Delta PR folks were being tight lipped about what was on the way, but the good news is that just about all the info I broke last week is now confirmed plus even more with a few tweaks and updated info. Also, depending on your circumstances, what to choose is not as simple as it may seem at first glance.
First things first. There really is nothing negative and Delta is NOT taking anything away from us and that in itself is remarkable and Delta should be praised for this! #KeepClimbing worthy.
So let’s dive in with the key improvements:
- 3* Choice Benefits for Diamonds (*only 2 if you upgrade Sky Club membership)
- Guest pass option if you have “other” Sky Club access (brand new)
- Choose one at a time (before forced to choose all at once)
- Gift SkyMiles to others as a choice (before you had to keep them)
That is about it that is new and new-ish. Let’s break them down further as before you just click on stuff there is much to consider.
One “ouch-ish” little bit is that if you decide to upgrade from individual club access to full executive access it burns 2 of your 3 choices. To be fair, to Delta they are thus not taking anything away from us but not really giving anything more if you choose this option. But it is important to note that club membership is very different from just getting “access” to the club. If you are a member you can enter even when flying another airline or, under most circumstances, enter other Skyteam lounges who have reciprocal membership rules. Just keep that in mind as we look at other choices.
For me the “guest pass” option is not showing up as a choice even though I hold the Delta AMEX Reserve card and even on “My Delta” it shows that is how I will enter the club. Delta “Dot Com” support did confirm they are having some issues with this choice selection and will update the site later today!
So should I or you choose this option? Maybe. Keep in mind, and they warn you about this, if you lose your access from whatever card or method you currently have you will also lose your guest pass privilege as well. And, with most of these other methods of access you must be flying Delta to get access vs. club membership that does not require you fly Delta to get in. Just something to think about. But the nice part is this guest pass choice burns only ONE of your THREE choices.
The next one is a nice upgrade. There are so many times you really don’t need more miles as an elite. Now, either PM or DMs, can gift bonus points to others. Keep in mind these are SkyMiles NOT elite points. These are just points they can use to book an award or if they have a Delta AMEX card can be used with PWM or Pay With Miles or for all the other ways you can burn your miles nowadays (not that I am saying you should do them, just that you can).
So with all these choices what will I be choosing this year? I opened that these are personal choices depending on your needs. I have held and will hold forever my Delta AMEX Reserve card for the perks of earning bonus MQMs (via spend), more upgrades (really important to me) and now Sky Club access when flying. I personally have little need for full club membership so my picks will likely be:
- Global Upgrade certs
- Sky Club guest pass
- 25,000 SkyMiles
- Regional Upgrade certs (for my PM choice)
For me this is best as I tend to fly with my wife or have a real need to be able to guest others into the club. Plus, my wife does have access herself as well via the non-Delta AMEX Platinum card so when on her own she is set. Also, I gifted her Gold status last year from my 2017 choice and she has that for another year or I would have picked Gold as one of my choices this year. I may still choose Gold vs. 25k SkyMiles and gift that to a golf buddy of mine as he is flying Delta more and more now and could really enjoy GM status for the next TWO years (again, from my 2018 choice).
It is hard to find any real fault with these “enhancements” from Delta but I will nit pick a tiny bit of what could have made this even better. They have given us the option to gift SkyMiles to others. Very nice. But gifting ANY of the choices to others would be nice too. For example, sending Regional Upgrades to my wife would have been sweet. Or, gifting individual Sky Club membership to someone else would have rocked. But we can not have everything, right. Maybe for 2019 Delta will think about these ideas.
Overall I really am thrilled. All the things we have come to know and love about the program including the MQD exempt waiver has stayed “as-is” and we can now focus on earning more MQMs and such for the next Medallion year. I myself am now sitting on 165,000 MQMs so just need 85k more to have my 2019 Medallion status all set. Good times!
What do you think about these changes? Are you happy with them? – René