Travel Related

Delta DOES care about million milers – Michael’s story

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr
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 got an email the other day from a long time reader. He sent me a screenshot of his current total miles flown with Delta balance.

Delta Million Mile delta points blog

I will let Michael tell you the “rest of the story” as they say as it just made my weekend. For all the things Delta does that make us sometimes upset, they really do appreciate those who fly a bunch with the airline.


It is 6:00 AM as I sit at the GFK (Grand Forks) airport waiting to board a short hop over to MSP (Minneapolis), before connecting home. I know that this flight will push me over the 1 million mile mark, a milestone on a trek that started 18 years ago and accomplished with all domestic flights. Flying just enough to maintain Platinum Medallion status.

I knew that Delta acknowledges their million milers with annual Silver Medallion status and a choice of gifts, as an expression of appreciation. I expected to be notified at some later date with details.

million miler gift delta

Only a small group of people appreciate a moment like this, so I texted a couple of colleagues and of course René, because I knew he would care. I also sent a tweet to @DeltaAssist, normally I contact them when I am in need of help, this time I just wanted to tell them ‘Thanks’

twitter million mile

I thought that was a nice stock reply.

On the plane I felt very nostalgic. It was an older CRJ regional jet with no wifi or IFE (in-flight entertainment), no first class, not even economy comfort. It reminded me of what all my flights were like back when I first started flying. I reflected on all that Delta has done over the years to upgrade the flying experience overall (well at least on most of their planes). The flight went smooth and arrived on time, but that is when things started to get fun!

As I exited the plane, an agent was standing in the jetway with a tablet displaying my name. My first thought was, “uh oh, who died?” He soon explained he would be taking me to my next gate. We exited down the stairs of the jet-bridge to the tarmac, to a waiting vehicle (I’ve read articles and heard stories about this special service for high revenue travelers, but never expected to experience it myself). I have taxied around countless airports, but this was the first time I was able to see it through a windshield. What a great view as we drove around and under airplanes toward my next gate.

car ride to next plane msp delta points blog

Once there the agent escorted me back up a jet-bridge staircase and to my gate.

I had been watching the upgrade list on my Delta phone app, and knew I was 5 out, (The 90’s band Firehouse, all Diamond Medallions, had filled up most of first class) so I had resigned myself that it was going to be one of those flights when I would have to sit in the seat I paid for (every once in awhile we have to do that 🙂 ) but then a Red Coat approached, greeted me by name and handed me a boarding pass with a First Class seat. He said ‘Welcome to the club’.

No sooner had he left than another Delta agent appeared, walked behind the counter, grabs a microphone and announces they want to acknowledge a special event. He then informs everyone that I have just reached the million mile mark and they wanted to thank me for my loyalty and look forward to serving me for another million.

As he finishes, I hear clapping behind me, I turn around and there are 2 Delta suits, applauding. They introduce themselves by name, again thank me for my business and give me a nice gift bag full of Delta goodies.

million mile gift delta points reader

I am not sure who connected all the dots here. Maybe it was a bean counter at Delta that tracks mileage, maybe it was @DeltaAssist or even René. But regardless who was responsible, this was unexpected and very much appreciated. A lot of busy people took time out of their day to say hello and offer their personal thanks.

Class act Delta! Thanks. – Michael


Congratulations Michael for a huge milestone and thank you so much  for sharing your story with me and DeltaPoints readers. I am still 2-3 years from breaking the million mile mark with Delta, but your story has inspired me! – René

Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
from American Express®
Click here for more information



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. What a great Delta story for a Monday about Michael hitting such a huge FF milestone as I fly today from LAX to LEX, but nowhere near 1 million miles myself!

  2. Good for Delta and Michael, glad that they are now recognizing these achievements. I have almost 1.8m now and can assure you that when I hit 1 million a few years ago that there was no such fanfare, not even an acknowledgement from a GA or FA (and I achieved 1 million in a period of 5 years, mostly flying J to Asia and Europe). All I received was the e-mail to select Tiffany or Hartmann luggage (nice to see that Tumi is now an option). I would probably be 2m by now if I hadn’t switched a good portion of my flying to *A after DL yanked 4 int’l direct flights from CVG.

  3. Too cool! It’s something I will never experience but it was great to read about it happening to someone. Congratulations!

  4. Great story! Nice to see the effort by Delta, had to be the DeltaAssist check in that set the ball in motion. I am a year or two away, look forward to it. Congrats.

  5. Congrats Michael. You deserve it. I became a million miler a few years ago. No fanfare like you, but a nice gift of my choosing that I use everyday.

  6. Great story and very uplifting. For all of our complaints, it’s nice to see them do something to recognize Michael’s loyalty.

  7. I do hope that the gate agent / red coat / supervisor did not give him an upgrade when he should not have received one.

    Regardless of if he had just hit 1MM or 5MM, we all get annoyed when shenanigans take place with the upgrade list. This may be yet another example.

    • @Greg – I disagree. As a DM I would in a heart beat give up my upgrade for a MM who was going to just cross that number.

