Why I just don’t care about Delta’s new JFK gates – but one good idea – a bus?

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invite to nyc jfk event

I was invited to attend the “press” opening of the “enhanced” new gates at JFK this past Tuesday. I say press opening as it was already open for use a few days before the event. I had a previous engagement that day so I really could not make it and this despite the fact that I, shockingly, could find low level Delta award seats out of SBN to JFK the day before the event and back home the day after.

But the real reason I did not go was I just don’t care much about JFK and neither should you. Here is why:

1) Its too dang long. I hope you like walking. I mean from one end to the other can take 20+ minutes at a normal pace. Take your time walking and it’s like half an hour end to end. No thanks.

2) Weather in NYC. It is no secret that NYC often has issues and delays. I always plan extra time if connecting via NYC and I am sure you do too.

3) Transcon non-Delta upgrades. Delta’s ridiculous sorta kinda Diamond and Platinum only if you know the “secret handshake ” upgrades for the transcon routes is beyond madding. BTW, you will still not find info on Delta.com about these upgrades.

4) Skyclub vs LGA Centurion. OK, the Skydeck is neat. The rest of JFK club is just – meh. More $kyGrub food, crowded and often not all that clean. And then see point 1 to get to your gate.

5) The bus “JITNEY”. How about a quick people mover like in ATL or DTW. A bus? Really? I mean better than walking, but still.

I could go on and on. If going to Europe, on a night flight, you get less sleep vs DTW or ATL or MSP. Heck, if I lived in the area I would fly backwards to one of those airport and then to Europe for more miles anyway :-) .

The funny thing is I do like the bus. Not that having to take a bus from one end of a terminal to the other is a smart move compared to ATL that has the “plane train” or DTW that has a similar idea for just one long terminal, but it is something MSP could REALLY use. If you come in at one end of MSP and out of the other end of the regional wing it is a walk JFK worthy.

Don’t get me wrong, avoiding T2 is better but that is the only real perk for transit. What do you think. Are you impressed with the NEW ENHANCED JFK? Do the better food choices make it worth the visit? You tell me – René
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Delta Flight Attendants seeking to join IAM UNION – says 12,000 FOR joining

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iam delta

This one does not surprise me at all. I have been speculating that this was on the way for a while now. Delta pilots have had union representation and still have pay levels up to 30% lower than they were before Delta’s bankruptcy.

This round it is IAM trying to be the union to represent the FAs. On their web site they say:

“This is an historic day for these courageous Flight Attendants,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “The IAM stands firmly behind the Delta Flight Attendants’ effort to win a strong voice in their profession and stability in a volatile industry.”

Delta, in “The Street” piece, was clearly against the idea as they would like not having to answer to a union when it comes to negotiations with those who work for the airline. They have even, as we have seen in DTW, outsourced as much as possible.

My personal take on this is from a Diamond Medallion and Delta frequent flyer perspective. Delta has shown over the past few years very little concern for me as a loyal traveler. If they are willing to treat me this way, I can only imagine how they do and may deal with FAs. So, I am all for this as a way to give those who work so hard (impressively so) some control over Delta.

I just wish we frequent flyers could form a union to stop many of the choices Delta has made this year since so many are basically HUB captives to the airline. – René
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What’s worse than #Skymiles2015 – Delta e-mail marketing (AVOID at ALL COST)!

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delta want me to use my skymiles for lift tickets

There is so much Delta is doing, marketing wise, that would make an undertaker reach for an air sickness bag. For example, the ridiculous ads about Skymiles2015 (take your pick of them in your seat back) or the fact that the program makes the TV ads from just a few years back look like a complete farce. But that is not my point of today’s post.

What I am talking about today is the latest “Need a break” e-mail ad blitz from the mothership that suggests you should spend your hard earned Skymiles, even MORE hard to earn under the 2015 program, for things like lift tickets. Please don’t EVER EVER EVER do this – EVER!

