Delta CORP says: Award changes was an IT bug and NOTHING HAS CHANGED!

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Smokybrown_cockroach_on_back

From Wikipedia

Well we at long last have some info from Delta CORP about what has been driving us all crazy for the past few days regarding the change to award tickets. I have been told:

“There are no changes to stopovers. A recent change in IT at Delta.com discontinued the ability to book intl. stopovers online. You could still book them via reservations agents. We [Delta] are working with the res agents (who handle the bulk of the bookings already) to ensure they are properly assisting customers who might.” – DELTA CORP

So there you have it straight from the horse’s mouth. It was all just a bug - officially. We can call, if we need to, and book just like before!

Sure we can, as I have earlier today, speculate about what if any of this was part of Skymiles2015 pre-loading where it should not have been. What I will say is just look how jumpy and afraid fliers are because of what Delta has done in the past. We expect Delta to “do bad” to us so when we see bugs we expect the worst has happened.

I hope, if this was in fact just a BUG as stated by the company, that Skymiles2015 will give MORE choices and not take away things we have come to know and love – René

PS – TIP – BOOK ALL YOU CAN NOW – BEFORE SKYMILES2015 – The bug WAS related to SKYMILES2015!

 

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AGAIN! @Delta #KeepDescending “enhances” Skymiles NO NOTICE! 3 for 2 is GONE!

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UPDATE: SEE  THIS POST  FOR LATEST UPDATE FROM DELTA CORP!

broken trophey

With a HT to both FT and OMAAT what looked earlier today like a glitch is apparently not a bug but another #KeepDescending award worthy move by Delta in preparation for #DOS or the Destruction of Skymiles now only 65 days away (and counting).

At the Chicago Seminars I demonstrated what has been the rule for a very long time with Delta that you could do a stop over and an open jaw. For example, I showed that if you went:

125k dtw to ams

The price for the round trip would be 125,000 miles in low level business. You could then add on an open jaw say to Miami

50k one way dtw to mia

And when you then combine all of this into just one ticket you ended up with:

add the one way free

Yep the total price stayed at the 125,000 miles basically giving you a free one-way and with two of these types of tickets back to back you got 3 trips for the price of 2. This was one of the great values of Skymiles over many other frequent flyer programs. It seems no more as Skymiles2015 begins to take hold. Take a look at these SAME dates pulled up today on Delta.com that I used above in my demonstration:

dtw ams rt biz today

dtw to mia

new delta award price

Yep as you can see we are now adding the open jaw on as another ticket rather than pricing as it has for years and years. Thanks again Delta for yet ANOTHER in a long line of unannounced devaluations and so  #KeepDescending worthy. I have been warning readers to be VERY afraid of what is next. Well part of next is now here!

I really think the 2015 Freddie awards in Atlanta this April will be such a good time for those who fly Delta! – René

EDIT: I am awaiting confirmation from DELTA CORP on this but as of late info is often provided as just wait and we will update Delta.com and release more info soon. Well Delta.com right now has WRONG info but either way I will update the post!
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Just a reminder – When you go, so do your Skymiles!

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photo credit aboutourkids.org

This week I have hundreds and hundreds of comments about why we love our Delta. However, I wanted to remind flyers that Delta has one of the worst rules about what happens to a flyer’s hard earned Skymiles when they die (but had the best in the past). Yep, when you go, so do your Skymiles.

Dear grieving widow or child, you cannot use your daddy’s Skymiles as they have now turned to ash and dust; so sorry to be the one to add one more bit of pain to you during your grieving time!

IMO this really is one of the most disgusting changes Delta has made in the past few years of enhancements devaluations.

A question most ask is, and also a reason for this post as a reference point, does Delta scour the obituaries and go looking for accounts to close down due to the unfortunate demise of the frequent flyer? No (I have been told).

This does mean if you DO HAVE the former frequent flyer’s number, and the password, you can book tickets from the account for anyone you want. In other words, if you happen to have a large stash of Skymiles saved up and you plan to spend them one day it would be very wise to put your frequent flyer number and password somewhere it can be found by those who love you just in case, cuz you just never know. I don’t plan to check out tomorrow, but I could get hit by a bus on my way to my next flight.

