Why I love to blog, why I love what I do & why Delta really does ROCK!

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“Rene, I want to thank you so much. Two years ago I didn’t even know there was such a thing as medallion status. I started following your blog religiously primarily because we live [in a delta hub city]. So I followed your advice and got a Amex Delta Reserve card as did my wife. When I spent $60,000 on her card she gifted me the MQMs. Also got the Platinum business card July of 2013 when they had a great sign up deal. So short story long I made Platinum Medallion last October and I gifted my wife Silver Status. I just made Diamond Medallion the other day.” – Jeff

The above email from Jeff just made my day/week/year. I was a Delta Platinum for a long time, but being Diamond is amazing if you fly a bunch. Delta really does take GREAT care of Diamonds. I have talked about the rules Delta may just break for you if the situation is right but for Diamonds rules almost don’t matter (plus Jeff, I think your wife is just the best btw for giving you her bonus MQMs)!

I spend a fair amount of time complaining about what is on the way with Skymiles2015. The main reason for this is not for what impact it will have on me, but for what impact I think it will have on most readers. I mean, if it was all about me, and many readers, I would be only yelling how great things are going to be. I mean, think how great it will be for “me” and those like me. There will be less medallions as so many business flyers are dumping Delta for AA and others. Great, more upgrades for me. In 2016 even MORE of the same. Can you say 100% upgrades on the way? Next I can, as the reader above, with so little effort MFG. 100,000 Skymiles for almost no cost other than a little time. I will be able to earn just as many MQMs from mileage runs as ever and there will be less competing for great routes. I could really go on all day long but again if it were all about me I would not be ranting the way I am; I really am a happy camper about most of the changes Delta is making (please no one tell MJ on Travel I said that or he will never let me live it down)! 😉

Plus, another reason to be so happy about why I am proud readers are going for Delta and elite status with Delta is what we/they are getting for the effort. Just look what Delta offers a frequent flyer:

  • Unlimited upgrades. Delta really is great in offering EVERYONE who is an elite, even those who are SPG elites, at least a shot at an upgrade. If you know how to work it you have a decent shot at an upgrade. As a top level elite you can expect to ride in the pointy end of the jet most of the time (and if this is not you, work harder please).
  • On time. Delta is ridiculously on time. Sure they maybe pad the schedule, but to me that is just fine. Cancel a flight? HA never, they don’t know the meaning of the word!
  • GoGo WiFi. I still find it laughable on my only AA flight in years they e-mailed me to let me know there would be WiFi on the jet. Fly Delta, yeah you will get WiFi so don’t worry about it.
  • Consistent service. Readers like the above I am sure will back me up that the Delta people are the best. They are happy to see me. They work hard. They are kind. They get they are in the service industry and make me look forward to flying Delta (does your current airline treat you this way?)!
  • Comfortable seats. Delta spends a great deal of time and focus group time on their seats. Even their choice in slim line seats that most folks really hate is a good product on Delta jets. Granted coach is never great, but when stuck behind the curtain it works and that works for me.
  • Power! I have a cell phone (really, you have one too?). I have a laptop (gosh, you got one of those as well?). I have a tablet (no way you got a tablet of some make). Call me a power hungry user. You know what, fly Delta, expect to find power of some kind near to where you are. Me likeee!
  • IFE or in flight entertainment. Thanks to reliable GoGo some can enjoy Delta Studio. If not that, you should see how flat out gorgeous the Panasonic screens are on Delta jets!
  • Really good food. Want consistent, reliable and good tasting airline food (yeah it is find-able). then jump on a Delta jet. Ever had amazing grilled steak served cold with potato salad? I have on Delta jets and would PAY to get it at a restaurant. Yeah it is just THAT good!
  • IROPS or in English irregular operations and what they do when this happens to you. Stuff happens. If you get upset over weather, a broken jet, delays or other such things you need to stay home and watch TV as that is what happens in the real world when you fly. I never get ticked off when stuff like this happens. I just roll with it. But, as far as Delta goes – wow do they fix it when things go wonkie! Another airline to get you home – sure they can do that. Happy to let you pick our own route to get home, yeah they can do that. A hotel for top elites even when weather is the issue – yeah that happens too.
  • Sweet BE seats. Delta has really good BE seats. I love them all other than the herringbone that is just so-so but even so it works. If you are looking for a very good full flat business seat, with power, IFE, and great Delta service and food look to the BE seats on Delta jets.
  • Rollover MQMs. Is there any point in flying extra flights / miles on other airlines after you reach the top? No? I agree. With Delta we get to keep our extra elite points to next year (when MQD exempt or meet spend minimums). So, unlike my dear AMEX Reserve that after 60,000 in spend gives me ZERO incentive to keep spending until 1JAN each year, Delta gives me a reason to keep flying them rather than say going for elite status with another airline. That is both smart of my Delta and I like it too!
  • Good business program in Skybonus and hotel match-up with Crossover Rewards. Now I know other airlines have a business rewards program, but the Delta one just works. The chance to get SPG points, arguably the best hotel chain period, is a tremendous perk!
  • HOOU for drinks when no upgrade to 1st class! I do imbibe now and then. Oh, and did I mention my Delta happens to stock the most amazing bourbon on the planet – Woodford Reserve? Oh yeah, if I happen to be in coach (like 10% of the time so not that often) then I get a free coupon that I can turn in for a drink to make my “walk of shame” into coach a little more tolerable. Free drink – yeah that is nice!
  • Lowest elite gets to grab exits and chances for much more. While the lowest medallion level is not what it once was in the NWA days, if you are willing to work it Delta Silver status gets you a bunch of perks (if not a bunch of upgrades). I can tell you I really enjoyed my few weeks as a Silver and gamed it to a ton of 1st class upgrades! (ask me sometime if you really want to know).
  • Ever had your bag lost? Not so much on Delta (plus the APP tracks them). I cannot tell you the last time my bag was not, as a medallion, one of the first ones off the belt. I know there was one time in the past year one bag was late, but was delivered the next day by my local SBN folks. Just sayin’ it is rare DL messes up your bag.
  • Speaking of APPs, the Delta one is very good (just a little slow). From upgrade list to your flight to gate status to incoming flight and on and on the information is timely and updated often and works. Delta has made a good app!
  • Mostly ending CRJ (100/200s). There are still a bunch in the system of regional partners but Delta is really working hard to remove these gas guzzling torture tubes. I really like the CRJ 700/900s even in coach and the 717s that are coming from AirTran are very nice as well (just no IFE).