First off, some SIMPLE MATH as Delta loves to mention. As long as you have ANY of the Delta AMEX cards, you can spend your Delta points at 1 cent each, so they are, in simple math terms, worth at least 1 cent each. Clear? Oh, that is not quite right, since after the change as of 1JAN15, you can now with PWM or Pay With Miles EARN Skymiles and other points for spending your points so you get a nice rebate back on your points when you use points to fly and spend your points. So they are really worth MORE than 1 cent each – minimum.

Now just what does the Delta marketing spin, something we are VERY familiar with, tell us to do? It says:

“GIVE YOURSELF A LIFT. – Treat yourself to a winter getaway. Use your miles for lift tickets to popular ski resorts.”

Well that sounds just amazing – does it not? I mean, I love to KeepClimbing up a lift ride to ski on the Greatest Snow On Earth and at a Delta Air Lines HUB city like Salt Lake. Then go to somewhere like ALTA that is, in my opinion, one of the best skiers only mountains on the planet! Can I get a “treat” there from Delta?

worthless way to use skymiles skymiles marketplace

Goodie – you BET I can! Look at the SHOCKING AMAZING TREMENDOUS crummy value I can get for my hard earned Skymiles2015 points. I can pay just 22,000 Skymiles for a lift ticket. Is this a “TREAT” and a good choice to give myself a lift up the mountain like Delta marketing seems to imply it is? Let’s take a look

price to buy direct

Oh, well, humm, it costs just $84 to just walk up and RETAIL BUY a ticket at the window. So when you think about it, at a minimum penny per Delta point in value, should not this lift ticket cost me just 8,400 Skymiles? In other words the Delta e-mail is telling me that spending almost TRIPLE what it should cost me is a treat? Seriously? Now I think I need a puke bag! We already know paying for hotels with Skymiles is a joke, cars are RARELY ever a good value.

discount for boarding pass alta

Oh and we can take it even a step further. If you do not want to pay retail, and you happen to sign up online before you go, and bring your Delta boarding pass from your inbound flight the day before (or other airlines too), you can get a full day ALTA lift ticket for just $54.00. So, in this case, with the Delta e-mail TREAT, we are paying FOUR TIMES what we could pay with this promo! Lastly we should check other local places for discounted ticket prices like Canyon Sports or online spots like Liftopia.

I don’t know about you, but if I came to you, and offered you a quarter for a dollar bill in your wallet, would you go along with that trade? Delta wants you to do just that with their marketing e-mail! Something to think about next time Delta tells us something about a new “enhancement” and how great it is.

Bottom line is just this – Delta is doing all they can to spin Skymiles2015 like a good thing when we know it is NOT. Each time you see a glossy ad in your seat back, or on a jet bridge at an airport, just know the only one who “has your back” is YOU (well and maybe your DeltaPoints.com blogger)! – René
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Delta 2012 TV commercial comes back to bite the airline – careful what you say!

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It’s funny, I made a parody of this video and put it up on YouTube but Delta asked them to take it down. At the time, Delta had not even started down the Skymiles2015 road but much was going the wrong way already.

Now that Skymiles2015 is here, with all it’s glory, look how absurd this commercial sounds today. First the text inside the video:

“If you go out of your way to fly with an airline, does that airline go out of its way to reward you? – Well, it should!

Because loyalty is a two way street. And when one side gives, the other side has to give back

So every action is a reaction, every push is a pull

And every ounce of dedication shown by one party, should be met with same amount of dedication by the other

Dedicated redcoat customer service, more first class upgrades, miles that don’t expire

This isn’t benevolence – this is our business

And the next time an airline asks for yours – ask them first what they have done to deserve it!”

Oh my. Talk about sad. Let’s look at this bite by bite!

I agree an airline should reward us for going out of our way to fly them. Gosh I wish Delta did that but they are only rewarding those who go out of their way to PAY MORE. American & Alaska Air are rewarding those who go out of their way to fly them.

