Delta Air Lines Q&A round 2 plus another $50 HYATT Gift Card giveaway!

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It is time for round two of Delta Q&A. I want you to first look over last month’s 40 Q&A as any repeats will NOT COUNT. Please post a question in the comments section below today by 7PM and tomorrow, Saturday, I will do my best to post the best ones in the blog with my answers.  ( I again may save some really good ones for a full day blog post so if you do not see your question that may be why but you still have a chance to win the gift card! ) 😉


NO MORE Questions for this round – check back tomorrow for the winner! – Rene


And to make this really fun and motivate you to ask a NEW Delta question, any new questions ( not just comments ) have a chance to win a Hyatt $50 gift card!

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  1. I’m trying to go to Hawaii for a week with my wife in May or June. She is pregnant with our first child, and we want to take a week to relax on the sand. We’re flying from the West Coast, and mile redemption seem absurdly high for business class or first, even on Saturdays and Tuesdays (I’m freakishly tall and she is pregnant and deserves to be pampered). How can I best stretch my miles to keep costs down and swankiness up (i.e, should I use points for hotels and pay for a flight instead of using miles- we have 300k miles because of the double double 75kCC bonus)? Any help is much appreciated.

  2. If I’m a medallion member and I fly on another Sky Team partner, do I get the bonus miles I would if I were flying on Delta? What other medallion benefits when flying on Delta do or do not apply when flying on the rest of Sky Team?

  3. Do you have any idea what’s the Delta policy on operational upgrades (op-ups) – I know status makes a world of difference, but how about time of check-in?

  4. Question about the DL Reserve. My renewal is in May. Can I then book the companion cert in June, and cancel the card and have the $450 prorated back to me? I’m picking up the Biz version instead.

  5. Will Delta ever expand the Medallion upgrades program to the Hawaii routes? If not, what’s the best route to try to mileage upgrade to Hawaii? What is the best time to request these upgrades (e.g., 30/60 days before departure)?

  6. I have Platinum Status with AA. [mid-tier] I might consider altering my travel plans to Delta if they offer either status matches or mileage challenges. What that said, does Delta offer either status matches or mileage challenges? If they do offer either of these, what’s the procedure for it?

  7. I have a RT reward coming up in AF IAD-CDG-MAD-TFN. At the time I only had the 60k miles so booked it in Economy. I have more miles now. Is it worth the 40k miles, plus $150, to fly in a business class seat? It’s really only the IAD-CDG leg that will be upgraded since intra-Europe biz is so bad. I’m a lowly silver so will have to pay the fee, but do have lounge access via plat AMEX. I know we’re supposed to get best value by booking business, but am having trouble deciding on this one. Your thoughts, please?

  8. Having made PM for the first time in a while, can you offer advise on how i can use my PM Systemwide Upgrade Certs to upgrade a DL marketed/AF operated flight from AF Premium Voyageur to Business class. Reading the T&C it looks like I can do this if my flight is booked in S/W class. What is the best method of determining when the AF flight has Business class upgrade seats available?

  9. Is there a way to do an award ticket to Maui via Honolulu from DFW (or possibly LAX) with dead leg/extended stop over’s in Honolulu? We plant to travel first class via AA on points and would love to spend some time on more than one island without having to mess with paying for island hoppers.

  10. What is the definitive word on whether the return leg of a Skymiles award ticket can be changed or not (72 hour rule)?

  11. Is it possible to SDC in the middle of an itinerary and have your luggage arrive with you? I tried this over xmas, as I had a very long layover in atl. I asked the sky club agent about doing an SDC to an earlier connecting flight and she responded i couldam change, but that my luggage could not be moved. This struck me as a bit strange.

  12. All things (mainly price/layover time/journey time) being roughly equal, which of Delta’s three main hubs (ATL/DTW/MSP) do you prefer connecting through? And of Delta’s minor hubs, are any to be avoided? Thanks

  13. What is the on-time service like for Delta in general? Do their flights usually take off on time/land on time? Are there a lot of cancellations?

  14. I am an American Express Delta Sky Miles Business Card Holder (the Principal Account holder) along with 4 members of my Church Staff. I also have the American Express Business Platinum Card. I get Sky Miles for every Purchase by every employee on the Delta Sky Miles Card. I have been a holder of both cards for over 10 years.

    I do not receive many invitations for incentives that are mentioned here in the blogs.

    When I try to register for them manually, I am told that I do not qualify or that they are by invitation only.

    I do sign up for everything I can when I go to or for promotions at such as mileage bonus (which you have to pay for).

