Gary “mostly” gets it right about his latest Delta bashing post – REG rewarding HVC’s.

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gary leff

I love it when Gary goes on a Delta rant. Before, when I was an unabashed, almost without question Delta “fan boy” I still loved it because I could fight back with reasons why Delta was better. That is much harder nowadays under SkyRubles2015.

He gets much of it right in his post but he leaves much out as well. The main point is that Delta is not being honest about rewarding those who spend the most. I agree. As I have posted myself flying is just about the dumbest way to earn SkyRubles this year. Anyone who says they are doing better under SkyRubles2015 is either flushing their own money down the toilet or their company’s money the same direction. Sorry, that is the truth. But only in regard to SkyRubles not elite points. But more on this in a bit.

Gary is correct that:

Delta has removed additional award space for elites
Delta is limiting award space on partners
Delta has capped how many SkyRubles you can earn per ticket
Delta can (and clearly does) over charge for award tickets
Delta covers things up by hiding the award charts online

Many things Gary leaves out are equally bad to me. For example, Delta removed additional award space for Delta AMEX card holders (this was an unpublished perk, but a real one as we have proved in the past). Delta has removed point-to-point booking online so you have to HUCB to get what should be a simple award booking done. And we could go on and on and on.

All of this boils down and supports what he says in this post title, that he is “Sick and Tired of Hearing that Delta Rewards Its Highest Valued Customers, Because it Just Ain’t True”

Delta beats this drum in their marketing but EVEN if they were rewarding over spenders, when you are playing “dirty pool” on the redemption side you can not claim you are rewarding anyone. That is the sad fact, but people are clearly falling for it.

Now where I disagree with Gary is on the product side. He says Delta has no 1st class. He means “real” 1st class, because Delta has 1st class. It is a domestic 1st class that is not 1st class but just called 1st class because it is just domestic business class that Delta has branded as 1st class. Phew! But Delta does have DeltaONE that was called Business Elite in the past that is VERY good. Is it Lufthansa 1st class good? No, but from product, to service to food to wines it is a product I enjoy each time I fly it. It is as good as “real” 1st class was not too many years ago.

I also will not get into his point valuations because they just make my head hurt. On the elite point side, you can still earn your elite points at great values of 3 or 4 CPM in coach and 7 or 8 CPM in business on mileage runs. But he is talking redeemable Delta points and again, we know flying is just a stupid way to earn those so let’s just leave that alone. To me arguing this is like fighting about what variety of skunk smells the best. 😉

Lastly, as to the reason to pick Delta, he is mostly spot on here too. If you are a HVC with Delta you are well taken care of both flying and when issues come up. If you DO NOT CARE about redeemable points and only care about:

Consistent product & wifi
Help with IROPS
Phone support
Earning elite points
AMEX perks / spend exemption

If these matter to you then Delta, no matter where you are, is a great choice. On top of that Delta reps, with a little pushing or a HUCB or two will do just about anything for HVCs. Again, as long as you discount the frequent flyer points to just about zero, and only care about the travel when you are paying, Delta wins hands down over any other airline.

Now I get that is a VERY narrow subset of flyers. Most of us DO care about frequent flyer points. Most of us want to get value when we are flying and when we spend those points. But as long as Delta is flying full planes they do not have to care and they are proving that. That goes for HVCs and every day flyers and everyone in-between. – René

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  1. If I’m spending $5,000, $7,000 or even — not unheard of — $10,000 on a business-elite/one international ticket then Delta should provide me with dedicated lounge space, a real meal at the airport (especially if I don’t want to eat in an overnight flight), and shower access (not all airport clubs have showers) for arriving flights.

  2. If Gary’s rant posts cause more flyers to bail on Delta for AA then I’m happy. If they don’t he needs to try harder. After all my upgrades are counting on them leaving for other airlines and that point has been illustrated by Delta.

  3. Speaking of skunk smells…what about the gut feeling you get everytime you want to get something done on I get an ache in my stomach each time I try to price an award, or complex routing. You just KNOW they are not an honest airline to deal with. Why should any loyal flyer (one with miles in their account) have tho work to get what is a fair and honest price?

    With all the whining, blaming and accusations that RA throws at the Gulf carriers he needs to seriously look at Dekta’s first class (DELTA One) product to compete.

    How much time and effort has he spent on scrutinizing the GCC’s financials when he should have fixed his own home first!

    Award Charts, working route pricings, improving relationships with HVC’s (Elites)….there’s a lot of opportunities to improve Deltas’s image.

    As the GCC’s entrenched more aggressively into major US hubs RA may see high-paying flyers jump ship in lieu of an outstanding first class experience…just check what Nicole Kidman is taking a hit for…

    Be competitive, be the best DELTA….and we will all follow you “to the ends of the globe”

  4. Love you Rene but this statement will always irk me…. ” Anyone who says they are doing better under SkyRubles2015 is either flushing their own money down the toilet or their company’s money the same direction. Sorry, that is the truth. But only in regard to SkyRubles not elite points.”

    Sorry that is not the truth. I have two choices and the majority of the time the price is about the same. How could I get a cheaper price, well by driving 3 hours each way. Is that practical for a person or company flying 3 out of 4 weeks. Time is also something valued by a company and by me. Plus you have to add in the price of gas, wear and tear on your vehicle, the much higher Parking costs of a major airport versus a small one etc. When you add it all up cost is about the same and then when we add in the time it makes sense.

    I and others are coming out ahead and not because we are “flushing money down the toilet.” I am in charge of my teams budget and I always tell them we have to weigh in the cost of time. Also how effective are you waking up at 4am to save $50.

    Look forward to seeing you on May 1st after I drag a 757, but I will have to agree to disagree with you once again on this issue. 🙂

  5. @DSF – I am not saying you don’t get more points. But when they are worth so much less than before, how is this rewarding over spenders? That is the truth just like Gary points out.

  6. Well my redemption value has gone up with all the tricks you have taught me, and with the lowering of some of the thresholds. Got some good deals with the 20k RT.

  7. You taught me to well! Get the most you can out of them!

    Also fly a different airline if you want the best mileage program.

  8. If you’re buying a $7k ticket, why are you up in arms about buying a $20 meal for yourself (if that) at the airport? Seriously. Also, international BE or Delta One tickets allow for lounge access.

  9. @Michael: Because all of the non-U.S.-flagged airlines provide real meals in lounges for their first-class and business-class passengers. Delta claims to be the best airline. It should — and could — offer this. If I’m flying out at 9 p.m. for Europe, I want to sleep. It wouldn’t cost them a dime to give me a meal at the airport, even if it’s just a voucher for a restaurant in lieu of Delta expanding food and beverage in its lounges. Heck, even Air Berlin allows economy-class passengers to pre-order a meal of their exact choosing for a very small cost. I know American does this or is, at least, experimenting with it. Is

    With respect to the lounges, I know but many of the lounges don’t have showers despite passengers arriving on $3,000, $5,000, $7,000 and even $10,000 business-elite/one tickets. That’s unacceptable.

    I only fly what’s now Delta one (formerly business-elite) when a client pays or I use a global upgrade coupon. It’s not worth paying for otherwise. A couple of slight improvements, then who knows.

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