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Delta Air Lines will replace its SkyBonus program, which has long catered to small and midsize businesses, with SkyMiles for Business in October. By phasing out the SkyBonus program, Delta will more closely align its business program with SkyMiles rather than making it a stand-alone currency.
As part of the changes, Delta is opening up its small-business loyalty program to additional companies, with no minimum traveler or spending requirements. A Delta spokesperson said, “As businesses and their travelers continue to redefine the when, why and how of business travel, Delta is prepared to cater to their evolving needs — regardless of company size.”
However, you’ll still need to meet minimum thresholds to earn miles in the new program.
Here’s what we know about the new SkyMiles for Business program.
Delta SkyBonus to become SkyMiles for Business
The existing SkyBonus program rewards small businesses whose employees fly on Delta. The company earns SkyBonus points for eligible itineraries, while the travelers earn Delta SkyMiles, just as they would on a normal ticket. Those SkyBonus points can then be used for things like flight credits, a membership to the Delta Sky Club and eCredits.
However, in order to enroll, a company must have at least five unique employee travelers and spend at least $5,000 in eligible flight revenue every calendar year.
In October, the program is being renamed SkyMiles for Business, and it’ll open its doors to all companies, regardless of size and annual revenue. However, the ability to earn miles (rather than SkyBonus points) will still be restricted to companies meeting the above requirements.
It’ll also continue to offer rewards when employees book eligible flights on Air France, KLM, Virgin Atlantic and Aeromexico. And as a traveler, you’ll still earn your standard mileage accruals as a SkyMiles member — in addition to the rewards your company will earn in its SkyMiles for Business account.
If you currently have SkyBonus points in an existing account, those will be converted to SkyMiles when the new program launches in October. This will happen at a 3-to-1 ratio.
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Bear in mind that you can currently use SkyBonus points for Delta eCredits at a rate of 7,500 points per $25, which means they’re worth 0.33 cents apiece for this option. A 3-to-1 conversion ratio thus pegs the new miles at 1 cent apiece.
Related: The inside scoop on invite-only Delta 360 status
3 tiers of SkyMiles for Business
SkyMiles for Business will have three tiers when it launches in October. Here’s an overview:
- Member: Open to any business, with no minimum traveler or spending requirements
- Plus: Accounts with at least five employee travelers and $5,000 annual travel spending
- Elite: Accounts with at least five employee travelers and $300,000 annual travel spending
As noted previously, member accounts won’t be eligible to earn SkyMiles through the new program. Instead, here’s what a Delta spokesperson told TPG about this tier:
Accounts that belong to the SkyMiles for Business Member tier will receive tailored offers from Delta and third parties. Our goal is to be their partner in business travel, so Delta will also offer resources to allow companies to manage their travel program more efficiently.
For those organizations with Plus or Elite status, the new earning chart that Delta shared with TPG looks very similar to the current SkyBonus program, with lower accrual rates for flights to (or from) the following destinations:
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
- Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW)
- Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP)
- Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)
Here’s the full chart:
|Market||Delta One||First class||Delta Premium Select||Delta Comfort+||Main cabin|
|Delta hubs noted above||5 miles per dollar||5 miles per dollar||5 miles per dollar||2 miles per dollar||1 mile per dollar|
|All other destinations||10 miles per dollar||10 miles per dollar||10 miles per dollar||4 miles per dollar||2 miles per dollar|
Note that basic economy tickets will not be eligible to earn miles through the SkyMiles for Business program.
When it comes to redemption, a Delta spokesperson indicated that the new program will continue to allow redemptions for eCredits and Silver Medallion status, and individual Delta Sky Club membership will return as an option.
However, the SkyMiles for Business program will also allow companies to transfer business miles to individual employee accounts, a new feature.
Earn more miles with Delta business credit cards
Ahead of this transition, it’s worth noting that Delta’s small-business credit cards are featuring elevated welcome offers through Aug. 2. Here’s a look at these bonuses:
However, it appears that these business credit cards will remain separate from the SkyMiles for Business program.
Delta is phasing out the SkyBonus program and replacing it with SkyMiles for Business. While more businesses will be eligible for Delta’s business program, the current SkyBonus restriction — at least five employee travelers and $5,000 in annual spending — will remain in place for the purposes of earning miles.
Existing SkyBonus points will convert to SkyMiles at a 3-to-1 ratio, and the new program will offer similar redemption options but also enable companies to transfer the miles directly to individual employee accounts.
We’ve reached out to Delta with questions on these details, and we’ll be sure to update this article if we receive any additional information.