Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.
I have talked a lot about the mighty schedule change rule but if you take the time it can be even more valuable than you think. What do I mean? Let’s look at this in a rookie way today to improve your Delta mileage runs.
First, what is the rule? Go to the Essentials Tab and look at E8 post. The key issue is time. If you are inconvenienced 1+hr departing or arriving or a change that will result in a misconnect then you are heading into the MQM gold mine. What can you do next, just about anything you want (well almost anything anyway). Next let’s address some common questions:
Q) Do I have to try to get back to my original times?
A) No. Delta.com will “try” to rebook you this way, maybe direct or maybe with connections. Delta does not want you to cancel the ticket (you have that right) so as long as your request is not totally crazy you should be able to get what you want as we will see next.
Q) Can I add / remove legs?
A) You bet (there are limits)! Let’s say you booked MIA-ATL-LAX. Now you want to go MIA-ATL-DTW-LAX that is possible and you pick up 500 or so extra MQM’s. Sometimes you can run into issues if the original fare rules only allow certain connections or such but most times with schedule change a rep can override.
Q) Can I take longer flights that is say I was MIA-ATL-MSP-LAX change to MIA-ATL-JFK-LAX?
A) Yes (most times). You can see by the illustration above that this change will add nicely to your MQM totals. This could also bring down your CPM (that is cost per mile) quite a bit.
Q) Can I do a stopover now?
A) Maybe. A long layover along the way should be no problem but if you are set to arrive one day and now want to arrive say 2 days later, the rep may balk about the request. Keep in mind, you have been inconvenienced and just about any changes are on the table now so it is worth a try if you want this.
Q) Will I get credit for all these flights & new routes?
A) You bet. Unlike say a frequent flyer ticket where you get no miles, here you get credit for each mile flown or at a minimum 500. Do keep in mind if for some reason you are rebooked in say “Y” class you will NOT get bonus points on top. You will only earn the original fare class MQM’s for however far you do end up flying. If that happens to be 1st class then you will earn points accordingly.
Q) Can I change either my departure or arrival airports?
A) Maybe but most times NO. I have done this a few times, but I only have success when it is a massive schedule change like 3 or 4 hrs. If it is only say 1-ish hour you are unlikely to be able to get a rep to reissue to another airport closer to home. It is worth if it can save you a ton of driving (you can see all the Delta airports I have access to inside 3 hrs from home).
Q) Should I be coy with the rep of what I am doing?
A) Most times no. If you tell them I would much rather route this way if possible so I can pick up some extra miles! The rep will often sigh or giggle and say if that is what you want we can do that (and think you are a bit crazy – crazy like a fox IMO)!
Q) Is it better to call or use @DeltaAssist?
A) I would use @DeltaAssist or at least start there. It is so simple to do the work and just type what you want. No muss no fuss. If they say no you can have time to rethink and tweet again. If you don’t like their suggestions you can then still call.
Also keep in mind what you are asking for from the rep. Most “normal” people want to fly less not more. They want more direct flights not the crazy longer ones we are asking for. Most want to get there as close to the time they had before. We are talking mileage run where the journey is the goal so when we get to wherever just does not matter to us.
Lastly your status can help you here. I have found reps much more willing to do crazy change requests for me as a PM or DM compared to a FO or GM. Either way you can see what a potential gold mine we have open to us if we are smart and put in the “pick & hammer” time to get the ore out of the mine. This all works. For example, I recently had a change to my ORD-SJC run and I changed from ORD-ATL-LAX-SJC to ORD-ATL-MSP-LAX-SJC adding about 500 MQMs to this already amazing run 🙂
I am on a mileage run today and plan to have GoGo so if you have more questions – fire away and I will try to answer them. – René
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