Delta could “save” many HVC Delta Diamonds with one change – REG: weekend Comfort Plus “enhancements”!

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one of the delta diamond medallion choice benefits gift gold medallion status

If you have not checked the blog over the weekend you are in for a rather rude awakening this Monday morning. Please take the time to read the following posts:

Now that you are saying to yourself “oh great, thanks Delta“, I have a solution that will keep the top spenders that is those loyal to Delta and also fix an issue that has been a problem for quite some time.

For years one of the best choices for a Delta Diamond Medallion to choose with their “Choice Benefits” selection was the ability to gift Gold Medallion status to their spouse / +1. Gold, until December last year, had real value. Nowadays, yeah, not so much (again compared to what it once was).

So here is my simple and elegant solution to fix, not only the greatly downgraded Choice Benefit options, but to fix a major issue with the new Comfort Plus fare class enhancement. If a Diamond can gift Platinum status to their spouse / +1 then not only is the gift once again worthwhile but it works around the restriction of the Comfort Plus enhancement.

This way, if traveling together, these two could (subject to availability) both instantly upgrade to C+ seats. Sure they would still have to pay for their kids (if they have any) to join them but hey, everyone knows kids are expensive anyway so that is not the end of the world. At least Delta would be rewarding the Diamond and the one they have chosen to receive the gift.

Plus, when you think about it, Delta’s Diamond Medallion status is one of the most stringent qualifications of any top status among the airlines. Not only does it require 125,000 elite qualification points but also either $15,000 of net spending with the airline or a whooping $25,000 spent on a co-branded Delta AMEX card (Gold, Platinum or Reserve personal as well as the Delta AMEX business cards combined spending). So, with all of that, the rewards for reaching such a lofty plateau should also come with equally large perks like the ability to gift Platinum status to someone they want.

Now I can see what is in your head right now (call it a blogger’s gift 😉 ). You are saying this is going too far and gifting something as HUGE as Platinum status is going way too generous. But do keep in mind Delta, under many recent promotions, has been giving out Platinum status for only a few round trip flights. Also, for those willing to spend $50,000 a year with Delta PVT jets, they can give Diamond status to ANYONE they want. My point is this is not an unprecedented award and only one step above what is already offered to top elites.

I really think this could be a huge save for the airline and stem many of the flood of complaints that must be coming in to Delta this weekend after the crushing, family and business unfriendly, Comfort Plus changes that have been rolled out.

What do you think? Would gifting Platinum Medallions status as a Diamond fix this issue? – Rene

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15 comments

  1. Yes, it would fix the problem. But I bet it doesn’t happen. When was the last time DL actually made Medallion benefits better with their enhancements?

  2. @Don in ATL – I agree but I have a feeling the DM backlash from this has been EXTREME and more than expected at Delta. They need a major fix for this or many will jump ship to AA & UA over this one IMO.

  3. Hi Rene, this may be a solution. Though you already mention what we readers may think about it 😉
    I just thought for a second that maybe a choice benefit could be that the one flyer accompanying the DM may receive somewhat PM status in a sense that an “immediate” update to C+ is possible.
    On the other hand, this alone may be too small as a choice benefit, huh?
    It just came to my mind and I blurted it out without thinking about it twice. Also keep in mind that I am just an FO, so the downgrade for DMs you are talking about doesn’t really matter for me. Though I absolutely agree, that this is harsh.
    So when a DM travels together with a general member there is no chance that they get complimentary C+, right? The +1 needs to be Silver to have a chance 24hrs before departure.

    Why do I think that indeed gifting PM may be too much? The person you gift that status can have complimentary access to C+ shortly after ticketing or simply by choosing his seat (domestic/internationl) even when traveling alone. Plus, of course, all the other perks that come with that status.

    But still you may be right.

    Maybe a combination could work? I mean, gifting “only” gold status but with “almost platinum” when traveling with you? Too much for IT, huh?

  4. René,

    The DM backlash hit when I got home last night and told my wife (who is a PM) about the changes to C+.

    With her agreement, we’re gone. My 15 years of Delta loyalty is over and so is my relationship w/ my Delta Amex.

