“Does Delta really think its Skymiles members are all idiots?” Was a recent comment by Flyer Talker uclacolumbiaunc in the “official Delta company thread” on the social media board about the latest destruction to the $kyRubles program. This comment was quickly followed by “I don’t think so. I think they just don’t care.” By user Zeeb to answer that question.
Both are honestly true and here is why. Delta would not make all these horrific program changes unless they knew they could get away with them. They realize that most business travelers really could not care less about SkyMiles and will fly Delta for the transportation they provide. And yes, I do think Delta thinks most leisure travelers are idiots (I don’t think so, just to be clear). Delta thinks they will just take anything Delta shells out and, for the most part for the past year, that is clearly true. And that lends itself to the second quote as Delta does not care what people think because they are still flying their jets full, selling more 1st class seats, and can simply park jets in the desert if we ever stop flying them to make sure prices “Keep Climbing” on Delta!
Well, that is about the most depressing thing I have seen in print this week (just wait, the weekend is a long way off, there could be more). But none of this helps me extract value from Delta and my $kyRubles. How do I do that as promised? Let’s make a “Top 10 List” and break them down one by one.
- Game On.
- Book Partners.
- Elite perks.
- Be stingy.
- SDC & SDS.
- PWM Tickets.
- AMEX Reserve.
- Choice Benefits.
- Complain (including the FEDs).
“Game On” really needs to be the way we fly Delta from now on. Everything that is not violating the rules is what we must live by. Delta has shown utter disrespect and treated us so reprehensibly that there is no reason to feel any shame for using and abusing everything we can. What games? Much of that will be covered in the next 9 points but bottom line of this is play by the rules, but game them in every instance we can.
“Book Partners” was broken down well in my post the other day but that can be used in conjunction with gaming Delta. You see, especially with regional partners, there are often schedule changes. If you can find LEVEL 1 award space on a them and there is change push Delta to change to Delta metal. Believe it or not I have had success with as little as a 10 minute schedule change to be allowed to change flights. Use this – all you can!
“Elite Perks”. Delta, nauseatingly, on each flight, thanks medallions for our choice and loyalty to Delta (while the mothership stabs us in the back with program changes). Anyway, use these. Push these. Read what you can do as an elite and use ALL the perks. When you get an answer you don’t like REMIND the Delta people what status you hold and do not appreciate, as an elite, being treated this way.
“Be Stingy” like MJ on Travel. Even if you live in a Delta HUB fortress city, like Atlanta, you do have a choice. MJ this year has chosen to Fly American and has really enjoyed it. He has a fabulous upgrade percentage (compared to nearly worthless with Delta as a Platinum Medallion). This makes my point, don’t over spend on Delta. Unless your employer DEMANDS you fly Delta – don’t! Choose other airlines and especially so if you’re booking expensive 1st class tickets. Get value for your airline dollars and miles flown. Consider, if you do have to fly Delta, crediting to Alaska Airlines vs. Delta. When you go to spend your points you will thank me. I would have never thought about buying tickets on anything but Delta last year. Now, I will shop around and you should too.
“SDC & SDS” as a tool for more. If you are booked in 1st class you can “same day change” to any open seat in the 1st class cabin as the fare class does NOT matter (unlike coach). With coach, push it. See if you can get a change despite the rules. If no, look at how much it is to upgrade to a fare class that WILL allow the change (and ask them to waive all other fees to change). This way maybe you can eke out a few more MQMs for your flights. “Same day standby” is also a nice tool if you are an elite and there is no fee for you to use this feature. Use it if award space is nasty to get home when you wanted in the first place.
“Bumpertunites” are still very nice. Sure there are drawbacks but Delta is testing more and giving you an AMEX or other gift card. These are amazing values as you are not stuck with “Delta Dollars” that have so many restrictions they can be hard to spend unless you are buying Delta tickets all the time. I tend to use my bumps for mileage runs as well as positioning flights. This is a great way for Delta to pay for me to earn my status and all the perks that come along with it. Use this!
“PWM Tickets”. This is a blessing and a curse. As an elite you can really game this to your advantage. As I have talked about in the past if you can find a low enough business class fare, even internationally, this could be a better redemption price than using SkyMiles award charts. Do consider this if you have a Delta AMEX card.
“AMEX Reserve” (and other cards). Use Delta AMEX card perks to their full. Earn MQMs then stop spending. Use the free bag and other perks. AMEX has paid Delta an amazing amount of money to have the right to market their co-Branded cards so let’s enjoy all those perks we can get!
“Choice Benefits”. Delta was so kind to give us a few Global Upgrade certificates (AA gives you a bunch more than Delta btw). Anyway, before you pay see if GU cert space is open and then pay a cheap coach price and fly in DeltaONE space. This is a great #winning perk of Diamond Status.
“Complain (to the FEDs)”. I have shown in the past how a reader complained his way to almost 100,000 SkyMiles. I do not recommend this, but if you do have a legitimate gripe do complain and get something back. If it is something that is price related DO complain to the DOT as this can get Delta in trouble. If they don’t care about us we can be sure to point out when they do things that will get the FEDs attention. I have only ever filed one complaint in a decade of flying, but I will look for more now (loyalty is a two way street, Delta).
There you are. This is quite a “top 10” list, but it really is up to us at this point. There is just no loyalty from Delta and they will cut and charge and take every perk away from us they can. It is completely up to us to eke out any kind of value we can when flying Delta. – René
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