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MASSIVE Downgrade to Delta Premium Select Perks – No more “free” domestic 1st class seats (and more) – #KeepDescending #Delta!

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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.

Delta has REALLY bragged up DPS or Delta Premium Select as something amazing – and it was. Truly it “was” until this week. I was on the inaugural Delta A350 flight and did not book Delta One Suites because it is, mostly, just Delta One with a door that does not work that well. What I wanted to test was the 1st MEGA change in Delta seats for YEARS! I then said in the post this:

“Premium Select (PS). This product and offering will be tweaked. Let me again say they are a real game changer for Delta. I told the A350 support folks onboard it really is almost too good (I may live to regret this honest evaluation). I state this because on a 6-8 hour daytime flight from Europe really there is no need for anything better than PS” – René de Lambert

Gosh, I hate being right. Now look at what has happened as of this week. Delta has downgraded, when you connect to another domestic Delta flight, your “DPS” experience to Comfort Plus the rest of the way (before you flew domestic 1st class the rest of the way).

Yep, you can test this yourself. Go and try to book a flight where you start in DPS and have to connect to a Delta flight to your final destination and you get:

Crummy Comfort Plus the rest of the way. But wait, is not Comfort plus still an “upgrade” (per Delta) and still a great seat? Notice what Delta says on Twitter:

Yep – Paying for a “premium” experience ends when you hit US soil. Oh and it gets worse and while many may feel this is a non-issue it is not. Delta is also downgrading the real DPS experience to all plastic glasses per a leaked memo on FlyerTalks. It says:

“June 2018: Memo to flight attendants: “Delta Premium Select service changes are ready for takeoff July 2” With the expansion of Delta Premium Select (DPS) across our international fleet, the Onboard Services team has redesigned our DPS service “Beverage services: All beverages (cold and hot) will be served using plastic/paper cups instead of Alessi glassware – this change creates significant provisioning space on board and allows all the necessary cups to be available on the beverage cart. Pre-departure beverage service: Beverage selection reduced from four choices to two”FlyerTalk post.

I don’t know about you but drinking cheap wine in a cheap plastic cup does not in ANY way scream “premium” to me. Sad!

So while Delta has removed the shot at a “free” upgrade to Comfort plus for elites with the new seats on the Delta 777 jets – they have also downgraded the paid real upgrade experience per the Delta Professional Web Site (I guess they missed this part in the PR blitz the other day?)!

My only question is what will Delta cut next for DPS. I can show you with the simple search on above that a DPS seat today (with C+ for your connection) will cost you almost as much (70k one way) as a “Level 1 SkyMiles Award” Delta One business class seat cost you just a few weeks ago!

Can you see why I am no fan of SkyMiles? – 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. I left Delta 3 or 4 years ago. Never looked back. However I recently took a trip to Manila on DL. Two of the legs were on the new A350. (Into Tokyo Narita outbound and out of Inchon South Korea inbound)

    The A350 in economy is absolutely horrible. The seats are smaller than most domestic flights. There isnt nearly enough lavs, and the ones that they have are claustrophobic! When transferring to an old 767, or 757, both old planes felt like cadillacs by comparison. I really miss the old 747 on those routes. Wont be flying the A350 in coach again. (I feel the same about most airlines 787 as well)

  2. There was a time I flew Delta almost daily. Delta has just screwed up the complete points game and levels within Delta. I wrote them off years ago and only a few miles from million miler. I do have minimal points with them and when they are gone, I am just done with them.

    I think you should do the same.

  3. I am so excited that my husband is retiring this year. No more flying delta for him thus no more flying delta for me. I’m free! Free to choose as slowly, by car, as I want to get to the destination I want when I want. We burned our last 100000 miles to take our kids on one last “free” vacation. The money I’m going to save from not paying the credit card fees, no more TSA fees, no more baggage fees the kids had to pay because they don’t like Amex cards, no more “comfort” seats, no more worthless award charts . . . Need I continue? And, our frequent flyer numbers start with a 0 so we’ve been members from inception. Bah, bye delta! Not going to miss you!

  4. Whenever I first read this my sentiments echoed that of some previous commenters. If Delta is going to do things like this, why should I be loyal to them? However the reality is, where are you going to go? AA and UA are absolutely no different (and if you think otherwise you are kidding yourself). The LCCs have their place but they dont work for much of the travel I do. The only other airline that does fit some of my travel is SW and I do fly them from time to time. However when it comes to the big 3 and international/transcon travel, I honestly don’t see this change impacting my decision for travel. I want it to and I’m very much not happy about the changes however as someone traveling frequently for business I can still get a ‘(slightly) better than economy’ product with some added benefits here (higher MQM, slightly better soft product, etc.). I hate to say it however DL knows this. There are simply not any better options in the market as everytime one of the Big 3 makes an ‘enhancement’ the others are not far behind. The reality is that at the end of the day this change will take away very, very few customers from Delta and this is a good business move in that sense. As a customer, I hate it, don’t get me wrong. However DL knows they (as well as the other legacy airlines) have the upper hand over customers right now with these types of decisions and until that changes we can continuing to expect to #KeepDescending with “Enhancements” from Delta and the other major airlines.

