The news broke about Richard Anderson’s (RA) impending retirement last week while I was on a mileage run. It did not surprise me as I had been tipped off it was on the way as well as number of others that will soon announce including Jeff Robertson, that is, the man who oversaw the destruction and obliteration of the once valuable SkyMiles program.
I really was not going to post about these current changes because when you get down to it, as a frequent flyer and loyalty program enthusiast, it is hard to imagine anyone could have done a worse job than RA over the past few years for us who love to fly Delta. I mean just look at the extensive and shocking list of cuts under RA’s leadership. But then the Delta PR SPIN HUB came out with a post that said: “Social media celebrates Anderson, welcomes Bastian“. Really.
Well if you add up all the followers, in total, for all those who are celebrating RA and welcoming Ed it is, drum roll, 12,836! Oh and I ran twitteraudits of a number of the “larger” ones and they have a substantial amount of fake followers. I have read a great many comments on social media with sentiments of being thrilled to see him go and they are celebrating RA’s departure!
Personally, every time RA is on the video screen on a Delta jet I hold my ears or reach for an air sickness bag because he does not have my back as an elite Delta flyer nor is trust and integrity any part of the SkyMiles and Medallion program. #KeepDescending is the enhancement after enhancement that we have been handed for years now.
But that is the departing CEO. What about Mr. Ed and the now promoted Glen (who thinks of you and I as “ham sandwiches”)? What impact will this have on us who fly Delta. I have been warning about what is on the way for years. I have alerted you to knife cut after knife cut. That is not going to change. I think in fact it will get worse.
I hold no Delta stock, that is DAL, nor do I plan to buy any, anytime soon. I do not measure the success of Delta by the price of the stock. I measure it by how well Delta rewards me for spending my loyalty dollars with the airline. When I go to fly, or spend on a credit card, do I always search for Delta flights first and even choose them over other airlines even if they are a little more expense? And, when it comes to reaching for a credit card in my wallet do I reach for my Delta AMEX co-branded credit card because I value SkyMiles? Or, is the other way around that I consider any airline because Delta has cut loyalty to the point that it is all but worthless. And, has the SkyMiles “live currency” devalued to the point of being all but a joke. I think you see my point.
So is there a glimmer of hope things are going to get better now that RA will be gone? Unlikely. None of the current group is a fan of loyalty. Heck, I don’t think those who run loyalty programs are fans of loyalty. Expect more cuts. More bad “enhancements”. More #KeepDescending announcements soon. The new crop of suits must prove they can cut as much as the group before them – that is bad news for us. That means pain.
The only thing that could maybe save us is data. It seems, according to my sources, Delta had a massive and alarming number of Diamonds and Platinum Medallion not re-qualify this year. I know a number of big spenders who are SO upset with Delta that they refuse to spend one dime more on the airline. They have gone out of their way to fly AA or WN or AS and have status matched to other airlines. Since Delta is so data driven, maybe, just maybe, the departure of so many high MQD spenders will make someone ask the SkyMiles team – what caused this. All they have to do is look at THIS post for the answer why. – René
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