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Delta WHACKS Medallion C+ perks & 40% LEVEL 1 award upcharge for awards! #KeepDescending

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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.


all for sale now delta-com

The news I have blogged about this week that Delta plans to sell C+ as a fare class has gone live on Delta.com (including selling C+ seats in the air as well). There is some good news (i.e. some non-cuts) but mostly it is all bad news as we have come to expect from Delta. The only good news to befall us for flights on or after 16MAY16:

no change for 1st class medallion upgrades

As I speculated, there will be no change to the medallion 1st class upgrades (phew). However the rest is not good. Really not good.

confort plus on skymiles

First off let’s look at LEVEL 1 award prices for C+ fares (yes Delta still uses award charts, they just hide them from us). The price jump is a HUGE 40% for the amazing privilege of sitting in the exact same seat as the rest of coach with a few more perks. Glorious. Thanks Delta.

delta downgrades perks for medallion and comfort plus as of 15may16

The REALLY bad news comes down to how badly rewarded impacted Delta’s most valuable elites are for their status with Delta. In the past you, and up to 8 companions with you, could get C+ seats free at booking (DM & PM). Starting as of 16MAY16 you only get ONE companion and you are eligible based on the LOWEST RANKED MEDALLION on the reservation with you. Ridiculous, insulting and yet one more cut to elite perks.

It will take some time to get more updates from Delta PR folks, and then weed through the spin, to see all the negative impacts on us (ie another post to follow next week).

This is clearly a pure money grab for a product that is less than impressive. For now you can read for yourself all the changes on Delta.dumb HERE!

The really big questions I have are about the “W” fare class designation. According to Delta.com that pays 150% MQMs and that can impact the choice to “buy up” to a C+ seat even if you get it free. I will be sure to follow up when I get more information.

Have a great weekend everyone? – René

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.

24 Comments

  1. Insulting to a new low level. Thinking I need to start my own Delta Insult Award Charts.

    First of all, that an Top Tier Elite would have their seat selection pegged to the LOWEST Medallion companion? I thought the perk of being a top tier was to “SHARE” your experiences with other friends, family and companions. Sort of a wine-tasting event Delta…give them a sip and they will want to buy the bottle. But NO! Now you will force everyone to separate their PNR’s ! Disgusting

    Secondly, the Award flights is another ‘over the top’ (scrape the barrel’s bottom) dig at all SkyMiles members.

    In light of yesterday’s tragedy in Paris…the timing is very poor. I predict air travel, especially leisure, will fall off in response to the heightened concerns and (surely to be added) additional security measure making air travel even less consumer-friendly.

    Airlines love us when things are bad and kick us to the back of the bus (literally) when the cash is rolling in. Cue the Middle East airlines, WOW! and airberlin and anyone else who would come to this market and put pressure on these idiots to once again raise the bar of service.

    And thanks to AmericanAir for opening the door for Delta to kick us even further down the steps…

    The Grinch (RA) has shown his holiday gift list early! Well, there’s one name going on my Santa’s Naughty List!

  2. Hard to believe DL would open such a gaping loophole to pad MQMs as to offer 150% of flown mileage for those who buy up to C+. Heck, everyone would be Diamond in weeks. If they are categorizing it with a fare bucket, my guess is it ain’t W or premium economy on VS, VA, AF get a new letter.

    What I think is most fascinating about this auto upgrade to C+ is one could be moved to a middle seat in C+ from a window or aisle, perhaps even in an exit row. I’m not sure I want to give DL the carte blanche to move me to a middle seat. Unless there’s an “exclude middle seats” option, I’m not playing.

  3. Just a quick math point on those fare you have posted.

    ATL-MCO is 404 air miles, but Delta will give you 500 MQM for each segment (based on their 500 MQM rule).

    That makes the cost of the T fare $151.40 come in at 15.14 CPM
    and the cost of the W fare $180.15 would earn (if the “W” fare 150% earning rate holds true) 1,500 MQM’s at a cost of 12.01 CPM

    So, you are getting 500 extra miles for a cost of $28.75 or 5.75 CPM

  4. René,

    How did you miss this???

    “However, customers may not select complimentary Delta Comfort+ seats while on board, regardless of elite status or fare class.”

    Excuse me?

    • @Dr. John – But you may request FREE from the FAs but on a 1st come first served basis.

  5. You left out the REALLY bad news. DM and PM’s no longer get domestic C+ seats after May 16 at time of booking for free.

  6. I’d be more concerned about the use of the word “clearing/clearance” meaning it may become something revenue management releases and ppl become waitlisted for C+.

  7. @STEVE –

    “In order to take advantage of complimentary access to Delta Comfort+ for flights within the U.S. 50 and Canada, select a Main Cabin ticket and make sure to check the Delta Comfort+ box in the Request Upgrade section of the Passenger Information page. Your upgrade will be based on availability at time of ticketing or anytime thereafter.”

    So, if it is available (an empty seat) you should be able to select it, as I read it.

  8. I am done with Delta. This just goes too far. I think that 8 companions was overly generous. But going down to one and you can only “clear” 24 hours prior if they have no status is ridiculous.

  9. Pingback: Delta C+ auto-upgrade tech sends Diamond Medallions to CENTER SEAT! #KeepDescending - Renés PointsRenés Points

  10. Well delta accomplished one thing. They’ve gotten people to start griping about devaluing C+ “upgrades” rather than upgrades to first class. Fight for those C+ upgrades you DMs and PMs.

