gold 40 year delta service pin with diamonds Delta Points Blog (1)

This week, since I am at the home of our beloved mothership, that is, Atlanta, and am going to enjoy a tour of the Delta museum with readers today, how about we giveaway something extra special.

gold 40 year delta service pin with diamonds Delta Points Blog (2)

I know when I was a kid it was really fun to get a set of “wings” from the pilot. Plus, it was just super neat to sport them walking off the jet!

gold 40 year delta service pin with diamonds Delta Points Blog (3)

Now as an adult a bit of plastic is a little less fun, even though I am still a child at heart.

gold 40 year delta service pin with diamonds Delta Points Blog (4)

But a real, authentic, 14 Gold (gold filled I believe, that is, 14k gold over silver) with diamonds representing 40 years of service to Delta – that is kinda kool and btw these are very hard to get. It is not like you can just order these out of a catalog! :-)

So this week the “normal” rules are bit out the window. You can enter as many times as you like but you have to, with each answer, include a link to a post you like in your comment. For example, say you liked the post about the mighty schedule change. You would have to comment something like:

I liked the post about schedule changes:

http://deltapoints.boardingarea.com/2012/10/09/understanding-the-power-of-the-mighty-schedule-change-rule-with-delta-air-lines/

There you go. I will use random.org to pick the winner. As I said, enter as often as you wish, but you must include a different post link each time you comment! Clear? I will pick a winner LATE next Friday the 1st of August 2014! – René

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delta president Ed Bastian talking about first class upsell

From seekingalpha.com

There is a full copy of the transcript of the Q2 earnings call from Delta on seekingalpha.com and clearly Delta continues to do well, but the part that really got my attention was the above. That is, the up-selling of first class seats.

I have talked about this before, then re-evaluated my stand and posted again a sequel, and this also seems to be working for Delta and this “could” be bad for us. Here is why.

I am most happy Delta is making a ton of money. I am thrilled they are making staggering cash from bag and other fees (as long as Delta Points readers are not part of that). But to see the amount of open seats available for upgrade for elite’s shrinking is worrying.

Now before you pile on the WFBF that is “want first buy first” bandwagon, or as a reader commented once (who’s husband is a DL pilot) that us over-entitled elites should basically never ever get upgrades and are just whiny to begin with, understand that medallion upgrades are one of the BIG reasons a flyer stays loyal to Delta. I mean, it sure will not be for the frequent flyer program in 2015 as there will be few rewards there after 1JAN2015. Upgrades are still one of THE top perks and a major reason to shoot for top status with the airline.

Also understand I really am fine with the current system Delta has put in place. After all, anyone paying for these upgrades are overpaying IMO. They are basically paying close to retail for the upgrade either with cash or points. Even I sometimes buy and recommend 1st class tickets including mileage runs in 1st class when the price is right.

delta want to upsell me biz for 213 no thanks no way

However, what I can see happening is the prices for these upgrade going lower and lower to the point where medallion upgrades become almost impossible to get.

For example, I am on a one day mileage run later this year and paid $196 for the ticket (less a $50 voucher). Now the current price to buy 1st class for the round trip is just $409. So, the up-charge they are offering me is simply the price difference between what the 1st class ticket “buy price” would be and what I paid. I love this. Not that I would ever do it, but I love the math. I love that Delta can make more money selling a seat at the current first class price.

But what if? What if they decide 10 days out to send me an email that I can upgrade to 1st for say $50 or even $100 round trip? I would personally still not do it as I expect the upgrade as a Diamond (currently running about 90% for me this year) but I bet a TON of folks would buy an upgrade in a heartbeat at that kind of price.

At this point this is just speculation. We will have to watch very closely to see if REV MGT decides it is worth taking the next step in decimating the value of being an elite Delta flyer. I sure hope not! – René

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chase 70k offer

From: CYIN @ Flyertalk.com

Per Flyertalk there is a 70,000 public offer in the Chase branches for the INK plus card. You should know what this means!

BUMP THE BONUS!

If you got in on the 60,000 Point offer in May then you are inside the 90 day window where Chase will historically  MATCH  the current best public offer. Just send off a secure message to them via your Chase login requesting they match the current best 70,000 point offer since you just applied a month or so ago. You should have the points added in no time!

Also, if you have not had this card before, or had the OLD Mastercard version, it may be worth a visit to your local Chase branch for an application! – René

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Welcome to a weekly feature on the Delta Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.

bonus offer

One of the questions asked, when I was fishing for rookie ideas from readers, was about when to go for a Delta promotion. What a great question.

