Delta again “Loves-ish” AA, MEGA Medallion Global and Regional cert changes, Select Choice Benefits now or lose them? Plus more Delta news!

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Welcome back AA. We missed you (for IROPS)!

Why not exit January 2018 with a flurry of stunning bits of news and changes, shall we. One of the biggest ones is walking back, a little, the arrogance of the former CEO Richard Anderson when he chose only to “interline” with airlines that paid MORE than Delta would pay to carry other airlines passengers. United, being United, caved like a wet towel and agreed. AA said go pound sand. Well, after meltdown after meltdown over the years Delta has tucked its tail between its legs (it would seem) and is again, only under irregular operations, going to 1:1 put you and I on AA flights if Deltas jets are not up in the air.

All the details on this are not yet out and it seems like this will not be as good a deal for you and me compared to the UA one. That is, if just YOU have an issue don’t expect to be able to talk a Delta rep into putting you onto a AA jet to get you from A-B. I could be wrong on this but time will tell. My gut tells me if you are a Delta360 or a Diamond you may have more pull to get this done. But if your entire jet goes mechanical then I expect more flexibility. Give this one more time to see exactly what has been put in place.

Lot’s of sweet updates!

The next one really is a MEGA WoW event (even if other bloggers don’t see this as mega). In the past GU and RU (Global and Regional upgrade) certs were only able to be used if both YOU and your +1 both burned one and both on the same reservation or PNR. All those rules are now out the window. You can even simply “link” reservations and use certs. Heck, you can even use them with PWM or pay with miles tickets and even, get this, with Amex BOGO certs (but then you must use 2 certs – one for each of you).

Folks, that really changes things. There can be times that you can work these new rules with amazing results. For example, if your company pays for you to fly biz and you wife / +1 joins you and you pay for their coach ticket. Then you link the reservations and use a GU or RU for them to hopefully get them up front with you. I could go on and on with so many examples but this is a sweet amazing change. Now as many have pointed out the amount of GU and RU space has NOT changed nor the ability for us to simply search what flights have GU and RU space so the fight to use these is just as hard as ever – I get that!

It is simple to see what you have spent on Delta.com

As a quick reminder you only have a few more days to spend your 2017 Choice Benefit (CB). Please, before you go clicking on stuff, understand what the 2017 medallion year CBs are. They are the ones you earned in 2016 for the 2017 medallion year that ends on 1FEB 2018. If you earned your status in 2017 for this year 2018 you have just over 1 year to spend those. You only have to “rush” for the older ones. You can log on to Delta.com and see just what year CB s you have spent (both Platinum and Diamond – Diamond get both fyi each year). Lastly, if you are spending the 2017 year CBs do not gift someone status as they will ONLY have the gifted status for a few days as it ends on 1FEB18. Oh, and if you do choose GU or RU certs and drop to a much lower status you can still use them for 1 year (even if you drop to no status at all). Questions on this, fire away below.

From Bloomberg energy site 1/25/18

I have to touch on $DAL (the stock). I never ever buy or sell any airlines stock as a disclaimer but if you own any airline stock, including Delta, you should be paying attention to the price of oil north of $70 per barrel. If it hits $80+ it will be bad – really bad. Don’t expect that just because Delta has an oil refinery that all is roses in that business and that there will be big savings to pass on to Delta. Oh and I think the glory days of mega income from Amex is over with the constant devaluation of SkyMiles as well as the fare wars that keep heating up. As for myself I have already this year flown 22 segments on Delta and my price per segment is down about 10% over last year’s average (yes I am very frugal but still).

If you like the MSP Escape lounge and hold the non-Delta Amex Platinum personal or business card you have a chance to vote for them on the annual USA today top 10 list. I think any number of other lounges should have been on this list but I am a fan of the escape lounge and will vote once a day for them to win.

Why should we care if ugly United is resurrecting old CRJ200s from the Arizona dessert to fly again (more)? Folks, Delta may never get the CS100/300s due to Boeing  (EDIT: Then again, WAHOOO) and the real threat exists that Delta may, in trying to compete with UA and AA, also either bring back more CRJ200s or fly the existing ones much longer. I just hope the ever increasing pilot shortage keeps these horrid jets rusting in the sand where they belong.

Well can you believe the new Medallion year begins on Thursday? Will you end up higher or lower in the elite ranks? Are you going for higher or lower status this year? Also any other Delta news I missed? Be sure and leave a comment below! – René

 

 

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20 comments

  1. Nothing changes on RU/GU if they continue to make no inventory available. And it’s a total jerk move for DL to wait until most people already selected their 2018 benefits (based on prior experiences) to announce this.

