I will end this year with about 800,000 MQMs with Delta. Not Skymiles (those are the ones we spend) but miles with Delta. Some are from AMEX card bonus deals but the rest are earned the hard way, that is, BIS or my “butt in seat” miles flying Delta and Skyteam jets. It takes a long time for most, often decades, to rack up 1 million miles. We have Michael’s reflections on crossing that point, but I thought it would be interesting to look at the real perks, including the MM gift choices, we get as a thank you from Delta. So, I asked Kevin to share his thoughts.
Rene, in the ongoing quest to maintain status with the Delta Medallion program over the past few years, I just hit the Million Miler level. I keep getting asked the same questions regarding how, why and what regarding the program.
I am a multi-year Diamond Medallion, Platinum a few years prior and also Platinum with the former Northwest, that of course rolled in to Delta. Even before I saw you, Rene, suggest the Delta American Express Reserve, I was a card holder. This isn’t a sales pitch for AmEx, but the Reserve card has been key to my Delta relationship in a couple of ways. First is that I use the card often and easily hit the bonus levels that reward you with MQMs at $30/60k. This provides a huge bump up on the way to Diamond and MM status. So I know I will have 30k MQMs from the card, on top of the unique (as far as I know) benefit from Delta known as Rollover Miles. So, for instance, this year I currently am at 205K ytd, of which 30K from Amex and 52K from Rollover, and assume I will end around 250K for 2014. It’s nice considering the hefty fee that it acts as a tie-breaker in priority for upgrade if you hold this card. As a Diamond and also as MM, I also get to see some differences in the availability of award space. This year I will hit actual flown miles to qualify for Diamond, but many miles are due to rollover and bonuses that people seem to pass off as an industry norm…. which they are not. Like all of your readers, I have looked at other programs and these features are better than what is out there in my view.
When I hit the Million Miler level with Delta I was sent a welcome card congratulating me on reaching new heights or something similar that also mentioned a thank you gift. Shortly thereafter I received an email with a link to the redemption page, see image.
My personal choice was to replace my aging, 20 year old or more, Tumi carry on that was larger and heavier than the new options. Tumi stands behind their product and had repaired this bag for me as well as my larger though seldom used checkable bag. Tumi and Delta seem to be a good match since service level is key and the amenity kit for business/first has been Tumi branded for a couple of years now and is a big hit. About seven days later my brand new Tumi Alpha Continental bag arrived with a retail price tag of $645, as a thank you gift from Delta. This new bag is at least 1/3 less in weight unpacked and even packed still comes in lighter since it has a built in suit/shirt compartment. This allows me to leave the old folding bag at home rather than jam it inside the old carry on. Also, the new bag is slimmer, shorter in height and a bit more flexible than the old version, allowing a few more options to fit on the CRJ flights.
At around the same time I received new credentials from Delta with the 1M highlights on both bag tags, in the notably noisy aluminum, as well as the Diamond card. In addition, they sent a full Diamond kit again that included more job-well-done awards and free amenity coupons.
I often hear the comments from the in-flight crews at Delta thanking the Medallions and MM’s for their business. On a recent flight I noticed a list of passengers in the galley with a few names starred. I asked and was told it was to highlight the MM’s on the flight so they could make sure they received extra attention where possible. Nice to hear. Of course gate agents and in-flight crews vary, but most go out of their way to say thanks by name and by status. Again a nice touch.
One of the best perks and reasons I fly with Delta more than others is that when you reach Diamond or MM there seems to be another perk that goes unmentioned. There is a notification system that seems to work via Delta and the Delta App that updates you on flight status, schedule changes, check in, delays from weather and other issues. In my experience I have actually been updated prior to most all other passengers and even the gate agents at times. On top of that, if there is a cancellation my itinerary has likely been already re-booked and updated in the app, automatically. This is huge. No waiting in line with the other 100+ passengers or on hold waiting. More time to go enjoy the complimentary (Diamond perk) SkyClub membership while waiting on the next flight. Now, I asked a few people at Delta about this and they did confirm it is a great system that was developed and tested on the high level Medallions and is being rolled out company wide in the near future. Again, nice perk that will go to everyone in the Medallion program soon it sounds.
I have also heard of some MM special events, one took place at Daniel in NYC, known as an excellent dining experience, a couple weeks ago and was an exclusive event for MM members in the area, invite only. I just made MM, so I have not seen any invites yet, but do recall the simply amazing events Delta threw with the Reserve card for Medallions in Minneapolis years ago. These were dinner and cocktail parties with take way gifts from Delta, that included a wine stopper and cookbooks we still use. I hope these events return for Medallions and also for MM in the Minneapolis area soon.
So to sum up why I fly Delta and have for over 1 million miles: Service. This includes a team at Delta that seems to love working for Delta, Skyteam perks, service interruption, upgrades, free economy comfort, notifications, bonus miles, elevated personal handling, recognition of status, occasional Porsche ride, new free expensive luggage, better access to seats and flights, rollover, MQM bonus and more.
Thanks Kevin for your thoughts. It is very nice that that the MM gift choices are more than just trinkets and Delta does really treat million milers and those who are loyal to Delta well and appreciates you. I will, at some point over then next few years, reach that point too; I look forward to that day! – René
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