Why I think Delta Elite Medallions will see MORE 1st class upgrades in 2017 vs. 2016!

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renespoints-twitter-follower-matt-at-matbfive-talks-about-basic-e-fares

OUCH! One less Medallion fighting for my upgrade 😉

If you scan the blogosphere over the past few days you will find post after post about bloggers giving up on status this year. They are saying it is just no longer worth it. They say the rewards no longer motivate them to push for “whatever” status they once held because the most important reason for status – 1st class upgrades – is becoming all but impossible to score. This is music to my ears!

20-percent-of-renespoints-elites-gave-up-on-status-for-2017

Sorry, but me “likeeeee” this number.

And it is not just bloggers who are giving up on Delta status. Take a look a the results from a reader poll I did last month and the fact that 20% of readers said they are giving up on Medallion status for 2017. Great news for me and you. What else is good news?

flyertalk-price-going-up

SHOCKING – #SaidNoOneEver

Notice at the top of the post @RenesPoints follower on twitter @MattBfive who is going to be one of those who will be “forced” to buy the evil E BASIC fares more and more during 2017. We know Delta is expanding these fares everywhere this year and not just in certain markets as in the past. Make no bones about it, these fares are not to compete against the low cost other airlines and we have seen folks who track fares on FlyerTalk gripe that E BASIC fares now in place even cost MORE than the lowest no E BASIC fares were before. Again, I love this (for me not for them).

I have never ever purchased (to date) an E BASIC fare. I do not plan to unless it is a very short say 1-ish hour flight where I don’t care about being stuck in coach with ZERO shot at an upgrade. But thanks to many companies forcing their employees to buy the cheapest ticket offered (sorry Matt) there will be less and less top Medallion elites fighting for BOTH the best C+ “upgrade” seats as well as the real prize, the complimentary 1st class upgrades we really want.

Now I am under no illusion that Delta still has the goal to push 1st class cheap sales to record levels this year but I think 2017 is really going to be an interesting year. The mix between those giving up on status, those who truly do buy upgrades, those who are stuck in E BASIC fares and finally the new rules for Medallion upgrades all will have a net positive impact on my upgrade percentage after 1FEB17 and this is on top of my very good year last year where I only missed a handful of upgrades to begin with (then again I know how to help myself score more than most including holding a Delta AMEX Reserve card and spending 25k on it).

Bottom line – I am expecting a very good year as a Delta elite. You? – René

 

 

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13 comments

  1. Maybe on domestic, but global upgrades are still hard to lock down at the time of booking. I have had more luck getting seats on the older 737, but less on the newer Airbus metal. Throw us the crumbs!

    The tone of your post is, ‘One man’s loss is another man’s gain. ‘

    Sorry I don’t share your excitement in “our” benefit while we see so many other fellow travelers going down the tubes.

  2. @Dale – There are always trade-offs and only so many seats on any jet. Delta is changing the “game board” and some will benefit and some will loose out. Yes it is sad for some (and I point that out) but good for others (yeah me)! Lastly, again as I point out, there are ways MANY can help their chances to score more upgrades than they have for a very long time now. I will be “checking” all of those boxes!

  3. Was this your New Year wish? 🙂 I hope you are right. As a PM I was upgraded less than 20% of the times I flew last year.

  4. I’m looking forward to lots of upgrades in 2017. Any way you slice it flying on Delta is an upgrade. Their people are the best!

  5. Rene, Don’t forget that companions traveling with Diamonds on same PNR will now upgrade based on the Diamond pax status, rather than drag the Diamond down to their level. My take on this is that I no longer have to gift Gold to my wife (and take the $200 credit instead), because she will be equally eligible for upgrade as me when we travel together. This could reduce upgrade seat availability for others.

  6. We noticed for tge first time ever Basic E fares have invaded the Pacific NorthWest (PNW.)

    Surely these fares will stick around to combat the new West Coast Battle to ensue; especially in light of Alaska’s takeover of Virgin America.

    But that strategy could backfire after ‘one taste’ for many passengers who might opt ‘next time’ to choose Alaska (the more passenger & Elite friendky airline.)

    Will Delta up their Medallion game this year to woo back lost loyals?

    Don’t bet on it….

    In two cheap ticket Mileage Runs with AS we’ll get 60,000+ redeemable miles and MVP status. 2 more woukd be MVP Gold.

    “Friends don’t let friends fly Basic Economy”

  7. I agree with Santastico – the upgrade situation could not get worse. I’m PM and not only was I upgraded only about 20% of the time, I was WAYYYY down the upgrade list (12 or lower) the other 80%..

  8. It definitely depends on your base airport and your traveled routes. AND #teamboardlast 🙂
    I’m PM and even though I haven’t kept track of my UG I know it was more than 20%. My base is NYC. The only route I have issues with an UG is to PBI because it is such a high revenue route.

    The +1 variable will be interesting but most DMs are traveling for work (my guess) so the times they travel with a +1 are a few times a year – I can’t think it can be that implactful. I’m flying with my +1 for the first time under these rules in 2 weeks. It should be interesting.

  9. It definitely depends on your base airport and your traveled routes. AND #teamboardlast 🙂
    I’m PM and even though I haven’t kept track of my UG I know it was more than 20%. My base is NYC. The only route I have issues with an UG is to PBI because it is such a high revenue route.

    The +1 variable will be interesting but most DMs are traveling for work (my guess) so the times they travel with a +1 are a few times a year – I can’t think it can be that impactful. I’m flying with my +1 for the first time under these rules in 2 weeks. It should be interesting.

  10. Look. The upgrade game of chicken has always depended on airports and routes. I almost never expect an upgrade out of Atlanta, except to the Caribbean or random, far-flung outposts like Flint. As a diamond in 2016, I flew 160,000 miles or 60 segments. I only missed upgrades on New York J.F.K.-Cleveland, Atlanta-Washington Reagan, and Los Angeles-Detroit. I was upgraded on every other domestic segment. Also, I’m increasingly buying domestic first-class outright because sometimes it’s cheaper or barely more expensive.

  11. I switched to AA back when Delta lost it’s mind and started this whole new MQD thing (which everyone else followed eventually)

    I still have no desire to go back to Delta. In my last two years as a Diamond I got upgraded roughly 3 times each year. I also was unable to use the Systemwide upgrades even once.

    On AA as ExecPlat I get upgraded nearly every time. Even better, I’ve gotten to use the Systemwide upgrades.

    Only downside? Out of Atlanta I need to make a connection. (Usually through DFW or ORD, but sometimes LAX) Upside: New connection points to Asia! (HKG) (Also I need a partner to get into Manila, but I can use JAL or CX, so no complaints)

    The whole domestic industry is a mess. But overall I’m happy I switched. (At least I can get upgraded!)

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