Airlines do seem to have a tendency to play around with the frequent flyer or loyalty programs. The best programs are the ones which are easy to understand and redeem, without much ado. With American airlines undergoing a spate of mergers and acquisitions, it has been quite cumbersome for them to reconcile their FFPs into a single one. This has often meant making changes right from the basis of their calculation. Except for the merger of AA with US Airways, all other mergers in US aviation in the last few years have moved away from the mileage flown basis of accumulation to the amounts spent. It must be said that the passengers are quite understanding and can understand the compulsions of the mergers and are willing to give up a just and reasonable quantum of benefits in the process. However, there could be exception to this rule and the passengers might feel aggrieved particularly if they feel that the airlines are being less than transparent in their conduct.
This has been the problem with Delta Airlines recently. SkyMiles, the frequent flyer program of the Delta Airlines, has moved to a system of basing their reward points on the actual amount of spending. But, what is causing concern is that is making changes to its program which are difficult to understand. The airline has deviated from the best practice of making redemption easier and has gone on to develop a 5-tier award chart which most of the passengers are not likely to understand without help from experts.
Another measure which has been rued by the airline is that it has stopped publishing its chart which showed how many reward points were required for redemption on flights. These charts were handy for common people to understand very simply how much of points can be redeemed for a particular route of flight. With these chart withdrawn, people have out questions on the real intent of the carrier and have held it to be a less than transparent measure. They are suspicious that the carrier would now be able to manipulate the reward miles and make changes without their knowledge. In fact, it means that the carrier can charges whatever it wants and effect changes according to its own whims and fancies.