Travel Related

The Results From My Group Delta Elite Mileage Run & a Few Mistakes I Made After $1000 Bump!

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr
Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Comfort Plus CRJ200 free drinks RenesPoints blog
C+ on CRJ200 is just silly IMO

I love a good Delta mileage run. Yes, folks still do mileage runs just not for the frequent flyer points, but for the elite points. Why? Because unlike what others in the main stream press have told you, you still earn FULL 100% (or more) elite points for how far you fly with Delta. No one should fly Delta for SkyMiles as if you are earning a ton this way you are simply over paying for your tickets – period!

This run turned out to be really sweet and a ton of fun but I made a bunch of mistakes along the way. The first one started with my positioning flights. Normally I avoid flying on Mondays because upgrades on Mondays tend to be all but impossible with so many business flyers going wherever. But the flip side is if you book the first early AM flight out on a Monday your chances to bump are really good! I booked at noon and all the flights before mine out of SBN were oversold. Lesson learned. But I did get to fly on a CRJ200 down to Atlanta with C+ leather seats and while you get ZERO more space than anyone else you do get free drinks. Something to think about when flying these horrid jets.

Flight oversold ATL Atlanta RenesPoints blog bump 1000 dollars

Upon arriving at my gate in Atlanta I got to meet up with a reader who was not going on the run but on his way to Dallas for work the next day. Well guess what – our flight was oversold by 7. Oh boy! So what do you think happened next?

Delta Air Lines 1000 bump offer RenesPoints blog

Yep, with that many folks that had to be removed from the flight the bidding went all the way to $1000. As a data point normal gate agents can only go to $800 and it takes a red coat to go to $1000 (or more under dire circumstances). Also, I have found, Atlanta reps tend to be the stingiest and most frustrating when it comes to getting them to up the bid and then do things they should like give you food vouchers or allow you to trade your hotel voucher for another Delta one.

missed my standby flight by one seat the real TeamBoardLast RenesPoints blog

Now that I was bumped I had choices and one of the reasons I say I always love a good mileage run is because no matter what happens it is fun. Your only point is points so it is always an adventure. It’s like chocolate – any kind is good. So time to play the standby game as there were any number of flights that could possibly still get me to Dallas that night including Love Field (co-terminals work btw). I ended up #1 with zero seats open again and again. But I really made a huge mistake here (btw a simple way to get the AVIOS is Chase BA airline card).

lots of same day open seats cheap on Avios

I had booked a one-way on Delta to Dallas (paid with an old bump voucher) and find I am doing this more and more when it comes to positioning as it opens up options. What I should have done when I saw how full all the Delta flights were and the likelihood of a SDS or Same Day Standby was not likely to work was just book a cheap AVOIS ticket for 7500 points plus a few bucks! If I had a round trip ticket abandoning a leg in the middle could be a real problem. Again, lesson learned for next time!

Clear Security ATL Atlanta up and running RenesPoints blog

Embracing the latest Delta “4:AM” commercials I was up early and breezed my way through security via CLEAR in Atlanta but…

Lots of leg room Delta MAD DOG exit row way in the back RenesPoints blog

I missed my upgrade by 1 seat and for a such a short flight did not want to play #TeamBoardLast. Plus, since it was the first upgrade I have missed in a very long time, I really wanted to see how good or bad this exit row seat was on the back of a Delta “Mad Dog”. I have to say, while loud back here, it is a great seat! Now the toilets not flushing was not as good but I was able to hold it until I got to Dallas! 😉

The Centurion Lounge DFW Dallas RenesPoints blog

Only one of the group of runners had made it to the Centurion DFW when I arrived. We commandeered the conference table area near the spa and got to enjoy something a bit more than what is offered for breakfast in the Sky Clubs. Take a look.

breakfast Dallas DFW AMEX Centurion Lounge RenesPoints blog

For all the complaints about over crowding in the Centurions the food, drinks and more are so worth the minor issues. After a few massages and a mimosa it was time to start the run that was DFW-DTW-LAX-DTW-DFW or Dallas to Detroit to Los Angeles and back.

rediculous delta buy-up first class offer RenesPoints blog

I was offered at check-in a buy-up offer for the short leg but not the long ones. No thanks Delta. I cleared anyway and honestly thinking over the past year I have cleared just about every single flight Delta has offered me a buy-up. Something to consider for you who fall for their buy-up shenanigans! #TIP

Gogo warns slow day wifi never seen this RenesPoints blog

Gogo gave me an interesting warning that the entire system would be slow this day. I have never seen such a warning and found the performance on the non-2KU to be what it normally is – slow but just fine for normal e-mail and other bits.

TeamBoardLast score first class Delta upgrade RenesPoints blog

I had not cleared either of the two legs to and from LAX and I knew they were going to be very hard upgrades to get. Anything to and from LAX (or SFO) are always a battle. I was number one with NO seats open at boarding. I did however check with the Sky Club folks and the desk and was told 1 or 2 would likely no-show. I told the gate agent I was number one on the list and should I wait. I was told yes (I would have waited anyway) and #TeamBoardLast worked as suddenly 1 seat opened up at Zone 1 boarding and I scored the final upgrade. #Winning!

Delta 747 DTW Detroit airport photo RenesPoints blog

Virgin Atlantic jet Detroit photo DTW RenesPoints Blog

As an AVgeek reward for my upgrade I was presented with an amazing clear blue sky and sunset showing a Delta jet soaring into the sky above a 747 and then a gleaming Virgin wide body jet as well. It made me all happy inside. But what about the flight. There were some issues.

steak dinner Delta Air Lines first class RenesPoints blog

I was offered fish or steak. Steak you say? Yes, please! I should have considered the fish. The salad was meh. The steak was killed and bland. The broccoli was boiled to oblivion. I tend to be a huge fan of Delta food but this was so disappointing. Ah well.

broken USB port in IFE screen Delta first class RenesPoints blog

Then someone had destroyed the USB power port in my IFE screen. Just great. While low power it is a useful way to charge my phone up on a long flight. I mentioned it to the FA and she thanked me as if they do not write these issues up they never get fixed she said and even gave me some SkyMiles for the issue from her hand unit. Thank you very much! BTW the service was perfect as it almost always is on all my Delta flights.