  2. Rene, I noticed in the Choice Benefits conditions that “Centurion Card Members who are awarded complimentary Platinum Medallion Status…” This is news to me. Can you elaborate? I am thinking that if DM gets beyond reach with the “quarter million with cheese” system for 2019, the Centurion Card complimentary PM may be better than paying fees on Delta Reserve and Platinum AMEX cards.

  3. @Glenn – Yep you get free PM status with the Centurion. Keep in mind you must be invited, there are mega fees ($2500 year) and PM is nothing link Diamond. Also keep in mind it is just the status you get NOT the MQMs or MQDs so if you want to go for Diamond you must do it the hard way.

  4. What a terrible move on Delta’s part. They cannot accommodate the current upgrades…so lets make more people eligible (knowing it will be so hard to use) What a slap in the face since I am 0/4 attempts. American is by far the easiest and UA is in the middle. DL is a joke

  5. With Centurion PM do you get a Choice Benefit? If so, you select the $200 Delta voucher which knocks down the fee to $2,300.

  6. And with Centurion you save the $450 Amex Reserve fee so Centurion is now $2,500-$650 is $1,850 for Platinum.

  7. Using the partner strategy, I will achieve DM earlier than ever with about $4K in actual spend, with about two-thirds coming from my employer. I have even been able to shift some of my spend away from SkyTeam, and just got a great deal on business class travel with Turkish Airlines. I wonder how much “herd thinning” will actually occur?

    I did not know we could get PM status from Centuian. That seems like a good option for anyone that retires from a job with a ton of Skymiles. The RUCs are probably worth $1600 for upgrades to domestic D1, and somebody trying to maximize Skymiles can save a lot on waived redeposit fees.

  8. Regarding CB with Centurion, the Delta CB T&C state that you “must fly a minimum of 8 Delta marketed and operated flight segments to be eligible for CB.”

  9. Rene,
    I’m with you on the 200s. Can’t stand those jets but I’m afraid we are doomed to continue to ride in them – especially since they won’t ever rust away…

  10. Rene, question re new Sky Club choice benefits. Currently, Executive Membership allows member to bring, “Two [guests], or spouse or domestic partner and children under 21.” Do you know if that will be the case for the Guest Pass benefit? I would love to save a benefit by using the Guest Pass benefit with Delta Reserve, but might not make sense if I need to pay $29 each time for more than one child.

  11. @Lee – Guest pass is for you, the card holder, plus 2 more. That is it. If you have more than 2 guests then maybe better to choose Executive Membership some way (I did via 25k points as my choice then spent 23k to UG my Individual membership). If neither of those work maybe get the non-Delta Amex Platinum personal card that lets you add 3 add-ons (each gets in on their card) for one fee.

  12. Is there a website that makes it easier to look at partner flights to maximize MQMs and MQDs? I’m kicking myself that I didn’t snap up the Santiago Aeromexico business class option but just wasn’t ready to jump in at that point.

  13. @KatthyB – Not really. You can use this one to look at base MQMs but after that you must look at Delta.com for the partner fare class earnings charts to get the real net MQMs and MQDs.

  14. Rene,

    Can you detail out better what you told Lee about the Executive Membership path? Did you do this all on points?

  15. @Dave or @Rene, can you point me to the “Partner Strategy” details? Do you have a write up I can review?

  16. @Meg & @Jennifer,

    In my situation, I need to take a few long haul business trips every year. My employer will pay for business class, but I am expected to find a deeply discounted fare.

    Take a look at Delta’s partner charts. For the places I need to go, KLM, Air France, Virgin Atlantic, and China Eastern are all good candidates that provide a 40% conversion of miles to MQDs.

    Personally, I like the Google flight search tool because I can select the airlines that provide the best MQD conversions, and then I can select the days with the lowest prices, and then Google also tells you where you can get the deal. I still need to book the flights using my corporate travel portal (which uses AMEX Travel), but I can usually get the deal I find from Google through AMEX.

    So as an example, today you can find SFO-to-Delhi for $3443 in Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class cabin. That trip will earn $7624 MQDs and 28,590 MQMs, so the trip earns more than half of the 15000 MQD spend needed for DM status. Had I booked a similar trip with Delta, I would have ended up with less than half the MQDs.

    If you are doing this on your own dime and you do not want to spend hours trying to optimize things, Adam sounds like a great option.

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