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Rookie Wednesday: The Top 10 Delta Myths People (and the Press) Just Keep Sharing (sigh)!

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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.

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.

what are some delta air lines myths
I hate myths. Don’t you?

I know I get my fair share of things flat out wrong. It is not often, when it comes to Delta, but it happens. Heck, things change all the time and what was the rule yesterday may not be the rule tomorrow. You have to keep up.

But there are some things that folks just always seem to get wrong. The worst are the press. They should know better. They should do the research or at least read my blog or email me a question or two before they go to “print”. Let’s look at my top ten list of the most common things I see that folks just get wrong.

1) SkyMiles never expire.

Yeah, they do! I know, I know Delta claims on all there print media that they don’t but when you die so do your SkyMiles. Yep, it is a flat out falsehood promoted by Delta that miles never expire because when you expire they expire as well (i.e. so they do expire folks). Then again I guess dead people, sleeping in the grave, cannot go after Delta for false advertising can they. 😉

2) You earn elite points based on dollars spent (or status).

No, no, no they don’t. I posted WAY back when we 100% knew what was on the way starting on 1JAN2015 that how far you fly (just like always) is what matters. Oh, that and fare class that is NOT NOT NOT the same as how much you spend dollar wise. I have been booked in B class fares that are really cheap and earn a 50% bonus on elite points. What status you hold means NOTHING as to how many elite points you earn. Period!

3) You get Sky Club access with paid 1st class tickets.

No, you don’t. Domestically that is (most times, unless a few rare exceptions). Fly from Atlanta to Los Angels in 1st class don’t you even think of walking into a Sky Club without paying for it and paying dearly (have you seen how much they charge now). Sure you get access on paid international tickets but then ONLY for your departing club or connecting club NOT your arrival club (maybe I should break that myth out on it’s own? Nah).

4) They no longer use award charts.

AGGGGG! This one makes me just crazy. Delta 100% DOES use award charts. They are mostly the same award charts they used a year or so ago. They use them but hide them from us. Shameful? You bet. But just know they are fully in use. As long as all the SkyTeam partners keep using award charts Delta will have to as well. I really don’t think this will ever change.

5) Comfort Plus is a bigger seat.

This one is one of the myths that drives me absolutely bat crazy. Comfort Plus, or C+ as we call it, is the exact same size seat as the rest of coach, or C- as we call it. Even, for now, on international fights the C+ is the exact same seat as the ones behind it. Depending on the jet you may get a tiny bit more recline or pitch and maybe some extra leg room.

6) Domestic 1st class is 1st class.

No, it’s not. Delta calls it 1st class but it is FAR from 1st class when you think of 1st class. All it is is a larger domestic business class seat. 99% of the time is NOT a flat bed seat and it may or may not have power or IFE or such depending on how old the jet is. Again, it is not a 1st class seat even though Delta perpetuates this myth by calling it 1st class.

7) Delta ONE is the same as 1st class.

Not even remotely close. Sure if you time warp a few years back it could be compared to 1st class that was offered years ago but there is no real Champagne or Caviar service or mattress placed on your seat or car service between flights or on and on. Yes, it is a very good full flat business class seat but it is nothing like 1st class from other international carriers.

8) PWM = Miles + Cash.

This one makes my head want to explode. PWM. or Pay With Miles. means when you pay in full or in part with SkyMiles you DO earn full MQMs or elite points for your flight. You could even earn bonus MQMs if you are in a fare class that offers this. You can even earn some SkyMiles on the part of the ticket you maybe pay for in “cash”. Now Miles + Cash is a totally different animal. Miles + Cash, that becomes an award ticket. As we all know (or should know) award tickets do NOT earn points.

9) AMEX BOGOF is limited to card holder.

I think this myth is why so many don’t see the value of paying the annual fee for the Delta AMEX Platinum or Reserve cards. Let’s say two of your friends or family want to fly somewhere in the lower 48 (or if in Hawaii to the lower 48). This cert in coach or 1st class could pay for the fee and then some. The only rule is you must fly out and back by the date the cert expires (that is, you or any two you want to fly). There are simply no restrictions on who you can name to fly it. You can not sell it but that is another story.

10) RU & GU certs are transferable to others.

I know, I know, other airlines let you name anyone you want to use upgrade certs but NOT Delta. With Delta, the one spending the cert must use one cert on them and then can use it on ONLY one more with them. No, they cannot give them to anyone else. Period!

This is, to me, the most common things folks say, with conviction, and are just flat out WRONG. Folks in the press even stated a bunch of these like they are facts and clearly they too are wrong. For a normal every day flyer I can understand why they can be confused but it does not help when others perpetuate these falsehoods (including Delta – see point one). But here is a tip for Press folks – book mark this post – then come back to it before you publish anything about Delta Air Lines!

What do you think. Is this list all inclusive of the myths folks and the media tend to share. Have I missed out on any clearly obvious myths that people keep spreading around that are not true? You tell me! – 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.


  1. This is a really a Great Post as you indeed clarified allot of myths. Didn’t know #9 and found out the hard-way about #8 last year.
    Unfortunately makes me so frustrated specifically #3 and thus #6! With my pending paid full 1st class fare trip ATL-SAN it’s not considered “Transcontinental” thus it’s Not DeltaOne and on a much older plane as well, and I Can’t take wife to the Sky lounge. It’s so nuts how Delta does not call ATL (biggest DL Hub) to the West coast as Transcontinental! Not like I can drive to the Savanah (GA coast) and fly direct to the West coast.

  2. You mentioned the Amex BOGOF cert. How is that earned/obtained?
    I have a Delta Gold card with 60K + miles.

  3. I actually take issue with a few of your “Myths” but the one I want to specifically comment on is the award chart one. When most of us think of an award chart, we think “from X to Y cost z miles.” With DL’s hidden “charts” the miles are different from flight to flight, hour to hour, day to day, from the same x to the same y. And given all the half sales and partial sales, one can never predict, without checking specific dates, how many miles any specific trip will be. So, in my vernacular, DL no longer has award charts.

    • @mbh – Let me help you. The price for flight or segment I should say is always inside the award chart range it is a fixed, again FIXED, price of level 1,2,3,4 or 5. In fact when you book a partner is MUST be level 1 or nothing. As far as award sales, how does a sale negate the use of a chart. In fact a sales PROVES the chart exists as you can not have a sale if the price is not set or fixed. Beyond that KLM has published award charts and ever quarter has some sales that does not make their award charts go away. The facts are the facts and it is a MYTH that Delta does not use award charts.

  4. Well.. How about the new procedure to “upgrade” to C+? The Elite traveler plus one (within the window) will upgrade.. But you better not buy three tickets in the same reservation, because ANY of the three would not even get the CHANCE to upgrade to C-. You ask DL staff, and everyone gives different answers! LOL

  5. @rene, well, any “chart” that has at least 5 levels within it is not what most of us mean by “award chart.” And, if an alleged “sale” is “off” of unpublished prices, it reinforces the idea that there is NO fixed and stable price.

    @old dave, Seriously? ! When have I ever posted a word in defense of this airline that I consider my nemis? As a hub captive, I often feel my life is a constant battle of me vs. DL.

  6. Rene, you said you can book BOGOF from an Amex Platinum/Reserve for two other people, without the card holder flying and get the BOGOF discount?

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