Rookie Wednesday: NOPE! You are wrong. Sorry. The Delta stuff so many get wrong.

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RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.

nope wrong

Unless you REALLY spend a lot of time on Delta jets (and even if you do for that matter), it is very simple to get things wrong. Heck, Delta people get things wrong all the time so it really is up to us to know the rules.

If you happen to get any of these wrong, hang your head in shame and never fly Delta again. OK, I am totally kidding. But let’s see if you are as smart as you think you are. Starting with…

Comfort Plus gets you free wifi right? I wish. Nope! You get free Delta Studio that is streamed over the in-flight wifi but the only wifi you have free access to is Delta.com and a few other sites they allow.

Zone 1 boards first right? Nope. Well, you board before Zone 2 & 3 but after those who need help, 1st class called Premium that includes Diamond Medallions, then Sky Priority and THEN you get to board as Zone 1.

I can now under SkyMiles2015 earn SkyMiles for spending them on an award ticket. No, sorta. NOT for an award ticket. With the PWM or Pay with Miles, you can earn MQMs for spending them on a coach ticket and you can earn both SkyMiles and MQMs for spending them on a 1st class ticket.

How do I go about combining my and my wife’s SkyMiles accounts? You don’t. Well technically you can transfer SkyMiles, for a fee, from one person to another, but it will cost you more than they are worth so please never EVER do this. Now, there are other ways to get more points into one account. For example, say your wife has Starwood points from her SPG card. She is allowed to send them to YOUR Starwood account free. Then, you could send those points to YOUR Delta SkyMiles account and for every 20,000 you would net out 25,000 SkyMiles.

I want to upgrade my ticket with SkyMiles. I am told it is only a few thousand points to do this for a flight to Europe. That sounds nice but you probably can’t. You see you must have a K or higher class fare to upgrade with miles in the USA and M class fare or higher internationally and you probably don’t have that because most times that fare is almost the same price as a discounted business class ticket. These fares tend to go to last minute flyers or those who can pick expensive coach fares on their business accounts and then use points to upgrade.

I booked 1st / business class so I get into the Skyclubs right? Well, mostly no. You do if you are flying internationally or if you are flying the JFK/SFO-LAX route. Otherwise no, you don’t.

OK well I am booked internationally in business I can get access to the lounges where I land right? Again, sorry nope unless you are making a connection to yet another Skyteam partner. Then YES you do. You also get access before you fly home.

I am a Diamond and I have the Delta AMEX Reserve card. My wife can get in free on my card since I have membership as a Diamond right? Nope. In the past you could often work that but not today. They are HARD on the fact that everyone over 2 years old must have their own way to get in. Sorry!

OK I paid the $29 to get into the SkyClub. That is good all day right? Nope! That is a one time fee. You go to another club even in the same airport you must pay again. Only a 24 hour pass is good in and out as you wish.

I have TSA PreCheck so all those with me can use it right? Nope. If you have Sky Priority then those with you can use the Premium line with you but each one has to have their own TSA PreCheck unless they are your children under 12 years old. 13 and up they need their own KTN to use the PreCheck line with you.

I have a Delta AMEX card. As long as I buy the ticket they get a free bag right? Nope, only if you are flying with them on the same itinerary. It can work if you are not on the same reservation but the gate agent will have to override and you will have to be on the exact same flights.

I am NOT in Comfort Plus (i.e. C+) seats on an international flight. I have to pay for alcoholic drinks right? Nope! They are free no matter where you are sitting on an international flight. Enjoy!

Why would anyone do a Delta mileage run anymore now that Delta is revenue based? Because, only SkyMiles is revenue based. The elite points, that you do not spend, are still distance and fare class bonus based. So, if you want status, you can still mileage run and the cheaper the ticket the better.

I got the Delta AMEX Gold card that comes with a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within the first 3 months. I got a GoGo pass but it did not give me credit. It should have right? Nope! That is not a Delta purchase. Only Delta purchases will work like something on-board like a drink or snack. Many report even $50 e-Gift card reportedly is working.

If I earn medallion status I earn it for this year, right? Nope. Now you will have status this year for free but you are earning NEXT YEAR’S status. Why does this matter? It matters because first your status is good until 1FEB17 and if you are PM or DM your choice benefits is the 2016 one NOT the 2015 one.

I am a Delta Diamond Medallion and my wife is Gold. We booked awards with her points. I get free changes as a Diamond right? Nope! The free changes apply to the account they were booked from. If you book, for you or anyone else, you can change them all you want. Otherwise, you are stuck with your tickets unless there is reason to get a free re-deposit.

I have completed my $25,000 spend on my Delta AMEX Platinum card but have not got the bonus points. Why not? My bet, you spent just about to the penny and your annual fee does NOT count toward that spend total. Plus, they do not hit until 1-3 days after your statement closes. It’s one of those two.

So there you are. Did you know them all? Did I trip you up even a little? Did I forget any of the ones people always seem to ask you? If so, I really want to know – 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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22 comments

  1. Great tips! Also another NOPE is (thanks again for your help last week) even if you are GM or above and family is flying on the SAME itinerary they “normally” can’t do a same day flight change without the $50 fee, as itsTHEIR status that counts for the fee not my status of the primary itinerary holder. Had no idea..

  2. Great tips! Also another NOPE is (thanks again for your help last week) even if you are GM or above and family is flying on the SAME itinerary they “normally” can’t do a same day flight change without the $50 fee, as its THEIR status that counts for the fee not my status of the primary itinerary holder. Had no idea..

