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Delta CEO: Airline ‘probably went too far’ with SkyMiles changes

By Marnie Hunter, CNN

(CNN) — Delta Air Lines “probably went too far” in overhauling its SkyMiles program and lounge access policy, CEO Ed Bastian said at an event this week, and changes are coming.

“There will be modifications that we will make, and you will hear about it sometime over the next few weeks,” Bastian said on Monday at a Rotary Club of Atlanta event.

New limits to Sky Club access for some American Express cardholders and a complete overhaul of how the airline awards elite status to its SkyMiles members were met with consternation by many Delta frequent flyers when they were rolled out earlier this month.

Among the implications for frequent flyers, the changes to earning Delta Medallion status drastically increased the annual spending requirements.

Bastian said Delta had received “a lot of feedback” about changes that he said were implemented to manage demand for premium products and services that currently is “far in excess of our ability to serve it effectively.”

He said the airline was trying to make certain that it could serve all of the loyalty tiers at the level that is expected.

“No question, we probably went too far in doing that,” Bastian said at the event Monday.

“Our team wanted to kind of rip the BandAid off and didn’t want to have to keep going through this every year with changes and nickel and diming and whatnot, and I think we moved too fast.”

The airline is still in the process of assessing what changes will be made, and Bastian didn’t offer any specifics. The changes announced earlier this month – and the coming modifications – are set to go into effect in 2025.

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