My personal favorite travel-ish tips! Stuff I love and you should too if you fly Delta Air Lines.

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I really thought about making this one a Rookie Wednesday post, but some of these points don’t really fit that way so let’s rock this out today as these are truly stuff I use and use often. They help me in my air / hotel / and travel in general. Some are huge money savers while others are either time savers or just kool (well I think they are kool anyway). Let’s see what you think about my ideas?

1) HUCB. This is a must know for anyone and should be your default way of thinking. Never take NO for an answer (at least the first time around). Hang Up Call Back (or call again) must be driven deep into your mind. When someone says they can’t do whatever then I will find the someone who can. It is that simple.

2) Teamboardlast. I cannot tell you how many times each day I get a comment or email about some Platinum, Gold or even Silver Medallion who scored a 1st class upgrade because everyone else gave up and boarded the flight who were above them on the upgrade list (in case you don’t know, if you board you “officially” give up your shot at an upgrade). I do this and many others who are smart medallions do this too.

3) Wifi sharing! If you are not yet using Connectify Hotspot you are missing out. It is just a flat out amazing product and lets me use both my laptop and my phone connected on one wifi connection. If my wife wants access as well that works too. I love this product.

4) The Schedule Change rule. If you fly Delta you just simply must learn about this most valuable tool to either fix, change, improve or cancel flights as you wish. Delta does a bunch wrong, but this sure is not one of them. This rule is a gem and Delta treats you right when they mess up the schedules. Learn this!

5) Bumpertunities. Delta is practicing capacity discipline to keep flights full. The only problem with this is when flights are REALLY full, and things go wrong, there are too few places to put people. This means you can take advantage of chances to bump and either get huge bump vouchers for future travel or even AMEX gift cards that spend just like cash. I like these very much.

6) FEBO. This is all about meal choice seating in business / 1st class. FEBO stands for Front Even Back Odd – that is, take a look at your flight number. If it is an even number the flight attendant is, per official Delta policy, to start at the front of the cabin. If it’s an odd number flight they are to start at the back. If they don’t, complain on Delta.com and get free SkyMiles for the FA not following policy i.e. when they run out of meal choices you want.

7) Free HOOUs. Did you know Red Coats, and others, often have HOOU coupons in their pockets. Always be brave enough to ask for one when you are stuck in C- either by choice or by the fact that you did not score either a “SideGrade” to C+ or a real upgrade to 1st class. 🙂

9) Skyclub help when needed. I don’t care if you have membership or access if things go really wonkie and you need help, go to the club and ask those reps for help (the normal lines are 100 deep). You do not have to enter the club itself to beg for help from these often outstanding reps!

9) Bonus voucher vs free room. If you are bumped or something happens where Delta is willing to offer you a free room, and you don’t like the room, first ask for a better room. If they say NO then ask for another Delta travel voucher and trade that for the room voucher. Then use your points to book another room! #Tip – make sure there is a room open on points before you try this! A second tip can come from your travel card you paid for you ticket with that may also pay for a room (still take the Delta voucher clearly and then let the travel perk pay for the room)!

10) MQMs from home. This time of year so many are finding the blog for the first time ever by Googling about MQMs or elite points to reach some Medallion status. Folks, I always say anything around 4 CPM or cents per mile for MQMs is a good price. If you have NEVER EVER had either the personal or business Delta Reserve card, with first purchase, you get both 10,000 MQMs as well as 10,000 SkyMiles. This, if you value a SkyMile at 1 cent each (at least) means you are paying, for the annual fee of the card, 3.5 CPM for the card and the MQMs. This is just a bargain hands down!

11) Delta’s flat tire rule. Now I am not suggesting you abuse this one, but if you really have a nasty issue like the road is closed for 2 hours due to an accident in front of you or whatever know that Delta will help you – but be nice about! After all you are the one who missed the flight.

12) 100 Mile airport rule. This is one of those “unpublished” rules and ties in with point #4 above. If your schedule change is “bad” enough know you can change airports. I have changed from any number of airports to SBN, or my home town South Bend, when needed. This is really nice since SBN is often much more expensive than those around it.

13) GST for points. GST is what Delta PR calls the Guest Service Tool. I call it the Greenback Suction Technology as it is really designed to extract money from us. Flight attendants call it the SkyPro or something like that – it is their hand unit that they use for all kinds of things. The best part about this “phone in the sky” is that it can make SkyMiles or vouchers if things go wrong in the air. Use this to fix issues at the time of the incident rather than complaining on Delta.com. Quick and simple!

