I fly a lot.
And flying a lot means that I get benefits and privileges which help to make my constant flying suck less. I've laid it all out here before but, in summary, it involves things like First Class upgrades, early boarding, free luggage allowances, etc. etc.
For as long as I've been flying, these perks have been earned by flying a certain number of miles within a airline partner program. For example, to earn "Platinum" status with the Delta SkyMiles program, I have to fly 75,000 miles. That's pretty easy for me to do, because I can add up the miles from Delta, Alaska Air, Korean Air, Air France, or any other SkyMiles partner airline.
But all this changes in 2014.
In order to qualify for Platinum status with Delta I not only have to fly 7,500 miles, but I ALSO have to spend $7,500 on Delta flights that are in my name as shown on the following chart...
Which means none of the money spent on Alaska Air, Korean Air, Air France, or other partner airlines means shit (well, unless they are Delta-coded flights, and most of the ones I fly are not).
The upshot of all this is that I'm fucked.
I don't spend $7,500 on Delta flights because Seattle isn't a very big Delta direct-flight hub, which means I will be lucky to make Gold status in 2014.
UPDATE: After complaining about the "Million Miler" changes (which I talk about below) to a Delta rep, I was told that the $2,500 does not apply to Million Miler Silver status, and I would enjoy Silver benefits no matter how much (how little?) I would spend. I sincerely hope this is true, as it really is the right thing to do... but the below information was posted to a frequent flier forum after another SkyMiles flier had asked a Delta rep, so I dunno which is true. I guess we find out in 2014.
But the bigger problem for me is when I reach Million Miler status... probably in 2015. Once I fly a million SkyMiles, I get permanent Silver status, which I was looking forward to using in my later years when I'm not flying as much. But now that permanent Silver status ain't worth shit unless I spend $2,500 each year. And that probably won't be happening when I've retired and am living on a fixed income.
Which means the goal I've been working towards for decades is now practically useless.
Over the years I've flown with Delta even when other airlines were cheaper because I thought I would be rewarded for my loyalty down the line. My million mile payday. But companies just don't give a fuck about their customers any more. The only thing they give a shit about is how much money they can squeeze out of you right now. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that Delta screwed me... that's all companies do any more.
Now we get to sit back and wait for all the other airlines to follow suit.
They are, after all, companies too.