Snow, slush, ice, hail, thunder, rain, flooding-from the worst weather Chicago has ever known to deep freezes all the way to South Florida, this winter has kicked our collective rear ends. If the seemingly endless season is getting you down, beat cabin fever by planning a getaway to someplace that's already warmer. Get a membership in one of the frequent flier programs, put the bar code on your KeyRingThing card (freeing up your wallet for more vacation cash-or perhaps your passport?) and hop a flight. As Jimmy Buffet sang, "Changes in latitudes" can work wonders. Here we tell you a bit about some changes in and offers for members of one of the most popular frequent flier programs, Delta SkyMiles-in the company's own words:
More Benefits, More Choices
The SkyMiles program is a world-class loyalty program that's by your side wherever you're going. Plus, we reward our members with great benefits. For example, we are the only major U.S. airline without mileage expiration, so you can fly with us and redeem miles on your terms and timeframe. And for those of you who travel more than most-our Medallion members-we provide elite benefits and privileges that recognize your time spent with us. It costs nothing to join and you can start earning miles right away. Domestic award flights begin at 25,000 miles. You can also buy miles to make up enough for a reward and now in March-you get a 50% bonus for every mile you purchase!
After 25,000 qualifying segments earned, you become a Medallion member. Here are some of the exciting benefits you'll enjoy as a Medallion member: preferred seats, priority boarding, complimentary upgrades, waived baggage fees, SkyTeam lounge access. Also Medallion members may choose one benefit upon qualifying for Platinum Medallion status and two benefits upon qualifying for Diamond Medallion status. Choices include Delta Sky Club One-Day passes, Medallion status to gift to a friend, bonus miles for you or your favorite charity, Systemwide Upgrades, and more. At the core of our program is the ability for members to earn, maintain and redeem miles. Going forward, we are committed to delivering the SkyMiles experience you expect and the benefits you've earned. But here's...
What is happening now:
Mileage Expiration: Effective January 1, 2011, we eliminated our mileage expiration policy so you can earn and redeem miles without worrying if and when your miles will expire.
SkyTeam Elite Plus Status for Gold Medallions: Effective March 1, 2011, Gold Medallions will receive SkyTeam Elite Plus status when flying internationally on our SkyTeam partner airlines.
Complimentary access to more than 200 SkyTeam partner lounges worldwide including Delta Sky Club
A guaranteed Economy Class reservation on any SkyTeam long-haul flight when purchasing a full-fare Economy Class ticket.
Priority Baggage Handling
Award Redemption Fees: We no longer charge Award Ticket redemption fees, even last-minute bookings.
Preferred Seats: Preferred Seats are sometimes not available when booking a last-minute ticket. Thus, we have expanded the number of Preferred Economy Seats on all Delta and Delta Connection flights by up to 40% to ensure our most loyal customers receive the best seats.
Systemwide Upgrade Improvements:
Certificates are available for Diamond and Platinum Medallion members to select as a Choice Benefit gift. Systemwide Upgrades have been improved so when redeeming on any Delta flight, you can always wait list for an upgrade if it is not available at time of booking. If you do not clear prior to departure, you will now be automatically added to the standby list. You will automatically clear for a upgrade if there are empty seats available. Also, you can now redeem your Systemwide Upgrade Certificates on Air France and KLM:These upgrades are redeemable on most transatlantic flights operated by Air France. And as before, they continue to be valid on all KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.
Complimentary Upgrades on Alaska Air Flights: As a part of our expanded agreement with Alaska Airlines, tDiamond, Platinum, and Gold Medallion members may receive complimentary upgrades on Alaska flights. Upgrades on Awards are not permitted.