14) ADAM. Err what? No really ADAM. Adam is my good friend who runs Juicy Miles who can find you either amazing awards or real value in custom booked mileage runs even from your home town airport. The bottom line is he, and his team, are a resource to use. If you ask me what airlines are in One World or Star Alliance – I will say I don’t have a clue. I will pay ADAM to help me if it does not include Skyteam airlines. My time is worth more than the fee to have ADAM help me! And guess what, you should too!

15) Diversify. Are you still actively collecting SkyMiles? Clearly you did not notice the program has died and you need a real “intervention” ASAP. I am collecting most of my points with Chase UR points cards. But I am also doing “cash” back cards as well as other cards like FlexPerks and Arrival+ to have those points for other options! You need to spread out your earnings on many other cards other than Delta cards.

16) MS! While my blog is not a “manufactured spending” focused blog it does have it’s place in both earning Delta perks as well as making points when you need them. Some only use MS for meeting new card spend and that is just fine. Others go big but either way it is a tool to help you meet the travel goals you want. Take the time to study so you don’t make mistakes and can benefit! Currently I am gearing up my spending this way and especially so into 2017.

17) Stacking. When it comes to perks those who are lazy, as we have seen in point 2, ride in coach more than they should. But it is more than just about that. When it comes to deals you need to look at how you can add to improve what you already have. For example, just this pas week I was stacking a shopping portal with AMEX offers as well as earning points that can mean huge savings. The same can apply to so much more like air or hotels and so on. It takes just a little more time to really maximize your bonus when you travel. Learn this including all these stunning AMEX twitter SYNC deals – they ROCK!

18) Apps. The Delta APP is really good now and works. But not just the Delta one but tons of other ones make travel better or even fun (Plane Finder)! I bet you have a favorite one, if so share it in the comments below!

19) Clubs. If you are not spending your travel downtime between flights in some kind of lounge or club you are making the travel experience more stressful than it should be. Considering the point above Delta is really becoming good about “pushing” current data about flights to you including “now boarding”.

20) FTU & Chicago Seminars. If you have never been to an FTU or the Chicago Seminars you are truly missing out. This is “points” and travel education on a level that will cook your brain. My first event took me moths to digest and things are getting better and better. What I am doing right now, after a bit of work, should net me about 1 million points over the next few months. No, I will not tell you here on the blog as some things are best kept for events like these. Attend and you will understand!

So there you are. What do you think of all these tips. Do you apply them? Do you have other sweet ideas and practices that help you maximize your travel experience? If so share them in the comments below! – René

 

 

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9 comments

  1. Oddly enough, I find the first-class overhead space vastly underutilized. It may be that many travelers who actually purchase first class seats are day-travelers with only a small bag or those who prefer to check luggage. Regarding Board Last, I have been moved from coach to first class after boarding – it requires negotiating the “process” with the gate agent before they open the gate and get too busy.

  2. @Brian – First off I care more about the upgrade. If I do not score it then there tends to always be room for one tiny bag in the coat closet. You just have to be firm and not have a monster bag. Worst case they gate check it but willing to risk it for ride up front.

  3. I loved this column. Thank you for helping those who are well traveled but still consider ourselves to be rookies. This is my 3rd year as DM all done with recreational travel so any hints you can provide are very helpful. It definitely is a learning experience!

  4. I still read your blog because even though i’m based in the UK, and i credit my miles to VS i like what you have to say for someone who uses DL for short US domestic hops.

    Thank you all the same 🙂

  5. What a great list!! I read your blogg every day but having this list is a good reminder of our priorities!! I cant thank you enough for your advice and chastisements…all for our benefit. I achieved diamond finally and boy, you are right, i dont want to go backwards!! Im already adding up my strategy for 2017 so i can do this again, what a nice ride! And thanks to juicy-miles connection, ive used them now for every international flight, they are genious and worth the fee!! Thanks for all your help!

  6. I was just on an international DL flight yesterday and they didn’t use FEBO .. hmmm .. will have to keep that in mind.

    Also – wanted to comment on the schedule change event: I’ve called several times trying to use it as an excuse to cancel flights and the agent has actually informed me that if it is less than an hour difference, they won’t allow cancellation. I’ve tried both the “insistent” and the “nice” routes and neither has worked. I’ve found that schedule changes are usually very small increments. Out of my 5 upcoming itineraries that have schedule changes, the increments range from 8 to 35 minutes. (35 mins intl long-haul)

    Could anyone share further info on what I should be doing or how I take advantage of this feature? Thanks in advance.

  7. Great info as always Rene! Was hoping to use Connectify on my MR today but no luck getting it to work after multiple re-installs and troubleshooting. Bummer but hopefully can sort it out soon!

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