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Delta announces changes to SkyMiles and WorldPerks programs

Delta Air Lines is taking another step in aligning and combining its frequent flier program with recently acquired, Northwest Airlines’ WorldPerks program: It will let SkyMiles members earn elite status by flying a certain number of segments.

Delta announced elite and reward changes to both the Delta SkyMiles® and Northwest WorldPerks® programs to better align member benefits.

Beginning in 2009, the programs will offer segment qualification, currently a WorldPerks benefit, to allow members to reach elite status by flying a designated number of flight segments on either Delta or Northwest operated flights.

Additionally, SkyMiles and WorldPerks members will continue to earn a minimum of 500 Elite Qualifying Miles and base miles per flight, making Delta the only major airline to maintain this minimum for all customers.

Jeff Robertson, Delta’s vice president of Loyalty Programs said :

“Delta’s merger with Northwest creates a unique opportunity to build the world’s premier loyalty program for our customers, including providing access to more frequent flyer destinations around the world and adding new benefits,”.

“Delta’s 2009 loyalty programs will distinguish themselves from the industry with the return of segment qualification for Delta SkyMiles members, the availability of complimentary upgrades on both airlines for SkyMiles and WorldPerks members, and valuable Elite Threshold Rewards.”

Qualification requirements for Elite status in 2009 will be as follows:

Level

2009 Qualification Requirements

Silver

25,000 Elite Qualifying Miles or 30 Qualification Segments

Gold

50,000 Elite Qualifying Miles or 60 Qualification Segments

Platinum

75,000 Elite Qualifying Miles or 100 Qualification Segments

As usual, elite status enables members to receive additional program benefits, including complimentary upgrades, mileage bonuses, priority boarding and preferred seating.

SkyMiles and WorldPerks elite members now have the ability to receive complimentary upgrades on both airlines.

SkyMiles members will qualify for Medallion® Threshold Rewards when they surpass Platinum Medallion status. As members reach designated thresholds (to be published in early 2009), they will earn additional bonus miles and/or other exclusive benefits or gifts. Northwest WorldPerks members will continue to enjoy similar Elite Extra Perks program benefits when they surpass the Platinum qualification requirements.

In an effort to closely align the two loyalty programs’ benefits, Northwest WorldPerks will introduce three-tiered award availability and SkyMiles and WorldPerks members will have the ability to transfer miles between their respective accounts in early 2009.

Delta plans to merge both programs to create the world’s premier loyalty program in late 2009. More information on these and other SkyMiles benefits is available at delta.com/skymiles. Details on the Northwest WorldPerks program are available at nwa.com/worldperks.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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