Major missing Skybonus points – Check your accounts (& mistake emails too)!

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skybonus error 1

Many of you may, or may not, have got this email notice that Skybonus points have not posted your points going all the way back, get this, to:

November 1, 2014

I can tell you from my first hand experience that my MQD spend and points for 2014 were almost $10,000 and yet my Skybonus posted spend was just over $5,000.

skybonus error 2

They direct you to go back and submit all your tickets (as well as any employees) going back to November 1st. That will be a ton of work for those who have maybe dozens of tickets that did not post as well as employees who you may not have as simple access to their ticket history as your own at “My Delta”.

The other issue that I am not sure how Delta is going to address is this: I am sure there were a number of folks who were kicked out of Skybonus the 1st of this year that maybe should NOT have been, due to this error! They may have had points wiped out that should NOT have been wiped out.

I am rather “over” Skybonus due to the crushing changes coming 1 January 2016 and this will put an end to Skybonus for so many small business people. I think it is shameful that Delta has devalued the program so much this year (in addition to the other SkyRuble changes as well).

Lastly we have another issue. Notice the top photo? I have no one working for me named Russ. Several other readers have also got emails to the wrong people. Oooppesss! I have reached out to Delta about this and they are aware of the issue and are working on it. If I get more info I will update this post or pop up another one.

I would do this if I were you – if you were affected by this bug (simple to find out by putting in a bunch of old ticket numbers) I would be asking for some bonus Skybonus points for the extra work (I know I will be). If you were kicked out of the program – have them reactive your account, put back any points you had, and let you put in all the missing tickets! – René
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Delta Redcoat would not let me give up my seat! What is more important? Time or travelers?

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red_coat_at_jfk_4681

Stock photo from Delta Air Lines

Let me set the stage for you so you can see the turn of events. Last week on my PWM test, the last flight home from Detroit to South Bend was oversold all day long by one. That was convenient since I am only one. I got to the gate very early. So early that they were just pushing the previous flight. I waited for the very friendly gate agent (GA) to finish and happily offered up my seat should they need me saying I know the drill and am happy to board last to see if they need me.

Jumping forward in time we are nearing departure and are delayed a little, but this is a short flight and Delta does pad the times a bit for the DTW – SBN flights so we would likely make up some of this time.

I hovered around the gate area and jokingly asked both the GA and Redcoat if they wanted to bump me early, put me in the Westin (right there at the airport) to save them some time. They smiled but said no as if they did that, and the flight went out with an empty seat, they would be in big trouble. I said I know and was just kidding.

The only one that was not smiling at all this was this lady, whose name I did not get, who was also by the counter and was clearly distraught. As it turned out, this woman was a standby. More on this in a bit.

The GA announces boarding and tells me to get on the plane because they are not going to need me. I said, “Really?” followed by, “fine I will board, but please you come get me if you need me.”

I was the only one who boarded when they called for Diamonds to board the jet.

When the plane was full, I noticed the distraught passenger had not boarded. I asked the GA when she came on, about to send the flight off, what happened. She said the woman was standby and was trying to get to see a sick and dying relative. As it turns out I misunderstood and it was the other way round and she was going HOME from this sad situation.

But I did not hesitate. I stood up and went to grab my stuff to get off the jet.

The GA said, “You will not get any compensation.”

I said, “Fine! Let’s put this person on this flight.”

I walked to the end of the jet bridge and stopped at the now closed door into the airport.

I was told later that while I was waiting the GA announced to the passengers onboard just what was going on and why I got off the jet. Apparently applause broke out.

The GA then comes up the jetway and opens the door. The GA yells over to the Redcoat, who was comforting the standby passenger trying to get on (who was apparently crying at this point) and says:

“Mr. de Lambert is willing to get off for NO compensation. Let’s put her onboard.”

The Redcoat, said, “NO. I have already closed the flight. You can get on, or not, but I have closed the flight.”

I could not believe what I was hearing. Really?

