A few updates to my, and readers, Delta Medallion 2018 Choice Benefit changes questions. Interesting!

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I have really enjoyed thinking about all the permutations of today’s confirmed updates to the Delta Medallion elite program. Normally, well at least over the past few years, we have always braced for bad news or if good news, suffering with the bad that came with the good. Many times the bad far outweighed any good we got back. That has not been the case as of late and this last update, after much consideration, is just good and that is truly refreshing and a pleasant change.

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One thing I just had not even considered this very early morning when I took the post live was the implication of most of the choices being able to be chosen over and over. Sure most of us looked inward at the option to choose 25,000 SkyMiles 3 times for yourself (we are greedy, are we not). But one I missed was the option to gift Gold Medallion status 3 times to someone should you choose to do so. Interesting, right. Then my friend and frequent blog contributor @laptoptravel commented:

“For 2018 can DMs gift Gold status to three different people” – and eBay will see a 300% increase in “Medallion Status” listings then.

Sigh. Yes. I am sure we will see this and I sincerely hope Delta goes after such folks who are breaking SkyMiles and Medallion rules in such a shameful fashion. Plus, this kind of abuse is what drives companies to reduce generous gifts vs. giving more away. Please don’t let this ever be you.

On to some updates from Delta and answers to my questions. The first thing I asked was why I could not see the “guest pass” yet since “dot com” support said just give it some time and it will be live. Well not so fast. I was told:

“The site is functioning as designed as the guest pass is only shown to Members without an active Delta Sky Club contract, but understand your question as we transition to the new Choice Benefits. We are exploring ways to improve messaging and site design. Also, when the active Sky Club contract expires the Guest Pass option will appear if the three Choice Benefits have not yet been selected for 2018.”

There is a lot of information and bits to think about from this and maybe some bad news. If I am understanding this correctly, it means that if you have some kind of current membership, including one gifted by Delta, you can NOT have the guest pass choice. This could be really frustrating if you want to implement it right away but Delta has gifted you individual membership for say another year! Then, your only choice if you want to have guest access, is to either use two choices or pick points and then spend points to upgrade your individual membership to executive. Either way a little bit frustrating for some as they must wait. I may be in this situation and will find out on the 10th of February when my current membership ends.

My next question(s) was all about cards that qualify. Delta mentioned the one example of the Reserve card but really any card that can get you into the Sky Club will qualify fully for the guest pass choice. Be it non-Delta AMEX Platinum personal or business or any other number of other cards that also grant you access when flying Delta (it is a very long list). All work and will work with the new “guest pass” choice benefit.

But my question was regarding this wording talking about choice benefits and says that:

“If the Member’s Delta Sky Club access is terminated, the Member will no longer be able to use the Delta Sky Club Guest Pass.”

To me that sounds very scary. So I asked: “What if you are without a card like the Delta Reserve for a while and then get one again. Will you get the guest pass back when you have a new card or will it just be lost for this round?” The simple, and reassuring answer was:

“If you have the guest pass and an active card you will be able to use it.”

This, to me, says that your guess pass will keep running even when you don’t have a card that will give you access but you will not be able to take advantage of it again until you have a card that gets you into the club. Nice it does not force you to hold a card or, in the cast of some, when you are switching cards that you will not risk losing your guest pass perk.

Lastly I asked about if there was any chance that Platinums would ever get Global upgrade certs. Personally I don’t think they should because they are so valuable that you should reach Diamond to enjoy them. I was told:

“We are always reviewing how to better improve our program for our Members.”

Well that is clearly not the answer Platinums wanted to hear as it is, to me, basically PR speak for yeah this is just not gonna happen. But I am AOK with that. Platinums who are not happy need to join me on a mileage run or two to make it to Diamond this year – that is all! 🙂

Having had the time to think for the day I just am more and more happy with the direction Delta is going. They really are crushing it compared to the other elite programs. When we are discussing how to make things “perfect” compared to others who are cutting or have nothing like what Delta has it shows that Delta really is going in the right direction!

Now that you have had time to reflect are you too pleased with the changes and upgrades? – René


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  1. Hi Rene,

    Two thoughts: 1) I remember when the globals came out a few years ago, you lost out if you had made your choices before the change. I wonder if there is more tweaking to come. 2) the flood of global upgrades this will create will make them a little harder to use., had some great success with them for this year from the 2017 Choices. 3). As FCM grows, regional upgrades will be like the old regular upgrades, had a hard time using all 4 last year on over 10 RT to LAX or SAN. This is still good news. Thx

  2. Hi Rene, I searched the blog but could locate the difference between Sky Club Memebrship vs Sky Club access like John talks about could you elaborate? Thanks – Great posts on the Choice Benefits.

  3. #KevinIN – As mentioned in post, membership mean you can enter when NOT flying Delta and access many partner club with reciprocal membership arrangements. Access mean just that when flying Delta that day.

  4. Three Choice Benefits for DMs in 2018. Sweet! The pendulum perhaps had begun to swing the other way. Keep climbing Delta!

  5. Three Choice Benefits for DMs in 2018. Sweet! The pendulum perhaps has begun to swing the other way. Keep climbing Delta!

  6. Rene, do you know if the guest pass option will function the same as Executive Membership when you are flying (i.e., can you bring spouse and children under 21 or is it 2 guests regardless of age?).

  7. @Lee – I believe the wording was 2 guests. Hope to test after the 10th but I may have membership for another year I hate to say. Yes that does sound strange I agree.

  8. DM have 3 choices for 2017, 1 as PM and 2 as DM, for 2018 they get 0 as PM and 3 as DM which still is 3. For 2018 can I pick 8 GUC or 12 GUC if I use all my choices for the same thing GUC? I have lifetime SC so the SC benefit as DM was never a benefit, it would have been nice to have an extra choice all those years since I have been DM ever since it began and have 2.3 m LT miles

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