made much sense

  • Article by: LEE SCHAFER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: March 5, 2014 - 8:57 AM

Here’s an example: From MSP to Los Angeles International, the travel website Kayak found a round-trip fare for $278 on Delta for travel in May. Under the current system, that trip would generate 3,072 miles. Next year it will generate 1,390 miles.

That means only the road warriors who pay top dollar really generate the miles.

Business travelers can’t be utterly insensitive to price, of course. Corporate policy usually demands the cheapest convenient fare, but on very short notice, convenient might be the flight that gets to Los Angeles in time for the meeting. That would favor a carrier with several nonstop flights a day — like Delta.

That Twin Cities to Los Angeles route on Kayak’s site came up with the best Delta round-trip fare of $1,155 on short notice this week, for a two-day business trip. Buy that ticket, and next year the Gold Medallion traveler will get 9,240 miles, compared with the current 6,144.

Winship said he expects Delta’s plan to work as intended, with more rewards going to Delta’s best and most profitable customers and with those customers making sure they use Delta whenever they can for business and leisure travel.

For the rest of Delta’s customers, the infrequent and value-oriented travelers, Winship suggests another common-sense approach: Stop worrying about miles. Buy the cheapest ticket that gets you where you want to go. • 612-673-4302

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  • Delta's frequent flier plan is overdue for the changes announced last week, columnist Lee Schafer says.

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