Another Devaluation to Medallions – “SMART TRAVEL PACK” from Delta

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As you can see from Delta.com HERE there has come another bundling enhancement devaluation to hit medallions – especially Silver Medallions.

The basics of this program are, for $199 you get:

  • FIRST BAG FREE
  • PRIORITY BOARDING
  • PREFERRED SEATS
  • ECONOMY COMFORT ™
  • BONUS MILES

So let’s break down just how bad this is for medallions. The free bag is a nonstarter and anyone who flies Delta a bunch, as we talked about HERE, is way better off with a Delta Platinum AMEX card.

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Priority Boarding seems to be in ZONE 1. Thus, ZONE 1 is going to be even more crowded with Silver Medallions and all Delta AMEX card holders boarding at the same time. If this package gains traction I can guarantee you just about all in ZONE 2+ will be forced to gate check their carry-on so plan for that.

Preferred Seats. Talk about a strike at the heart of Silver Medallions! Exit row is one of the biggest perks of that level. They are now competing against those who can BUY the same perks as those who earned it with the airline.

Economy Comfort. Just about the same perks here as a Silver Medallion as well and some similar to a Gold even!

Bonus Miles. Once again, just slightly lower than the 25% a Silver Medallion already earns but does not really affect them other than swelling the pool of Skymiles a bit more.

My take on this is it is a cheap way of getting pseudo-Silver status for a price for ¼ of the year for $199. Is it a good value? It would take you flying 100,000 butt in seat miles to get the 20% bonus Skymiles to offset the fee in full. But getting access to some of the best seats on flights for 3 months for the fee, if you have no status and are going to fly a bunch, could be a good value.

My main gripe is the continued reduction in the value of Silver Medallion benefits as of late and this program is just one more attack on the few good perks you receive from Delta for your loyalty! – René

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11 comments

  1. Delta continues to treat Silvers with no respect. I understand that there is a very large base of FF, and certainly there are more loyal people in the Gold/Plat/Diamond, but Silver qualifications require enough travel to be doing it “regularly” and this is another slap in the face. They already never get upgraded on most flights, but now there appears to be very little distinction between them and those that pay $150-200 per year for this service or the credit cards. Shame on Delta!

  2. Interesting, but with MQD’s, buying your way into “Silver” for $800/year vs. $2500 in airfare, would actually be cheaper for some travellers.

  3. Oh yeah, I am really happy that not only Silvers like me get those perks (that are left), but also more and more Non-Medallions.
    Rene, do you have some information if this “promotion” will be returning regularly? As I read it in the Delta Newsroom the package is valid for travel through January 5, 2014.
    There is no mention of a 3-month period or something like this. Well, at least I don’t see it.
    I hope it is indeed just a kind of a one-time thing. Well, I guess, it is allowed to hope and dream …

  4. @Ralfinho – 3-ish months really since it is the 13th (ok almost 4 months but I was upset). I see this if it sells being a long term package for Delta. Just a guess but a good one I think!

  5. So if I am looking at airfare for 2 from CLT – HNL and I decide to go with Delta would this be a smart cost (in effect $99/person if I don’t take another flight before 1/4/14) for: better seat options, extra bonus miles and reduced economy comfort?
    I can book flights I want (to cancel within 24 hours) to see if economy comfort or up front seating is available before buying the smart travel pack to see if even an option, but wondering your first-blush opinion. (I only have Amex gold card.)
    Too bad I don’t have any card with a $200/year reimbursement as this would have to qualify (although I don’t know if it would be a waste to use if have that card).

  6. @Rene, no prob, if it’s 3 or 4 months, whatever.
    I see, it’s your guess that it will become somewhat permanent or returning or whatever.
    I have to admit that I’m afraid you’re right.
    Why give something up that’s “good”, right? Good from the airline’s perspective.
    Well, as long as there is no such thing as MQD for folks from outside the US, I am at least Silver. As long as that is the case I enjoy it. They have to try harder to get rid of me 😉

  7. At first I thought this was a serious devaluation as well.
    .
    However, I realized this is not aimed at frequent fliers nor the in-frequent high-end flier. Instead, it seems to be targeted at the masses (much like AA’s plan last year) and maybe business travelers that fly frequently but have not hit Silver Medallion yet. If this is the case, then the general flying public is too cheap to use this offer!
    .
    Most in-frequent fliers are looking for the lowest price, and they get real antsy when the price rises $20 or more for a round trip ticket. Many will take a worse flight time to save $100 per person. As such, I just can not see the general flying public throwing down $200 just for a better seat, boarding, and a free bag. Especially since most fliers do not know the value of these things.
    .
    Those who fly too in-frequently to attain status but enough to make these benefits worthwhile will need to pay out of pocket, since most of them are likely business travelers and their company/organization likely won’t pick up the tab. These people probably have the Delta AMEX in some flavor already, since the card’s benefits (bags, boarding, low to no cost lounge access) are used fairly often.
    .
    In summary, I do not think this will really amount to much of a headache, since the two target audiences (in-frequent leisure fliers and in-frequent business travelers) either have an AMEX or are too frugal to pay for the amenities.
    .
    Just my thoughts.

  8. Not a fan of this at all, but I’m not sure how much of a real-world impact this specific change will have. You don’t have to fly that much to get Silver status so it’s hard to believe that too many people would be willing to part with that amount of cash if they’re not flying enough to reach Silver.

    At the same time, this is just another step in a continuing (negative) trend and I don’t like where things are headed.

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