Rookie Wednesday: All the Q&A you were afraid to ask!

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RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.

Last week, I went anti-Rookie covering advanced booking of Delta Skymiles tickets and attempted to bring it down to the rookie level. I think, even a rookie, with some time and patience, can find low level seats (even if you have to yell a bit until you find them)!

This week, I wanted to go basic again. To cover the Q&A a rookie is really afraid to ask or admit they do not know. I also want this to be an interactive rookie day. So, if there are questions I do not cover, fire away and I will try to touch on them too!

Q1) If I book a ticket with my Skymiles, since I have a Delta AMEX card, does my brother get a free bag? Or if I am Medallion can he get an upgrade?
A) Ya know this is NOT a dumb question as with some other airlines, things can carry over (many in fact). With Delta, oh, not so much. If you have a Delta AMEX the free bag perk ONLY works when you are flying with your brother. Same thing with medallion. Unless you are flying with them, nada!

Q2) Is stuff free in the Skyclub? If I fly 1st class do I get in? Can anyone use the showers?
A) In the old days, it was all free. Now, most things are free. Breakfast in the Skyclub is like a continental lite breakfast in a hotel. Drinks, wine, beer and std liquors are free too. They now charge, in some clubs, for “top shelf” drinks. You can NOT get in if flying 1st class inside the USA. Business class outside the USA and you get in both in the USA and outside the USA in the partner clubs. Yes, anyone can use the showers. All you do is request a shower when you check in. Sometimes they are open and you get right in. Other times it can be a LONG wait!

3Q) I am not a medallion but love so many of the ideas you talk about. Will Delta even give me any of these perks as a general Skymiles member?
A) Oh you bet. For example, I have missed many bumps lingering in the Skyclub too long. Others get there 1+ hr before flight, when the gate 1st opens up, and they are #1 on the list. Sometimes they get an upgrade for helping out over all the rest of us (as it is at gate control now). Also, with @DeltaAssit, you can get such good service you will feel like a medallion many times.

Q4) Is it considered “bad form” to use the attendant call button and what can I ask for when they offer snacks?
A) Wow, why not ask if there’s champagne and caviar? The call button is there for a reason. It is hard to move around a narrow plane. But, having said that, an FA is happy to EMPTY the cart the 1st time they are there. So, if you want a CAN of coke please ask for that. If you want TWO to THREE cans of coke just ask. If you want 10 packs of peanuts just ASK. Want 5 biscoff cookies, ask for 5 please and you will get them! Same for drinks, want to get 2 drinks, and drink one now and one later, pay for BOTH now and just ask for the extra coke later to save the FA time!

Q5) Does Delta ever offer a “soft landing” that is if I am close to making medallion will they let me “slide”?
A) 99% no way. Ever since Delta started doing rollover MQM’s, they have said no to soft landings. NWA was big on this but less so Delta. Either way, now, many of us get just as close to the edge as we can so we CAN rollover as much as possible and would be MOST upset if we were in fact “soft landed” to the next level. Having said that, Delta loves MONEY! So, if you spent a bunch of money with Delta last year, send a letter to them and BEG ASK PLEAD as such a valued customer to be awarded the next level. I have seen results where those who spend BIG but did not make it were gifted VERY high medallion levels!

Q6) Can I use other points to fly on Delta?
A) For the most part no. Not to say you can not do it, just that the exchange rate is horrible so don’t do it. But, keep in mind, redeeming Chase Ultimate rewards is a great use as you get 1.25 cents per point when buying a Delta ticket and you will earn Skymiles and MQM’s when you spend them. Also there are many other types of points that you can spend on Delta like FlexPerks, some Barclays and Capital One but again don’t use United, Hilton, etc. due to bad exchange rates.

Q7) Let’s say I give up my seat and take a bump. Do I earn Skymiles when I spend a voucher with Delta?
A) For now, you bet ya! “Delta Dollars” spend just like cash and you will earn both Skymiles, MQM’s, and still qualify for upgrades – everything! Just like paying cash! This is one of the few good perks of taking a bump!

Q8) Is Delta firm on zone boarding? Can I just get in line with 1st class and board anyway?
A) Sometimes. It is very embarrassing to be at the front of the line and be told stand over there and wait (while everyone looks “funny” at you). But, if you are say a DM or PM, there are few times a GA will stop you from boarding with 1st class.

Q9) Can I bring food on a Delta Jet (from home)?
A) Sure. I many times will grab a sub (it will have to be x-rayed) so I can have lunch if I do not get an upgrade. Another tip, bring an empty water bottle that you can fill up later on.

Q10) A woman always travels with a purse. Can a man bring a “purse”?
A) You bet (I like a good “man bag”). I kid but per Delta rules, all of us can have a bag and a “personal item” like a purse, or a laptop bag or the like!

So there you are. These are some common questions rookies tend to ask. But, why not do this, have more rookie questions? Ask away and I will cover them in a post Friday. Also, always remember you can e-mail me any time you want to ask me any question (about Delta) that you want. – René

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  1. Q2 – not totally correct. If you are a passenger flying a transcontinental from jfk to PDX, SEA, SFO, LAX, LAS, PHX, DEN, or SAN as a full Y passenger or have a first class or business elite ticket, you have skyclub access.

  2. >> Q8) Is Delta firm on zone boarding? Can I just get in line with 1st class and board anyway?

    I think your answer to this should have been “be a person of integrity and board when you are supposed to”. If you have a legitimate reason for earlier boarding then ask the gate agent. Why is it that our society feels that they are entitled to be better than everyone else simply because they think they are?

  3. In regards to partner lounges internationally, I don’t think you have access to all of them. Only the lounge DL has contracted with at that airport if there is no skyclub. So a general member flying DL business elite cant lounge hop.

  4. @Gow – getting a bit picky here. If you are flying BE INT you can get access to either a Delta lounge or a Skyteam lounge in the airport. Sure one may be a bit nicer than the other, but you will have access is the point.

  5. Hi Rene, can you talk about linking reservations?
    What does it mean when they are linked?
    How do they get linked?
    What are the advantages?
    How to get baggage, boarding and other benefits for linked travelers?
    What happens when things go wrong with linked reservations? That is, what to do if the linked reservations don’t show together on (monitoring the reservations), pre-travel seat changes, different boarding groups on boarding passes, paying for bags if normally free, etc?
    Thanks for spending the time on this!

  6. If you want access to the lounge, buy a REFUNDABLE FC ticket to anywhere originating from the airport where you want to use the lounge. Show the ticket to the lounge personnel, use the lounge. Cancel ticket and get refund. Of course, use a credit card that has a billing period where the charge and refund will occur in the same month.

    Say you’re flying from LAX to MIA through ATL on Delta. Buy a FC refundable ticket on American from ATL to LHW that departs a few hours AFTER you will depart from ATL to MIA. Use the AA lounge, then refund the ticket.

    Don’t – don’t – don’t buy the FC refundable on the same airline you’re flying that day!

  7. “Sometimes they get an upgrade for helping out over all the rest of us (as it is at gate control now).”

    I don’t quite get this – passengers don’t generally “help out” at the gate…?

  8. @TWA44 – smile – when you offer to give up your seat, and you are NOT needed, since you were willing to help the GA out, sometimes you can score an upgrade.

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