Did e-mail last week from the new Delta Vice President of Customer Engagement & Loyalty make you giggle? What e-mail did you get?

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sandeep dube delta from linkedin

I have to say I overall had a good impression of Sandeep Dube when I met him at Atlanta. He was at just about all of the events including the Freddie Awards. He listened. Really listened. I respect that, but as with all things Delta actions speak much more than anything else.

intro letter to elites from sandeep dube - but is it true

The above was part one of the e-mail that Diamonds got. You may have gotten a slightly different one depending on your status level, but first let’s see what this one said.

part two of elite email from delta

The same info was basically repeated on the lower half of the e-mail. But is the marketing verbiage true or did it make you giggle? The reaction from a number of readers was “rolling eyes”. I get them, but it depends also where you are and how much you are willing to game Delta at their own game if you will. Let’s look at the main points:

true or fales

Most first class seats. On the “Truth-O-meter” this, at first glance, gets a “waah-waah-waaa” as we all clearly know Delta does not, domestically or otherwise, have a 1st class seat. Delta has OFCMB seats and none of them are a really 1st class seat. If they say “the most business class seats”, that would also be up for discussion as well. If you take a look at American that has 1st class, and business class and you add them all up, I am sure they will give Delta a run for their money. Now to be fair, I do like the new slim-line Delta business class seats (not everyone does). I like power in front of me and so on. Oh, and even Delta says they are harder to get this year (yeah we know). On to point two.

More time to upgrade. “Truth-O-meter” says NO as this also gets a bit of a failing grade largely because of FCM that is First Class Monetization. Had he said, “this year we will offer many less upgrades 6,5,3&1 days out so we have time to sell more seats cheaply as upgrades and you will likely see more gate upgrades than ever before in your history of flying with NWA/Delta” then I would agreed that it got an A+ on the “Truth-O-meter”. We must move…

More Miles earned. This ridiculous falsehood just makes me sick. No, Sandeep, most of top-tier elites are NOT getting more miles (just ask them – I do – they are truly upset). Everyone knows this is just a joke, and on top of that, even if it were remotely registering on the “Truth-O-meter” it would fall flat since we all know Delta has cut the redemption side for elites. If you do change things and do really reward elites with more miles (maybe like AA does right now). Next, how about fixing the hopelessly broken award page. Let me know when you get this done. 😉

Best in class lounge access. “Truth-O-meter” asks: what class are you comparing it to? If you are comparing it to Southwest, they don’t have lounges so you win. But compared to Centurion clubs you are not even in the same league. Now I know the Skyclubs are getting better so this one I think is the best part of the e-mail and the one closest to a pass of the above PR spin.

intro letter to non-elites from sandeep dube - but is it true

Now let’s move on to the e-mail that my wife, who as of right now holds no status with Delta (have not gifted her GOLD yet and may not), received and see how that one holds up to scrutiny.

part two of non-elite email from delta

Miles that don’t expire. Yes that one gets an A+ on the “Truth-O-meter”. It is good that we have lots of time to search for LEVEL 1 seats (See E7 & E21 posts for how to). We thank you Delta for this perk that just about no one else has. Well done. This is #KeepClimbing

More award seats. “Truth-O-meter” SUPER DUPER #FAIL and a monster “waah-waah-waaa”. How could they even send this to us. We know Delta is charging 2-3x what a ticket should cost and others in your management team are 100% fine with this. Oh sure 5,000 – 10,000 point one way awards are nice, but when they come with 750,000 point award tickets I say NO THANKS! This one just makes my skin crawl. If Delta is talking more coach award seats, again, no thanks, there are better ways to do that!

Easier to use miles. I guess this is sorta true depending on how you look at it. It IS MUCH EASIER with the “all new award booking page” to flush your SkyMiles down the drain at rates never ever seen before in history. But, I say, no thanks. I will stick to what works, that is, leg by leg and not use Delta.com to relive me of my SkyMiles at over inflated prices. How about you change the wording back on allowing mixed cabin awards and my miles WILL be easier to use.

More ways to use my miles. Shudder –  oh my – Shudder. You mean like THIS? Yeah, spending my SkyMiles this way is a sure fire way of getting even LESS value than ever before. Here is an idea, make it simple to find LEVEL 1 seats and you would not have to come up with all these other worthless ways of depleting our points.

Maybe giggle was not the right word for this post – maybe crying is a better word. Our new VP Sandeep is from a strongly bank and credit card background so one would think he understand the value of points. He needs to be reminded that loyalty = value and right now value is lacking on the SkyMiles side.

Bring back things like stopovers on award tickets. Offering more LEVEL 1 business class awards (and un-hide the award charts). Fix the award page so you don’t charge us 2 or 3 times what the price of a ticket should cost. Now those bullet points would be an e-mail I would forward to everyone I know and would blog for all the world to hear.- René

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  1. One quick addition- While we appreciate that miles don’t expire there is a technical correction. Please correct me if I’m wrong but they actually do expire at a very unfortunate time- the death of the primary account holder.

    This used to not be the case. I had an aunt who when my uncle died was able to use his remaining miles for important travel. Now, that would be stripped from her at the time of her husband’s funeral, right?

  2. Miles that don’t expire???

    That’s also a fail!!!

    When I expire, so do my miles as they can’t be gifted or moved. Another way to thank me for flying over a million miles on Delta jets.

  3. Amen. You nailed it. Lately, it feels like DL is trying to punish us, not reward us. I don’t understand why anyone would be loyal to a program which has such contempt for its customers.