    I understand that AA is not taking status matches right now. But, I don’t care. Plus, it doesn’t matter who I fly.

    For example, I have yesterday in TPA. Every flight out was over sold to ATL. I was #1 on the list, but no seats available. So, I had to wait 4+ hours (not Delta’s fault) to get to ATL. Then there was the issue with being #6 as a DM with 1 UG available. The parade of “cow bells” to coach was amazing to watch. Thanks FCM!

    So, if coach is going to be my new upgrade, why continue with loyalty to ANY airline? I’ll just buy a coach ticket and then play along with their FCM game when it suits me! This way Delta will get an extra $200 for FCM on 3 flights a year instead of paying $25,000 to fly 125,000 MQMs a year.

    Either way, I’m in coach right?

  5. PS: Only Richard Anderson could make that math seem logical for shareholders.
    The home of Delta dot Dumb is where $1000>$25,000

  6. Wow. Dumb, dumb, dumb, Delta. We are done with Delta after I clear my platinum benefits in 2016. As a platinum I have to wait with my Gold traveling companion to clear to a barely better than regular economy seat? Really, Delta? This is not a “premium economy” seat you are trying to sell here. This is marketing gone awry. I understand not letting 8 people clear with the top earner. But two medallions!?
    Rene, where’s that link to the Citi prestige for AA?

  7. @Tim – Will have a post up later. Not happy. Really not happy.
    .
    Funny part is I re-qualify for SPG Platinum with my SPG stay tonight!:-(

  8. As a ATL hub captive, I’ve been bouncing back and forth between Platinum and Diamond on Delta for the past 5 years with carryover MQMs. These changes (plus the fact that AA is restarting ATL-DCA service in January, a route I travel a fair amount) were finally enough to break me and make me switch over to AA and SWA for travel I’m booking for next year. Yeah, I’m not a $50K/year flyer with Delta, but easily $15K or so, plus I have 5-8 people who work for me who fly about the same amount, so eventually, it adds up…

  9. I personally don’t think this will fix the problem. I’m a Platinum Medallion and Delta Reserve cardholder. Most of my travel is with my wife and daughter. As a result, if I got Diamond and gifted Platinum to my wife, my daughter would be stuck in the back. I’m not near a Delta hub. I simply fly Delta loyally because of their service, reliability, and international routes. Earlier this year, there was the SkyClub change not allowing guests with the Delta Reserve card. Now, with this new change of only allowing the Platinum Medallion to access Comfort+ at booking, my loyalty to Delta is over. I’m about to qualify for Platinum again next year, but it may not be used much, if at all. I didn’t think I’d be saying this, but United is becoming a much more appealing option at this point. I know they could follow Delta in a similar way, but with the new management at United, things may be different. They didn’t follow Delta in limiting United Club access to Club cardholders only.

  10. They need to do something. As we all have our thresholds this one does it for me. If we can’t at minimum have Plus 1 at booking. My plan when I move to Jax next summer is to become a Free Agent like I do with Hotels. Sure I will still fly Delta as their on time performance counts. But if I can get a direct flight then I will skip Delta. Plus really looking at getting the SW companion pass in early 2017(assuming no changes). Just like hotels I will go with convience combined with who has the best promotion like Alaska Air free flight for skiing.

  11. Okay, can’t sit with my husband in C+ seats, can’t go with my husband into the crown room (oops, that’s how long we’ve been loyal delta flyers) and my husband runs the risk of being “upgraded” from his exit row seat to a middle C+ seat when traveling alone? Guess who else is not going to benefit from my travel? Amex because why pay almost $500 for a reserve card, almost $200 for the platinum AND spend a minimum of $25000 and $10000 on their cards. Remember when you asked if a cash back card was an option, Rene? Cash back and no more delta loyalty here I come.

  12. The irony (or is it tragedy?) is that I’m finally about to get to Diamond. I put up with all the travel and SM devaluation so when I do get to travel with my +1, it’s in relative comfort. Not getting at least a +1 for C+ is a deal breaker for me. If this doesn’t get clarified/changed soon, I’m jumping ship, too.

  13. good idea but that would mean giving us something vs taking away something weekly as per their diamond medallion policy ….

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