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[Updated!!] Delta’s Million Miler Gifts: Should Delta Copy United and American (For a Change)?

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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.


 

A Delta Million Miler brag tag on baggage.

Achieving Million Miler status is a pretty big accomplishment. Each time you accrue a million miles on an airline, the carrier gives you a gift of some sort.

Delta gives you annual Silver at 1M or Gold status at 2M & 3M or Platinum at 4M (depending on how many millions of miles you’ve earned) and some luggage or jewelry.

United, meanwhile, steps it up. While UA may not give you premium luggage or shiny bracelets, they gift both you and a companion annual elite status. American gives you miles and upgrades.

Nice, right?

Is it time for once Delta copy United and American — and up their Million Miler game?

Delta Million Miler Gifts

FlyerTalk member Fred 3 recently crossed the 2 Million Mile mark on Delta (congratulations!) and, while grateful to the mothership for being offered a gift, seemed a bit underwhelmed by his choices:

Samsonite 21 or 24 inch bag, value $115

Assorted Tiffany Jewelry, value $100-$185

Tumi Cosmetic, Tote Bag or Wallet, value $125 ish

The 2 Million Miler gift seems close to what’s offered the initial, plain old Million Miler gifts.

On one hand, the “quality travel and business accessories” by Hartmann/Samsonite and Tumi seem appropriate. You log some serious time in the air accruing a million miles. (And/or spent a ton of money on Delta co-branded American Express cards). Quality baggage is a necessity — and you probably already own it.

And because most (I assume) road warriors are business travelers, the business accessories may come in handy.

There’s also Tiffany & Co. “beautiful jewelry and luxury items.” (Hey, if that’s your thing, awesome!)

(FWIW: René chose a Tumi bag — and promptly sold it for a lot of cash. He used the proceeds to buy a bag he really wanted.)

As mentioned, Delta also includes annual Silver Medallion status at the 1 Million Mile threshold, and Gold Medallion at 2. Once you cross 4 Million, you receive annual Platinum Medallion status. It was called lifetime in the past (we can speculate whey they changed the wording). 😉

UPDATED, 9/16

A Reader “Duane” sent us this screenshot of his Million Miler gift offerings:

Delta Million Miler gifts

“The current million mile offerings are pathetic, to say the least… No Tumi, just a bunch of Samsonite luggage, the best of which is worth no more than $100 or so,” he added.

Yes, a First World Problem But…

A lot of FlyerTalk members participating in the thread weren’t knocked out by Delta’s Million Miler gifts. To be certain, everyone seems onboard that this is definitely a first-world problem.

But Million Milers invest a lot of time away from home, family, and other loved ones. For those funding their own travel (as opposed to their employers or clients paying for it), they also spend a ton of money with Delta.

What do some of these folks have to say?

It’s mindboggling that Delta apparently buys these things and keeps them in their own inventory rather than just giving recipients a choice and having the manufacturer drop ship.

WillBarrett_68

 

I finally got around to “claiming” my 4 MM gift when I was told there is now a time limit to claiming the gift. I sent in for one of the Tumis. Got an email saying my choice was on the way. Then about 6 weeks later got an email from Delta apologizing they had run out, and now I could select from the current selection. Needless to say I was not pleased. I sent in a complaint via TTU and still, many weeks later have not received a response. Poor customer service at best.

BamaGirl

 

I had no choice for 1MM. I was sent a Pleather note pad folder. 2MM the options got somewhat better but no Tumi. Now that I’m hitting 3MM, looks like they’ve gotten bad again. Oh well, can’t wait for all the extra benefits they will send my way for being 3MM 

Tomphot

 

I got the same offer when I hit 5 MM in June. Our expectations should all be lowered

TPAtoAnywhere

United and American Million Miler Gifts

United awards tiered lifetime status to its Million Milers — and a companion. So your spouse or significant other can also enjoy the same status United gifts you.

While American also offers different levels of status at the first two Million Miler marks, it throws in some gifts to enhance (not in a Delta way) or boost your travels.

Not only are you gifted lifetime (of the AAdvantage program) Gold status, but you also receive 35,000 bonus redeemable miles. Sure, a million miler may not ache to jump back on a plane and use the miles. But the miles can help add to a nice aspirational trip with family or friends they’ve missed while racking up their million miles.

At two million, you receive Platinum status and four one-way system upgrades. (You’re also gifted four upgrades at each successive million miles).

How Could Delta Improve Their Million Miler Gifts?

I agree 100% with FlyerTalker jdrtravel’s sentiment:

I imagine that 4 SWU are worth FAR more to most people than any of the gifts DL has ever offered. I’d love to see DL switch to offering 4 GCU’s per million miles flown, and skip the gifts. I’d imagine that most frequent travelers already own decent luggage anyway.

Throwing in Global Upgrade Certificates would be fantastic. Granted, they’re getting tougher to redeem. But I’d certainly prefer flying Delta One with my wife during an international trip.

Randee and Chris Carley seated in Delta One from LAX to Tokyo HND on an Airbus 330.
We love GUCs!

I can always use miles — and would take our daughter on an extra trip. (Yes, Tumi is a great brand and makes fantastic products — but I’m perfectly happy with my TravelPro gear.)

What do you think?

Are you happy with Delta’s Million Miler gifts? Or would you prefer something different? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below!

–Chris

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.