  8. Then what other exceptions do you make? It’s a slippery slope when a Gate Agent / Red Coat can choose on whim who to upgrade.

    • @Greg – I think you have a better chance of getting a hole-in-one than being on a flight where a MM (ie the one flight where they cross the 1mm mark) gets your upgrade!

  9. Very nice! I’ve always had wonderful treatment from Delta (much better than United or American); this story makes me appreciate them even more. Congratulations Michael; looking forward to joining your elite club someday!

  10. True story – I have a colleague who is a 2MM+. He was DM and always got upgrades unless F was sold out. He was taking a flight from CVG to LAX and was surprised the upgrade didn’t clear. When he asked the agent why, she says (almost embarrassingly), “You’re not going to believe this, but the upgrades went to an 8MM, 5MM, and 4MM who are ahead of you.” Feeling humbled, he’s like OK, nevermind. 🙂 As a 1MM/DM, I have also had this happen on trans-con routes. As Rene says, look for the 757s, your chances are much better than a 737.

  11. Congratulations! I remember my first million. They had a presentation in the Crown Room at TPA (2 & 3 MM were a letter). It is a very special moment and I am happy they gave you the upgrade. I am not sure how much it counts for upgrades over the cost of the ticket. I am almost at 4MM and get to see the back of the plane. When you new bagtag arrives show it with pride!

  12. More positive stories like this would be great. I’m glad they went above and beyond for you!

  13. I reached 2 million miles earlier this year – both MM gifts were great but I never even got a letter. i did get a nice computer generated email. No big deal as i operate out of MSP where MM’s are a dime a dozen.


  14. Pingback: What I Love About Delta and Starwood’s Travel Loyalty Programs | Golden Rules of Travel

  15. I am a 3 million miler and believe I am at about 3.8 million so will be a 4 million in a year and a half or so. I have 204,000 MQM this year. Perhaps because I live in Atlanta, Delta has picked me up several times (and twice with my wife and another time with a friend) in the Porsche which is a nice touch, although I hae told them I would rather have a number to call that can help me when I have issues. I think they have improved a lot and their lie flat beds (I fly international a lot) are great. Congratulations to the writer for his first million-I remember they gave me a Hartmann suitcase that although I have had it recovered a few times, still works well.

  16. Quite a difference from when I crossed 1 myn.
    It was due to the merger. To cut costs (I suspect because there were so many of us) Delta temporarily cut back on the choices for gifts… I got zero luggage options.

  17. Gene Maggard Reply

    Congrats! I crossed the 1MM threshold about eight years ago. Got some recognition in the Crown Room and an email. My gift was a Hartmann leather luggage tag, which I foolishly used and it was promptly stolen. I have been very jealous of everyone getting the new, more substantial gifts since that time and can’t wait to get something better when I get to 2MM in six months. One thing I’ll warn everyone about, as has been mentioned before, there is no special priority that comes with MM status. No upgrade consideration in other words. And even though you have annual Silver (not lifetime!), if you want to get GM or higher, you still have to earn all the miles. In other words, you don’t start the year with an automatic 25,000 miles.

  18. Great story – it’s these ‘love to fly and it shows’ kind of stories why despite the crummy mileage program I keep putting flights on Delta. Just checked and realized I am at 994,252.

    Based on what I have booked, no connection on my threshold flight though!

  19. Not sure I’ll make million-miler. When Delta and NWA merged I lost all accumulated miles on Northwest and started from 0 again with Delta.

  20. DL Platinum Reply

    When I hit 1MM, I got a very nice note from Ron Allen and a stash of Million Miler stationary in addition to the gifts. At 2 and again at 3 MM I just got the congrats letter and the luggage. (Hartmann luggage is really nice!!)

    Never recognized at the airport. Never picked up in a Porsche. Never granted any special favors. Set expectations low and they are always met.

  21. John O'Sullivan Reply

    I’m delighted Delta did this. My MM experience was a little different. I mentioned to the gate agent that this flight would take me to my 1MM. Their response was “That’s lovely” – I boarded in a middle seat, arrived back home to nothing. I called a couple of months later to see if passing the MM mark meant anything and was told that I should expect to hear something in 3 months or so. A bit anti-climactic. Still a fan of Delta and am Diamond every year, but still think they could have done something a little special.

  22. Peter DeForest Reply

    That’s a nice story. I broke the 2MM mark last week on a Delta flight back to the US from Japan. I spent the next days trying to get the credits that would qualify me for the 2MM, which finally came through. So far, no email, and certainly no acknowledgement from any Delta staff of any kind.

    I have three more Delta trips in the coming weeks and will see what happens, but I doubt anything will. I have flown Delta for nearly 30 years, and the times when you were acknowledged are long past, in my opinion.

    Delta has managed to get rid of most of the more useful direct international flights I used to take from SFO, and now offers me puddle jumpers as the last (third) leg home from either SEA or LAX (not a lot of fun after 20+ hours of travel, to cram into a puddle jumper). So I see far less international travel on Delta I’m afraid. Even PDX gets international flights, but not SFO??? Oh well.