Bad value but you can cash out Skymiles.

Bad value but you can cash out Skymiles.

Now Delta does say they could cancel an award ticket booked this way – even in the middle of a trip! So, while normally this is a VERY bad value for your Skymiles,  you may look at cashing out for AMEX gift cards from the Skymiles Marketplace to lock in what you can (if your former loved on had access to it that is).

Other airlines, like American, have a small service fee to transfer miles to someone else when you die. I find it very disappointing Delta did not move to this kind of arrangement rather than just coldly telling us the points are for the frequent flyer and them only. Perhaps if more write in and complain about this policy they will think about changing it?

At least you now know and can make the proper arrangements!- René
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May 3rd & my Diamond Medallion credentials at last showed up!

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rene delta diamond medallion 2014 tags

I think there must have been issues as many of us, and maybe even you, have not got your medallion kit this year. I had to e-mail Delta to ask where my kit was and was told it had been sent out months ago but a replacement would be on the way. There are reasons I want to get my new credentials ASAP and it is all about one thing – the Job Well Done certs I love to give out to deserving and outstanding Delta employees either in a Skyclub, on a jet or even phone reps who do a great job for me!

So what was inside this year. A long description of how many Diamonds there are vs other medallions and Skymiles members. Lot’s of drink ideas and some descriptions of what I received. I got:

4 – HOOU coupons
4 – 1000 point JWD certs
1 – Diamond Skymiles card
2 – Diamond Luggage tags

A few HOOUs are always nice on those legs where my upgrade does not clear. Let’s hope it is only 4 more segments this year ;-). JWDs – yeah love those. My Skymiles card is kinda pointless as I use the Digital one in my phone. The Diamond tags a.k.a. cow bells are fun to show off. However, they seem to be worth $25-50 each on Ebay and I still have my old ones so they may end up paying for a mileage run part way (I’m kidding but they really are selling for stupid money on Ebay)!

So there you are. If you have not got your kit yet – be sure to e-mail Delta customer support to get your replacement on the way! – René

PS – the rumor btw is that this is the last year for “real” medallion packets as the cost is too high to make them. Next year we only get digital download and our phone app. version of our skymiles card Anything to save a buck right?

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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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Rookie Wednesday: Just what will you earn on a split Delta 2014/2015 ticket?

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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.

cwsi-net showing a GM full earning skymiles for 2014

Thanks to a quick check with our friends at CWSI.net and the SkyCalc we can see the FULL earnings a Gold Medallion will get until the stroke of midnight on 31DEC2014 (i.e. it is the scheduled takeoff time that matters). But here is a question for you, what if you take off in 2014 but return in 2015. What happens then? Let’s break it down in a rookie way.

atl to lax full earning pre skymiles2015

I took a coach ticket as a Gold Medallion flying one way on 31DEC from Atlanta to Los Angeles and just like CWSI says we would earn 3892 total Skymiles with the medallion bonus of 100% of base miles.

after 1jan2015 earnings lax-atl GM delta

Then if I take a one way return trip on the 1JAN2015 Delta.com does correctly show that our Gold flyer would get 8x the base price of this one way ticket or 2992 Skymiles under Skymiles2015. But what if we were to fly round-trip out on the 31st and back on the 1st? What happens then?

split outbound in 2014 and return in 2015

As you can see, the ticket price is different from the two one way trips, but the math is simple. We take the FULL earnings for 2014 for the outbound, and then, take 50% of the base ticket price and times that by our medallion (or non-medallion) level to get that number, then add the two and you get the total you will earn for a split trip. In this case for a Gold Medallion, Delta.com correctly shows 5708 that is 3892 for 2014 outbound flight plus 8x$227 (i.e. 50% of 455) or 1816 for the 2015 return flight thus a total of 5708 Skymiles for the round trip.

flying 1st class mqm earings in 2014

One other thing to notice about this is MQMs do not change. There are SO many who are under the misunderstanding that MQMs will be affected in some way by Skymiles2015. This is NOT the case (at least so far). You will, in this case with an A fare one way from Atlanta to Los Angeles, in both the above and below screen shots, for the same flight, same fare class, on 31DEC2014 or on 1JAN2015 both earn the same 2019MQMs for this trip with class of service bonus.