So there you are. This is the GOOD LIST of what you can expect if you pick Delta as your choice for 2015 like Jeff who e-mailed me above. Some things they can work on, but I will be hanging around to help them! We just need to make sure Delta stays on the path to #KeepClimbing and avoid #KeepDescending choices. – René

PS- Don’t forget I am giving away a GOLD BAR this week!

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. 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 American Express.
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22 comments

  1. I give Delta credit for treating the passengers very handsomely on my recent return flight from LHR. The in-flight entertainment was broken, with nothing to watch but the flight map for 8 hours and no wi-fi.
    As soon as we hit the ground in ATL, I received an email from Delta apologizing for the inconvenience and advising of the deposit of 10K miles in my account as recompense…and I was traveling on an award ticket.
    This is exemplary customer service, and as an ATL Delta prisoner I am beginning to appreciate them much more.

  2. In just 9 days, my husband and I leave for Italy in first/BE that I snagged for 125k miles and I never would have been able to figure that out without Rene’s advice! We also never would have gone for the Amex reserve which helpd us get my husband to diamond for 14 and he’ll be platinum for 15 in just 137 miles (which he’ll get tomorrow.) We love Delta and are glad that there’s at least one faithful delta blogger out here to help us out!

  3. There are, of course, exceptions and caveats to just about everything on the list, and the list would have been longer a year or two ago. Some of us frogs in the pot are noticing that the water is getting hotter. Is it time to jump out or do we stick around and see if we can stand a little more heat???

  4. @John – Agreed. I would love to have added Skyclubs to the list, for example, but to me they are a total FAIL due to price changes and very poor food changes (they could have hit a home run after tests but did not)!

