Could you complain for 100,000 Skymiles? One reader’s thoughts on poor Delta customer service!

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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.

I get tons of email every day. Most of them are just fun requests for this or that and I love to help and do what I can. Every once in a while I get an email that resonates. Do you know the significances of August 15th in Delta Air Lines history? I have a BIG post about it on the way that day. Until then, I want you to take the time to read this email from a reader who is called “Bob”. Here we go:

Hi René,

Thanks so much for the hard work on your blog, it’s been really helpful to me and I have found many ways to put it to use. I have to share a story where you taught me something and how I learned a few other tips in the process.

Back in early July I had to cancel my girlfriend’s portion of a trip to Europe (due to a business emergency) which was a 100K biz class award ticket 48 hours to go before the flight. I am a Platinum Medallion with over 1+M lifetime BIS miles on Delta, so I called and made my case and the best they offered was a “one time” deferral, but gave me only 6 months to use the miles, and it had to be in her name. The offer was not that good to me, so I refused it to save the favor for a later date.

It did put me on the warpath, I have been pushing Delta hard on customer service since then since I was so upset, and it’s had some interesting results.

My goal is to make back the 100K that Delta should have given me for being a loyal customer for over two decades.

1) IFE problem for me back from Europe, I got a 15K voucher in flight (The options were $100, $300 in delta dollars, and 5K and 15K in miles), the miles have not posted yet, but I got a good look at the hand unit screen and thought you would find it interesting for future reference.

2) The IFE miles did not post, I called back and the agent gave me 20K on the phone real time

3) I had a short-catered flight on a paid biz class ticket from here to there and back to ATL with crappy meal choice left, I got 5,500 miles

4) Today I got bounced out of an Aisle in economy comfort due to an aircraft swap. After some pushing, the agent gave me 5K miles

After today back about 30K miles and a few nice reps along the way, I am ready to call it even with Delta. But wanted to share my story in case it would be of any help to you. My only other comment, I was a Diamond before, and I would bet 50K miles they would have put the miles back in my account no questions asked.

PS – I got another 5k miles for a flight with 6 hour delay last month too. We took off an hour late. Had an engine fail 15 minutes after takeoff and had to do an airplane swap. That was then followed by a thunderstorm delay. Lastly, The seat that bounced me to an economy comfort window had gum that stuck to my pants. I just got another 5k from the gate agent.

Yours – Bob

Thank you so much Bob for sharing this with us all at Delta Points and if my math is right you are 40k into the 100k goal. Those of us who fly all the time with our airline should be treated with respect. Even those who, like me, earn status with credit cards and mileage runs. I  do EARN my Platinum Medallion status per the rules. Bob should not have had to have this mental “shift” in interacting with Delta. Now, sure, he maybe should have played “rep roulette” to get a better answer (I would have) but he should not have to. What do you think. Do you side with Delta on this one or Bob. Is it right his complaining his way to 100K? Let Bob and all of us know! – René

PS – you still have time to win the Delta Points luggage tags to be given away later today!


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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.

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. Can you provide DETAILS on all the different ways to get them pesos?

    How do you get them on board? Do you ask “this is not working,give me some miles please?”. And if they do it w/ the hand held thing, do the miles post automatically or do you have to track them down or is there a code u enter online to get the miles?

    How about from the gate agent?

    I know about the email route and have used it. But I have never done it on board!

    You left way too early in Ann Arbor before I cornered you for good to spill the beans, err, pesos:-)

  2. Not how one should operate. They most likely have a file on him tracking his pattern complaints. He will be blacklisted soon.

  3. Bob definitely has the right idea. This is another situation where Delta Points acts more like a rep of Delta than an advocate of travelers.

    What is the root of the problem? Delta’s lack of flexibility with award tickets within 72 hours. His situation warranted a refund, and delta chose not to.

    Delta already has horrible redemption rates.

    Way to go Bob! Get your points back! Then burn them before Delta switches to the revenue system and the whole thing is a waste of time.

  4. Hi Rene
    I had a GREAT phone call with DL medallion desk…. I’m meeting my bf in Vegas in late sept and we got Tkts to see rod Stewart on the day of my arrival – cutting timing close … I figured I would arrive at JFK at 5:00 am that day to try to leave earlier when I remembered The Airline CHANGE concept. This , prompted me to call DL
    And my flight was changed without cost to an earlier NS flight!!!!!
    so, no stressing at 5:00 am and
    I LOVE Delta and YOUR blog is the BEST
    And I’d sure love one of your new tags 🙂

  5. Sad in many ways, first that for an elite Delta does not cancel and refund miles, second, you have to beg for all these points, and so many inconveniences.

  6. If anyone has similar success with getting miles + cash for significant problems while flying with other American legacy carriers like United, AA or US Airways, please share. Thanks.

  7. It’s hard to say. I might have told the initial agent that I’d think about it and call back hoping for a different answer but the agent might have put some notes in the account, depending on how the call went.

    You (and he) earned PM through the rules, but the 72 hour rule, unfortunately, is also in the rules. Are all rules created equally?

    Some people also say that Delta tracks frequent complainers so another question is if it’s worth it to complain too much over relatively minor issues.

  8. Bob has done better than myself.

    Delta delayed my luggage on a domestic trip for 5 days and I got nothing – even after logging a complaint all I got were 2 form letter responses and I am a Platinum.

    I choose to respond with my wallet and my international trip this week is on United.

  9. Made it to ATL to find a biz trip cancelled. “No sweat, will just eat the flight for a return back to my domicile”. EIGHT HOURS, gate agent and central call center errors later, made it home. Forced the issue each of three times there was a foul-up… Waived change fee first call, waived fare increase second call, $500 voucher third call…stay calm, have your facts in a row, identify it is not the agent but the carrier policies or other individual actions…we like our airline, just not necessarily how they treat those that keep the lights on, for them, to make the real profit off the casual flier…Keep up the good work, Renee

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  11. Thanks for explaining something to me that no one else could. Looked at my account this month and I had a mysterious deposit of 3700 “CUSTOMER RELATIONS BONUS MILES”. I flew Dl 3x in December and had no delays. Just now reading this post it dawned on me that I had sent am email to customer service with my flight info to inform them I did not appreciate a flight attendant telling me she could not help me rearrange some bags in the overhead which were not facing “wheels out”. She could not put down her CUP OF COFFEE!. I paid for EC upgrade in order to secure space for my small carry-on in the overhead so was miffed. I am thinking the 3 minutes it took to send the email was well worth 3700 miles! FWIW, another attendant did assist me! 😉

  12. Northwaste Air dba Delta Reply

    I did this with Nortwest just before Delta bought them out, except I paid for my ticket.
    Neither lousy corporation would give a credit or voucher, you can just re-book for a time period. I had used a voucher to book a discount fare and they gave the dollar credit for the re-booking, but the Einsteins at Northwaste wouldn’t let me use a voucher to re-book, claiming I had already used a voucher! Duh! So since I TRIED using a voucher the first time, they were effectively making me book full fare with that credit the second time! WTH? I swear I went to the top of NWA customer service chain and they did not seem to understand how absolutely ludicrous this was. They hire public schooled dummies to manage reform school drop outs, if you are lucky you don’t get the outsourced rep.

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