flying 1st class mqm earings in 2015

The key thing to take away from this is you will ONLY EARN FULL SKYMILES until 23:59 on 31DEC2014 then we are under the horrid new Skymiles2015 earnings schedule. If you have a trip, or a Delta mileage run be sure, and if your miles matter to you, your flight needs to be set to takeoff before the 1st of January 2015 to get FULL credit! – René
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2014/2015 Delta Choice Benefits are fully loaded – should you redeem or wait?

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delta-com showing new medallion choice benefits 1

I was one of the unlucky ones and my timing was bad; when Delta announced the new Global (thank you Delta) and Regional upgrade certificates, vastly superior to the old virtually worthless ones, I had already redeemed my 2014 benefits that I earned in 2013.

delta dimond medallions get to pick two choice benefits

But that is about me. The question is should you redeem your 2014 or, if you have already earned status for 2015, next year’s Medallion Choice Benefits? The answer is – maybe. Look at this old rookie post about Choice Benefits (ignore the part about SWUs as they are gone and I will update the post or do a new one soon). As you can see from that post, some choices, as soon as you pick them, starts a 12 month clock to spend them before they go away. Say a Global Upgrade certificate for example. If you have no plans to spend them or anything booked why redeem now. Let them sit as you have a year to spend your 2014 selection and almost 2 years for your 2015 one.

delta dimond medallions choice benefits GU certs now live

Now there are some things you would want to pick RIGHT NOW if you have earned your 2015 gift to get maximum benefits. This bit is important. Say someone has NO status and you are a Platinum Medallion and want to gift them Silver Medallion status. If you have just earned your 2015 status already you will be able to gift them status all of this year and they get it next year also and it would end 1FEB2016! That is almost 2 years of status – amazing! If you are spending your 2014 choice you are only gifting until 1MARCH2015 (I know confusing but Delta is changing the month the year ends and moving it up in 2016).

rene delta points showing diamond medallion till 2016 delta-com

Should you look at any of the new choices Delta has to offer? Having Delta pay for your Global entry may seem good but it is only worth $100 for PM and $200 for DM (pays for 2). The non-Delta AMEX Platinum personal or business cards both will credit you when you pay for Global entry on the card. What about the upgrade to FULL not executive Skyclub membership? Maybe but don’t rush as you don’t need that until next year anyway since Diamonds have the +1’s until next year.

The key thing is understand what year gift you are redeeming and what is the best pick for you; decide wisely as once you choose you cannot go back! – René
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Delta Air Lines 2015 Skymiles Award chart is out – what it does NOT tell us!

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Delta Air Lines 2015 Award Chart page 1

Delta Air Lines 2015 Award Chart page 2

We have the new award chart (there is a PDF on the Delta.com page – under “Expand All”). The good parts are the low level, that became saver level, is now just LEVEL 1. Gosh I am happy they did not come up with even MORE silly names. Level 1-5 works. First a TIP – like HIGH (you would have to be to book at this level) – never ever book level 5 – EVER!

The good news is they did NOT devalue (very few went up) the chart more than the two times they already did last year. The Level 1 awards are what they were before. The only real bad news is the Level 2 is HIGHER than we had expected and were hoping for. It would have been nice if Level 2 would have been the mid point between 1 & 3 but it is much closer to 3. They did a better job with Level 4 but that is WAY too many points for me anyway. The good side is we now have one small step below the old MID/STANDARD now Level 3.

What we DO NOT KNOW is how many seats are going to be in each level. How will the new award site work? These are the questions we will talk about a ton for the next few months once they build the thing. What do I think?

bell curve

If you look at my post last week guessing about what is to come you get an idea of what we could see. How will distribution be and how hard will it be to find the Level 1 seats? How much more space will elites have? My thoughts are the same as before, the higher the ticket price the less Level 1 & 2 and more 3-5 you will see. Your elite status will drop you down a level or 2 or even 3 depending on the price of the ticket. Always think $$$ for every move Delta makes!