  4. I had a good laugh when it hit my in box!
    He’s been with Delta 6 months, he’s already fully drinking the Kool Aide!
    You know the marketing team on Virginia ave. has a consistent message of obscuring the truth “enhanced Skymiles, better award availability…bla bla bla”
    He’s just another face beside Richard Anderson to spread the joy of their improvemts.
    Rene, you are so right in everything you forecast for Skymiles, this is part of the drumbeat from the marketing /management leadership…its sad but revenue based rewards are just amount he corner.

  5. Wow — I have been a Diamond Medallion as long as there have been DM’s and 2 Million Miler — almost halfway to 3 MM. I never received any of the emails. Maybe I have a letter coming in the mail.

    Ha Ha Ha! Keep Descending…….

  6. To paraphrase Dickens – Delta is the best of airlines, Delta is the worst of airlines. Delta is wisdom, Delta is foolishness, Delta is the epoch of belief, Delta is the epoch of incredulity,

    My wife and I are both Diamond, but we received no email

    Also, not quite correct that Miles do not expire. The Miles evaporate when you die (a change made not that long ago and was retroactive to all Miles, including those “earned” prior to the change). Unlike other “assets” that you can will to your heirs, Miles just go “poof.” I understand that the airlines are mixed on this – some still do allow the miles to be transferred at death (American?).

    The process to utilize Global Upgrade is seriously broken and is a major time waster for both the customer and the company reps. Last year I made over 30 calls and spent 3 hours plus NOT getting finding an upgrade. They would check, say nothing was released yet and to call back (which I – repeatedly). Recently, however, I made one call and spent 5 minutes getting an upgrade on a flight to Rome, with a return from London. Go figure.

  7. Hi Renee,

    When did these letters arrive? In snail mail and email or just email? I am a Diamond and will be next year. I did not receive any correspondence from anyone at Delta. I am very perplexed that even your wife got something and she is not a medallion. I checked with a couple of friends and relatives who are Gold and above and they did not receive any letters in email or snail mail either. Do you suppose they are picking and choosing who they are sending these to?

  8. Slightly off topic but same sort of Delta Dis-service. Back on 1/1/2015, my wife and I were flying intl. Flight attendant accidently dropped a fruit juice container on me during meal service and got me pretty good and wet. She felt bad so she said she would credit some skymiles to my account. I did not ask for this and in fact she continued service and almost forgot to even come back and talk to me until about 30 minutes prior to landing. She took my info and that was that. Well never saw anything after the flight and so just let it go.
    Today, over 6 months later, I get a Skymiles Bonus Voucher which references the flight. Never even seen such a thing before. So now I have 1 year this small set of Voucher Miles on an Award flight before they Expire.
    Is this new??? So a goodwill gesture of Skymiles now has extra steps required to use and also has an expiration date.

    I am not sure how this ends up being a gesture at all especially since of its 6 month delay.

  9. I think that you should write back to Sandeep with a personal letter/fax letter and share your email Deltapoints with him. I hit the reply button when my email came from Dandeep and asked how I could write to him. Never heard anything back so far. Thanks for keeping us in the loop on many of the Delta changes.

  10. Just shy of 2 million miles and been a member since inception – no letter or email here. But, I get a “how did we do” on your last flight every single time so I know somebody at delta knows how to contact me.

  11. I have to admit I actually searched my emails to see if I received an email like you describe … this was because I routinely delete all Delta emails because they usually contain crap and information about non-useful BS. Alas I did not receive the stated email … Now I need to check in for therapy due to being depressed about being duped by Delta. Thanks for looking out for us Rene.

  12. Just to echo some of the other Medallions, I’m PM and I received no correspondence from Delta.

  13. @RObert – Not sure just who got the e-mails or just who was targeted. There are strange times in Delta land let me tell you.

  14. I go the same email Rene and just laughed at the “best upgrade WINDOW..” line. What a farce that has become. The window is useless if it doesn’t open at all, or just gets barely opened at the gate for the lucky few loyal DL customers who have lost their upgrade to a $100 passenger on FCM. I truly wonder, does DL corporate not understand the resentment they’re generating with their best customer base, or do they honestly not care?

  15. I have been a Diamond every year since they started the program. My wife has been one every year but one (a few years ago). So we are both Diamond Medallion.

    Neither of us received the letter you mentioned.

  16. ​One of my pet peeves is when it seems people have to really put on a fake smile and talk to you like something that’s really, really bad isn’t really, really bad at all. This email was one of them.

    As you’ve pointed out, Rene, Delta employees still value the customers, but the execs and the company does not. They only value money, which–when you think about it–who can blame them, right? It’s the current environment we live in. Politicians let the execs and companies get away with it, so why not follow the flow?

    I just booked my first non-Delta flight in 15 years last week when we got a screaming deal on American Airlines. It was with a heavy heart that I did so, and I’m anxious about it. However, I’m very loyal to companies and products that respect me back, so when Delta started treating my loyalty as a low-ranked commodity, I started shopping elsewhere. I just finally go the nerves up to cash that switch in.

    I’m not sure what it will take for Sandeep and the rest of the muckymucks at Delta to realize they are devaluing and disrespecting their most loyal customers. I doubt reading comments from peons like me will help. Who are we kidding? They don’t read these comments. One can hope, though, that something resonates with them. And I thank you, Rene, for keeping a great blog that attempts to hold them accountable!

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