Well maybe that title is pushing it a little bit. Delta has, after all, done a bunch for years and years to all but crush the life out of any kind of loyalty most of us have to Delta. The SkyMiles program is a complete and utter shameful disgrace and disappointment to anyone who flies Delta. To me, and most who knows and understands SkyMiles, the loss of stopovers on awards is still to date the worst thing Delta has done and must be changed back one day (are you listening Delta?)!
What positive #KeepClimbing worthy changes you ask? Take a look in case you missed them:
- Change in upgrade with your companion on same PNR (or itinerary). This, folks, is HUGE. Huge, huge huge! I cannot tell you want a great change this is. Most times I am flying alone but the few times a year I am flying with my wife we now have a Diamond shot at an upgrade. Now I get with Delta pushing 1st class sales to 70% those upgrades are harder and harder to get but I will be sure to buy a high-ish fare class and fly on a day to get top UG shots! I love this change.
- Change in upgrade order with AMEX spend. Again, just massively great news. Not only are we rewarded as Delta Platinum and Reserve card holders for reaching spend thresholds with bonus MQMs or elite points but now we are going to get more upgrades for doing what we are doing already. Well done Delta – we like it!
- Allowing PWM (Pay with Miles) to earn points in coach & 1st class. This one is not all so recent but it was a big positive change and there can be times spending miles, flying, and EARNING points is just a win-win-win all the way around. Delta clearly values status more and more and this is a way to spend SkyMiles and help you keep your status. Gotta love this one!
- Discount SkyMiles award “Sales”. Yes, it is shameful Delta hides the award charts and it is hard to argue with those who say there cannot be a true award sale if you don’t know the price it should be, but I will cut Delta a break here. We know where we can find the old charts after all and offering discounted LEVEL 1 awards in the USA and to other places is just sweet. Thank you Delta for this and keep it going.
- Improvements to Sky Clubs including Wifi speeds. Have you noticed how much better (many) Sky Clubs are? There is power everywhere (a must). The drinks are better. The snacks are (a bit) better. Oh, btw if you have not noticed, the wifi speeds are much better than they were before. As a Diamond I get free club membership (individual) and I really applaud Delta for all of these improvements.
- (Soon) A way pre-select 1st class meals. This has really been a needed fix and I cannot wait for the change to happen. Other airlines let you, when you are in 1st class, pick your choice well before flight. Soon Delta will do the same. I hate having to play seat roulette and hope an FA does FEBO on this flight. This change is just great and will even let us plan ahead to buy something if we do not like the choices offered in advance!
- Expanding Global Upgrade certs to work with Skyteam partner KLM. I know GU certs are not perfect and REV MGT. control of seats is frustrating but to have them start to expand to other Skyteam partners (at cheaper fare classes) is just so nice. GU certs, as far as value goes, is one of the top reasons to go for Diamond status with Delta. I cannot wait to use mine to fly KLM full flat seats on a 747 and even more so as Delta parks all their fleet of 747s!
- Offering AMEX gift cards for bumps! I don’t know if this is pushing it as part of the loyalty / award etc.. program but I am including it anyway because I can. This program is not available at all airports yet but I wish it would be. It is amazing to be able to get something almost like CASH for a bumpertunity. I can spend these cards on things I would only get 1x points for anyway and then use other travel cards that offer 2x or 3x to by my Delta tickets with! #Winning and thank you Delta!
- Clear Expedited Security. Now I know it is not at any Delta hubs (yet). It will only be free for Diamonds and we do not know the price for the rest of elites or SkyMiles members. And, they have given no timeline how long it will take to be in place. BUT, once this is in place we will be yelling how great a perk it is and Delta was so smart to put this in place. Just give this one time and you will be thrilled.
Now all these really are great Elite / SkyMiles program changes but, as so many have pointed out, there still is a long way to go and most of them have to do with the award program. I have a short list of things they really need to pay attention to if they want to continue this upward positive trend. Take a look and see if you agree:
- Stopovers & married segment logic. Anyone who is not such a fool to flush the value of their SkyMiles down the toilet on “SkyMiles Experiences” or hotels or cars etc. knows the real and true value of SkyMiles comes from stopovers. In the past you could stop up to 11 months (either way) and enjoy a number of cites as vacation spots on awards. This also worked to help you FIND awards at LEVEL 1 as partner awards may need a few days at some city to make it all work right. Then again, with horrid married segment logic it can be hard to find anything nowadays so this too needs to go away.
- Award charts. I know, I know this is just stupid and embarrassing. The other airlines have not followed Delta (like they always do) and dumped their award charts too. Delta needs to bring them back – period.
- E Basic fares & elites. Delta I am not my fare Delta. I am a loyal elite who always chooses Delta when I buy a ticket. Reward me for this even when I buy an E fare. Give me a shot at an upgrade to 1st class and to C+. Fix this for medallions (all of them).
- Allow +1 Sky Club for AMEX Reserve card. THIS of all the bits Delta could simply change for a card that has few perks and a $450 annual fee is so needed. There are not that many times I fly with my wife and would like this perk so just fix this Delta. Remember the massive amount of money you make each year from AMEX.
- Set a minimum price for a FCM (not sub $10) & gaming upgrade sales. I hate it when folks on twitter post prices to upgrade from coach to 1st class for under $10. I don’t care how short the flight is or what your fare basis was, Delta should set an absolute bottom floor price for any FCM upgrade for at least $100. And, please stop showing a lower price day by day until someone bites. It is maddening to see. These changes would help to preserve some semblance of the elite upgrade perk and could even make Delta more money!
So there is my list of both Keep Climbing events as of late as well as the Keep Descending ones. Are there some you think Delta should be praised for that I just missed as well as ones they need to address that I skipped? Feel free to tell me in the comments below on the blog as you know Delta reads the blog each day. 😉
I have to say Delta had better be REAL careful. Because if they keep making positive changes, like the ones above, they may find themselves winning some Freddie Awards one day and they have said they sure don’t want that to happen! 😉 Well, I say just #KeepClimbing Delta – René