So what have we learned with this chart. Not much. We had a good guess and were mostly right. Now we must wait again to find out about these questions as well as one-way award and if we can still use the very good stopover / open jaw rules under the current award system! – René
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Delta AWARD ticket hold trick now working MUCH longer (almost 24hrs)!

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award hold holding for a long time

Some good news but this may not last or may be a bug! Back in January I blogged about the trick you can use that will allow you to hold an award ticket for a few hours. Not as good as a few days but as you can see from the screen shot above, from Delta.com, when using the hold trick, it is currently allowing holds for just about 24 hrs in my testing the past few days.

I will not go over all the steps again as you can peek at the old post. Also, I have no idea if this is a bug that will be fixed or if Delta is being nice to us and letting us “unofficially” have 24hr holds (hey we can hope right?)!

Please do not trust this HOLD will HOLD for a full day. But if you need to hold for a short time, to say transfer over some Membership Rewards points you have earned, this could be just the ticket! – René
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Has Delta gone too far – will you “opt-out” and #BoycottDelta over #Skymiles2015?

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TSA-Release-Images-2-050808-7264031

Until TSA Pre Check, most times when I passed through security, I choose to opt-out that is have a manual pat down. Not much fun to have a man give you a rather intrusive screening, but the choice of this over the other choices pushed me to pick the best of two bad options.

Has the new Skymiles 2015 program done this for you? So many in the frequent flyer world are saying it does not matter what Delta does as they are either hub captive or the other airlines do not fly convenient routes; they say they have no choice but to fly Delta.

At some point, like with my TSA screening, Delta will go so far that flyers will vote with the wallet and this change may just do this. The big question is how many? I am sure the Delta “bean counters” have run the numbers and are banking / gambling on those who matter will NOT leave as they just don’t care that much about Skymiles.

In my 105 flown segments last year with Delta I talked to many big spenders who say things like: “I have millions of points but never spend them” or “I only use points to upgrade“. Will these flyers leave Delta over this change? No way as what matters to them is elite miles not Skymiles and, as you noticed with the morning’s post, Delta was shrewd enough NOT to mess with those points! These are the only real points that really matter to their target audience (slick move Delta btw).

What about the all important relationship with AMEX. That also has not changed. They will be able to market the value of the Delta Skymiles card just as they have for years; in fact the value has gone UP as for most people earning Skymiles on spending will be much better than actually getting on a jet.

If you are keeping track, Delta & Skymiles2015 keeps the big spenders happy & AMEX happy. Then who is not happy? The now and then flyer who is just looking for the cheapest price ticket they can find to fly to see grandma! But with bag fees, charging for “better” coach seats, for food, headsets & movies, drinks, wifi, lounge access and anything else they can dream up those undesirable flyers will at least contribute to the company bottom line and be rewarded with a pittance of Skymiles for 2015 (that never expire at least) in return for their brief visit to the airline. Who cares if they get upset and rant on Facebook that they will never fly Delta again (until next year’s visit to the in-laws).

The plan is brilliant. The execution a work of art. The ONLY thing that can go wrong is what if people opt-out and fly another airline. I just don’t think it is going to happen – do you? – René
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My take on the #Skymiles2015 changes (and what to do in 2014)

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renes skymiles and amex spend totals for 2014-2015

By now, you have been looking at all the blogs, newspapers and reading on Delta.com what it all means. Twitter has exploded and most are deeply upset (there are a great many other words too) about the changes. This is a MASSIVE change. Some facts we do know while others are yet to come out from the “mothership”.

There is no way to cover everything in one post so for now I will touch on some of the highlights and low lights of the changes and my thoughts so far. First the good parts for us as flyers (and much of this is from my perspective as one who flies Delta a bunch).

