Man, has this taken a really long time. I have been flying Delta since I was a little kid since I spent some of my late elementary and early high school years in the suburbs just north of Atlanta. Then, for most of my adult life, I have flown Northwest as an SBN or South Bend flyer and now again Delta for many miles after the merger of the two airlines.
The result of this was years and years of BIS, or my backside in Delta and Skyteam airplanes, both turbo prop and jets flying everywhere I needed and wanted to go. For most folks who are not living every week on Delta this can take a long time as it did for me.
The shot above was my total MQMs or elite points when I started flying from Japan today / yesterday. Today, as you read this (unless something has gone sideways), I am in the air on a Delta 747, in Delta ONE, on the upper deck in the seat just above the Delta “widget” you see in the shot at the top of this post (neat right?)! 🙂
To be really specific, with help from FlightAware.com as you see above, last night I started my flight at 994,365 MQMs and this means that 743 miles out of Detroit, or about 200-ish miles north of Minneapolis (somewhere over Canada), I will cross the 1,000,000 mile mark of lifetime miles flown with Delta Air Lines. Yeah, kinda special and it only happens once in your life, that is, your first million miles flown!
This post really has me reflecting on all those miles and years. On how I got to where I am and what the “ride” was like. I have had amazing highs on Delta and enjoyed a number of outstanding redemptions for my years of loyalty to the airline. But I have also seen the current Delta MGT all but destroy any reason to continue my loyalty for yet another million miles. That really hurts and is also just irritating and frustrating because it does not need to be this way. SkyMiles could drive people to love Delta, not drive them away.
But I am jumping ahead. I am a true AVgeek at heart. I love flying. I started in college flying and planned to sit in “0A” for a living but that did not work out. I also come from a family of relatives who have spent lives, either civilian or military, in aviation. From flying to ground to maintenance, many generations of family who love aviation. I have that same bug. I love flying airplanes myself and love everything else sounding the industry as well.
When I started blogging, now almost 5 years ago under the name “Delta Points”, I was about as unabashed uber Delta fan boy as you can get. I defended against one and all how great, both flying Delta was, as well as the award program was. Those who were not on-board with how great SkyMiles were truly were just lazy or did not understand how to use the perks of the program. 5 years later much of that value has evaporated like a vapor trail in a dry clear sky.
Now I am not talking about the Delta people, I am talking about those in charge of loyalty. My greatest frustration is that Delta was on the cusp of just crushing all the other airlines (domestically). Operationally they figured it out. But at the same time, rather than listening to those in marketing, the bean counters guessed that decimating loyalty would be fine if they only completed every flight each and every day. Yeah, that is not “all” that matters to many like me.
So where am I going now (other than up in the air). I will, when I land, have Silver Medallion status for “life”. Well, not life but as Delta folks now have “enhanced” the wording to say “annual” so that it can maybe be pulled if they want to without major repercussions. I get that Silver status still has some perks but year by year it is cut not just by Delta but by other Skyteam partners as well. Does that mean I should press on now for 2 million miles? That is a tall ask in the current environment. Plus, given the way the last 10 years have gone, I would think Delta MGT is going to by that point make Gold as lowly in value as Silver is now.
But at the current point I have Diamond status this year and next. It seems, for now, Delta will not change the current earnings program for a while so if I keep flying Delta for the rest of the year, and crediting to Delta, I will also have Diamond status for 2017 and 2018. Considering how hard upgrades are getting, due to uber cheap FCM sales, this is less of a prize but as I talked about in Monday’s post I need at least Platinum status to burn up my rather large stash of SkyMiles (hardly a ringing endorsement of the value of status in this day and age, I know I get that).
Should I look at what so many others are doing who have spent most of their life loyal to one airline or another and just go “free agent”, that is, just book 1st class on whatever airline will get me from A-B with the best product (or coach if a short trip)? Maybe, I just don’t know yet. And to me, that hurts. It should not be this way with Delta.
For now I will bask in my accomplishment of being a million miler. I will look at what gift I want to pick out as a “Thank You” from Delta for reaching this milestone of flying (a nice touch I must say). I will look forward to my new Diamond cow bells i.e. luggage tags with 1M on them. I will enjoy being thanked for being a million miler by the outstanding Delta people I see each time I fly. I know this will not improve my upgrade chances or anything like that but just the recognition from Delta folks will make me smile. – René