To me, the real question is not if to go for a promo but what promo to pick. I mean if you are working on earning points, and going to buy anything at all, you should be picking a promo. What do I mean by this?

skymiles shopping page

The “normal” Delta flyer, AKA not us and those who read the blog, would automatically say something like:

“Hey I will always start at Skymiles Shopping to get a bunch more Skymiles and I will pay with my Delta Skymiles card to get an extra point per dollar on top of the special promo. This is the BEST choice right?”

Well maybe – but take a look at this. Let’s say you are buying things where the warranty does not matter because buying with a gift card does not give you the “extra” 1 year warranty most cards give you when you make a purchase with their card. With that in mind, before you do the above at Skymiles Shopping, if you buy a Delta AMEX gift card and then use that to pay you already locked in the 1x Skymiles for using that card to buy the gift card and 2 or 3% cash. Or, maybe even more points if you are starting at the Arrival portal to buy the AMEX gift card. Then, you can still earn the special promo for buying whatever you want at their site.

You see my point that just adding one more step can mean many more points. So always look at any promo to see if you can do it a bit better with a little more effort.

The next or really first step is to see if whatever deal really is the best – FOR YOU! You will see many painstakingly show you the math of how to get the absolute best results but they may not be the results you want. For example, you may be collecting Skymiles for some award you have in mind. In this case, earning extra Arrival points or some other shopping portal cash may not be what you want i.e. your goal for more Skymiles. Again, you may choose to earn less to meet your personal goal even though the “yield” may be worth less than it could be – as long as you are aware of this do what you want.

I will give you an example of where I give up some rewards points for a personal goal. I try to spend $120,000 each year on my two Delta AMEX Reserve cards to earn the 60,000 MQMs I get from all that spend. Many times I am giving up higher returns with other cards to meet my spend. Worth it? It is to me for all those MQMs as well as meeting my Delta MQD waiver i.e. after spending $25,000 on one or a combination of the two cards (spending on both count). Now yes I get bonus Skymiles as well so that helps but I am still accepting at times a lower yield to meet my goal of MQMs.

Back to promos. The same principle works with different promos. This time let’s look the other direction. It may be that the Skymiles promo may seem sweet but checking EVRewards or other sites like the Arrival+ shopping portal could earn you cash or points to use like cash to buy Delta tickets. Then, you will earn Skymiles from flying and get to go on a trip (well at least this year – not so much under Skymiles2015 when flying is the worst way to earn Skymiles).

All of this can work with any promo like cars, hotels etc. You personally have to weigh if cash, some other points or Skymiles is your goal and what you need for some trip you are working for. With either of these, just like already mentioned, the “value” of earning more hotel or car program points may be “worth” more than the value of a Skymile but if you need Skymiles more than either of the other program points going all-in for Skymiles bonus may be the best choice for you to reach your goal.

Lastly, we have the promos to avoid. What are those? There are some promotions that are just bad and you might as well just buy Skymiles rather than chase the promo (btw NEVER buy Skymiles it is a very bad choice). The type of promo I am talking about is one where say you get a tiny promo bonus but then are locked in to paying for something for months or years at prices much higher than retail. This sounds so simple but many fall for the trap of the promo to get you in. Just compare the price of whatever product it is and  if you would buy it anyway at that price  then, sure, yes get the promo for the Skymiles as the points are just gravy on top of what is already something you will buy. Clear? – René

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from delta-com delta suspends TLV operations

Delta has just posted on Delta.com the following travel warning and alert:

“Delta has suspended service until further notice to and from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv and its New York-JFK hub. Delta, in coordination with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, is doing so to ensure the safety and security of our customers and employees.

Delta flight 468, a Boeing 747 from JFK with 273 passengers and 17 crew, diverted to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Tuesday after reports of a rocket or associated debris near the airport in Tel Aviv. Delta is working to reaccommodate these customers.

Delta continues to work closely with U.S. and other government resources to monitor the situation. A customer waiver for travel to Tel Aviv is in effect and published on delta.com.”

This applies immediately as Delta indicated in the news release. You can see the flight path of  DL468 as tweeted by Jacob Wycoff.

from jacob wycoff on twitter DL468 diverts to CDG

Delta has had in place free changes already for the month but now clearly you will have to make other plans. – René