  • We have some time. Unlike other changes, for now, Delta is allowing us until 31DEC2014 to BOTH earn and burn at the current levels. As long as your scheduled takeoff is before 23:59 on 31DEC2014 you are earning at the old rate. As long as you book before 23:59 on 31DEC2014 you can redeem at what is currently in place.
  • One way awards. We have asked for this and it is coming. This is good news. Will we be able to still add an open-jaw and or stopover as now? It looks that way and could be a real win and a way to get even more value out of Skymiles.
  • Points+cash. Please note this is VERY different from PWM that is Pay with Miles. This new one is an AWARD TICKET (see the difference is we start with miles and add cash not the other way around that PWM is). So, medallions DO have a shot at upgrades like current award tickets.
  • All new award site. Delta is tossing out the old award page. This alone is great news. The bad news is Delta “IT” is making the new one so who knows if it will work any better than the old one. At least the old one will be gone and that is just good!
  • Delta AMEX Credit cards. Clearly, as you can see from my opening graphic, I enjoyed this year meeting my MQD exempt status in less that 2 months. I will have spent $30k by my statement cutoff. I will then earn 15K Skymiles Bonus and 15k MQM bonus too. Thus, 45k Skymiles this year from all sorts of ways of spending. This will, as of now, NOT CHANGE! Mfg. spending is going to be one of the best ways to earn Skymiles in 2015.

cwsi-net showing how many MQMs earned

  • Earning MQMs does not change. Is mileage running dead? No, but the rewards will be less on the Skymiles side. Bottom line is if you need MQMs you still have to get them. Credit card MQMs will be worth more and mileage runs will still earn full MQMs at dirt cheap prices – we just get much less Skymiles in 2015.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eIZxH_7dPk

  • Short hop and many business travelers. Many will LOVE these earnings changes. Those who have to make many short hops and pay mid-high prices for tickets can earn a bunch more when flying Delta. Especially medallions.
  • Low level awards at current levels should still be found. At this point, and things as we know can change on a dime, both coach and premium cabin low level awards will be possible. Just like now, many will overspend to get the flights they want. The 5 tier pricing could make for some sweet deals and some not so good prices. This is Developing!

Now on to the bad news and there is a bunch of it mostly on the earning side from flying.

change in earning on cheap tickets

  • EARNING Skymiles will be MUCH lower than in the past and based on price of ticket; take for example an $800 round trip coach ticket from Detroit to Amsterdam (below is r/t earnings). For those who pay more, you get more. Also, the highest medallions get the best rewards no matter what the price.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URks4sCBoSI

  • Redemption is not known yet. DeltaPoints readers are a mix of coach and premium reward redemptions. Delta “says” we will have MUCH better space open in 2015 at low levels. We will see.
  • Mileage Runs. Today, at sub 3CPM you can just about get paid to fly if you value a Skymile at 2 cents each. In 2015, cheap flights will be to earn MQMs and some token Skymiles! But when you look at what Delta was selling MQMs for in Dec2013 a MR may still be a bargain in comparison. We will have to hunt much harder for value in MRs!
  • Partners. This one hurts. As we saw with Korean Air this year, if you want to earn you had better be flying and buying DL marketed flights. Unless Delta gets paid, don’t expect full Skymiles credit.

My head, much like yours, is spinning. There is a TON to take in. You see those who “hate” Delta and Skymiles tell you “we told you so” but take a deep breath. This is not as bad as it could be and, you know what, we “are” gamers – right? We will find ways to get the seats we want, at a good price and find value in the program no matter what changes they make.

Those who I do feel sorry for is the “now and then” flyer. The Skymiles program was complicated before. Now, unless you follow the blogs and are willing to do what it takes to understand the ever changing rules you are not going to get it and will be disappointed. More on the way this week.

The thought I will leave you with today is 2014 may be the best year ever to earn under the old program – depending on what the 2015 award chart is – and we will not find that out until Q4 of this year so YMMV applies as always! – René
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MASSIVE CHANGES TO SKYMILES – revenue program 2015!

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changes skymiles 2015

Follow-up post on the way soon! Massive for 2015! The ONLY initial good news is we have 10 months to BURN our Skymiles. (Edit: or earn a ton #Developing)!