What's Ahead? Our Action Plan: Economy Comfort
Starting this summer, you'll experience more space, legroom, and recline on our long-haul international flights as we introduce "Economy Comfort"s new section of seats located at the front of the Economy cabin that will feature up to four more inches of legroom and 50 percent more recline. SkyMiles Diamond and Platinum Medallion level members who purchase an International Economy ticket on Delta will enjoy free access to Economy Comfort seats. Gold and Silver Medallions who purchase an International Economy ticket on Delta will receive a 50% and 25% discount, respectively, on the current applicable published Economy Comfort seat fee. Up to eight companions traveling on the same reservation as Medallion members will receive the same benefits. Customers who purchase a Y, B, or M fare International Economy ticket will also be able to select an Economy Comfort seat at no additional charge.
Online Award Experience: We are redesigning the Award Travel booking process and calendar on delta.com to improve the Award redemption experience. We plan to continue improving the display of Award seats and other issues to provide better online Award Travel booking. We began making these improvements in May 2010 and have completed many of them. We will continue to improve the online experience on delta.com to offer more functionality to customers through the first quarter of 2011. For example, we will continue to redesign the Award Travel booking process and further improve the pricing and availability display of the calendar. And, we will add even more search options and display flight amenities.
Baggage Waivers on Alaska Air Flights: As part of the Delta and Alaska Airlines partnership expansion, SkyMiles members will receive Elite baggage waivers on Alaska-operated flights by May.
Mileage Upgrade Award:We will add the ability to redeem mileage upgrade Awards online.
Miles and Money Awards: We will re-introduce the former PerkChoice program, which allowed members to combine miles and money when buying a ticket. This program feature will supplement our existing Pay with Miles program for current Delta SkyMiles Gold, Platinum and Reserve SkyMiles Cardmembers from American Express.
SkyMiles Partners range from other airlines like Aeromexico and Hawaiian Airlines (beaches anyone?) and hotels from the Ritz-Carlton to Days Inn, to hundreds of retailers-all with special offers to make your vacation more memorable, your life better, all while letting your earn miles along the way. Here are some of the limited-time offers available to Delta SkyMiles members right now:
Earn miles on Broadway. Register your SkyMiles number with Audience Rewards, the Official Rewards Program of Broadway, and start earning at shows like Phantom, West Side Story, Chicago and more.
Earn 500 miles by signing up for a Boingo Unlimited Wi-Fi account. Use Boingo at more than 125,000 Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide, including more than 500 airports and 20,000 hotels.
e-Miles is the unique new program that lets you earn miles toward Award Tickets in minutes a day by reading and responding to messages that are relevant to you.
As a SkyMiles member, you may qualify to join the by-invitation-only eRewards Opinion Panel-where you earn Rewards, such as miles for taking online surveys.
Earn 10,000 miles with the world's largest provider of business book summaries. With a getAbstract subscription, you can download any of the 4,000 summaries-as many as you want, as often as you want.
Earn 1,500 miles when you become a new paying Netflix member.
NetMile – Japan
Residents of Japan can enroll in the NetMile program and convert their NetMile to miles in the SkyMiles program. NetMile can be earned in many ways, including shopping and answering questionnaires online.
Earn 1,000 miles for each purchase when you sign up for new domain names, transfer or renew existing domain names, e-mail services, and website services.
Earn miles at Points.com by Exchanging miles and points from your other programs or Trading miles and points with other people. Join today and earn a chance to win 1 million miles. No purchase required. The Win a Million Miles Sweepstakes began on January 1, 2011 and ends March 31, 2011.
SkyMiles Clothing Care
Earn one mile for every $1 spent with participating dry cleaning merchants when you use a credit card registered with SkyMiles Clothing Care.
Enjoy an entire year of specially selected magazines and earn 200 miles or more with each title you choose!
Turn every day purchases around every corner into more SkyMiles! Join Thanks Again to earn 1 EXTRA mile for every $1 spent with thousands of local businesses.
Earn miles while traveling abroad and making mobile calls. Simply register with Travelling Connect and then manually switch your phone to the participating mobile networks when you travel abroad. You can earn miles in more than 20 countries including Japan and the Caribbean.
Visit Delta.com for details on all these deals and to stay informed of the latest program news and changes and No matter where you go to getaway, be sure to take your KeyRingThing Card along. We'll help you travel the world uncluttered.