I again repeated, “I don’t want anything just get her on this flight.” Redcoat again repeated NO.

I angrily said, as I walked through the door at the gate, “THIS IS JUST WRONG!”

I boarded, took my seat, the boarding door was closed and we pushed back and were on our way to SBN.

Looking back on this, to me this was one of those situations where a Delta Redcoat could have lived up to their reputation of going above and beyond. To “Keep Climbing” rather than Keep Descending.

I reached out to Delta about this event and was told that the distraught flyer was accommodated and taken care of by Delta. They even spoke with the GA, Redcoat and flyer involved and looked at this as a learning experience, but feel that it was handled correctly.

While I completely understand the need to get a delayed flight out ASAP (we were already almost half an hour late), I think stepping up and helping someone like this passenger outweighs a slightly longer delay. My fellow passengers seemed to agree. Plus, SBN was where everyone was going so no one was going to miss-connect for a 5-10 minute longer delay.

I am still upset over this one but you tell me. What would you have done? Did everyone involved make the right call? – René

Did the Delta Redcoat make the right call?

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No Delta flight attendants union with IAM this year!

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from the iamdelta page

Ooooppseeee! It seems the IAM did not have the 60% of all Delta flight attendants votes they said they did. As you can see from their web page they NOW say:

“Unfortunately, we have recently discovered that a number of the cards submitted to us contain insufficient information or questionable signatures.”

Should that not have been checked ahead of time? I would think so. The Delta anti-union website has also been updated:

delta bedeltabedifferent-com page

I really like the part of the closing remarks from Allison Ausband from Delta who says:

“regardless of your position on IAM representation, please be respectful of each other and stay focused on our customers”

The IAM can try again but not until next year according to the rules. It will be interesting to see if they do.

I have always been most pleased with Delta people and was also pleased with Northwest folks who were in a union. What do you think about this turn of events? – René
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Have you noticed some nice upgrades to the domestic Delta red wines?

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Delta domestic 1st  Robert Mondavi Pinot Noir Carneros Napa Valley delta points blog

While I often tweet and brag about enjoying a Woodford Reserve now and then, my favorite choice with a meal is a simple glass of red wine. Internationally with Delta you have a bunch of good choices and the airline does a very good job of providing choices to please most folks. It is, after all, hard to “really” enjoy wine at 32,000 feet in a pressurized metal tube.

Domestically, for most of last year, I  really  disliked the Red Zinfandel they served. I cannot for the life of me remember the brand, but it was just not very pleasant (feel free to comment if you know the label).

Now it seems Delta is mixing it up a bit on just what is catered in domestic first class and that is really good news. For example, on my flights the past week they had the one you see above a 2008 Robert Mondavi Winery Pinot Noir, Carneros. I really enjoyed it and it has good reviews from others as well (well at least the 2010).

To be fair and in full disclosure a Pinot Noir is just about my favorite anyway followed by a Malbec close second so I may be a bit jaded in my review. However, on my flights back from Florida last month they also had different choices onboard (yep, two choices – I was shocked)!

I hope this is not a fluke and we will keep seeing more choices rather than just one stock red wine on most flights. Have you noticed a difference? – René
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Delta Pay With Miles (PWM) in coach. Results are as expected – FULL MQMs and…

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my coach trip to mci on pay with miles

Deep down I was hoping for another result. Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond happy to get something compared to nothing and this kind of “enhancement” really is just that, a perk we did not have before. So I do give credit here for this improvement for 2015.