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19 Comments

  1. Michael Giardina

    I think Delta needs to step up their game when it comes to these gifts. I fairly certain we arn’t talking 1,000s of gifts a day, though I’d like to know the current number of active MM.

  2. Considering how nearly worthless the current choices are – I would MUCH rather see 4 Global Upgrade certs as an option. It would really cost Delta less and be of more value to me!

    Great post btw. It really is sad to see Delta #KeepDescending more and more in regards to the Medallion program.

  3. How about just guaranteeing GUC/RUC availability for MM?

  4. @Edw3rd – Oh that is just “crazy talk”! I like your idea, but Delta will never do this. Kinda off-topic but I would just love to be able to search Delta.dumb for RU and GU cert open space.

  5. ghostrider5408

    Bag tags? You’re lucky it’s been over a year now and I am still waiting for mine from AS, and making a million on AS is far harder than DL/UA with it’s huge world wide network. Took six months for a letter! Did get a professional model of a AS 737.

    You all get far more recognition than we do from Alaska Airlines

  6. Steve Austvold

    Great post. I love my 1MM Hartman case. How about pre-boarding for million milers.

  7. I hit 1MM in the dark days of Leo Mullin. The SkyMiles program was being gutted (in fact, all of DL was being gutted), and my gift was just a small nylon Tumi attaché. .
    My travel shifted to almost all domestic so it took me almost a decade to reach 2MM. The gifts had gotten better and I selected a Hartmann carryon. The Tiffany gift was also an option and while Chris seemed to dismiss it, it can be great for the SO who has to sit at home while you’re away.
    Keep in mind that the MM gifts and permanent status are just “thank you” gifts for your business over the years. The real perks are to be handed out to the current frequent flyers earning Platinum and Diamond status because they are the ones spending money with DL today – and that is the business they want to encourage with the programs.

  8. I was happy to get the choice of a nice Tumi International carry on that is the signature ballistic black nylon. It had a value of $595 and I am still using it years later. I cross the 2MM mark in 2020 and hope that the choices improve. The bag tags now are a joke with the clear plastic strap and plastic tags that break, maybe make up some really nice versions for people like they did back when they did the first Diamond launch. Oh the old days when they would throw fancy parties and host happy hours for DM/MM or even PM…guaranteed upgrade certs that work anywhere, all fares and anytime would be way better. I also haven’t had the Porsche pick me up in years…it was really nice when I had that chance twice. Wonder if the 360 level gets better options? Thanks for all you do to keep the descending to a slower pace and maybe reverse a few things!

  9. The 1M gifts no longer offer Tumi luggage, it’s been replaced with Samsonite bags that are all less than $200 if you bought them retail. I was looking forward to getting a nice Tumi bag since I hit 1M recently, so I’m just going to sit on my gift select for a while (you have 1 year to select or you lose it) and see if they change the options.

  10. @David R: Interesting re Tumi. Delta still lists it on their website — are you telling me Delta may have an IT issue?! 😉

  11. @Chris: The delta.com/mmgift/ landing page does still have a line item that lists Tumi as one of the vendors. It states: “Tumi: Select from quality travel and business accessories”.

    However, the only Tumi item you can select is the “TUMI ID Lock™ Zip-Around Travel Wallet” ($185 on the Tumi store). So technically, they are still offering something from Tumi, but it’s definitely not luggage.

    The luggage items you can select from are either the Samsonite 21″ Softside Carry On (in Black or Cordovan) or the Samsonite 24″ Hardside Bag (in Black, Navy, White or Sage Green). You can pick up the 21″ Softside from $129 from retail stores or the 24″ Hardside photos look like the Freeform which you can pick up for $99 on Amazon.

    It’s a free gift, so I’m not complaining as they don’t have to give you anything. It is however disappointing that it took me 14 years and this year they go from nice Tumi bags to cheap Samsonite bags. In my experience of traveling for 20+ years, a bag that cost $100 isn’t going to last more than a year or so for a frequent traveler.

  12. I recently attained 1MM and chose the Tumi carry on. A few weeks later I got a letter of apology and 10k Sky Miles- sorry, we’re out of Tumi so I got the Samsonite booby prize. 4 GUC would have been great. I like the idea of preboarding for MM as well. Costs nothing.

  13. Wow. I’m rather surprised. While my 1st million years ago got only a wallet like something for holding tickets, for my 2nd million I got a great 21” tumi rollerboard. I’m over 1/2 toward my 3rd million and was looking forward to another tumi rollerboard. Guess not. 4th million is out of range so no incentive to get to 3M. Another reason to not worry so much about flights to take. Thanks for the insight and a great article.

  14. I’ve been at the 1MM level for over four years and still have not selected a gift, nothing catches my eye. I guess I need to choose soon, thanks for the “wake up” René!

  15. Joel Gilbertson

    The last thing I need is another rollerboard. Annual GUC’s would be great for 2 M and above. What I really would like for 2 M and above is either free or discounted Sky Club membership/access. Paying for that will go by the wayside as I travel less.

  16. The current million mile offerings are pathetic, to say the least. I wish I could upload a screen print of what’s available as part of this post, but I don’t see how I can do that. No Tumi, just a bunch of Samsonite luggage, the best of which is worth no more than $100 or so.

  17. Barry Graham

    I don’t need physical gifts from Delta. Some extra global upgrades would be nice, even better ones that don’t expire (since after all it does go with lifetime status!).

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