Gary, from A View From The Wing, got as much of a corporate answer from Delta as we will get until the news comes out about the changes to the Delta Amex MQD waver that my sources tell me are currently planned to roll out over the next few months. That is, Delta did NOT deny that changes are on the way. That is what they have traditionally done in the past when information has been either inaccurate or confused – but not in this case. The same type response was given to a reader who complained directly to the Delta VPs and was given a non-deny it will happen (sooner or later).
But I wanted to consider all the “what if’s” when this does happen and what impact it will likely have on the situation onboard.
First off, for all those who have “puffed out their chests” and smiled (since they have $15,000 in MQD spend each year) you may not be as happy as you think. Keep in mind Delta wants 20×2020 – that is, only 20% of 1st class seats to remain for upgrades by the year 2020. We also know they will be pushing for more and more 1st class upsells as they “…remain in the early stages of marking the value of segmentation“. So consider this:
Say someone in 2019 becomes an “X-DM” now a Platinum due to the AMEX Diamond waiver changes. In the past you likely would risk it and hope for a “free” upgrade and say “ah well” when you end up stuck back in coach. Now that you are PM you will be much more likely to consider the paid upgrade option if the price is right. So, sorry high value BIS mega spending DM, you did not get your upgrade as it was purchased by a former Diamond who would have been back in coach last year (doh – did not think of that)!
Or here is another one. In the past, as a Diamond, the flyer may have maybe picked 20,000 SkyMiles as the Platinum Choice Benefit (yes, Diamonds get BOTH a Platinum and Diamond choice). But now, as “just” a PM flyer, they will always pick the RU certs or regional upgrade certs as their PM choice. Then, and you guessed it, by applying the RU cert they will clear the upgrade before the BIS “thin the herd” DM will and again the DM will miss the UG that they would have likely got the year before (ooopsseee).
Yet another one we have, and this is being publicly stated by all the top brass at Delta, that they want everyone to burn their miles for anything with Delta just like cash. This too could drive more and more X-DMs to burn miles for upgrades and the result yet again for the remaining HVC DMs is less and less upgrades than the year before (darn you Delta).
I hope you clearly see “thinning the herd” sounds great when thought about in isolation, but in reality maybe not so fast. The real results, if and when Delta makes this change, may be more income for $DAL but it may mean even more upset what some are calling “true Diamonds” who get even less of what they expected to see more of due to the rosy PR from Delta about this change.
What do you think? Do you think that the change to not allow Delta Amex MQD waiver to Diamond Medallion will mean more or less upgrades for the remaining HVC DMs? – René