As far as loyalty being a two way street, please ask Gold Medallions how they feel about the “one way street” they have been on all of 2014 to have their benefits, without notice, cut for 2015.

Equal reactions? Yep. I think we have seen that. For each #KeepDescending choice Delta has made in 2014 more have status matched other airlines or even, dare I say it, started flying Southwest more and more (even out of ATL).

Redcoats you say? Try and get a food voucher out of them when you deserve one and see how honest and service oriented they are.

More first class upgrades! ROAR – HA – RRRIIIGGGHHHHT! Can you say FCM!

Miles that don’t expire? Well true, other than when you Die or your Skybonus points do expire every three years even when you fly.

Benevolence? Oh Delta has made it clear that everything has a price. There is no reward for loyalty to Delta in 2015.

Ah well. Let’s end on a #KeepClimbing note instead. Let’s just quote the last words of the commercial:

“And the next time an airline asks for yours – ask them first what they have done to deserve it!”

OK – I am asking. Are you? – René
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Sunday Reader post: Fighting for a refund & Winning with Delta

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Impression

I love reader input. You all share so very much and your stories and experiences can help us all. This is especially important when it comes to Delta partners and non-partner booked tickets (let alone with Skyteam ones). This week Mary, a fellow Delta flyer from Michigan, relates what happened to her on a recent trip and thanks to a good paper trail she got what was promised by Delta!

Hello Rene & Delta Points readers. I wanted to share some good news re: Delta. Back in the spring I made reservations through the Gold Medallion Line for my husband and I to travel round trip to India for a meeting. We were routed through Dubai, ( 15 hr flight from Atlanta) but we were told we must take Emirates from Dubai to India and that Delta could put the Emirates flights on the same Delta ticket. ( I – of course – did not expect to get any miles on the Dubai – India portion, as Emirates is not in the Delta Alliance. )

We had a two night stopover in Dubai – which was interesting – and when checking in for our Emirates flight found that we were going to be charged for checked baggage a whopping $171.00 per bag ( together we had two bags). I was completely nonplussed, as I had checked the Emirates site and saw they had a completely generous baggage allowance. We calmly waited while the Emirates folks looked hard at their policies – and continued to come up with the same conclusion, though one could see they were not happy about it. So – we were just thankful we had our Delta AmEx and were able to charge these exorbitant charges. ( Afterwards, I was just mad at myself for being so naive as to not closely question the Gold Medallion folks about this policy, but who would have thought this would happen?)

Before we left India, we were able to speak with a woman running an excellent Indian foodie tour group, who had traveled a great deal internationally on Emirates, and she reconfirmed my research that Emirates had the generous checked luggage policy about which I had read. Returning from India to Dubai on Emirates, we decided to live in expectation that our Dubai experience would not be repeated – and it was not!!!!!! So our little adventure “only” cost us $342.00 instead of what could have been $684.00.

Needless to say, on our return, I first called the Gold Medallion Desk and told them my story, in the hope that nobody else would have to go through this – or, at the least, folks would be warned of the checked baggage charges. I asked to speak with a supervisor, and she was very concerned and connected me to the complaints department. I told them every little detail of our experience and then faxed them the appropriate paper trail copies.

First, I got $64.50 back, a refund I did not understand, but apparently had something to do with a refund of our Economy Comfort extra international charges. This did not make sense, so I kept on contacting a Delta rep, with whom I had a considerable email correspondence. In the end she sent our materials to the refund desk ( I think that was the name) and today she sent me an email, stating that the $275 plus would be sent by check from Delta. I should tell you that I identified myself as a reader of your blog, complimented Delta on their great staff, and stated my hope that they would do the right thing here. And I do believe all of that, having flown with Delta out of Duluth for the past however many years, and before that with Northwest ( which treated their employees badly – a painful situation to watch in this town where NWA was a fairly big employer).

So – thank you – for all your good advice on so many subjects, Rene……( I have dutifully written my complaint email about changes to the FF program in 2015 and have already received an answer!) I have no question that your rallying us Delta troops, so to speak, will make Delta folks think more about any more changes they might be considering. And thank you for your good advice about how to complain verbally to Delta, which you posted.