    I have looked at other cards like the Delta Reserve Gold but I already get club access which is included in my Platinum Card which gets me into Delta Sky Clubs, other clubs, etc. when I travel plus Concierge Services for the $ 450 fee.

    How do you know which Delta/American Express card is really best for you and for mileage? I did manage to spend $ 50,000 on the Sky Miles Card in Business/Personal this last year and I did get to Platinum Medallion Level through spending and through travel.

  15. My son would like to go to Italy, he is in high school right now. The trip would have to take place sometime between January and March and would hopefully be in business class (next year). Who would offer the best service and products, Delta or one of it’s partners? Is it possible to go “the long way” there as well?

  16. The word is out that Delta has eyes over AMR (AA).

    How truthful are they, would a transaction like this get approval and what would br the impacts for FF of both companies?



  17. @Jimgotkp – way to soon to talk about. this chicken needs to cook more be even looked at IMO.

    @Miles Momma – yes, see Q3 Q&A similar info

    @Max M – yes, see Q20 Q&A

    @Mike – AA points are not Delta points (yet)

    @Mark – see above comment to Jimgotkp

    @Eddy – see Q13 Q&A booking low level seats

    @Sean – see Q21 Q&A

  18. Mine is more a philosophical question – why Delta? Why did you originally choose Delta as your airline of choice and why do you continue to stick with them? I live in a non-gateway city for any of the major legacy carriers and I’m always curious to know why certain FF are loyal to their airline and why I should consider doing the same.

  19. In my experience with some other airlines, notably United, when an in-flight travel disruption occurs (like the overhead seat light not working, or the IFE not working), it definitely pays to contact United HQ directly to complain about these issues. I usually get $200-250 in vouchers back as compensation. I typically write a letter on a piece of paper and physically mail it addressed to Jeff Smisek (their ceo).

    In your experience with Delta, what is the best way to handle these types of disruptions?

  20. Is there any thyme or reason for targeted promotions for challenges to elite levels? ie… are they targeted to their credit card holders?

  21. Just saw an announcement that SkyPriority benefits will now “officially” extend to all SkyTeam partners. I just made GM so haven’t yet experienced any benefits, but in your experience, how have other ST partners, primarily AF and KL, been so far honoring Elite+ and/or SkyPriority of DL elites?

  22. I see that you can sometimes pay for upgrades on delta. But which option holds better value? Paying for a ticket then pay for upgrade or just using miles for the better seat?

  23. If delta buys AA, in you honest option do you think the value of AA miles will decrease?

  24. Is there a flight from SAN to HNL or OGG that I should try to take to maximize the chance of an upgrade? I am only Silver status. Thanks.

  25. If I have to call DL to book an award ticket which is UNBOOKABLE on, is there any way to get around paying a telephone fee?

  26. @Danny, I like your question. We have almost hourly flights to ATL. So it’s easy to put all my eggs in the Delta basket (plus 500 MQM for a short hop).
    Ok, I have two questions. 1) Obviously status is important to a frequent biz traveler. But what about the travelers who only take a few family vacations a year? I made to PM this year, but I will have very little biz traveling this year. Wondering if it is worth to pursue any status next year. My Delta AMX plat gives me almost a SM without upgrades. 2) When booking a family trip (2 adults & 2 kids), shall I book all parties on one PNR, or on seperate ones so I can score an upgrade on my PNR. Can the latter one be a real pain during IROPS? I always used one PNR to keep the family together, but hated not being able to use my status for upgrade. 🙂

  27. Do you think Delta will actually buy American Air? If so, how would it affect the skymiles program?

  28. What do you do if you reserve a preferred seat (e.g. a bulkhead seat) at the time of booking, subsequently get upgraded to first class during the upgrade window, but then there is a last minute equipment change and you are reassigned to an unfavorable seat (e.g. middle seat with no recline)?

  29. Do you use any tools to help you find Delta award availability or cheap flights? Things like KVS or Expert Flyer or Flyer Talk?

    If so, do you have any tips for newbies trying to use them?

  30. What is the best way to book6(family of 6)low level award tickets SLC to MCO w/o breaking them up into smaller groups and risk not having enough low level awards

  31. I live in the Minneapolis area and Delta has essentially a monopoly up here. Do you have any idea if any airlines are looking to expand at MSP? I miss my $250 flights from NWA which are now $400+ on Delta.

  32. Does delta sell drink vouchers on their website or anywhere? My parents will be flying delta this spring and I would like to gift them some drink vouchers but do not have any currently.

  33. Is there a way to search for award availability on Skymiles partner GOL Airlines in Brazil? Have you heard of anyone successfully booking an award using/connecting to GOL?