  5. Not too shocking, Delta was the only domestic carrier doing it in the US and no one copied so bye bye benefit. AA you get normal coach not even MCE on a premium economy ticket. I’m guessing UA was to do the same.

  6. Ian couldn’t have said it any better. Imagine if other industry business owners treated their best customers like the big 3 do? The answer that comes to mind supports the position that there is not enough competition in the air. Unfortunately, it is so capital intensive to create a start up and what we want would not be inexpensive.

  7. James Strange Reply

    For the first time in 20 years, I choose another airline for my trip to India (Business – Air Canada). I am Diamond with 2.5 million miles on Delta but no longer care about the points or status as it has now has limited value.

    The reasons are getting too many to enumerate!

  8. I was truly one of those “must fly Delta, need the miles, be loyal” people three years ago. I now use Southwest (free companion pass is great), easy to change, redeem miles. For international I am not loyal at all and can live the standard experience that most provide. Even tried Norwegian air recently and it was fine from the West Coast to the UK. The price was fantastic.

    The U.S. domestic carriers have removed the value, made redemption very hard and unrealistic as well. Diamond is a lost value to me.

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  10. David G Morgan Reply

    I avidly read your columns Rene, but I am not so certain I agree on this one. In looking at the seat dimensions, Premium Select really is the equivalent of Comfort +. There is 18.5 inches of width compared to 18.0 in coach on the 350. The major difference is 6 more inches of leg room in Premium Select. That is the only benefit of Comfort+ I have reached the stage I usually find some way to be in Delta One, as I am 6’3″ and an eighth of a ton. At 65, I can’t endure coach seats leaning forward or into the aisle. I need shoulder room, not leg room. I was Delta for many years and went over to American for 2 years. Went willingly back to Delta as service in first class was considerably better.
    Thanks for your insights.

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  12. I said it before. In spite of flowrry rhetoric to the contrsry, airlines view customers the way vampires view their victoms. Suck as much blood from them as possible while providing the bare minimum in sustenance to keep producing more blood. It is what airlines do. Don’t expect any different behavior. Sad.

  13. It is a bus with wings. The sooner we all realize that the better. I live in the ATL so I have no choice but Delta and rack-up 180K in international travel a year all in coach. Every once in a while if I am a good boy my GU will go clear but I only get four golden tickets a year. So all I care about is the the seat and PS fits the bill, I can sleep without the guy next to me touching me. Plastic cups or glass no big deal. 1 1/2 hour flight from DTW to ATL in comfort + can deal with it. I love the PS hard product and the FAs where having a hard time serving all the PS customers with glass. It took forever if you were in the last row.

  14. Also, there are some flights where PS has replaced First Class completely on some smaller planes.

    I also had an international PS flight that was FC domestically, until they changed one of the planes to a larger one. There was no first class on the original plane, and after the increase in size we moved from 2nd row to 20th.

  15. Roberta Fleischmabn Reply

    After years of “working to gain Diamond (or Platinum) status for the “perks” we have thrown in the towel”. All this was recreational out of pocket travel that cost thousands. Last year we could only use 2 GU and a long segment of that trip was in Economy because no upgrades were available. As DL “Kept Climbing” we became more and more disenchanted and said “We are done”. Like some others who have commented my Perks number starts with zero and I have 1.5 million RECREATIONAL miles, in orher words out of my pocket expense to remain loyal. That is done.

  16. They really should rename it as “Contort Plus” as you still have to contort yourself to be comfortable.

  17. Someone mentioned the UA or AA aren’t much better. I disagree to a point. I switched to AA, and I’ve been (mostly) happy with the good, responsive customer service (even online). It’s only 100k to get to top status (not 125k). They don’t have that godawful Amex to deal with …

    … and I actually get upgrades. About 5 out of 6 times I’ll be upgraded. When I was diamond on Delta I got upgraded 3 times for the entire year. That was nuts.

    Systemwide upgrades are a different story. They are just as hard to redeem on AA as on DL.

    But let’s face it, thanks to all these mergers, competition is basically gone. All of the airlines and FF programs suck now. I just try to find the one that sucks the least. For me, in my situation, that’s now AA. (and I am a Million Miler with DL)

  18. Yea… I agree with you just about on all points.
    I have flown 936,000 miles on delta and had to stop because of their way of dealing with the miles and points. I called the delta agent as I was a platinum with Delta for number of years. the Agent told me oh, even United and American is following us. I told what a bad example and leading you have done. When they started the program with MQD’s MMS, and other stuff which is so complicated to keep track and only gave miles based on the price of the ticket, I started to look around and since then I had done 2 million miles on various airlines but not going to stick with their downgrades…seats are horrible, service is bad, flight attendants are too old to serve in planes ( I do feel bad for them). The best airline, staff, and service is ANA. Love it. Mileage program is bad, but you can transfer from Amex and get flights for lesser miles than delta, united and American.

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