  3. Don’t forget the new rules on international partner lounge access. Even as a Diamond member and with a Lifetime SkyClub membership unless you are booked in business class no lounge access for you.

  4. Delta Diamond status no longer guarantees that you will get TSA precheck. I called Delta Diamond desk and they read a statement which says the automatic PreCheck status for elite flyers will be more random now than in the past. I guess precheck was so successful they are cutting back. That makes a lot of sense. Thank you TSA. And I wonder if Delta went to bat for us?

  5. well, I bought a lounge pass for LaGuardia a few months ago, my flight plans changed, and I had to go to JFK to fly out of there, and was able to get in with the same pass. It was $49, but did seem to be 24-hours. I thought that’s what they sell you? The $29 price is just for AMEX Delta card holders?

  6. TSA or the government figured out that they were losing a bunch of money by randomly selecting passengers for the pre-check lines. They waited long enough for the frequent traveler to get used to it and want it that they now can say you don’t get it unless you pay. Thus, all those frequent flyers will now pay the $85 because they don’t want to chance not getting the pre check line, especially out of the captive delta hubs. I know this because I just made the appointment for my husband who has had it virtually every single flight and myself, who only flies four times a year.

  7. Rene, – if I am GM or PM and call in to book PWM or an award flight for my entire family of three – is it possible to use combined miles from my as well as my wife’s account to cover the entire reservation?

  8. @Alex – No and No. You can only PWM online and you can only use the points you have. If you wife want to PWM she has to have her own Delta AMEX Card to do that too.

  9. If I (DM) book a flight using my miles for someone else even if I am not flying with them they can get free changes on their award redemption since it was my miles that booked it?

  10. Alex while you can’t combine or mix and match you can use your wife’s points to purchase some of the tickets and your points to purchase the rest. But each award ticket can only be “paid” for from one skymiles account. Also you will have at least 2 confirmation numbers which is ok except for a little hassle viewing or changing seats etc…. FYI on rare occasion paying $100 to transfer 10,000 points can be worth it IMO. We recently paid $100 to transfer enough points to provide +1 with enough sky-rubbles to secure a business class ticket. $$ well spent to be upfront on 12 hour flight – no SPG points in our business/family.

  11. Marriott Platinum with Friends and Family discount and so many points I could retire…. I’m in to deep to have options 🙂

  12. A few corrections and clarifications:

    “I booked 1st / business class so I get into the Skyclubs right? Well, mostly no. You do if you are flying internationally or if you are flying the JFK/SFO-LAX route. Otherwise no, you don’t.”

    Flying internationally doesn’t necessarily guarantee Sky Club access, as flights to the Caribbean are excluded. And there are additional domestic routes beyond JFK-LAX/SFO that do grant access, namely the nonstop JFK-DEN/LAS/PHX/PDX/SEA routes for Delta One, first class, or full Y-fare ticket holders.

    “OK well I am booked internationally in business I can get access to the lounges where I land right? Again, sorry nope unless you are making a connection to yet another Skyteam partner. Then YES you do. You also get access before you fly home.”

    Business class passengers (as well as Diamond and Platinum Medallions) are permitted entry to the dedicated arrivals lounges at CDG and LHR.

    “I am NOT in Comfort Plus (i.e. C+) seats on an international flight. I have to pay for alcoholic drinks right? Nope! They are free no matter where you are sitting on an international flight. Enjoy!”

    Delta.com is unclear, but as I understand it, alcohol is complimentary in the Main Cabin only on long-haul international flights, i.e., those flights where Delta One service is also offered. Alcohol is complimentary in Comfort+ on all international flights, and has been since April 2013. (Of course, alcohol is complimentary in Comfort+ on all flights over 250 miles.)

  13. @Mark S. – Caribbean & some other markets are NOT considered International and qualify for medallion UG thus no Skyclub. The LHR arrival lounge is a 1x thing not system wide. There is nothing unclear about free drinks all seats International and the post on C+ is very clear too.

  14. I know the Caribbean is not considered international for lounge access purposes—that’s why I said it. But you didn’t mention it in your post, and a “rookie” certainly would consider Caribbean countries to be international.

    The LHR and CDG arrivals lounges are outliers, to be sure, but they are useful facilities. Why not mention them instead of making a blanket statement that lounge access is not permitted upon arrival?

    And again, complimentary alcohol is offered in the Main Cabin only on long-haul international flights, not all international flights. Both your post and Delta.com are unclear on that point.

  15. Just a note on guest lounge access:
    If you are gold or higher and are flying international you are still allowed a guest. I called the plat desk and thats what they said and sure enough I had no problems traveling with a guest in both Jan and March.

    Also, as long as your flight originates or ends internationally, you can use the lounges at each point of the trip, just to clarify for readers.

  16. To clarify on International Alcohol:

    I fly a lot in international economy, and drink plenty, so I have figured this out finally. Delta.com is very unclear, but all drinks they list as C+ (so beer, wine, spirits) are also offered throughout the whole economy cabin. This confused me for a while, and in fact I use to get c+ sometimes just for the Woodford Reserve, but I learned in Jan that they offer it throughout. Which to me makes c+ on long international flights no better than economy besides the seat. Because the premium snacks thing they do domestically is not offered and if you think about it, all the perks of the new c+ domestically are already offered internationally. Back to the drinks though, fortunately, the vast majority of flyers do not know its all free so share it wisely. They only carry a limited amount of Woodford reserve in economy, beware!

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