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Thinking about leaving Delta over changes? Maybe think twice!

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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.

Jim Delta Points reader ATL Elite Services and a tarmac-certified Porsche Cayenne

Delta does a lot right and some things, well, not so good. You would not believe the flood of emails I have from readers who are either JFK or LAX or SFO or SEA based and fly to New York often. They are most upset about not being able to get medallion upgrades on the direct flight soon (you can still connect and upgrade). Many have said THIS change is the last straw and they will look at other airlines now. But one such Diamond, Jim, sent me this and I just had to share it with you all!

By Jim a Delta Diamond Medallion

Our Delta flight from Albany to Atlanta was so late last week that we had under 20 minutes to change planes to SFO (San Francisco) and this is way too short from Terminal C to A. So as we were flying down I was tweeting with Delta Points, telling them that we’d be running from gate to gate. Delta said they would tell the flight but they couldn’t guarantee anything.

We were ready to run – and by the time we finally pulled into the gate we had just 12 minutes and all the other flights that day were booked.  So it looked like we were going to have to overnight in Atlanta, and thanks to Rene, I was all ready to book the Westin ATL and hopefully upgrade to a Junior Suite.

But as it turns out we didn’t have to run. Once the door was opened the gate agent paged the three of us and told us to meet them as soon as we got on the jetway.  At the bottom of the jetway: Kevin from ATL Elite Services and a tarmac-certified Porsche Cayenne.  My wife and son got in the back seat, he led me over to the plane where I pulled our gate-checked baggage off the cart, and we were off!

We were  whisked away from the end of Terminal C to Terminal A in 3 minutes flat.  We climbed out, trundled up the stairs of the jetway and made it with 60 seconds to spare!

There’s definitely value in being a Diamond Delta flyer and million miler – they take care of you!  I don’t know if Delta Points helped make this happen, but the moral of the story is to try every possible angle.  Sometimes it will really pay off and thank you to drive Kevin from ATL Elite Services.  By the way, I wanted to take his picture too, but he said no, as he’s involved in security at the airport as well.

I have been pondering a switch away from Delta due to their elimination of medallion upgrades on my 2x monthly SFO to NYC non-stops.  But I might rethink my switch.  I doubt whether either UA or AA will ever give me this sort of customized service, and maybe I’ll embrace the DTW or MSP connection. Sure it’ll take a bit longer, but I might just get a few more Skymiles & MQMs out of each trip as well this way. – Jim

Jim, I really appreciate your sharing this with me and DeltaPoints readers. I do think we can still, ah hem, raise a bit of stink with Delta about the changes and maybe get them to do a reboot or ver 2.0 of this and slight soften the NO upgrades (ie limit it to some fare class and above) or maybe even work to allow more than just Global Upgrade certs to be used. But I think this pressure will only work from loyal flyers who want to stay and appreciate ALL that Delta has to offer us! – René

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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. Don in ATL Reply

    Great story. Thanks for sharing. Did you have anything to do with this VIP treatment, Rene?

    • @Don – Delta and @DeltaAssist is good enough on their own to not need me. There have been a few times I have alerted Delta about things they may want to look at but not this time. This was classic Delta being the great airline we love to fly! (btw I have never had the “ride” yet but hope I get picked one day too)

  2. Yeah, I guess the only option I didn’t try was to invoke the almighty Rene of Delta Points – now if I’d tried that, they probably would have put me on my own jet 🙂

    (Thanks for printing this Rene!)


  3. I also have 1 million miles with Delta but only Gold. I will be leaving Delta the end of this year for AS. If I stayed with Delta I would never be more than FO with the new rules so why continue? Why fly 60K like this year and be a FO next year when I’m FO for life. Delta has great service but management doesn’t care unless your a Diamond! I understand Diamonds are the most deired but they don’t fill the planes. Now I’ll fill AS, AA and Delta plus possibly others. I’ll have 3 choices on price instead of one. When you’re retired price does matter lol.

    • @Jim – as a Delta 1MM you do have annual FO status for free and MQD does not count for that. So, sure, if you are going to mix & match with AA then Alaska could be a good choice to credit flight miles to. (until DL buys them 😉 )

  4. Thank you for the information, made me rethink my attitude towards Delta.

  5. I also will be interested to see what the new year brings. My husband is a million miler but will only be gold this year because he had knee replacement surgery and couldn’t fly as much. Also meant that he didn’t spend as much traveling so we barely missed the extra 15000 MQMs on the delta reserve. The MQMs for $2000 was outrageous. He flies some of the lesser routes so it will be interesting to see how differently he will be treated being only a gold.

  6. Tyrell Track Master Reply

    The JFK thing is ridiculous. At this point I merely tolerate Delta and am slowly transitioning to United (not that it’s that much better, but still).

    One burst of optimism: They will bring back JFK upgrades, but not because people complain. The reason will be that in 2015 there will be A LOT fewer medallion members out there. The minimum spend is going to shake people way down the tree so there will be more to go around for those who stick it out.

  7. I’ve been a Platinum Medallion with Delta for 4 years now (and am young with a lot of flying ahead of me), and am currently considering a switch to AA due to a couple of recent horrific experiences with Delta. I’ve got one AA flight coming up but am hesitant to book more until I can get a status match. Any tips on getting status matches? If I could get one, I’d be gone.

  8. Rene,

    Was about to book two flights tonight, was going to use some of my Delta eGift certs to lower the price. I was led to believe that you would earn MQD’s for even the portion paid by eGift’s. The website is showing otherwise right now. I am not sure what to do as I am planning out my spend and flights to make sure I least get back to gold although I will miss Plat.

    Is this just another famous Delta Website glitch?

  9. I did read that. Which is why I was confused when the website shows something else than what was expected. I just did not know if this was a known issue with the website or not. Or if this was another “Change” that they have yet to inform of us as they “are not allowed to tell us in advance”.

  10. Rene,

    After reading another post of yours on the Pay With Miles and the issues it was reporting on the Purchase screen but actually recording correctly after the flight. I went back to a flight I took in late November in which I also used eGift vouchers. The MQD does in fact post correctly or at least it did for that flight (I compared back to the Receipt). Not sure why I did not think of looking back in the first place.

    • @VC – Like all things Delta, we have to know more that what is on the screen. But, when we do, we get the perks. Stinks, but the way it is.

  11. What is ATL Elite Services? It makes business sense for delta to expend a little effort to avoid the costs (out of pocket and PR loss and gain) of these three missing the connecting flight.

  12. @DeltaPlat

    You’ll be back once you realize upgrades don’t come nearly as easily on AA especially for Plat or below, operations/delays are worse (7x by my personal count), and employees are nothing like those on DL. Prefer the DL metal as well myself – esp BE seats vs. even AA First.

    I tried it last year split with both airlines & and am bringing as much of 100k BIS back to DL again this year.

  13. Sorry for another question.

    Can you confirm what was told to me by a rep on the Plat Medallion line…

    I would like to book my wife and my travel separately so that we can make use of 6 eGift vouchers (3 each). Then I would call the PM Line and have them link our records. They would also allow me to select “free” Economy Comfort seats for both she and I for our international trip. I know that no matter what I can do this for myself as a PM. Also that if she was on my same PNR then I can do that for her. The real question becomes if we book separate travel.

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