Weekly News: Delta Surveys, Marriott Dissatisfaction And Snow Monsters

It’s been a busy week for me IRL, so I’m still catching up on the news of the week. As usual, the travel world had its share of stories. Here are a few:

Delta Survey

Delta Airlines


Earlier this week, I received a survey from Delta regarding their SkyMiles frequent flyer program. These are not uncommon, and they usually end up throwing a few points at you for taking them. I got 250. Most of the questions were the standard “How are we doing” type questions, but they did throw one curve ball:

delta skymiles

Let’s hope that you have good things to say

I’m not sure what it means that they’re considering offering points to refer your friends for a status match. I’ve seen promotions where you got points for referring a friend to sign up for a program (and spend), but never one that encouraged status matches, which are often targeted* to individuals. Clearly, though, Delta has some data that say that an elite customer, not surprisingly, is that much more likely to book with the airline where they have status, and the cheapest way to acquire those members is through other travelers. No word on whether they’ll 1099 you.

How Bad Has The Transition Been for Marriott

Hilton Hotels hosted their quarterly conference call two days ago and, based on the stock’s reaction, they’re doing pretty well. I wonder if that’s because of an inflow of Marriott refugees. According to CEO Chris Nassetta, Hilton grew its loyalty program base by 20% in 2018, to 85 million people. Mr. Nassetta speculated that they are coming from outside, noting “‘as long as they are great customers that we can get engaged with us, we don’t care.” Hilton has a lot going for it, with a decent credit card and an easy to achieve gold status, which I view to be the sweet spot for the program.

Coincidentally, I’m leaving Marriott/SPG after over 15 years with the program. Given the changes that Marriott is making, I view Hyatt as having a better elite program, particularly at the top end.

Note: I first saw this article on Flyertalk

Snow Monsters in Japan

snow monsters

Somebody wrote “Elsa was here” in the snow

Okay, these are just cool. I don’t think I’ll be visiting them anytime soon, but these frozen trees, nicknamed snow monsters, look incredible. I’d deal with a fear of heights to ride in that cable car. And they look just like Marshmallow from the movie Frozen.

Speaking of which, it’s back:

Even I have to admit that that trailer looks pretty cool.


*Beginner’s Hint: A “targeted” promotion is one that only goes to certain individuals. Generally, only the targeted individual can benefit from the offer.


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