  5. LOL! I flew them for years and finally left for United in 2010 and have never looked back. DL Skypesos is a useless frequent flyer program (even United’s devalued one is much better than Delta’s, and UA miles are still worth more); DL has the worst airline website in history, I had so many terrible flight experiences, awful flight attendants and horrible customer service. In 2007 I lost over $2k because of IRROPS by the way – they refused to rebook to another flight even though there was a 24-hour delay, and I had to buy a new ticket on another airline – they later gave me a $150 voucher as a “gesture of good will”.
    I hate KLM and Air France with a passion too (they are perhaps the worst European carriers) and finally had it.
    I did take a Delta flight earlier this year and have to admit that they have indeed gotten a bit better.
    In my experience food in Delta BE (I took one flight in 2013) was terrible, much worse than United BusinessFirst, which in turn is not considered to be all that special by international standards. Delta may have an edge with food in domestic first class from what I hear.

  6. @Augias – I will never, ever, by choice, fly UA again. I have burned ALL my UA points and even spent my last few buying Restaurant.com certs rather than extend the expiration (oh btw my Skymiles = SkyGOLD) never expire. I could go on, but very sorry you have to fly UA. No one should have to endure that! 😉

  7. @René: You are right that there is plenty to be mad about with United and their changes. The last year in particular has been a string of disappointments. But don’t forget that Delta started the devaluations and changing how miles are earned (with United just following suit). Domestically Delta may well be better than UA now, I think United is still a bit better internationally. Skymiles may be much easier to use for award travel if you live in Atlanta (I’m in New York City and it was always tough, especially because of the round-trip requirement)
    Anyway, I do enjoy reading your posts and am occasionally collecting the odd Delta peso — I mean, mile 🙂

  8. The thing I see missing is roll over MQS’s. It doesn’t make any sense why you can roll over MQM and not MQS, particularly since MQD’s are the first criteria to earn elite status.

  9. Delta Points wrote ” I can tell you I really enjoyed my few weeks as a Silver and gamed it to a ton of 1st class upgrades! (ask me sometime if you really want to know).”

    I am sure you have described this in the past, but it would make a great Rookie Wednesday post as I am sure I’m not the only one interested….

  10. @Caroline – Some of the things I will be talking about at the Chicago Seminars this weekend and only talk about there (i.e. I just can not blog about them) 😉

  11. Rene, stop telling everyone about how awesome Delta is! If you keep it up, all those that jumped ship to AA (and now have to pay for upgrades) or UA (have to fly out of Chicago) or US (don’t even get me started) will want to come back.

    Just let them stay over there and leave all the upgrades for you and me!

    PS: As a DM I’ve sat in the pointy part of the plane 95% of the time this year and already re-qualed for 2015.

  12. Delta certainly wasn’t on time recently on our flight from Detroit to Paris (9/28/14). At just short of 2 hours late, we had to run through CDG Airport to reach our connecting Delta codeshare on Air Europa to Malaga, Spain just as it was boarding! Had we not been sitting near the front of the economy section, and had there been lines at security and passport control, we would have never made the connection. Of course our bags did not make the connection. Luckily, they were delivered the following day while we were still staying at a hotel before moving to an apartment.

  13. Rene, thank you for your efforts to inform. The #1 benefit Delta offers me – and from which all of the perks you listed flow – is ELITE status via credit card spend. No other airline offers that nor comes even close. Thank you Delta. On a related note and correct me if I am wrong but Delta is also the only airline that has a co-branded card that not only offers reward miles like the other airline cards but with the reserve card I not only get 30,000 skymiles with my 30,000 spend I also get a bonus of 15,000 skymiles too. That is 1.5 skymiles per dollar spent up to $60,000 per card. I don’t ever see that mentioned as a perk but for me its about 60,000 extra skymiles a year. Again thanks for your help with those of us who fly some but spend even more 😉

  14. I don’t agree with you about power and/or inflight entertainment. Just flew (up front) ATL-DEN return. One, no choice, movie, no other music or entertainment on the way up and nothing at all on the MD-90 on the way back. This often happens. I flew (up front too) SFO-ATL on a redeye with the same thing; no power and a single movie. Not everybody carries a device, or wants to have it on their lap.

  15. @Fran: I’ve flown through Paris CDG many times, and my bags missed the connecting flight every single time. The airport is notorious for that, many people I know have made the same experience. It’s huge and disorganized, probably one of the worst hubs in Europe – so it might not have been just Delta’s fault that your bags didn’t make it.

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