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Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The planning & changes – Part 1
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: Outbound from South Bend – Part 2
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The Westin Chicago & UBER Black & SUV – Part 3
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: Outbound from Chicago & United Global 1st lounge Chicago O’Hare International Airport – Part 4
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The brand new and amazing Boeing 747-8 & 1st class seating & experience – Part 5
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The 1st class terminal in Frankfurt – part 6
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: A Porsche ride & domestic business class – part 7
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: Outbound from Gothenburg Sweden & business class to Munich Germany- part 8
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: A Mercedes ride and the 1st class lounge in Munich – part 9
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The Airbus A330 & 1st class experience – part 10
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: An overnight in Toronto Canada at the SPG Four Points by Sheraton – part 11
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge- part 12
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: United business class back to Chicago & South Bend Indiana – part 13
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: Final thoughts & Delta comparison – part 14

lufthansa 747-8 jet delta points blog

Have I mentioned how much I love the 747? My wallpaper on my laptop is THIS Delta jet taking off from LAX. Also did I tell you I have never ever flown on a 747-8 (and will not ever get a chance in Delta colors as they are decommissioning all their old 747s soon and they have no plans to buy new ones). How can you beat the 1st class ride on a Lufthansa for under $120 and some now nearly worthless United points. Please someone pinch me, I must be dreaming! Well it did take a bit of doing as you may have seen in parts 1 & 2 that could have easily ended nightmarishly, but it all worked out and here we are.

seats 1st class lufthansa 747-8 delta points blog (2)

If you have not had a chance to ever fly on a 747 in row 1 seat 1A, or the corresponding seat on the other side, you should try to. Due to the curve of the plane you get a bit of a straight ahead view. I have had some 54 takeoffs this year but this one was just special and I felt completely geeked out. But sorry I am getting ahead of myself.

seats 1st class lufthansa 747-8 delta points blog (1)

After finding our seats I was warmly greeted, by name, by the head purser. This is always a nice touch and Delta does the same most times in Business Elite (BE) on international flights as well as recognizing and thanking me for my Diamond status.

seats 1st class lufthansa 747-8 delta points blog (3)

The purser on this flight was nice and I did not see her much for the rest of the trip. Not a bad thing as the rest of the staff was attentive so just an observation.

service station lufthansa 747-8 1st class delta points blog

This is a tiny cabin really but they did make room for a service area right in the middle of the cabin.

jammies and 1st class kit lufthansa 747-8 delta points blog

I was presented with my PJ’s and informed there was a locker in the back with my corresponding seats number 1K. Sweet, time to change and check out the 1st class kit.

amenity kit 1st class lufthansa 747-8 delta points blog

The 1st class lavatory was decent size and it is nice to have a fold down bench to sit on to change into your sleeping attire.

Lufthansa 747-8 1st class bathroom delta points blog

Then once comfy and changed, having hung up my travel clothes, it was time to check out the new seat and toys and push all the buttons and see what they all do (yeah I am 4 years old at this point and having a blast).

seat and video controls lufthansa 1st class ord-fra delta points blog

Only stopping long enough to tweet a few photos to my fellow BA bloggers PM&M and MJ (they seemed to want to be on the jet too).

champagne and macadamia nuts lufthansa 747-8 1st class delta points blog

Champagne and macadamia nuts while I play around – absolutely! I love a red rose, bubbly wine and snacks while I get acclimated to my new home over the water. I did get a great view of ORD as we took off.

climbing out of ORD on lufthansa 747-8 first class delta points blog

The only really frustrating thing I found was I could not use my own headset as the plug, rather than what is standard 1 or two prong on Delta was one short one long prong so I had to use the LH ones. A minor thing but know that is the connector.

strange prongs on headset lufthansa 747-8 1st class delta points blog

The only thing I really had any problem finding was the tray table. It is way far away on the right front and then swings back. I did find it hard to find the perfect seating “location” to eat in the right position, but I will work on that on the way back (same seats but different jet that time).

menus lufthansa 747-8 first class service delta points blog

Menus for dining as well as the large selection of wines and drinks was presented for us to look over before the pre-appetizer, caviar service, and then appetizers were to be presented.

pre-appetizer lufthansa 747-8 1st class delta points blog

I would have been just as happy to start right away with the caviar and skip this strange thing.

Caviar service Lufthansa 1st class  747-8 Delta Points blog (1)

Time for the caviar service to begin (does one ever get tired of saying that – I don’t think so).

Caviar service Lufthansa 1st class  747-8 Delta Points blog (2)

I was presented with a healthy service of all of the goodies and offered vodka but turned that down.

3 choice appetizer lufthansa 747-8 1st class delta points blog

The appetizer and salad round was next and was very tasty and would have them again.

steak and lump crab meat dinner 1st class lufthansa 747-8 delta points blog

For dinner I chose the steak, mashed potatoes with carrots and lump crab meat on top. Was just nummy and may have been the best steak I have ever had on a plane. Truly tops.

lobster main dish lufthansa 1st class ord-fra delta points blog

My wife in 2K had the lobster with scallops for the entree choice. She said it was good but not the best (I think I made the right choice).

dessert lufthansa 747-8 1st class delta points blog

After dessert I was asked if I wanted them to make up my seat for sleeping. I said sure and when I returned mattress was applied to the full flat seat and it was time to drift away over the Atlantic.

nightlight lufthansa 747-8 1st class delta points blog

I had also requested not to be woken up for breakfast service as I was going to have plenty of time in the lounge for that.

video map lufthansa 747-8 delta points blog

I did not spend much time using the IFE but it worked fine and the selections were good as well as the moving map with flight info.

lufthansa 747-8 goaround into FRA airport delta points blog

I have to say the 747-8 is a very nice ride. Sure I was in the best seat on the jet (other than 0A as that truly is the best) but this is a nice bird. Approaching FRA we had to go around, due to improper spacing, the captain announced after flying over the airport giving an interesting view from above.

