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#KeepDescending! Delta downgrades Medallion & AMEX enhanced award space perks!

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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.


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Boy, those who are overspending with Delta sure are happy, those high level elites that Delta just loves. And they are telling Delta they are happy. Just look what Delta’s president said recently about Skymiles2015:

“Finally, we’ve changed SkyMiles from a distance based program to a spend based program. This change should drive higher revenues from a stronger customer loyalty as we put rewards into our most valuable customers and we are already receiving positive feedback from them.” Edward H. Bastian – President Delta Air Lines

Well how are you rewarding them, Ed? In the past, we know, those who were high level medallions a.k.a. loyal Delta customers had greater access to low level award seats and the same thing went for loyal Delta AMEX card holders (well the Reserve and Platinum cards that is).

This really was a nice way to “put rewards into our most valuable customers”. However, I have the following from a source that now says:

“Enhanced Availability for Award tickets has been discontinued for SkyMiles Medallion members and Platinum and Reserve Delta SkyMiles Credit Cardholders. The enhanced availability classes will continue to be displayed, but will always have the same availability as N class of service.”

#KeepDecscending Delta. The past few years of “enhancements” have not been enough, we have to start right out of the gates with another cut in value for medallions and the high end Delta AMEX cards. Thanks! So good to be loyal.

I have repeatedly reached out to Delta for more information on why this choice was made but have had no repose to my requests.

To me, all this simply goes to show that my change of direction for the blog for 2015 is the right one. The only one who has our back is us. What do you think of this latest enhancement to the Medallion program and Delta AMEX card holders? – René

EDIT: Just got this update from Delta CORP at 8PM:

With the launch of the 2015 program and the improvements to redemption including more redemption options, we now offer the same Award availability to all SkyMiles members. Award availability for all members in 2015 is improved over the enhanced availability Medallion members and co-brand card holders had access to in 2014. – Delta CORP

So we are now CONFIRMED about the downgrade. #FAIL big time Delta.

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.


  1. If I am understanding this correctly, this is huge!

    To clarify René, as a diamond, I could previously book an award trip for 25,000 miles. When a friend logged in as platinum, the same trip would be 32,500 for them.

    You are saying those days are done?

    The amount of miles for a trip will be the same regardless of status?

    Why doesn’t Delta just take away the 72 hour cancellation perk. There would then be no point to maintain my status to spend my 1.3 million miles. I’ll take my $30k spend a year elsewhere.

    • @Adam – that is exactly as I understand it. the days that a DM got more low level space than a PM or lower is GONE! NOW! HUGE devaluation of Medallion program. But hey, Delta has snowed overspenders to think earning all these extra Skymiles are a good thing! #DeltaWinning4Delta

  2. Is it printed somewhere to point to Amex when calling in to ask for a AF waiver?

    • @BenT – No. This has been a TESTED and PROVEN unpublished perk. And with the latest news, it confirms it WAS a perk as we all knew.

  3. Why are we surprised? Delta is slowly shedding all of its loyal clients. My goal is to make Platinum again by March and then shift all of my flying to AA to try to earn AA miles which has better transfer partners.

    As for the credit cards, i keep them so that I can gain the valuable MQMs. $495 and $195 for the Reserve and Platinum cards are minor fees to lock in 50K MQMs a year for not even stepping onto a plane.

    Has anyone tested the new low level awards availability? If so please post screen shots, w/Amex card and w/o Amex card for the same trip.

    BTW, glad to see you are upset Rene! Perhaps you should change your blog to…’DeltaStinks’. Keep up the good work!

  4. This just about seals the deal for me. What Delta is trying to do is even the playing field for everyone but Delta 360. If and when they take away the MQM’s for spend on the Amex cards, that is when I will cut my ties altogether. I would like for them to tell us what exactly is left for the highest loyalty members that differentiate us from the lower tiered loyalty members. They need to give us a reason to spend more money and be more loyal. I don’t see it.

  5. John DELTA Reply

    So much for Delta’s commitment of “more Award Seats available for fewer miles” as promised here:

    I almost thought being a Diamond would keep us above some of the stench of the decaying carcass commonly referred to as “SkyMiles”…but this thing is dying. Sure, it looks great on paper (for the Delta revenue department and shareholders) as you’ve filled the tents to see the “greatest show on earth”…but once the crowd figures out that they have been duped…don’t be standing in front of the exits!

    Hopefully some Delta heads will roll once they realize their folly as Delta Loyals jump ship beginning in March, then again toward the year’s end and finishing with the mass exodus of elites beginning February 1, 2016 (the new end/start date for Medallion status is 2016).

    Even AA Executive Platinum is far more rewarding with more upgrade certificates, better mileage rewards and MileSAAver Award availability and even award discounts with the right credit card and annual mileage rebates with the Citi Executive / AAdvantage Card.

    What’s the telephone number for Alaska’s Status Match? 😉

  6. John DELTA Reply

    In Delta’s latest earnings statement, they reported an impressive increase in “Other revenue” of 21.3 percent, or $205 million, driven by SkyMiles revenues, third-party refinery sales, and joint venture settlements.

