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Delta released its Q4 2022 report ahead of its earnings call today and there were some interesting nuggets to be found when reading beyond the press release. Here are a few that jumped out to me:
1. Business Bookings Recovering
Domestic Corporate sales (those tickets booked by corporate contracted customers) in the past quarter were 80% recovered to their 2019 levels. They also shared that a recent survey indicated that 96% of companies expect their travel will stay the same or increase this quarter.
2. Premium Product Revenue Continues to Grow
This should be no surprise to anyone trying for an upgrade. Premium revenue was up 13% in the last quarter versus 2019. This was 8% higher than main cabin revenue growth.
3. Consumer Demand Remains Strong
Whether this is the result of so-called “revenge travel” (traveling to make up for time lost during the pandemic) or is the new normal remains to be seen, but strong demand last quarter drove domestic total passenger revenue 7% higher versus the same quarter in 2019. International passenger revenue was up 5%.
4. American Express is a Profitable Partner
Delta generated $1.5 billion from its partnership with American Express last quarter and $5.5 billion for the full year. This was 40% higher than the same quarter in 2019 and exceeded Delta’s full year goal by $500 million. Co-branded card spend was up 45% compared to the same quarter in 2019 and more people got the cards than in 2019. This represents 1.2 million new cards, which is a record.
5. People Continue to Sign Up for Frequent Flyer Accounts
Delta added 8.5 million new SkyMiles® members in 2022. They reported that this was a record and it’s not surprising with the demand for travel seen in the leisure market last year.
Anthony’s Take: I’ve been flying Delta more in the past year and will continue to do so in 2023. Delta has positioned itself as more of a premium airline and passenger response is showing. The Sky Clubs® are nicely provisioned and seem to continue to improve. With recent measures to limit crowding from passengers and employees (see here for more details), this experience will become even better with less people lined up for entry and jockeying for seats. There is great value to be had from holding a co-branded credit card and if you fly Delta even somewhat regularly, one should be in your wallet.
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