Thank you so much for sharing this Mary and well done for sticking to your “guns” and getting what was promised to you. We can all learn and follow your good advice, not just with Delta, but with all things travel that keeping notes and a good “paper” trail can aid us when things go wrong as they often do. I am, thanks to reader input, fighting to get what is owed me! – René

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Bumps in the roAAd linking my AA & US Air accounts – some tips before you link!

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aa 1

Most of my fellow bloggers had a post up this week about linking their AA & US Air accounts. I had no issues at all linking my accouts.

aa 2

I just entered my US Air number and in moments was all set and good to go. Then I went and checked my email that was flashing at me.

aa 3

aa 4

I had in rapid succession got confirmation emails from both AA & US Air that it was completed and done. Sweet. Then I went to do my wife’s accounts.

aa 5

Ruh-Roh. Not good. I went to see what was wrong. I had an old address in Lisa’s US Air account.

aa 6

I updated that info and tested again, this time at the US Air side since I was there already.

aa 7

RATS! I went back AGAIN and checked all the info on both sites. All seemed the same. I also waited 24 hrs to see if an update was needed. No joy. So then yesterday Lisa called AA to see what was up. Bad idea.

over 1 hr on hold aa

After an HOUR on hold on the standard line (they have no call back like Delta does), we went the back door route. You can call the AA platinum line, and if you DO NOT put in your AA number (and do not have your phone auto linked to be recognized), you can get in MUCH faster (800-843-3000). Someone answered the phone in about 3 minutes!

lisa aa approved

The AA rep said the issue was that the AA & US Air sites do not like the GENDER and DOB or Date of Birth fields between the two systems. Really? The rep said if we had removed those at US Air it would have worked but instead she added them manually at AA and then we tested and as you can see above the results were successful. So please, before you attempt to link, check all the info is the same.

Is it a good idea to get this done ASAP? I would. While there is no rush on this, if you have a trip coming up you want to plan for, having this in place will speed up your choice to, at some point soon, send points in either direction as you need. – René
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PS – Check back later today for SWAG Saturday!

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How I will be thanking Delta FAs in 2015 for all they do!

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printed copy of FA thank you card

This is nothing new to the blog but considering just how many new readers keep coming in each day it is fun to share this and I hope they “pay it forward” and copy what I do. You can download the above “card” from THIS PDF link and print it from any printer. Then fold it in half and then in half again and it will look like what you see above.

starbucks 4 pack

Now what I also do, that you can do if you want, is buy $10 Starbucks cards in bulk. You can buy them with your Delta AMEX card to meet spend or use say your Chase INK cards to get 5x buying them at office supply stores. I then put one of the gift cards inside each of the cards. Simple and a nice thank you to the hard working FAs. You can also, if you are at a office supply store, get envelopes that fit the card you have just made.

flashlight

The other thing I will be handing out is a tiny flash light to each FA. Why? All you have to do is work a night flight and you will see the need. Having one of these to light up a small area and not disturb others is nice. So, each one that takes care of me gets one.

can openers

Another thing I may get, and you could maybe get too, are can openers. What – why? Do you have ANY idea just how many cans an FA opens each day they fly. How hard this is on their hands? So, if you find a bulk lot of these at a cheap price (with or without a logo), why not pick them up and hand them out on each flight. I bet you get a smile and a thank you!

Other things that are handy to think about? Pens! Especially on international flights. They never have enough pens. This will be appreciated along with chocolate and anything else that you can think of to say – THANK YOU – to the Delta people who work so hard. – René
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Delta NEWS, bits & things you should know around the interweb!

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help 1

Readers have spoken and voted. I will be trying a 3rd party site called AirHelp. They do feel I have a valid claim against Delta and it will take 2 weeks to 3 month to see what happens. I will clearly keep you all up to date and tell you all I have learned along the way.

