Delta Eliminates Expiration Dates for Frequent Fliers

Delta Air Lines today announced the carrier has eliminated expiration dates for its frequent flier program, a move that makes Delta the only major U.S. carrier without mileage expiration.

Previously, SkyMiles points expired two years after a member's last qualifying mileage activity -- but now travelers can rack up points indefinitely.

"Now that our massive frequent flyer program integration is complete, we are focused on smart ways to improve the SkyMiles program for all members," says Jeff Robertson, Delta's vice president of SkyMiles in a statement.

"We know how much customers value their miles, so eliminating mileage expiration is a major win for them. This is yet another benefit that sets us apart from the pack, making Delta a clear leader in loyalty program benefits," Robertson continues.

Over the last year, Delta also introduced a new Diamond Medallion tier and eliminated all award redemption fees. The company also allows a free first checked bag for Gold, Platinum and Reserve Delta SkyMiles credit card holders from American Express.

Now in its 30th year, SkyMiles is one of the longest-running loyalty programs in the travel industry. Delta says more than 12 million award redemptions were dished out last year when travelers redeemed more than 264 billion miles.

Is a similar program on the horizon for other carriers? Charlie Sultan, Vice President for American Airlines' AAdvantage tells AOL Travel News, "We have a policy that allows members to use their miles within an 18-month period before those miles expire and with all of our partnerships we make it very easy for member to use up their rewards before they expire, even if they do not plan on traveling."

Delta's program change is effective for all accounts as of January 1, 2011.

(Lark Ellen Gould contributed to this report.)

Photo, Andrei Dimofte, flickr
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