Some reflections & updates on the HOOU downgrade this week

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my last snack box from a hoou coupon delta points blog

I am back home from my latest mileage run and I have learned one thing, never mileage run with Graydon (I am totally kidding we had a blast). We never made it to SFO, our planned destination, for a few hours, but we ended up on two broken jets in one day; again more to come in a post later today.

What I did have a chance to do is enjoy one of my last HOOUs on the way down with the verbiage NON-PERISHABLE item on the positioning flight to MCI (Kansas City) since there was no lunch service on that flight nor would I get dinner till my trans-con later in the day.

I wanted to revisit this as the post from the other day breaking the news about the change that I am sure you have seen for yourself now when you print a HOOU that the snack choice is gone. This really is a sad downgrade for medallions and yet one more little “death by 1000 cuts” to the medallion program. I really did not think through (nor do I think Delta has) just how many are affected and upset by this. Here are the reactions I forgot:

1) Medallions who are pregnant moms – you REALLY should not drink!

2) Medallions who don’t drink for religious reasons

3) Medallions on the way to work or a 6AM flight

4) Medallions about to drive home after a flight

EDIT: 5) Medallions with medical issue (txs for reader input)

So those are the ones I did not think about in addition to those medallion underage as I already talked about last time. Did I forget any others?

The critics of this change will say we are being overly critical of this latest downgrade enhancement to the medallion program. This was a gift from Delta and the company is out to make money not run a charity. They point out this is NOT a published benefit of the medallion program and we are griping much about nothing. They could have just taken the HOOUs away altogether.

That is hard to argue with, but I will try anyway and here is why. Published or non-published perk once clearly established, since we get them in medallion packs & can order them via Skybonus & for the most part get them even on flights where we do not upgrade (at least 1 per trip), it is, in my mind, a program perk. If you change it for the worse, we have a right to be upset. Yes, I get that Delta must make money and apparently those who are Delta top customers and will benefit from #Skymiles2015 only drink and never eat and are none of the above list of flyers.

2013 medallion hoou coupons delta points blog

Do keep in mind, if you have any of your 2013 Medallion packet coupons (compared to the new ones in 2014) they DO HAVE the old wording and they do NOT expire until the last day of 2014. I do not know how Delta could refuse to honor those as long as they are valid for snacks. If the FA says NO to them, keep them, and then complain to Delta when you get home. At least if you get a few Skymiles it can off-set the cost of the snack you had to pay for out of pocket.

Anyway, the more I think about this latest “enhancement” the more disappointed I get and keep in mind if you want to complain you can. You do that HERE on Delta.com and if you want an idea what to say look at comment #24 from Alfred as he says it very well (I think). – René
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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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13 comments

  1. Items 3 and 4:

    I’ve taken bottles home before, though I’ve heard people say this is not allowed. Gotten some sideways looks by asking for Woodford in the morning, just kindly ask for the bottle. Never been turned down, but if it did happen it really isn’t a big deal.

  2. Another reason that someone could not use the “drinks only” coupon — is they have a medical condition (yes, it’s a listed disease) known as alcoholism. I wrote a very nice letter asking Delta to reconsider and pointed out that a $2.50 M&M’s or $3.00 Pringles costs less than a drink, so that this did not make business sense. And I seriously doubt that any Delta customers complained that they did not want the snack as an option any more. Here is the boilerplate response that did not address any of the point by point issues I raised and did not match the tone of my letter — disappointing: “We appreciate your comments about the discontinuing of snack coupons. We
    constantly review and evaluate ways to offer travel extras for our Delta
    Sky Priority customers and occasionally, we make changes based on
    business considerations, customer feedback and other factors. You may
    continue to enjoy a complimentary beverage, when using coupons offered
    with boarding passes from our online check-in or share them with a
    friend. We no longer include the choice of a non-perishable snack on the
    coupons provided during online check-in.

    We recognize that changes to the program will affect customers in
    different ways, but we’re confident these changes are the right move for
    our airline and customers. Be assured we do take your feedback
    seriously, and know that your comments are used as we make decisions
    about future program enhancements. We apologize for the inconvenience
    and thank you for sharing your comments with us.

    Thank you for being a Platinum Medallion member with us. We value the
    relationship you have with Delta Air Lines and would be delighted to
    have another chance to restore your trust and confidence in our service.”

  3. I wrote in the other day to complain and got the stock reply of “Oh, well. Too bad”.

  4. While the snack boxes are not amazing, they are helpful when traveling all day and need a little snack, or traveling with little ones, to keep them entertained for a little.

    As of recently, I have been asking for an alcoholic drink and ask them not to open it, so I can take home. It really depends on the FA, but my home mini-bar is getting some nice additions.

  5. To be honest half the things in that snack basket were disgusting anyway, so for me it’s no big loss. @Michael: That’s a great idea to ask for bottles. Of course I enjoy Woodford at any time of day or night, but in the event I’m going to be driving soon after landing it might be nice to save a bottle for a night cap.

  6. What if EVERY Medallion member politely and respectfully told every Delta employee they came in contact with (beginning with the gate agent to the captain who stands in the door to say goodbye at the end of a flight)of their disappointment with the “enhancements” in the Skymiles program? What if employees, who have a stake in Delta’s success, hear 50 times a day that their loyal base is not happy? Don’t you think they might let Richard and his band of hatch people know? The key is not attacking the hard working employees but the changes in the program.

  7. Hm….

    I used my HOOU that printed with my boarding pass to get a snack box on the flight yesterday (printed on the boarding pass) without an issue. I saw the verbiage but the FA didn’t kick it back. I purchased three other snack boxes for my wife and 2 kids who on the flight with me. These I paid for with my Plat Business Amex (not Delta) and will get a credit back as Amex treats this is “fees”.

  8. Delta has the right to make money, and in fact they are making record profits. Customers have a right to be POed and switch airlines when things we are already paying for are taken away. Usually companies become more successful when they figure out how to give their customers more for their money rather than taking things away and charging more for the product. Skymiles 2015 presents an opportunity for AA and UA to craft creative campaigns around the reduction in ff miles for the vast majority and the blatant conflict of interest with employers for the high-priced business flyers. Switching to UA or AA (if only AL had a bigger route structure) may be painful until they work through their merger problems, but we put up with the NW/DL integration and look how delta repays us.

  9. Skybonus drink certs now exclude snacks as well. I was unhappy when they arrived in mail and I saw this.

  10. @ Dale – agreed. What if instead of the “job well done” certs we start a campaign to hand out “unhappy with Skymiles endhancements” certs. I think the point would be well made, and measurable.

  11. The mentality which inspired this move by Delta clearly comes from RyanAir, which wants to charge rent to use on-board lavatories. The snack boxes most definitely are a perk of the Medallion program. If they weren’t, Delta wouldn’t emphasize the HOOU vouchers so loudly on the on-line check-in page. I also am forced to wonder why they decided to spend hundreds of millions of dollars installing new interiors on their single-aisle fleet in the interest of enhancing the customer experience but want to skimp on relatively inexpensive snack boxes which Medallions earn through their loyalty. More times than I can count, I’ve purchased a Delta ticket even though a competing flight, often with fewer stops, was cheaper. This is the thanks I receive?

  12. Delta is clearly promoting the drinking of alcohol over the eating of food. You would think in this time of extreme political correctness that they would eliminate free booze before they eliminate free food.

  13. I called when I first saw that the snacks were missing from the certs. The agent told me that FAs would just give me the snack anyway even if it wasn’t on the cert. haven’t tried yet.

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