Blood in the water at Delta: JetBlue begins poaching SkyMiles elite
In Mel Brooks’ “The Producers,” Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder intentionally produce a flop on Broadway. They sold shares in production many times over and planned to run away with investors’ money. The 1967 film “Spring for Hitler and Germany” was an ironic surprise hit. In 2023, Delta’s changes to the SkyMiles program are causing equal but opposite outrage.
Alaska Airlines has given Delta a run for its money by offering SkyMiles Elite members a lifeline: a mileage plan status that’s even a tier above what 2024 SkyMiles members earn if they also have a credit card take with you from Alaska Airlines. Alaska’s loyalty commissioner said:
We’ve always believed that loyalty is about more than just revenue and that earning elite status shouldn’t require a second mortgage. We developed the Miles Plan to reward loyalty in its many forms. That’s why we offer guests the fastest path to elite status with no outlay required.
Alaska has a competing hub with Delta in Seattle and also competes directly in Los Angeles. But Alaska isn’t the only one who senses an opportunity. JetBlue is now offering a special status offer for dissatisfied Delta customers.
JetBlue competes significantly with Delta in New York and Boston and offers its “Mosaic” status to dissatisfied Delta elites, even calling it “Mosaic on the DL.”
The first 30,000 Delta Elites who exploit the game until October 31st and receive elite status and even one of JetBlue’s preferred benefits preset for each appropriate level.
SkyMiles Medallion Tier
TrueBlue mosaic levels
Tiles are required to maintain status in 2024
Pre-selected benefits you choose
|Silver||Mosaic 1||6||Priority Mint Suite|
|gold||Mosaic 2||12||Pet fee exemption|
|platinum||Mosaic 3||24||FoundersCard Blue Membership|
|diamond||Mosaic 4||30||15,000 bonus points|
Photo credit: JetBlue
JetBlue launched a meaningful status program just four months ago, which has been completely overhauled as it aligns its offerings with the traditionally more loyalty-focused American Airlines.
They lost their American partnership after the Biden administration went to court to stop them, leaving Delta clearly in the lead in New York and Boston. But Delta is hurting its brand with many of its best customers, and JetBlue is now able to offer more extensive benefits to attract those passengers with Delta status.
Unlike Alaska’s offer, JetBlue is not presenting the 2024 status just to perform a status match. JetBlue’s challenge immediately grants temporary status and an expedited path to maintaining that status.
Still, a Delta Diamond switching to JetBlue will receive Mint Upgrade Certificates and 4 one-way Blade Airport helicopter transfers between Manhattan and New York JFK or Newark, as well as 15,000 bonus miles. At first glance, this is very valuable and should be attractive to fliers in the Northeast (and possibly Florida). Delta Gold members and above receive complimentary JetBlue extra legroom seats when booking.
It’s been over a decade since a U.S. airline has seen such a strong targeted opportunity against another major domestic carrier. Alaska and JetBlue both so far – maybe more soon! – There’s a smell of blood in the water after Delta decided to lay off many of its best customers by denying unlimited lounge visits to those who pay for the credit card’s $550 annual fee and elite status requirements has significantly increased that are unattainable for many.
The biggest caveat here, however, is that Delta’s edge over the competition, which has allowed it to continually demand more from its customers while giving less over the years, is eroding They don’t really erode against JetBlue At least when it comes to operational safety.
Delta is canceling flights far more frequently than before. Customers who switch to JetBlue will still benefit from free Wi-Fi and a good inflight experience, but will still be less reliable than Delta and many other providers in the industry. However, Delta runs SkyMiles as if they were intentionally trying to tank it like Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder, so this may not even matter to some of their best customers.