Delta CEO says airline will modify SkyMiles changes: 'Probably went too far'

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Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian admitted that the airline "probably went too far" with recent changes to its SkyMiles program, and said that there will be modifications. 

The airline announced earlier this month that it was "simplifying" its loyalty program and would base elite status — otherwise known as Medallion Status — on only spending rather than also counting flights. This change is set to take effect in 2025. 

The carrier also limited the number of American Express cardholders that can gain access to its clubs. This will take effect starting in the new year. 

"I have received a lot of feedback from this change," Bastian said Monday during an interview with the Rotary Club of Atlanta. "We will be making modifications and changes." 

The changes to its program earlier this month, according to Bastian, were initiated after the carrier faced too much demand within its highest loyalty tier, Diamond Medallion. 

Bastian said that during the pandemic, the carrier had nearly double the number of customers achieving Diamond status. 

"It's gotten to the point, honestly, where we have so much demand for our premium product in services that are far in excess of our ability to serve it effectively in terms of our assets," he said. 

As a result, he said that Delta had to "figure out a way to make certain that we can continue to effectively serve those at the various tiers." 

The chief executive didn't offer any details on what those changes might be. However, he promised that customers will hear about those changes "over the next few weeks."

"Our team wanted to kind of rip the Band-Aid off and didn't want it to keep going through this every year with changes," he said. "I think we moved too fast. And so we're looking at it now."