    It is not clear to me how many mqms you get for C+ since the footnote in the chart discussing earning miles on or after 1/1/15 limits the 150% mqm accrual to W (premium economy) on AF, VS and VA. C+ is omitted from that chart. Is there something else?

  11. FNT Delta Diamond Reply

    I sure hope all of the platinum and diamond elites complain and it actually works this time, as opposed to the previous changes. I doubt it will, however, as I’m sure Delta checked with its biggest corporate clients. I’m guessing the big corporate travelers are prohibited from buying first-class airfares but can gladly buy comfort-plus fares and thereby jump the line for an upgrade to first-class. Right? A gold medallion on a comfort-plus airfare would get an upgrade into first-class before a diamond medallion on an economy-class airfare, right? I wonder if my global upgrade certificates will stop working, unless I buy a comfort-plus airfare.

  12. I only fly TATL or rarely TPAC so this won’t affect me, as a Gold I’ll still get complementary C+ seats at 72 hours. But will GM get 4 upgrade certificates and will they be usable for international itineraries. or must I pay for it if I want to lock it in at time of booking? Since this doesn’t affect international segments, I may well do a MR and make Platinum for 2016.

  13. Pingback: Delta Imposes New Restrictions on Elites Booking Extra Legroom Seats (Really...) - View from the Wing

  14. Wait a minute–I’m Platinum until Jan ’17, and i’m trying to test book a flight. I selected Main Cabin, and when it gets to seat selection, it’s telling me I’m only allowed to select a seat in the same cabin. It’s also offering me to upgrade for $97 each way……..

    • @Garrett – See the next post in this series (linked above). After 16MAY16 you pay unless “upgrade” space is open.

  15. Sorry–just read it on delta.com. Assigned after booking. That’s pretty horsey. I’m one of those who’s kind of fine as long as they don’t destroy the medallion benefits. They’re getting real close to pushing me away. When/if they do, I take my company with me (I do the travel arrangements for all of us because I’m one of those who checks boarding area 3 times a day). If I leave, I take with me two platinums, a gold, and a silver (in addition to non-medallions).

  16. Terrible move by Delta. Dropping the companion count down from 8 makes sense, but the lowest-status “upgrade” thing really rankles.

    This is going to put some stress on road warriors whose spouses at least expect C+ for a couple vacations & quick getaways each year. Is DL really going to piss away Plat & Diamond loyalty to keep a few husbands/wives/sig. others out of C+ from time to time?

    Foolish.

  17. “Scott
    I’d be more concerned about the use of the word “clearing/clearance” meaning it may become something revenue management releases and ppl become waitlisted for C+.”

    Ding ding ding! This is exactly what is happening. Revenue mgt will forecast C+ paid demand and only open up limited seat counts for ‘upgrade’ to DM + PM at booking. On and per the FAQ at any time after booking, DL “may” upgrade you as space opens up.

    Even GMs at T-72 might not find “WU” inventory, regardless of what the seat map may show.

    This is going to be a huge manual mess for GAs, too.

    Delta had a problem, their +8 policy, and rather than fix that, they made an insanely complex new ‘upgrade’ system. I’m not going to bother. ANd when I say, that I don’t just mean I’ll uncheck the “C+ upgrade request” box. I won’t bother booking Delta, at least not as my first choice/go-to airline.

  18. “We’re sorry, Miles + Cash is only available in select markets and with a 30 day advance purchase. #101641MC”

    Never seen that before and on a route I do often!

  19. @Rene,

    Do you think this will make it possible though, to book Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy with SkyMiles? This would actually be a good middle ground spot for me. Currently you can only book coach, and then roll the dice if PE is for sale at the airport. Be much better if travelling with my family of 4, if I could directly book PE and select seats that put is in proximity of each other.

    -thanks!

  20. I recall a time, not so long ago, that Delta would send me an apology email and bonus skymiles if I was forced into a middle seat.

    Now, it’s an upgrade!

    Delta’s way of recognizing my special Diamond loyalty!

    I think I will return the favor by helping “enhance” the experience for Delta by helping provide:
    1) more seat availability – because my seat will be empty while I’m flying AA
    2) increased overhead availability – my bag will not longer be taking up valuable overhead space
    3) lower operating costs – my weight will no longer contribute to using up expensive fuel
    4) a roomier Skyclub – because I’ll be over at the Admiral’s Club
    5) a more personal flight experience – Delta flight attendants will be able to focus more on passengers because there will be one less passenger to compete for their attention

  21. Fred Zulager Reply

    You know I have been a Diamond Medallion since it was first introduced. I am 1k away from Diamond next year which I will make this year and 2.5 million miler.

    My mother-in-law is dying of Cancer so I flew AA out and UA back this past weekend (my wife was already there). I booked 1-way tickets each way a couple days in advance (points of course) – one for 10k and the other 12.5k. Delta wanted 80k miles (40k each way).

    I have to say that I was impressed with both United and American. Enough so that with the C+ change, I am going to see if either one or both will do a status match and then I will switch. I will still have “annual” – it used to be lifetime – Gold status with Delta until they take that away.

    It is clear to me that Delta strategy will be to turn C+ into your upgrade and you won’t be getting upgraded to First Class except with Certificates or $$$$$.

    I think back to the old Northwest days (as my kids say when the Dinosaurs still roamed the Earth) and I went something like 2 or 3 years without sitting in Coach.

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