Now the “art” of complaining for free Delta SkyMiles

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Delta is a big airline. I mean really big!  Thus, if they can simply give us some miles or DELTA money to “go away”,  they often will. So what exactly am I talking about? Well, what if something went wrong with your “travel experience” on DELTA? Guess what, you can expect to “enjoy” either miles or delta $$$. What do you mean something went wrong? Like what?

Lets say you taxi for 30 min in ATL, that happens all the time right, but the a/c on the flight does not work for some reason while you were on the ground. Getting sweaty before a long trip is not much fun is it. Or, the video does not work in your seat. Or, they run out of your meal of choice. Or, they scuff your bag via plane side check. Or, the bath room on the CRJ is a mess. Or, well you get the idea here.

So how does one complain the best way to be compensated with points or ETV’s? For me, the best way is simply “NOT” to complain. Wait – say what? No really, do it kinda like this(do not cut-n-paste please):

“I just wanted to drop a note to say how great everyone I interacted at with DELTA was on my last trip confirmation # xxxx. Also, you may want to alert maintenance to look at dlxxx as the cargo hold must be just covered in motor oil because it ended up all over my brand new leather computer bag I plane side checked. Now, most of it came off using the soap and towels in the DTW SKYCLUB, so I think I am OK. Many thanks for being such a great airline for me and my family whenever I choose to travel”!

I hope you see my point. Remember reps sit all day, somewhere, reading way too many long rants that they either just pass on or get sick of and cut-n-paste 1 of 100 stock go-away answers to you and you get nothing for your “issue” whatever it was . But we LOVE our airline. We want to make it a better airline. So, DELTA will reward us for the helping them if we use SHORT emails like this (most of the time anyway!).

Have a Comment or Complaint? – DELTA site

So next fight see how many free miles you get and let me know how it works out 🙂

….and so you all don’t complain about my blog, here are 2 more free drink/snack coupons for DELTA good until 31DEC2012 – just comment below(by 10PM EST) and I will randomly pick a winner and get them in the mail to you!


Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. It’s true. I got 15k miles when the IFE wasn’t working on a HND-DTW flight by sending a similar email.

    • deltagoldflyer Reply

      Great. Keep up the comments. This is what I am talking about – almost a free domestic ticket for a NICE email! well done – Rene

  2. Once again… great tip!!!! Going to post a positive COMMENT when I travel over the Holidays and see what type of response I get. Will keep you posted.

  3. You are spot on with this article. Nice is far more productive before the flight, during the flight and “complaining” later. Scored 25k plus a hotel and another 20k because they missed a meal ticket on the same cancellation.Didn’t complain, just thanked the gate agent via Twitter for the assist. Twitter, BTW, is a geat way to get help from @DeltaAssist.

    • deltagoldflyer Reply

      You are way ahead of me Bill I have a blog on that coming up Saturday so keep reading txs! – Rene

  4. Great tips. My girlfriend has made some complaints during her last few flights and succesfullly received miles and ETV’s.

  5. I to fly Delta/NW, not near as much as you but it’s good to have your helpful tips. Thanks.

  6. I’ve used this approach quite a few times. It just goes back to the old saying you can catch more flies with sugar than vinegar.

    Thanks so much for starting this blog!

  7. Point well taken!
    Actually, I got points for not even submitting anything on a flight that had a broken air conditioning issue and I was issued points for the inconvenience.
    THanks Delta!

  8. The insanity of Delta is that you could write to tell them a suggestion and even explicitly tell them multiple times that you DON’T want anything in return, that this is just a FYI, and they will still often send miles as a “sorry we screwed up” consolation! Just crazy!

  9. Yes I probably racked up over 100k this year on complaints, compliments etc. And I even have a fruit basket on it’s way.

    What is odd is that the day I had a really bad issue where I had two mechanicals cause a mis-connection to Europe and I had to overnight in Atlanta, miss a days meetings, re-route an entire trip… I got less comp than for example a three hour domestic delay. So not always with rhyme or reason.

