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Delta sets sights on “high-value customers”

Delta has changed its frequent flier program to award points based on dollars spent, rather than miles earned, effective this year.
Delta has changed its frequent flier program to award points based on dollars spent, rather than miles earned, effective this year.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines emphasized its focus on the highest-spending passengers during remarks about its frequent flier program at a conference in Atlanta on Wednesday.

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“Our focus is on keeping our high-value customers,” said Karen Zachary, managing director of Delta’s SkyMiles global program, during a panel discussion at Loyalty@FreddieAwards, a conference focused on loyalty programs. “We don’t want them to shift to our competitors.”

Delta has changed its frequent flier program to award points based on dollars spent, rather than miles earned, effective this year. The new system is “really designed to benefit” high-value customers, which Delta internally calls HVCs. “The revenue-based program really resonates with them,” Zachary said. Gold-, platinum- and diamond-level elite frequent flier program members want a better travel experience and want to be recognized for their loyalty, she said.

Meanwhile, other travelers who are general members of the frequent flier program and those at the lowest silver level of the program want easier access to redeem their miles for flights, Zachary said.