Sorry, I don’t think I am going to ride the Delta FCM roller coaster during 2016.

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delta-com FCM offer to buy up for 1st class

I have a trip next week. The first one of the new year for me on Delta. I booked it a while back and was seriously considering adding the return trip to my “day of shame” when I was trying to burn up my travel credit vouchers that were spend them or vanish by 31DEC15. The only thing that stopped me was that the price shot up overnight, from a little over $100 for the upgrade, to well over $300. Then, as you can see above, it shortly thereafter dropped down to under $300 just days before the medallion upgrade window opened up. How convenient to see a timely price drop with even less seats open than before.

That was both interesting and depressing to me; to see the roller coaster ride up and down of the FCM price to upgrade. Clearly I have strong feelings against this deplorable practice. While I am all for Delta selling 1st class seats, the willy-nilly money grab of seats for upgrade sale only hurts and waters down the value of the Medallion loyalty elite program. I mean, after all, what is the point anymore?


The good news is my return cleared yesterday, but it was not without some tinkering. I had the mighty schedule (see E8 posts) change hit again and again and that allowed me to switch to better flights for free with much better chances to clear for a complimentary upgrade. It did result in a few less MQMs, but with more and more seats being sold at cheaper and cheaper prices as we approached the 6 day window on my original route, I truly had little choice.

2016 is going to be an interesting year for loyalty and our beloved Delta. They want to sell every seat no matter what the cost and the impact to loyal flyers. The company wants us to simply flush SkyMiles down the “SkyDrain” if you will at the Sky Clubs buying over priced bubbly wines at 1 cent each. Yeah, well, no thanks! I am not getting on “that” amusement ride.

Just know, as I have talked about before, we will have to use all of our tools this coming year to get value from our loyalty to Delta. From schedule changes, to SDC to playing the DYKWITIA card and so on we must be equal to the task that Delta has handed us. We must not stop, just “GO”  (what a difference from the past promises)!

One thing is for sure – I am done with my first and only ever ride on the FCM roller coaster. I see the ride they are wanting to take part in and I am getting off. My question is, are you? – René


  1. I for one will play the FCM game. It’s part of the landscape now. For me the benefits are:

    A first class seat when I really want one.

    50% MQM bonus.

    The final best reason. Once I move this summer I will have options. I will fly what best suits me all factors combined. I can then get First Class without having to worry about being a Diamond. It seems like to me Platinum will be the sweet point for me. Diamond really does not give me that much more then Platinum.

  2. I could not have said it better DSF. Diamond is a lot of flying AND spend. Platty has pretty good benes over Gold and is much more attainable.
    Paying up a bit(I don’t mean $700 for a 400 mile flight) for 50% more MQM’s and not having to play the upgrade game headache is a solid strategy.
    Here we go….2016….

  3. DSF’s post is EXACTLY what The Mothership wants to happen.

    WITH lower level elites jumping the upgrade line by buying up and causing pressure on DM’s to ALSO shell out money for a reduced number of seats, it creates a FCM “feeding frenzy”.

    Loyalty now only applies to 1-2 seats per flight and I can see why a PM would buy up. In the past a PM had 70-80% chance of an upgrade. Now? What, 40-50%? So, buy up!

  4. Well said Rene and Dr. John. Exactly what DL wants – externally driven Skymiles destruction based on the crushing changes they’ve put in place to get us working against each other, instead of banding together to fight this incredible, unfathomable breach of promise and trust. Feel free to smirk at me as I walk past you in your $50 FCM upgrade as I do the walk of shame to my exit row seat. I’ll be able to look at myself in the mirror every morning with a clean conscience.

  5. I have been Diamond for two years and I am making the switch to Southwest with the companion pass as the new goal. Not ideal as I like upgrades, but the line has to be drawn somewhere. Probably still be near Platinun with Delta due to International travel I cannot get on Southwest.

  6. Rene – – I might have missed the post about this but where do you see these upgrade offers? Do you just log into your reservation and check periodically?

  7. I never see the upgrade offers. Of course I’m team “want first buy first” now. The only economy seats I will purchase in 2016 will be used with RU and GU certs. Other than that I’m going to try 100% buy first. I’ll let you know how that goes end of the year. No doubt I will maintain DM again but for the perks just not the UGs.

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