    A huge portion of this was selling SkyMiles, and those MQM’s at the Gosh-Awful prices that René pleaded with people not to buy, but do a MR (or get an AmEx Reserve) instead.

    You’re just feeding this beast now!

    We all have to work together, be smarter and write the company.


    Thanks René for this venue!

  7. Has anyone checked this with test bookings? Has this supposedly been in place since the beginning of the year?

    Is there any pressure we can put on Amex?

  8. Great old Lily Tomlin AT&T sketch from Saturday Night Live Season 2, it really fits here:

    “Ernestine: A gracious hello. Here at the Phone Company, we handle eighty-four billion calls a year. Serving everyone from presidents and kings to the scum of the earth. So, we realize that, every so often, you can’t get an operator, or for no apparent reason your phone goes out of order, or perhaps you get charged for a call you didn’t make. We don’t care!

    Watch this… [ she hits buttons maniacally ] We just lost Peoria.

    You see, this phone system consists of a multibillion-dollar matrix of space age technology that is so sophisticated — [ she hits buttons with her elbows ] even we can’t handle it. But that’s your problem, isn’t it? So, the next time you complain about your phone service, why don’t you try using two Dixie cups with a string? We don’t care. We don’t have to. We’re the Phone Company. ”

    And that’s where we are headed thanks to merger-mania.

  9. The quotations you put around that seem to imply that this was somehow actually published.
    Please tel me even Delta isn’t that dumb?
    BTW, if true then this is just ugly. At least we know about it now so we don’t spend a huge amount of time accumulating MQM’s for nothing.

    • @Geoff – the wording in clear. the first quote is from the Delta Q4 from company president. the next quote is from my source. but, yes, I do think Delta is this dumb. they are going to continue to decimate the program as they don’t think anything they do matters. and so far full planes and elites staying with Delta shows they are winning!

  10. I am loathe to admit it, but in many areas of the country they are 100% correct.
    I either fly extremely dependable Delta mainline service or I am stuck on United or USAIR’s crappy, dirty CRJ’s(if I’m lucky) or god forbid the craptacular Dash 8’s!
    Delta uses an A319(and a few feeder CRJ’s) that seems like a 380 compared to the others.
    Delta also overcomes weather and is far and away more dependable as far as schedule goes.
    I need to move to a bigger city:)
    But this unspoken high-level Medallion benefit reduction takes away much of the reason to accumulate MQM’s to achieve status.

  11. Pingback: Delta downgrades Medallion & AMEX enhanced award space perks! - FlyerTalk Forums

  12. so if I am silver and have a delta plat amaex strictly for delta flights…is it worth it now?

    • @William – well you have the same space as a Diamond so YES you are winning! Congrats!

  13. Pingback: Delta puts USA to Florida on 2 day sale for 10,000 points (one way) for elites & Delta AMEX card holders - Delta PointsDelta Points

  14. And you insist in writing a blog named Delta Points. Isn’t it time to ignore this airline exist and take your business elsewhere?

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  16. traderprofit Reply

    @Everyone: Just move out of Delta’s hubs. Uproot your families for THE CAUSE.
    Seriously , I wish I had subpoena power.Airline mergers were a great idea

  17. Yes, I had tried the booking calendar at the end of December, first of January for three different trips because my “mileage earner” had just gotten platinum status. I tried three different trips and the lowest mileage I could find was 32,500 and the highest was 60,000 – for economy ticket. Really? 60000 miles for an economy ticket? No way, no how. So, we used the companion certificate for one trip and I’m driving the other two. So, I knew delta was lying before they said, “oops, sorry, we were lying.” And, yes, I have both the delta platinum and reserve cards. I find it hard to believe that delta won’t miss me and my $7500 ticket purchases and $75000 spend on Amex cards?

  18. Delta is only out for Delta. No reason to be loyal, They obviously do not
    do Market research or focus groups with their top Elites. Let your voice be heard on the freddie awards held in ATL, What a SLAP IN THE FACE if Delta gets no awards. Social media is the way to get them good.
    Tried 8 times to book awards low level still very scarce got to let them have it flood them with calls and emails and complain, complain and Complain some more. Stock is climbing everyday and fuels are at a 5 year low. DELTA SHAREHOLDERS ARE NOT CONCERNED ABOUT ANY CONSUMER. Bottom line!!

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  21. I am not happy with the changes, but I don’t think we are Delta’s target customer. They are looking to get travel departments from large companies to prefer flying with them. Just an example- my husband has automatic Gold status through his company every year regardless of whether or not he flies. Everyone in his 10,000 employee company does if they take even one flight for business, ever. So if individuals flee, as long as they have execs at the top 20% of companies happy, Delta is happy. If large travel departments decide they don’t like Delta’s product, then they will change.

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  27. John Fenner Reply

    As a long time Platinum Medallion Member, imagine my surprise when I can no longer select “Comfort Plus” seats when I book online. I have to call a Delta Representative and ask him or her to make the change. When I press them to acknowledge the downgrade of Platinum benefits, they refuse and say, “you can still get those seats if you pay more”, or “you can call in and get those seats after checking in” ignoring the inconvenience of my time on the phone. Along with higher average ticket costs, this will be my last year with Delta. Keep on Descending Delta!

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