Weather in AMSTERDAM tomorrow. There are HIGH winds predicted for the 9th & 10 and you can get FREE Delta changes if you would like. Maybe this would be a good time to route via FCO and try Alitalia’s Magnifica product?

Speaking of other Skyteam airlines Point Me To the Plane a.k.a. ADAM Delta Points recommended award booking partner, is telling us there is AMAZING space for Delta award travel on partners. It could be a bug or, hold your breath, Delta may be fixing things? (nahh bet its a bug).

MJ is contemplating his Choice Benefits. I like how he thinks. Also I like that you still have one more day to enter to WIN stuff by reading my post on his blog and commenting about my RCI cruise last year.

Summer has a good post about a SUB-5CPM Delta Mileage Run to Hawaii. Stay a few hours or a day or more at a killer price. Not quite low enough for me to post on DeltaMileageRun.com as 4CPM is the max for coach this year but then again we are talking HAWAII! :-)

Gary is thinking of switching to Delta – I am totally kidding. He shows how Delta has loaded in BE or DELTA ONE award seats into the award chart and it looks like they raised prices (they did not). However, keep in mind the service is NOTHING SPECIAL it is just a full flat seat. Maybe worth it on the return flight but NOT for the day time flight to me. He also points out how Delta.com award booking is still broken. I am in SHOCK (well not really)! – René
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UPDATE: My Delta / KLM EU (EC) 261/2004 request is denied – again!

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broken cityhopper klm jet klm gothenburg sweden delta points blog

 

I promised an update to my attempt to get compensation from Delta for my almost three hour departure delay and more than five hour arrival delay under the EU (EC) 261/2004 regulation. Let me first bring you up to speed on what happened. I was planning on keeping much of this for a multi-part post about the trip, but for now I will break this part out on it’s own.

I had booked flights from Los Angeles (LAX) to Gothenburg (GOT) on Delta. All were Delta flights other than the little hop from Amsterdam (AMS) to GOT and the same on the return. On the return, the KLM regional jet “went mechanical.” It was delayed again and again and at or just before the three-hour-delay mark, it was at last fixed and we departed.

The result of this LONG delay however was that I missed my connecting Delta flight and had to find other flights to get home. Here is where it gets really “fun”. I had booked the ticket in coach, and then used my shiny new Global Upgrade certificates to get confirmed business class seats both ways (other than the little KLM hops). Now that I had missed my flight – due to KLM – I was no longer on business class flights home! After much bribing with chocolate and hard work by the lounge folks in AMS, they got me on the most direct flights they could that day and in business the whole way.

So I arrived MUCH more than five hours later than originally booked. By my watch, I was delayed more than three hours on the departure but Delta is sticking with the fact I was “only” delayed 2 hrs, 50 min departing. Either way, they agree I was more than five hours delayed on the arrival into LAX. However, they are saying that’s not their issue. Using my fellow BA blogger Chris Elliotts published Delta contacts, the corporate offices, in again denying my request for compensation under the regulation, said to me:

“I understand you’ve requested a review of your claim for compensation under the guidelines of European Union regulation which defines an airline’s requirements when flight irregularities occur. I’ve read through your original emails and our responses to be sure my colleague’s consideration was complete. It is correct that the arrival time of your final destination is a factor in determining if EU cash is legally due by law. But it’s important to point out that this mandate is also based on the delay of the operating carrier from Europe. Since the delay on KLM was less than 3 hours and you were connecting to a mainline Delta-operated flight into the U.S., cash compensation is not due under the European Union regulation.” – Customer Solutions Specialist, Corporate Customer Care Delta Air Lines

Now this really troubles me on so many levels. ALL the flights were Delta CODE-share flights and it was a Delta ticketed flight so my ONLY source for compensation is Delta, not KLM or the KLM regional carrier who operated the first flight that resulted in the delay. Next, I am baffled by the fact that Delta is saying, as I understand the wording above, that since my Delta flight was not late there is no basis for a claim under the regulation.

