Both my wife and I will be Delta Diamond Medallions this year. For me it will be yet another year at that top rank (well, not Delta360* as I will never spend 100k flying Delta). But for my wife it will be her first time ever reaching Diamond as she completes her “Diamond Quest” as we are calling it for the 2019 Medallion year. She will have gone from no status to start the year to Diamond in just 6 months (thank you partner flights)! Our scheduled flights in June should be the ones that take her past 125,000 elite miles or MQMs for the year. But this will very likely be the only year both of us reach this level and maybe even the last year even I push to keep my top status with Delta. Why? Let’s look at the pro’s and con’s I am confronting.
What I still like about Diamond status:
- 4 (one direction, many segments) Global Upgrades. These are still by far one of the single most valuable perks of reaching Diamond. The savings of using these for long flights is thousands upon thousands of dollars. Nothing Delta offers compares to this one perk!
- Waived fees and elite help. When you travel as much as I do things do happen. I had an issue in January and Delta was amazing when it came to waiving fees and helping out. I also had an issue with an AA flight but they, no matter how many times I did a HUCB, dinged me a $175 fee. I will remember both of the above for a very long time.
- Upgrades (including +1). My upgrade percentage this year has been so-so that is ~60% (with a ton of work and some where one of us upgraded and the other did not). Not as good as years past and the majority came at the 5 day window. Oh, I am CLEARLY not counting C+ because that is not a real upgrade (no matter what Delta PR says).
- How Delta folks treat you as a Diamond. It is hard to put a monetary amount on this but it just matters. From something little like “keep your drink coupon, we approached your Diamond status” to please follow me to the front of this line to save you time. Or another time this year, on a flight with MANY empty seats, I asked a GA to please leave the center empty if possible. The agent did and my wife and I got to share 3 seats back in coach when our upgrade did not clear. All of this makes me think the effort is maybe worth it for yet another year.
What I no longer like about Diamond status:
- Hard to use perks. As much as I value Global Upgrade they are becoming so hard to use. A perk that you can not benefit from is no perk at all. Unless Delta opens up more GU space this will become a useless benefit and likely will drive me to no longer work for Diamond. Also that Sky Club membership will require I fly Delta as of 2019 just stinks. Why call it membership if I am not really a member?
- Less & less upgrades. A few years back Diamond meant you always cleared your upgrade. Now, due to Delta selling super cheap upgrades days before the flight, a real 1st class upgrade is all but impossible on certain days and routes. Let’s face it, one of the only reasons to be Diamond is upgrades and if they are not going to happy I can just buy 1st class on ANY airline that goes where I want to go. Missing 40% of my upgrade using every tool I can does not instill a drive to go for Diamond another year. I even know some Diamonds who have scored ZERO upgrades so far for 2018!
- The total trashing of SkyMiles. I could rant about this for hours. The arrogance of Delta pushing SkyMiles as any kind of winning of anything when it is so hopelessly broken and despicable and slimy. If I am not flying Delta as much I will not collect as many SkyMiles but then again maybe that is a good thing and crediting to Skyteam partners can at times yield greater value and especially so when it comes to redemptions. I have gone from loving SkyMiles to despising them!