More to come soon – René
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For now, keep printing your Delta boarding pass (just in case)

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part of renes digital delta boarding pass on phone from a screen shot

The Delta phone app really is a nice tool. You can do so many things with it and conveniently pass through TSA and board your flight all with your electronic boarding pass. Old boarding passes are saved, for now, up to 7 days after your flight.

request mileage credit delta-com for missing points

There can be an issue with this; what if you don’t get credit for your flight for some reason. Most times, all it takes is a quick email to Delta with the flight you were on that you did not get credit for and very quickly you are given credit.

account discrpancies from delta 2014 skymiles membership guide

The only problem that can occasionally happen is what if you don’t get credit. According to the 2014 Skymiles guide page 15 it says it is up to us to keep old boarding passes to be able to submit them, if needed, for full credit. If the digital boarding pass is gone you don’t have this proof anymore.

credit from a flight that did not get miles delta points blog

I have reached out to Delta about this and we will see if a change is made to have longer access but for now I would take the extra step to take a screen shot of your boarding pass or save them to a PDF or something like that. After all, every single RDM, MQM & MQD matters to us! – René
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You can HOLD Delta award tickets for 1-2 hours (even up to 4 with issues)!

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how to HOLD delta award tickets

That will teach me to broadcast on twitter what I am going to blog about in the week ahead! My friend Scott who runs MileValue scooped me and posted already today about a way to put Delta award tickets on “hold” and you can see his post.

there is a way to hold award tickets for four hours on delta-com

I found out about this little gem while doing some award booking and had an error in the process and got the above warning but as you can see by the grayed out box it did create a PNR or a number assigned to the reservation. I then started to play around with ways to recreate this hold since despite what Delta has told us with the change last year on 9SEPT that it would no longer be possible, clearly it is.

final step to hold a reservation on delta for an award free

It really is very simple to create a 1-2 hour award hold (that is all you get doing it this way). At the last step, after you have filled everything in but have not yet clicked on REDEEM AWARD you simple click somewhere else. Then, when you go to look at your upcoming trips at the Delta home page, you will now see a PNR created for your award ticket but no points will have been removed from your account. It is much harder to trick Delta.com into the 4 hour error hold but I am working on a quicker way to get this too.

award is on hold delta-com

Why is such a short hold of any value to us? Keep in mind that AMEX Membership rewards from the NON-Delta AMEX card, i.e. Platinum or Gold, personal or business transfer almost instantly over to Delta.com at a 1:1 rate (there has not been a transfer bonus for a long time now). Thus, let’s say you find the perfect low level seats like I blogged about this morning and have spent hours and hours working on it and want to get some points over or want to real quick call your wife etc. to get the OK to book the tickets, this short hold will do that for you. If not, it just goes away in a few hours from your itineraries!

There is always a way – you just have to know what to do or what to ask for. I find reps will break almost ANY Delta rule for you if you just know how to ask ;-) – René
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Don’t be shocked if you get less points when flying on Delta “glitch” tickets!

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less points discount fares

For a while now Delta has been paying out less Skymiles and MQMs for so called “discounter” fares. These are lower priced tickets than you and I have access to. Cruise lines, for example, have to fly employees home all over the world and get much better deals from Delta. But, as you can see from the screen shot above, they also, as of late, have been rewarding those who fly with less points in their personal account. All part of only reward those who spend the most with Delta.

Now on to yesterday’s tickets. Clearly the “mess” (from Delta’s viewpoint) was not published fares. What does that mean for those who are flying on these tickets, that is those of us who actually got a ticket issued not just a PNR that later was canceled when no ticket number was ultimately issued (txs for link DJ Noah). Will we get full points for these tickets?

First off I don’t care if I get one single point. The price was so good that I will be happy to pay that price all day long and never get a single Skymile or MQM. But I chatted a bit with readers on FlyerTalk and reader “Dlroads” feels Delta will pay out points based on the “Earn Miles with Special Fares” and I tend to agree. Maybe.

There were a bunch of dynamics going on for these brief two hours. Some were able to book on Delta.com. It could be argued these were NOT a special fare and Delta has directly told me again and again that if it is bookable on Delta.com then it will earn FULL Skymiles and MQMs. They have said you and I can NOT book these kind of discounter fares. They have said that travel agents or tickets that are part of say a cruise and fly package certainly could be one of these consolidator fares. So I think those who got tickets on Delta.com will get points like any other ticket.