    I do only complain about legitimate stuff like flights late etc but they are quite generous

  10. great tip. i’ve leveraged similar tactics to garner huge point credits/vouchers in the past.

  11. Thank you deltagoldflyer for your continued entertainment on this topic.I just want to bring to your attention that I try to only contact Delta with a complaint when there has been a real sense of loss of value because of the situation. Ex:if the computer bag was ruined, the had no more food at all when they got to serving my row, etc…. but always leave the letter off with a positive note because I too am thinking of how to brighten the persons day who needs to read all these letters.

    I look forward to reading more post from you and keep up the good work!

  12. Dont limit this thinking to just Delta. Most of the major airlines take similar stances. Giving free miles to customers for inconveniences costs the airline very little in real dollars and cents, but goes a long way to satiate a less than thrilled customer. After all, it’s all about “return business” for the airlines.

  13. Thanks for the reminder — I need to drop them a helpful hint note on in-seat radio (since there was no actual individual IFE) not working on my flight CDG-ATL three weeks ago…

  14. Awesome post, and something that I think people don’t realize or care to take the time to think about that often. I manage my company’s customer service team, and the tone ALWAYS make a difference in how we end up feeling in the end. The Delta reps are the same way–it’s supposed to be about helping each other out, not saying that they’re horrible people part of a horrible airline!

    New reader and loving your blog so far!

  15. Thinking back, I don’t think I’ve ever formally complained about anything — certainly not to Delta and I don’t think to NW before that. I have been lucky — in nearly 1.5 million BIS miles in the past 20+ years I’ve had a forced overnight exactly once.

  16. Just used that template to complain to Air Canada about not having a copy of the inflight magazine on my flight from ORD-YYZ… hope it works 😉

  17. I always wondered why you didnt have your own blog. You are doing a great job 🙂

  18. Really enjoy reading the new blog, keep it up! “Complaining” in a nice way does work. I hold status in hotels and have earned points when I point out unsatisfactory parts of my stays. I have flown the last few years for work and decided this year to switch to flying Delta and will hit status for the first time (on Delta) in early December, which I am looking forward too. Looking forward to future Delta posts.

  19. As a manager in the customer service field, I definitely agree that I work more with people who are friendly than those who start ranting about how awful everything inn life is.

  20. I like to send notes when they actually DO do a good job, as well. Thanks for the handy link.

  21. first, do your homework – because you need to know whether its weather-related, or otherwise. Even if weather-related, circumstances of airline fault may intervene. Having said that, never get on the phone pointing fingers. I generally am friendly, and will preface my conversation about how I am a loyal delta customer/fan. Then I’ll quietly put down the pom poms and explain what the problem was. I’ve gotten experienced enough at this so I can guess when I’ll get $50 compensation, or $75 etc. thanks!

  22. I got 15k miles this summer for a 3 hour mechanical delay coming from Europe. I was pretty glad that I filled out the complaint form.

  23. Thank you for the tip. That is really great advice, and I think I will try it for my trip that I recently took with Delta…in my own words of course! 🙂

  24. On a flight from ATL to LGA a couple months ago my seat would not stay upright, I called it perpetual recline, lol. I sent an email in and received $50 delta credit for the inconvenience.

    • deltagoldflyer Reply

      Thanks for the input. An thanks everyone for the comments. I hope we see the pattern here.

  25. Great tips! Makes me wish I had sent an email in August after several hour flight delay (no other airline had a delay for the same depart/arrival cities).

  26. True story…I was on a flight from ATL to TLH that was diverted due to fog and ended up landing in JAX–at 1:30 AM after our flight was already delayed. The story gets much better…but ultimately I walked away with 9500 Skymiles after a kind e-mail to Delta explaining my experience. Love that airline! 🙂

  27. Thanks for the tips. I’ve found customer service points in my account for compliments, not just complaints – no matter how well-worded.

  28. Louisa Tippens Reply

    Which card is best and easy to get if I have very low credit score? Any recommendation

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