Delta Air Lines today confirmed that it will introduce reciprocity between its frequent flyer program and that of new partner LATAM. This means that Delta passengers flying with LATAM will receive their usual benefits, and LATAM passengers flying with Delta will also likely receive the benefits they usually get.
Change is in the air at LATAM following its partial acquisition by Delta Air Lines. The South American airline had been a member of the oneworld alliance, and as such offered reciprocity with other members. However, as the airline is leaving the alliance, this needs to change.
So, what is changing?
Both Delta Air Lines and LATAM today announced a tie-up of their frequent flier programs. However, the tie-up won’t just apply to benefits held by frequent fliers. According to LATAM, 30 million of its members will be able to start collecting and spending miles on Delta flights from the 1st of April, coincidentally the date that Royal Air Maroc officially joins the oneworld Alliance that LATAM is leaving.
The carriers are currently also working on the tie-up for lounge access benefits, something which should be accomplished in the first half of 2020.
Speaking of today’s news, Roberto Alvo, CEO of the LATAM Airlines Group said,
“Today, customers can already take advantage of industry-leading connectivity between North and South America, as we continue to advance on our path to creating the best passenger experience and route network on the continent.”
Meanwhile, Delta’s President of International, Steve Sear added,
“Together with LATAM, we are building an industry-leading and customer-focused partnership that connects North and South America like never before. With frequent flyer reciprocity and new codeshare flight options, we’re already beginning to deliver on this partnership for our customers, with much more to come.”
Why are the agreements necessary?
Delta and LATAM are tying up frequent flyer benefits as the American carrier purchased a 20% stake in the South American airline around the start of October last year. The deal that was signed between the two means that Delta will take some of LATAM’s Airbus A350s, four delivered aircraft, and 10 orders for the type.
Delta Air Lines will invest a cool $1.9 billion in its 20% stake of LATAM. The US airline says this works out at $16 a share. However, an additional amount of $350 million has been earmarked to assist the creation of a strategic partnership between the two airlines. Finally, Delta will get representation on LATAM’s board of directors.
What do you make of the latest announcement by LATAM and Delta? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!