We had all sorts of time in FRA so what I should have done is stayed onboard and let everyone depart and ask to take some photos of the cockpit and more seat photos in business and coach etc. but I was sleepy and just walked off (maybe due to my enthusiasm for my return to the 1st class terminal up next).

This really was just about perfect. From the service to the food and the seat / ride – everything was just tops and I will be comparing many further trips to this one. It was fun to see the buildup I had in my mind not disappoint in realty in the air! – René

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value definition from websters new collegiate dictionary

I am really looking forward to this coming weekend. Not only am I going to get to spend time with a few of my fellow BoardingArea bloggers but I’m also going to have the chance to get to know some 20 readers of the blog and chat about all things points. Plus, before the dinner spending some quality time on the SkyDeck. Not just all this but to round out the day I will be tweeting from Delta headquarters enjoying some time with the folks from Delta! (#DeltaPointsATL)

Plus talk about the VALUE of my Skymiles. Some disparagingly call them SkyPesos; I call them Delta GOLD and see my Delta points as valuable and desirable. I was able to find low level award seats to fly down, even using my wife’s Gold account, intentionally routing through Detroit on the way down. My upgrade to 1st class cleared 6 days in advance and I have a direct flight home on Saturday. When you look at what a ticket from SBN would cost to ATL, normally around $400-600 or more, I am getting a great benefit for my Skymiles. I will be staying at an SPG hotel for just 3k points and as a Starwood Platinum should get a nice upgrade and breakfast included.

Saturday will also be a ball as many of the group are going to tour the brand new Delta museum that looks just spectacular according to Lars-Eric’s post from opening day.

The only thing I can possibly find to complain about, and some readers love to point out, is that I will have to endure a CRJ on the way home from Atlanta to South Bend. I guess it is good to have some #FirstWorldProblems in life!

Have you had some good success redeeming your Skymiles at low level this year? – René

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you can always HUCB that is hang up call back

Last April my esteemed colleague Gary who writes the informative, and even now and then entertaining blog, View from the Wing, had a post about the most important words for all travelers to know. Since that was a LONG time ago, at least in Twitter years, let’s just call this what everyone calls it today, that is HUCB or “hang up call back”.

With our beloved Delta this is advice to live by. Why? Let me tell you, there is just about nothing reps cannot do (and this is a good thing). No matter what the excuse a rep tells you, there is a workaround to just about anything. All you must find is a rep who is willing to do what it takes to get done what you want.

This applies across the board btw. Matt who had a really fun, well for us not him, Sunday guest post yesterday showed how some reps will do the right thing while others will say anything to make you go away. I have had reps say the same thing as well. I have had gate agents say one thing and a SkyPub rep say the exact opposite and the other way round. I have had phone reps say impossible and the next rep say oh sure we can do that all we have to do is XYZ. At times you need to find a red coat supervisor; other times it takes the reissue desk on the phone when the live reps say no.

Also please understand we are not JUST talking about “breaking the rules“. Yes there are times you can get someone to do this, but what I am talking about is just having the rep do what is inside the rules but they are just not always willing to help you or just don’t know HOW to do it and the simplest answer is no. Or, as happens many times, the rep may not understand that you are allowed to make whatever change or adjustment you want due to status, situation or other issues like say a weather waiver is in place and on and on.

Are there limits to any of this? Sure. When enough reps say NO, you may be in a situation that really is a brick wall (but this is the exception not the rule). Or, the really worst case situation is that a rep makes a note in the record so all other reps see this and will not go the extra “yard” to get what you want done. So, just be cautious not to end up in this tiny penalty box. – René

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winner lh 1st class ducks

 

First let me say Congratulations to #22 that is Eric who is officially the winner of the Lufthansa WorldCup 1st Class duck plus his and hers 1st class kits. I will contact you soon to get your prize on the way.

world cup ducks LH 1st lounge FRA Delta Points

Next, let me say, that the following weeks SWAG Saturday will be even more special that this week – a lot more special. How special you ask? How about a prize that is 1/10k GOLD (silver under) with Diamonds on it. And yes it has to do with Delta. Let me just say you WILL kick yourself if you miss out next week! – René

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