  34. @ Cyndi – see Q8 Q&A
    @ Sandy – see my comment 19
    @ Mike – good question it counts but NO. DELTA=AMEX
    @ Lauren – see my comment 19

    Keep them coming everyone. There are so great ones above that I can not wait to answer. I may cut off the time by 30 min or so to make sure I get them all done by tomorrow.

  35. I love flying Delta – but as a Diamond the International upgrades are the worst. The annual upgrade certificates only work with much higher cost fares and in some case a straight business class ticket is less expensive.

    Is there any chance for this to be fixed?

  36. Can you post a blog on how companion upgrades work? [By the way, I am Platinum] It appear if companion is on same res she may get upgraded no earlier than 24 hrs before departure. How do you get that to happen or is it automatic? I understand for companion upgrades on different res we have to call in to identify the companion on the same flight and will not happen before 24 hrs too. Soo….in the rare flight that somehow someway there are still open first class seats (even the Silvers got upgraded!)…can we go up to the GA and nicely ask if we can upgrade a fellow passenger? I did this for a few army guys with NWA (oh how I missed ya) that it still makes me feel so good about it years later! I also did it for a cute blonde who proceeded to go on and on and on and on talking about…nothing. Lesson: Don’t just upgrade someone just for the looks. Stick to service people, they deserve it:-) Thank you!

  37. Is there a place on your blog or elsewhere that I can find a dictionary-of-sorts with all of the abbreviations used on travel blogs? I’m relatively new to this and often can’t decipher what’s being said! Help!

  38. How does Delta feel about mileage runs and do employees like assisting customers in planning them?

  39. I booked a reward flight for two people to Europe – arriving and department at different airports. I received a note from Delta saying that “there has been a change affecting one or more of your flights” and I “may be eligible to change your flights(s) by clicking the Change Flights link.” Can I use this change to cancel one of my reward tickets without penalty? If so, would I also be refunded the Economy Comfort fee?

    I ask b/c I changed my mind and actually want to pay for the flight and deposit the miles back into my account. I could use the MQMs + I have a double miles promotion.

    If it matters any, I’m a silver medallion.


  40. If I were to miss a flight on Code-Share Delta flight that is actually operated by Horizon/Alaska. Would I be best to contact Delta directly, or Alaska directly as to getting on to the next plane if possible, and what are the possible ramification in terms of fees?

  41. I have an upcoming flight to Kauai in a few weeks with my husband in coach. I have the delta gold credit card, is there any chance that we could at least score exit row seats if using the online check-in 24 hiurs in advance. We are very infrequent flyers so I don’t know the game well. We are both very tall and it would be nice to have a little more comfort on such long flights….MSP to LAX to LIH. Would have loved to get into the miles game sooner and grabbed first class, but not enough miles or money for that this time around. Any advice for optimum seats would be greatly appreciated.

  42. Extra Bag Problem. Why isn’t there better website integration between partner airlines Delta, KLM and Air France – and do you think it will ever improve?

    Three weeks ago I purchased a R/T economy ticket from SFO-AMS on the Delta website. The ticket issued with a DL flight number but was operated by KLM.

    I began checking in for the flight on but was then switched me over to the KLM website to complete the process.

    The problem is that neither website would allow me to Pay for an Extra Piece of Checked Baggage online. I called Delta and they said it couldn’t be done because it was a KLM operated flight. I then called KLM and they said it couldn’t be done because the ticket was issued with DL flight number.

    Annoying! I finally ended up paying for the extra bag at the Check-In counter.

  43. why does the DL award engine give me medium priced mileage award flights in business from YYZ-CDG-ATH at 100,000 apiece but JFK-ATH at 200,000? both are US/canada to Europe and both in biz class….

  44. I know that the award calendar is said to be broken, but recently have I have found that NO low level FC domestic awards price out correctly. Every one I check for any US domestic route prices as a medium award. (International awards seem OK). Do you know if there is a known bug in the system that DL is working on to fix this, or is DL simply not offering any low level domestic FC?

  45. I’m gonna try again :)Ok, I read the other blog posts about booking low level seats I think I understand the basics, but how about partners?
    I should have specified and phrased it better. Who offers the best product to Europe? Delta,Air France, KLM, Alitalia? Also what are the taxes like on the awards?

  46. On one of the boards (or maybe both) there was a conversation about a month ago about the refurbishing of the 747’s (I think it was the 747-sorry I am writing on the fly trying to get in under the deadline). Anyway, as certain planes were refurbed, their tail numbers were mentioned. How can you find out the tail number on your scheduled flight? This question was even asked on the board, but not answered. I tried Delta, flightaware, etc, but I could not figure it out.

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