But what about those who started at Travelocity, Orbitz and other sites? Most times, that is every other day of the week, these sites will and do qualify for full credit. What about this time? I would not be surprised at all if Delta says your ticket was a consolidator fare and you get less points. I have not confirmed this at all with Delta but I think it could happen. If it does, please, do not even think about complaining about it. You got a deal that comes up only once now and again and it may be years before it does again. How many points you get should not matter.

Anyway, what do you think? Do you think Delta will award full points for all the tickets or try to say they are ALL discounter fares and we all get less? – René

Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
RESERVE/PLATINUM/GOLD
from American Express®
Click here for more information

 

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Delta changes SWUs & upgrades starting 01MARCH2014 – big adjustments!

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swu certs delta airlines change delta points blog

For a very long time now Delta flyers have been less and less impressed with System Wide Upgrade (SWU) certificates. This was because, if you wanted to use them internationally, you would have to just about pay the price of a business class ticket to use them (and thus what was the point).

As of 01MARCH2014 that all will change with the creation of Global Upgrade certificates. All but Delta UBER cheap “E” class, that is not available everywhere, qualifies for these new certificates. This is news Delta elites have been waiting for for a long time.

These will ONLY be an option for Delta’s top elites, Diamond Medallions, and they will offer 4 of these as your Choice Benefit. Platinum Medallion will not have access to these Global certs.

Some thoughts. Nice change. But think about this, since they are good one way, for a husband and wife with a trip to Europe or Asia you are burning 2 one way and 2 on the return so all 4 would go on one trip. Still, a nice deal for a coach price ticket when the upgrade space via certs is open. Before you ask, flying on say AF or KLM, the old rules still apply. Connecting to an AF or KLM flight, this is still not clear to me as the FAQs page says: “Seats are subject to availability and may not be available on all flights or in all markets.”

The other change is Regional Upgrade certificates. These are open to Diamond and Platinums so a Diamond could pick these as their Platinum choice and then Global ones as one of the two Diamond choices (since a Diamond cannot pick the same choice twice). But if a Diamond does not want the Global they could get 8 as a DM and 4 more as the PM choice thus ending up with 12 Regional certs plus still one more DM choice!

Overall this is a nice improvement for Diamonds and rewarding those who make it to the top level with Delta. When looking at the value of all the choices this clearly becomes one of the best in dollar value. I see this and Gold medallion “gift” choice being the two best choices going forward.

For Platinums, yes you are losing out on the chance to use the old SWUs for international upgrades but as talked about they were practically worthless for that anyway so no great loss.

delta 2014 and 2016 skymiles program changes

On to other good changes to the Skymiles program. Hawaii from the west coast (including Salt Lake) will also as of 01MARCH2014 be open to free medallion upgrades. This is, in my mind, a HUGE upgrade to the program and a direct response to Alaska air that also offers upgrades to Hawaii. The Hawaii flights from Atlanta will require a Global upgrade cert to get that free.

Now the downgrades. The first is that JFK to LAX, SFO and SEA that truly is now an international “light” flight will no longer qualify for free medallion upgrades. This is really too bad and to many as significant a DOWNGRADE as Hawaii is an upgrade. Not just no more free upgrades, but it will require a Global cert to upgrade this flight as well (not just a Regional one)!

Lastly, if you have already redeemed your 2014 choice benefit, at this point, too bad, you cannot exchange them back in for these new great SWUs. I would love to see Delta allow a one time exception and let you trade back in your choice if you have not say used the Skymiles or old SWUs or ETV choice (that is just sitting in your account unused).

Oh, and I should say Delta is also, as of 2016, changing when Skymiles begins and ends. We need to get used to 31JAN each year becoming the END of the program year and 01FEB then being the new start date to keep track of.

So far so good on this change Delta flyers and a some truly good “enhancements” for a change. What do you think. Happy with the adjustments? – shout out and let us know! – René

Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
RESERVE/PLATINUM/GOLD
from American Express®
Click here for more information

 

 

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