Delta Air Lines Links Its Rewards Program to Lyft

Delta Air Lines customers can now earn award miles traveling by car, part of an agreement announced Wednesday with the car-sharing service Lyft.

The airline suggested that its fliers preferred Lyft over the much larger Uber, which has been engaged in public disputes with drivers and employees.

“We look at the culture and the value system,” said Sandeep Dube, Delta’s vice president of customer engagement and loyalty. Mr. Dube said the airline wanted a partner whose culture was “customer-focused and employee-centric.”

When Delta frequent fliers link their Lyft and SkyMiles accounts, they will earn one point for every dollar spent on all Lyft rides, not just those to the airport.


Delta is eager to win the loyalty of younger travelers, many of whom have a more casual and spontaneous approach to flying. And Lyft expects to tap into Delta’s more than one million SkyMiles members.

“Lyft is the fastest growing rideshare company in the U.S., said David Baga, the company’s chief business officer, “with a user base that aligns to one of Delta’s fastest growing customer groups.”

The agreement is the third partnership Delta has forged in the last year.

In June 2016, the airline began offering discount memberships in the identity verification service Clear, which speeds travelers through security using bio-metric identification like fingerprints and iris scans. Clear lanes are in place in 20 of Delta’s busiest airports.

“Our growth is up over 150 percent” over last year, said Caryn Seidman Becker, the chief executive of Clear. The increase by Delta’s customers “has exceeded ours and Delta’s expectation,” Ms. Seidman Becker said.

Delta also formed a partnership with Airbnb last fall, offering award miles for dollars spent on the home sharing site, when the stay is booked through a special page on Delta’s website.

“We looked at millennials and asked, ‘What kind of partnerships would you like? What brands do you love?’” Mr. Dube said. The airline concluded that affection for Airbnb was high among young travelers, a conclusion supported by an Airbnb-sponsored study showing that 60 percent of those who booked an Airbnb stay were between 18 and 35.



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