19F on a delta 757 in comfort plus from Delta-com website
Photo credit:

The return back was what I expected. First was packed and I had a seat in C+ 19F on this Delta 757 and had unlimited leg room and I was just going to sleep anyway. I was also smart enough to hold on to my blanked from 1st class on the flight before as this seat is VERY cold near the door and a blanket is all but needed. If you don’t have one ask an FA to get you one.

Delta sausage and egg breakfast sandwich RenesPoints blog

The last leg was the only one I had cleared before the trip. It is nice after a redeye in coach to at least have a hot breakfast and a good seat to nap in. I also cleared on the way back home to Detroit on my one-way ticket back. Nice.

Now the totals. This really worked out for a huge win for me. Take a look at the numbers that includes my positioning costs and the run itself.

  • Total of 9377 MQMs
  • Total Cost of $595
  • Total out of pocket paid $95 ($500 paid with old bump vouchers)

Now not included in the above are the points I got back for not needing a hotel the night before the run since Delta paid for that after my $1000 bump. Nor the bonus points for the IFE issue. Overall this was really a fun few days in the air and so great to catch up with a number of readers some of whom I had not seen for many years! But clearly I made a number of mistakes that I will try to learn from to make the next run perfect.

I also again reaffirmed that coach runs are just not fun as a group run as we are all elites working for upgrades and making hard upgrade even worse. So, I am either going to look at runs where we can all have a sweet chance to upgrade (think Caribbean) or just find the next one all in 1st class. The latter sounds the best to me! – René


Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. Delta Segment Flyer Reply

    Glad you enjoyed my blanket! Great to hear rest of the story and love my voucher! Thanks!

  2. I just completed DTW-MSP-JFK-LAX-JFK-MSP-DTW mileage run last week myself. As Delta Diamond, Medallion upgrade on 4 legs, RU on JFK-LAX. However #5 on list for upgrade (despite RU) on red-eye/lie flat seat leg LAX-JFK. I’m interested in a Caribbean run (had a good run to Aruba last year with 8 of 9 legs upgraded) or first class options somewhere (bring back those deals to Alaska!), but I just can’t compete with you guys for upgrades on your runs!
    Well done

  3. I’ve gotten that same Gogo message on a couple of my flights during the last two weeks. Speeds are really crawling. I tested upload download speed and found that upload was close to zero … .15 Mbps to .07 Mbps were the results from a couple of them. Download was faster, but sending a 5 mb file was painful.

  4. @Rene – For the record, 19C on that 757 LAX-DTW return was not a good seat for a redeye. I’m generally willing to put up with the people bumping while boarding because the legroom is so great, but then again, I’ve never flown overnight in that seat with EVERY SINGLE PERSON who is visiting the lav bumping you in the dark. Ugh – lots of intermittent sleep. But all in all, it was a great run and fun to meet the gang.

  5. Hi Rene, can you clarify for me your comment “…to getting them to up the bid and then do things they should like give you food vouchers or allow you to trade your hotel voucher for another Delta one.”? Thanks Kevin

    • @KevinIN – The top bid everyone gets. So, if the “group” stands firm and no one else offers the seat then all get the final top offer. Next, if you have a long delay they SHOULD feed you ie give you food vouchers. For an overnight at least dinner and breakfast. If you don’t like the hotel they offer you can say no thanks I will get my own and get another $100 voucher instead. The last two they refused me but I did not feel liked pushing it.

  6. Hi Rene, I was the guy in the TSA PreCheck Line that said Hi Rene! I was heading to Fort Lauderdale for a day trip for work. I also mentioned I managed to work in a trip to Seoul in December last year on the 747 top deck and got to hang out with the flight crew. Great to finally meet you and thanks for all your great advice 🙂
    Rich Light

    • @Rich – Oh hi again and great to meet you! Thanks for kind words and reading the blog.

  7. If the fat lady sits in my (FC) seat, IMO the best choice is 19A. It’s a window seat with complete freedom to move about the cabin without having to disturb seat mates. But you better have a couple of blankets at the ready. 19A on some birds gets bitterly cold. If you play nice a FA might make you a hot water bottle. Sweet!

  8. And by the way, the mileage run was a blast! Great food. Great company! I’m still smiling.

  9. @Christopher, Amen. I’d do one of these, especially after meeting Rene at FTU.

    • @Christopher @Mark – Clearly follow the blog and check it many times a day. Also you can subscribe to mileage run e-mail’s apart from the normal blog emails. See:
      Beyond that, as mentioned in the post, I plan to work at finding a 6-8 space 1st class run at around 8CPM(ish) to or from somewhere fun. When I post, but quick as prices will jump fast. You have 24hrs to cancel with Delta!

  10. dotti cahill Reply

    Hi Rene,It was a fun run..but i was left #1 with no upgrades left 4 times….maybe we need an A team run and a B team run so we can meet in interims…. but get more upgrades… looking forward to some FC runs and out of the country MR’s too… thanks We needed to take a pix of all of the Runners!!! next time…also a centurion lounge run would be Kool even if no upgrades the food would be good!!!!! some of the runners were really eclectic…think apple watch!!

  11. Every flight I had and used GOGO I have had that slow warning… even good gogo wont connect to my company’s VPN

Write A Comment