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A visit to the HOM: AA Tech, compAArisons & final thoughts – should “we” switch?

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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.


A visit to the HOM: My American experiAAnce – if you jump ship – what to expect!
A visit to the HOM: What it is like at the HOM that is the House of Miles
A visit to the HOM: My American experiAAnce – the return including a coach leg.
A visit to the HOM: AA Tech, compAArisons & final thoughts – should “we” switch?

aa vs dl delta points blog 1st class

So here it is – the should we switch post. I know many are changing over from DL to AA due to Skymiles2015 and the “Keep Descending” enhancements that seem like an avalanche running downhill for the past few years. However, these changes must be weighed against the things Delta is doing right because if you are ONLY flying an airline for the frequent flyer program you are doing it wrong; those who only want the best frequent flyer redemptions should not be loyal to ANY airline but look to any point deal that is the cheapest. Then again, I know how to spend the time needed to find low level business with Delta but that is not for this post. So this is about a compAArison so let’s get to comparing and see what I think about the two airlines.

APP. I have to say I am impressed with some features of the phone app. For example, when in the middle of a trip, and you pull up the app, the default is to display your next boarding pass. It can take 20 steps with the Delta app to do that (I am kidding, really no more that 19). Oh and if you have a ton of itineraries it can still take FOREVER to boot up. I guess my point is the APP is good and works. Is it better? I would say as good and better is some ways and less so in others.

SERVICE. Delta people, one of the things the Delta CEO always talks about, are really good. When he says that he is being honest. It is truly the exception to not get at least good service from Delta people if not outstanding service. My AA experience was at best – meh! I had one outstanding rep and the rest were average to below average I would say. Delta wins hands down on service.

FOOD. Oh my. When you have to take diarrhea medicine one way and just about cannot eat it the other direction, the food is bad. AA food, and I know they are making it better soon, is horrid. Please, until they change it, just don’t eat it. Delta food wins as it is most times just good. Sometimes even great!

LOUNGE. The AA lounge is fine. The wine is better (the free stuff) and the wifi works. The food is worse as there really is none free vs. the $kyGrub that is free (other than your +1’s) and disappointing. Let’s call the lounge a push as both are really not all that great. Neither is anything close to a Centurion lounge.

PHONE SUPPORT. Now I was on a US Air stock ticket, so, I had to call US Air. They were worthless. Non-helpful and NO is the norm. NO NO NO. Get used to NO (I feel almost like I am talking to United). While you do, at times, get unhelpful Delta phone reps, you can always HUCB and you will 9 times out of 10 get a good one the next time. Give me a Delta phone rep any day over a US Air rep.

SEATS. The old AA seats are OLD. Yeah I know they are replacing them but the new ones don’t look all that great either and the ones in coach are worse than a Delta connection CRJ200. Yeah they are THAT BAD and worse (with IFE and power but you have to pay for everything but power). For me it is about the travel experience and the AA domestic 1st and coach travel experience is sorely lacking. Give me my Delta!

IRROPS. I really cannot fault AA for the ATC fire in Chicago and I totally lucked out and was able to fly by winning the “today we fly” lottery out of AZO, but as touched on before when issues happen Delta tends to say YES while AA (i.e. US Air) tends to say NO. How an airline works with you when issues happen matter. Delta is great when bad things happen I have found.

UPGRADES. I was on a 1st class ticket but I have to say I, and Brian, are right that the unlimited Delta upgrades system is the best. Gary and MJ are wrong that some kind of “sticker” type system is better. Who knows what the merged AA will finally have but the Delta system is better. Period!

AWARD SPACE. All I could find, checking months and months out and again and again was mixed coach and 1st class (just like some might say from Skymiles). When the day before travel, with a waiver in place, space opened up, NO was the word of the day. Sorry folks but I am better at finding Delta low level space than AA award space. Just not seeing a massive difference in spending points here.

HUBS. Sorry Chicago readers but ORD just stinks. What a really bad airport. ATL is MILES better an airport all around. Now, DFW is a very nice airport and not only that but it has a Centurion lounge on top of just being nice. I will say the Delta gates at DFW are kinda sad compared to the open and bright AA areas. You can tell you are not in a Delta hub at DFW.

WIFI. GoGo seems to work as well on AA as on DL. However, as touched on before, expect GoGo on DL and hit and miss it would seem on AA. I know they are expanding so soon this will be a moot point. We can go on.

CARDS. I like my Delta Reserve card and the perks it gives me including being able to get so many MQMs each year with spend. I miss being able to bring my wife into the Skyclub anymore and the Citi card does still allow +1’s. Since both clubs are not all that great I give the nod to the Delta AMEX card as it gives so many great perks for the fee each year!

FREQUENT FLYER PROGRAM. Who knows what is up next year and what changes Doug Parker will make. We have seen, with the 100k Citi card deal, they are pouring out points like water. This is unsustainable when you look at what DL is doing 100% the other way to restrict printing miles in 2015. If you are going to pour out points and not change then you have to devalue. Delta is doing both (has done both that is). I fear for the AA FF program in 2015 – wait and see I guess #DEVELOPING.

So that is my summary of just one trip, the first AA trip in many years, and my Delta elite experience vs. the AA 1st class domestic ride. This is by no means an exhaustive comparison but my thoughts being a 100+ per year Delta segment flyer and someone who has a good view of the Delta program. Would I switch to AA due to all that Delta is doing? NO WAY (at least for now)! If Delta “Keep Descending” and AA rises above Delta and makes positive changes to the new FF program in 2015 then I may change my feelings. But for now – stay put where you are Delta elites! – René
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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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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.

5 Comments

  1. Pingback: A visit to the HOM: What it is like at the HOM that is the House of Miles - Delta PointsDelta Points

  2. Pingback: A visit to the HOM: My American experiAAnce – the return including a coach leg. - Delta PointsDelta Points

  3. Since I’m a loyal Delta flyer I don’t know anything about the Citi card program. Can you please give us more information about it?

    • @jigger – they had a 100,000 point bonus going for a while and $200 off year one and gets you free club access (AA clubs). Deal is over.

  4. I recently moved to Cincinnati, and became a Platinum through a status challenge (I’m a United 1K and million miler). Enjoyed your comparisons with AA. United continues to descend, and it does not matter if you are an elite flyer with a long history–unless you are in the Global Services (paying $40K/yr). I’ll be staying with Delta and appreciated your advocacy to keep them aware of their best customers!

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