At the end of last year there popped up a simply stunning Delta partner AeroMexico elite mileage run to Lima, Peru as well as a few other spots in South America. The net result of these runs, in cheap business class, will result in massive Delta points (SkyMiles and MQMs) as well as MQDs due to the fact that the price simply does not matter (key part) only the fare class / code as well as the distance flown (that is, a percentage of the distance flown counts when it comes to MQDs).
I myself booked 4 of these runs for my wife and I later this year and will be flying them to finish her “Diamond Quest” for 2018 (2019 Medallion year) having already flown and collected some 50,000 miles (MQMs) visiting places like California for a short cruise, Hawaii for some time in the sun, Grand Cayman also for a week as well as Europe for a bit. It has been a real whirlwind to start the year but a ton of fun. My Lisa will have gone from ZERO status to Diamond in less than half a year – impressive. All the points so far in the year we have collected that have posted have been almost instant due to being Delta flights (i.e. very few partner flights). But in a few months we have flights on Skyteam partner Aeromexico (AM).
So what, you ask? Well…
Even though Delta Corp owns a massive chunk of AM this does not mean everything works as well as Delta itself (in fact far from it). This is no exception when it comes to getting credit for your flights when you enter in your Delta SkyMiles number in your AM reservation.
Many prefer to book flights via an OTA (online travel agents / site) and that is just fine. Some sites have a field for your SkyMiles number at booking and some do not. Either way I would take the step to A) pull up the reservation on the partner website and maybe even B) call the partner and confirm with them that your SkyMiles number is, in fact, in the reservation (I did both myself with the AM flights). Then, lastly, go to the partner site and you can search for all your booked reservations by your Delta SkyMiles number and your last name. I have then taken the step to print the above as well as pulling each reservation individually and printing that (each to PDF to save paper, clearly). Why?
This means I have the original confirmation e-mail as well as lots of proof of the ticket (including the ticket number) plus the fare class etc. These are good 1st steps.
Wait – what – 1st steps you say? Really? What more should I do and why?
Some frequent flyers have already flown these runs and have had mega nightmares getting Delta to give them the credit that they are due per the published reward pages on Delta.com (it took a month for one I know).
OK so what are the steps we need to take to ensure credit? Well, Delta made the negative change recently that we only get Delta credit for the fare class at the time of flight with partners NOT the fare class you purchased (kinda sneaky right). Thus it becomes really important to make sure that A) your SkyMiles number is on your partner boarding pass (as well as the very critical fare class code) and that you B) keep your boarding pass after your flight. So here are some tips on that.
First do online check-in on the partner site and print a set of boarding passes to a PDF to keep. It may or may not have all the info you need. If anything is missing call the partner and again confirm all your Delta info is correctly listed in the reservation. Next, when you get to the airport, use the kiosk to print TWO copies of your boarding pass (yes I said 2 of them). Why? Well things can come up (think IROPS or whatever) where a rep takes / keeps / tears up your original boarding pass and you are in a bad way unless you were wise enough to print an extra copy at the kiosk when checking in. Lastly, if online or kiosk does not include all the VERY important info then go to the desk agent (or even the gate agent if necessary) and have them print what you need. You may even have to take the step of going to a Skyteam lounge to ensure you accomplish all of this.
Once all of this is done I have yet another step for you to make sure you get the all important points and MQD credit you were expecting and the point of the elite mileage run after all. In regards to Aeromexico, I have been told, that they have a very strange policy of archiving off tickets after as little as a week and that makes it all but impossible for Delta to pull that old ticket (if you can call 1 week old) and see that you did, yes, in fact, fly the flight and should get the credit due.
So, my personal suggestion is this: If you do not see credit to your Delta SkyMiles account within 3 days of landing after a partner flight then go about submitting copies of all your stuff to Delta and request missing mileage credit for the flights. You may even want to, before you submit all of this, call the elite line and start the ball rolling with them and then let them know you will follow up by submitting all the documentation of the reservation and the completed flights.
Other bits. Another reason for all of the above important steps is in case of IROPS. One reader had a partner flight delayed by the better part of 12 hours and that made the connecting flight impossible and thus was simply rerouted back to the starting airport. Even though the reader only took half of the flight’s full original route, credit was correctly provided by Delta since the issues were no fault of the passenger.
Bottom line I hope these tips help you in case you are wisely using partner flights (and my friend, Adam to help you book them) this year to avoid having to spend ¼ million on Delta Amex cards to fully reach MQD exempt status for the 2019 medallion year! – Rene
Update: In about 2 days full points (as a Diamond) have posted. Not bad results! 🙂