Please also keep in mind, under my first request, Delta did give both Lisa and me 20,000 Skymiles each that I do appreciate and value. But this does not change, in my opinion, the fact that under the regulation I should still get further compensation for the mechanical delay.

Lastly, as a word of warning when using Delta Global Upgrade certificates, be ready for a REAL battle if you miss your confirmed flight — even when it is the airline’s fault that you missed that flight.

What do you think readers. What should I do next. According to this Wikipedia post I can attempt to have third-party sites help me get compensation when airlines refuse to honor the regulation. Should I reach out to one of these and push this to the next level or let it go? I will leave it up to you to tell me what I should do next! – René

What should I do next regarding my Delta EU (EC) 261/2004

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A quick update on PWM or Pay With Miles on Delta.com (from Delta CORP).

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new pay with miles rules 1jan15

We had great news back on December 24th when we first learned that as of 1JAN15 not just 1st class PWM or Pay With Miles tickets, a perk of the Delta AMEX cards but ALL PWM tickets would earn points for purchase.

I even followed up with a post about how this really does shake up your choice to pay with cash or pay with points to earn valuable MQMs when the price for the ticket is close to the same amount (or less) than the award price.

However, I have been getting a FLOOD of emails and tweets asking me please to confirm this. Why? Well as you can see from the shot in the opening, the wording on Delta.com is VERY CLEAR and unambiguous. We earn points.

paying for a flight

And when you book a ticket, and pay for it with MONEY you can clearly see how many points and such you are going to earn.

pay with miles

However, as you can see when you choose PWM it drops those numbers down to ZEROS and DASHES.

Thus the confusion and so many requests from readers. Delta has assured me we WILL earn miles as stated on Delta.com and the change is in place and the issue with the web site not showing the right numbers is being looked at. So, stay tuned for the fix to happen some time sooner or later (we are talking Delta IT here folks).

Just as an FYI and to put your mind at ease (well sorta anyway), we KNOW and have tested that 1st class PWM tickets have for some time now yielded points. But even today, when you pick PWM with a 1st class ticket on Delta.com – THEY TOO SHOW ZERO for earning – but do pay out after flight.

For now, if you have an issue and don’t get the correct credits, you will have to email Delta to manually post the points for you. – René
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Oh, sure – Rub it in SW Air! Grrrr 2×2 HOOU “lightning” giveaway today!

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sw air hoous

I am no fan of Southwest Air. Now I get they are a fine “coach” airline. They offer free bags and mostly are sorta on time-ish. But this just takes the cake and I am MAD! ;-)

They must KNOW I am already fuming about HOOU-gate and counting the days to test out the AMAZING C+ product on Delta. So to rub it in they sent me 4 SW Air HOOUs. Humf!

Maybe they don’t know I am giving away 5 Delta HOOUs to the one reader who picks the right date for rollover MQMs to happen. I can not give those away until MQMs start to show up. But what I can do today is give away these HOOUs!

So, just leave ONE comment on this blog post and later tonight I will use Random.org to pick TWO winners who will each get a Delta Points luggage tag and a set of 2 SW Air HOOUs! (Maybe you can try to use them on Delta and with puppy dog eyes say it was all you have till 1MARCH)? – René
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Europe AMAZING fare sale = ALL Delta coach seats LEVEL 1 awards when PWM or Pay With Miles!

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pay with miles delta

What a crazy day this has been. If you have not been following the DeltaMileageRun blog today you have missed out BIG TIME!. I booked an amazing mileage run out of DFW this morning and then a bunch of readers have been taking advantage of the many city deals to just about all points in Europe “attack fare” deals.

Now thanks to Skymiles2015 and PWM or Pay With Miles when you have a Delta AMEX card (I know I cannot believe I am say this – but game on), and being able, according to Delta.com, to earn points when redeeming Skymiles even in coach on Delta metal, there are HUGE chances to earn MQMs.

