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Delta launching SkyMiles partnership with Lyft


Delta Air Lines is launching a frequent flier program partnership with ride-hailing service Lyft, allowing travelers to earn miles for Lyft rides. 

Through the partnership starting Wednesday with Delta’s SkyMiles program, travelers can also get bonus miles for rides to and from the airport where Lyft operates. 

To earn the miles, Delta frequent fliers must link their Lyft account with their SkyMiles account through a website. The partnership allows SkyMiles members to earn 1 mile per dollar spent on Lyft rides and 3 miles per dollar spent on Lyft airport rides. New Lyft users who sign up through the Delta partnership can also get a $20 ride credit. 

The deal with Lyft comes after Delta struck a SkyMiles partnership with Airbnb and an alliance with Clear for expedited security screening

“Ride-sharing was an area we were clearly missing,” said Sandeep Dube, vice president of customer engagement and loyalty for Delta. He said customer research “indicated that our customers wanted us to partner in that space.” 

Other airlines have already partnered with ride-hailing giant Uber.

United Airlines in 2014 struck a partnership to offer Uber rides through United’s mobile app, and American Airlines last year struck a partnership to integrate a “Remind me to Uber” option for customers who book flights. 

Dube said Delta opted to strike an exclusive partnership with Lyft  because Lyft “could provide a lot more value back to our customers.”

While discussions on a partnership had started before recent news about problems Uber is facing and a #deleteUber campaign, “we obviously look at the cultural fit and Lyft is very customer-focused and very, very employee-centric,” Dube said. 

The Lyft partnership also comes as Delta CEO Ed Bastian seeks to focus on catering to millennials. 

“We have to appeal to the needs of a new generation,” Bastian said last year as he stepped into the CEO position, also noting that half of Delta’s employees will be millennials by the end of this decade. 

“There’s no other loyalty program that can cater to the needs of the millennials as much as SkyMiles with Airbnb, with Lyft, with Clear,” Dube said.

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