  23. Jeff Matthews Reply

    I will hit my MM status on my flight from Detroit to SLC tonight. It should be interesting to see if anybody notices. I know that my family is less proud of this accomplishments than I am. I figured that I’ve spend about 15-20% of my last 20 years on a Delta flight, and still don’t get upgraded very often as I live in a hub city with a lot of tenured travelers. I don’t know that I have shown loyalty to any other company like I have Delta, which would certainly suggest that some recognition is in order. I will be sure to report back.

  24. Same thing happened to me Nealk. I traveled from PHL to Southeast Asia 127 times on NWA but after the merger my mileage returned to zero. I called Delta numerous times but get the standard answer- “we will look into that.” Still waiting. Next month I’ll be 1MM on Delta; however, it should be 3MM. Such is life these days.

  25. I was Flying Colonel before becoming a Million Miler and have been recognized multiple times. Taken by car on close connections at ATL, upgrades without requesting on domestic and flites to Mexico and Caribbean since retiring and flying cheap tickets. Flight attendants have come up to my seat and said Thanks etc.

    I agree Delta is not what is was 20 years ago but neither am I. Things change but I feel I owe Delta today what they overpaid me in the past. Loyalty has value even if it doesn’t pay every trip

  26. I am about to cross 2MM miles on my trip to Tokyo coming up in a couple of weeks. I got nothing when I crossed the 1MM mile threshold. It took me a ton of phone calls just to get the Hartmann gift I had requested. In the meantime, I have been jerked around on quite a few flights by Delta with no apologies. I had a flight to Asia about 10 months ago where I booked a coach fare and upgraded to Business using a certificate. When I got to the airport to check in, I was told I was back in coach due to a mistake Delta made with the upgrade. No warning or notice. I would have bought a business class ticket had I been told my certificate didn’t work for the flight. Flew to Asia in coach. No apologies other than the apology given by the agent at the gate.

  27. Tim Outland Reply

    I’ve been a long time MM and nearing my 2nd MM achieving my 1st MM qualification about 9 years ago I took a new role that required me to drive to most of my job locations, I returned to flying again last year and found my MM status means absolutely nothing extra. I was loyal to Delta often choosing them over other airlines that may have had a better connection.

    Now with their “impoved” program where miles are earned not by miles flown or segments they “earned” heavily weighted by the “fare basis”.

    Yes I have lifetime silver status I think that has to be requalified for ? but with the wrong cost fare I’m often relegated put in the last or next to last zone boarding.

    I’m no longer the fan of Delta I once was, there are other options out there

  28. I just passed the Million Mile threshold on a trip from PHL to Venice
    that went through Atlanta and there was no recognition. Missed the upgrade on PHL to ATL by two spots.

    The lack of recognition seems to be much more the norm than the nice story from the poster here. It does seem like they could at least flag it and have the gate agent congratulate you. In my case I don’t like in a hub city and have put up with a lot of extra connects with Delta, Seems like I get less upgrades as a percentage than I used to even though I’ve made Platinum 5 years running. Will make Diamond this year and am hoping it makes a difference.

    Don’t mean to complain too much and am looking forward to getting a Tumi case which will really be nice. Just seems like they could give some personal acknowledgement even if its just when you are boarding the flight where you will go over the 1M threshold.

  29. AtlantaDLer Reply

    1MM — pleather travel wallet (yes, pleather, not leather)
    2MM — nothing
    3MM — nothing. On the flight during which I crossed 3MM, the flight attendants forgot to serve my meal in business. When i asked for my meal when they started serving desert, the FA told me all the meals had been spoken for. Later I see the flight attendants having business meals. Nice.

    Delta does not care. Period.

  30. Pingback: Delta and social media - a DoubleTree Cookies experience by Noah Mark - Delta PointsDelta Points

  31. I passed the 1MM mark outbound on trip from Missoula, MT to Sao Paulo. Returned through JFK and SLC. Announcement on the plane at SLC for me to see a gate attendant; of couse, thought somebody had died. Agent was waiting with congratulations and nice gift bag (chocolates and a nice Cross pen). Took me out the door to a waiting Porsche and drove me the few hundred feet to connecting plane (not complaining). I was standby on an ealier flight to MSO and the flight was oversold by one. The agent asked for two volunteers and I got my seat. Pretty cool – I got my earlier flight and nobody was abused for me to get the seat. Good job on this one Delta.

  32. It’s amusing to see people continue to post here as they cross this barrier. I’ve been platinum every year for more than a decade, first with NWA and then Delta. I finally crossed the MM barrier on a flight from Atlanta to Brussels this last week. To be honest I didn’t even realize it until the email came. I’ll be flying back from Brussels in just under 2 days, and now I’ll be interested in seeing if there’s any sort of recognition or upgrade. From what I’ve read here it looks to be a random event.

  33. I have over a million miles and after my trip from anchorage to Billings, MT, I’ll be diamond status. Or, after I fly next Monday on purchased first class to ATL to see parents will seal the deal.
    Not sure how u get recognized. My father flew for Delta from 1970-2002 w mandatory retirement at 60 so Delta loyal. Any thoughts?

Write A Comment