Plus, if you think about it, by spending $400-600-ish per ticket with miles you are basically redeeming your points at low level 1 or better for each round trip (ie. 40,000-60,000 RT)! Oh and you are earning some Skymiles and many MQMs that you would not earn as a straight up award ticket! #Winning!

Some bits to keep in mind. The Skymiles you will earn on many of these runs will be almost nothing but as long as you book on Delta.com on Delta metal you are good to go for a HUGE haul of elite MQM points (and maybe a nice vacation too).

We are only 5 days in to 2015 and it sure is shaping up to be an interesting flying year! Have you booked any flights today? – René
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Delta now selling #BearBags on EBAY! What? It’s OK, they are doing it for the right reasons!

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When this video 1st came out it was so over the top I could not help but laugh and I think on some level it is meant to be that way. After all, I know how Delta treats my checked bags and they would not look like this bear bag when it came out on the belt.

delta selling bearbags on ebay 2015

But the other day I was checking Delta on Facebook and saw what just made me stop as say WHAAAAAT? Delta is now going to sell BearBags on EBAY (is there no end to where they will sell stuff)? I need not have worried.

DLTSOC-I14755_BearBag_Ebay-Page_00_1

They are, as you can see, giving the proceeds to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. WELL DONE DELTA and a brilliant move. Sell a million of them please.

Now the only sad part is how many of these have popped up for resale for hundreds of dollars more than what Delta sold them for (about the cost of a checked bag fee or two on Delta). Then again, maybe those other bags can be looked at as “higher fare class” bears bags than the BASIC bear class bags that Delta sold? ;-) – René

 

PS – Don’t forget to enter SWAG Saturday this week!.

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A change of direction for the blog & what will Delta do next?

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pain

I give up – well sorta. I mean, I really wish I could be more positive about Skymiles2015 and Delta, but I know better. Delta is not Alaska or American Airlines who is adding features and rewarding their loyal customers. No, Delta is rewarding Delta and cutting everywhere they can. They have hoodwinked and bamboozled over spenders into thinking they are being rewarded while “behind their backs” removing perks so when they go to spend their “bonus” points they are worth-“less”. Plus, as I have blogged about before, Delta has steadily been withdrawing involvement with the social media and blog world. They don’t care about frequent flyers anymore – no matter who you are. I even shared with some Delta CORP folks that the end of stopovers and open jaw awards was an absolute game changer for me – for the rest of you – take your pick what was your game changer with Delta!

So a change of direction is needed for me and the blog; really what is needed is a move back to the “roots” of the blog where I started so many years ago now. What Delta Points was from the get-go was a travel “hacking”, or better wording, a Delta enthusiast blog. Not one that is rah-rah Delta CORP but rah-rah what we can get from Delta if we know how to game it. Now I am not trying to alienate DELTA360 and huge dollar spenders with Delta readers of the blog, but you know what, we all know Delta will cave to anything you ask nicely for so you really don’t need my help all that much! ;-)

Just what is Delta going to inflict on us all next – that is what we need to start thinking about and planning on how to deal with when it arrives. Clearly, expect the worst! Here is what I see happening NOW and will be on deck next.

