After this post, I’m going to try and swear off any further blogging about Northwest Airlines. But for those of you who’ve had enough already, I suggest waiting until later in the day for a different post to read …Like most Northwest Airline frequent fliers, I’ve wondered how the airline’s acquisition by Delta would impact its frequent flier program. Would I be able to maintain my miles? Would benefits be changed or reduced? And, like most Northwest Airline frequent fliers, I took very little comfort in the airline’s frequently repeated (in emails and press releases) assurances that accrued miles would remain untouched. To be fair (and to my knowledge), neither airline ever promised to maintain the current benefit level. But I think it fair to suggest that the airline intimated that benefits would be maintained.
Well, whatever. The past is past, and Northwest Airlines – and its WorldPerks program – are soon to be history. In the meantime, and as of March 1, 2009, the company’s most frequent fliers – its so-called “Elite” status fliers – will be receiving reduced benefits from the soon to be extinct airline.
Specifically, Silver Elite fliers (those who fly between 25,000 and 49,999 in a year) will see their mileage bonuses reduced from 50% to 25%. Platimum Elite fliers – Northwest’s most frequent fliers, with mileage in excess of 75,000 miles per year – will see their benefits reduced from 125% to 100% (see here for breakdown).
That’s not the only reduction in benefits – it’s just the one that’s most likely to upset the company’s long-time customers, many of whom have flown Northwest precisely because its frequent flier program offered better mileage bonuses than competing programs. Now that the better bonuses have been eliminated, those fliers will likely look to other airlines for their frequent routes (for example, there will no longer be any good reason to fly Minneapolis <> Tokyo <> Beijing/Shanghai for a mileage benefit when a more comfortable Minneapolis <> Chicago <> Shanghai routes is available for less).
A complete run-down and comparison of the 2008 and 2009 WorldPerks Elite programs may be found here.