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Delta Main Cabin 1 Boarding: How Valuable is This Delta Amex Perk?

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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 Amex perk many people overlook is the boarding zone it gives cardholders: “Main Cabin 1.”

But is this “priority boarding” benefit really a big deal? To those without Delta elite Medallion status, it can be very important.

Which Delta American Express Cards Have “Priority” Boarding?

The six “primary” Delta American Express cards (because we really don’t count the Delta Blue Amex card in these situations) each give Main Cabin 1 boarding to the primary cardholder and up to eight passengers on his/her confirmation number/PNR .

These cards are:

The first Delta Amex I had was the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express. I didn’t have any Delta status for about the first nine months I held the card — but I loved the “priority” boarding (I think it was called “Zone 1” back then). I prefer boarding the plane, getting settled, and relaxing. If that’s important to you, too, and you don’t hold Delta status, consider a Delta Amex whose color isn’t blue.

How Do I Add This Perk?

Simple. Just add your Delta American Express card number to your “My Wallet” on Delta.com or the Fly Delta app.

How Much of a “Priority” Position is Main Cabin 1?

This page displays the official list of Delta boarding zones.

In reality, though, it’s more like this:

  1. Passengers needing extra time
  2. Active duty military members with ID
  3. Families (though this group sometimes is called after first class)
  4. (If applicable) Delta One and Diamond Medallion members
  5. First Class (not applicable on CRJ-200s) and Diamond Medallion members
  6. Comfort+
  7. Sky Priority (Platinum and Gold Medallion)
  8. Main Cabin 1 (Silver Medallion and Delta Amex cardholders)
  9. Main Cabin 2
  10. Main Cabin 3 — customers with T, X, and V fares
  11. Basic Economy

(And that’s not taking into account any Spirit, Virgin America, or Sun Country refugees who create “fun” boarding groups like “People whose names begin and ‘J’ and also were born during a month that also begins with ‘J’!” 😉 )


So, yes, while Main Cabin 1 “priority” boarding can be the seventh or eighth group called, it can be a big time perk for those without Delta status.

Here’s an example:

Great for People Who Carry On

My friend Rick just returned from a Delta trip (and saved good money, thanks to a recent welcome bonus on his Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express).

He didn’t check his Travelpro Maxlite 4 rollaboard but was booked on an “X” fare — meaning he’d normally fall into the Main Cabin 3 boarding group.

But because he holds a Delta Amex card, he received Main Cabin 1 boarding.

“If I didn’t have the Main Cabin 1 boarding,” he said, “There wouldn’t have been any space in the overboard bins by the time I boarded. I would have had to check my bag.”

Granted, not a huge problem. And he could’ve checked the bag for free because his Delta Platinum Amex allow the cardholder’s first bag to be checked free.

But he had tight connections, didn’t want to risk his bags not being transferred, and (most of all) just wanted all his stuff with him. So the Delta Platinum Amex was worth its weight in gold. (Or platinum, in case?)

Low Fare Classes — Including Basic Economy

Main Cabin 3 and Basic Economy boarding can feel like a walk of shame. Especially if the plane door is about to close and you’re scrambling to find overhead bin space.

No matter your boarding class — even Basic Economy — you’ll still receive Main Cabin 1 boarding. (Although, who knows these days? You may end up upgraded to first class…)

So even if you’re a business traveler with no Delta status and your company books you into Basic Economy, a Delta Amex will stills score you Main Cabin 1 boarding.

Do Additional Cardholders Get This Benefit On Their Own?

No. Only the primary cardholder and up to eight others on his or her PNR receive the benefit.

What If I’m Gold, Platinum, or Diamond? Does This Benefit Apply to Me?

No. You receive Sky Priority. Or first class/Delta One if you’re a Diamond.

Questions?

Ask away in the Comments section below!

–Chris

Other Delta Amex Topics We’ve Covered This Month

Now is a fantastic opportunity to apply for Delta Amexes because many have great welcome bonuses — and you can lock in a year at their current annual fees.

We’ve covered several related topics during the past several weeks including:

Big Welcome Bonuses Expire WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 30!

The Delta Reserve Card from American ExpressDelta Reserve Card 

Delta Reserve Business Card from American Express.Delta Reserve Business Card 

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card from American Express.Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express

Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express

Delta Gold American Express CardDelta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles Gold Business American Express Card 

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.

1 Comment

  1. Main 1 is kind of a joke because by then most of the overhead bins are pretty full esp with those insisting on putting there 2 or more carry-ons up there and their coasts!! Not a great benefit!!

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