  • End of segment by segment booking. The (E7) Essentials posts have been lifesavers and educated so many for years on how to find low level awards when Delta.dumb would not show them. In my searches yesterday there were routes I could find low level awards leg by leg but Delta.dumb would not show them as choices, instead showing much higher totals and route choices. When I attempted to do them leg by leg they error-ed out as “sold out”. Several readers are saying Delta reps have been directly told NOT to book leg by leg and only allow what their system shows. Not good news. While not ILLEGAL for Delta to sell us over priced routes, when lower ones clearly exist, it is slimy and nasty by Delta to make this change. Welcome to #Skymiles2015 – who says a dollar does not go as far as it once did? (oh yeah, Delta marketing says that – rrrriiiiggggghhhhttt)!
  • More restriction for awards. Shockingly we have the chance to Pay With Miles (PWM) at any award and earn – in many ways, since MQMs have not changed, Delta is ENCOURAGING DeltaMileageRunning with points to earn MQMs. But this is the only change and maybe a result of the new multi-year contract with AMEX. Either way, look at BASIC fares that have so many restrictions. I expect over time more restrictions on awards. We have, after all, seen the return of the 72 hr no changes allowed to not just the outbound but the return as well (other than right away, when the 72 hr came out, return was wide open to change all you wanted – not anymore).
  • Delta marketing/sales vs Delta employees. When I asked some FA s about policing C+ overhead space as space ONLY for C+ flyers they just about lost it. Not gonna happen. Their priority is NOT making sure those who have often PAID for this upgraded “seat” get what they were PROMISED when they purchased it on Delta.dumb. No, what we will see is so many of the Delta employees jobs will be directly at odds with what the paying customer is expecting. This is going to just get NASTY I tell you and there will be, mark my words, times when folks get tossed off a jet due to not getting what they paid for and tempers flair up. Nothing like making the already tense world of flying in a tiny metal tube even more so and putting FAs in the middle of it all with sales spin (they are after all there to sell you, err, for your safely I mean). See the problem?
  • More prices going up (including Amex spend). Sometime after 1MARCH the 2017 Skymiles program will be introduced (we are currently earning now for the 2016 Skymiles year) with all it’s glorious changes. I do not see changes to MQMs or rollover as some have suggested or the silly notion that the Delta AMEX card(s) MQD spend waiver will go away. However, I fully expect it to go UP from the current $25,000 to something like $30,000. Also expect price jumps for onboard purchases and forcing flyers to PAY if they must gate check their bags (now free and loudly announced at every flight). Keep in mind Delta must keep thrilling shareholders and that means cutting your perks more so you can pay more.

I could go on but I think this is enough to make my point. By all means I will praise our “beloved airline” when they do good things and shame them when they do bad. I am sick of all the #KeepDescending events and I have come to accept they are going to trash the frequent flyer program into oblivion. Until something massive changes and they see a measurable impact on earnings – nothing we say or do will stop them – they don’t care. Thus I/we need to go full “game-on” to eke out the best perks we can and I will be focusing on just how we can do this with the new program in place. #Winning.

What this means is finding the best space, even if on partners, to score level 1 & 2 seats for us. If we have to call and game the phone reps, we will do that and I will show the way. It will mean mileage runs sub 4 CPM to keep our status. It means working to get MAX bump vouchers and tricks to get reps to combine more than one for a trip (yes you can get them to do this). How to use AMEX for elite perks – since Delta is thinning the elite herd for us, we can game the best perks! Really not all that much new, but tweaks to get the best for US each and every time we interact with the mothership from this point forward. If there are better choices, we can go there rather than Delta (I know I will), in both where to credit our trips or spend our money. This will be my 2015 focus for the blog. – René

PS – On a side note, my 2015 Ski trip award price, dropped to 25k today from 30k each! #TheReasonToBeDiamond (or Platinum) as I switched for free. #Winning!

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Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. 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 American Express.

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Delta WEATHER ALERT! – Midwest and Northeast Weather – FREE changes!

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weather alert

I love our local SBN weather guy. He gets so “giddy” when he sees the weather is going to get NASTY interesting. Tomorrow and into Sunday, that is just what is going to happen around here in South Bend. Ice, wind, snow and yuck – oh joy – winter is at last upon us like Skymiles2015! So, if you are flying, Delta has offered to let you NOT fly this weekend and get stuck in an airport (or worse). Check out the STATES (not just airports) that you can change for FREE if you are in/out or through this weekend January 3&4!

  • Connecticut
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Vermont
  • Wisconsin

Now as a constant reminder, look at ALL the legal routes by searching for tickets from A-B. You may want to add some stops and earn some more MQMs (Skymiles earned will NOT change this year). When you find the PERFECT flights, call Delta and have them change you FREE to those. Travel safe everyone! – René
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