However, we know from my 1st class test that spending your SkyMiles to fly will earn you points across the board just like “cash”. MQMs, MQDs, RDMs and so on – you earn them all. To me, it should be exactly the same for coach and 1st class tickets, but at least they have not “enhanced” away across the boarding earnings 1st class.

pwm coach ticket

So what about coach Pay With Miles from my Delta AMEX card. Just like my 1st class experiment I paid for almost all of the ticket with points resulting in a “negative” ticket price. The total price was $207.60 so I burned up 20,000 and $7.60 sent over to my AMEX card for a few extra bonus points at least. Now my results from flying have posted and:

pay with miles in coach delta

I received the quoted MQMs and MQSs for each segment but nothing more. For both examples I have earned NO Skybonus points but the 1st class ticket has yet to even show up in Skybonus and the coach one has not finished processing. My guess is neither will be eligible for Skybonus, but I would not be shocked to find one or both do end up earning me Skybonus points.

earned skybonus for pay with miles in coach

UPDATE: As you can see from above, I did in fact earn FULL Skybonus points for this coach PWM ticket. More great news!

crossover rewards for pay with miles ticket in 1st class

I can confirm my 1st class PWM did earn me full Crossover Rewards for the base part of the ticket. Since it takes a while for Crossover Rewards to post, I don’t know if the coach PWM will also yield points but I am not expecting any (please comment on the blog if you have confirmed results in this regard).

Bottom line is PWM can be a good option to consider if:

1) The price for a 1st class ticket is about the same as the business class award
2) You need to earn MQMs or MQDs and are booking business class
3) The coach ticket is about the same as a coach award to earn MQMs
4) You qualify on segments and need a few more
5) You don’t mind locking in the ticket purchase

The last one really can be a deal breaker. For Diamonds and Platinums the flexibility to change a ticket can be worth more than any points you earn so do keep that important fact in mind before you buy your ticket.

Lastly, as a total side point but one I just could not fail to see, is the sickening amount of tax I paid for this coach class ticket. Out of the $207.60 price a full $51.32 of it was tax and fees. Just ridiculous. Then again, when you look at the price for a gallon of gas the tax is equally sickening. I think I should let this go now! – René
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Where is DAL stock heading next. Is the crushing SkyMiles 2015 having an impact?

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dal stock chart

First, let me disclose this upfront. I do not own any DAL stock in my trading account, my wife’s trading accounts or either of our IRA’s. I have no plans to buy DAL stock this year (or any other year for that matter).

Having said that, these are interesting times. I have personally thought that the crippling changes to the SkyMiles program would at some point have an impact on DAL stock price as some would say enough is enough and jump ship to other airlines. I know for a fact many have. Yet this is clearly not the ONLY factor at play, but I do think it is a part. What else?

  • The price of oil (clearly) and fuel hedging by Delta
  • The competition from other airlines
  • The strong dollar value vs others’ currency
  • The economy

The good thing for Delta is the jets are still really full and they are completing flights (just about at all costs). But where does the stock price go from here?

Now I know just enough about stocks to be a hazard to all of those around me so please do not make any investment choices from my input and random musing in my head. Are we clear? Good.

So looking at the chart for the past year we do see some up trends and down trends and some support levels around $30-ish. Despite so many analysts putting a $60 price target on Delta, going that high without testing lower levels was pretty unrealistic. Now DAL has a downward trend to break out from and many analysts are lowering their price targets .

Will oil go to $20-30 a barrel as some have suggested due to storage capacity issues in the USA and beyond or will there be another crisis that drives prices back to the $50-60 range that has a negative impact. Will there be more downward pressure on European ticket prices that have for so long been a cash cow for Delta? Will the sluggish economy stagnate or turn and force Delta to either park jets to keep flying full or end up with lighter load levels.

What about if the Delta flight attendants do decide to unionize, not to mention Delta already unionized pilots are currently negotiating higher contracts. Think of the impact it could have if they went on strike.

Lastly will Delta wake up and see that a loyalty program that rewards those who are loyal rather than punishing them may just be a way to get more people to fly Delta when they really need them to? Gosh, I would think this would be a good idea.

Anyway, I just really think it is interesting to watch the DAL stock price jump around. I know many readers who have done very well who got in to DAL under $20. Good for you. You are braver than I to still hold the stock at ANY price! – René

I think DAL share price ($42.25 currently) on 1JAN2016 will be:

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The frustration of: Do I or don’t I blog it! Where should I draw the line?

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split road

This post is almost as hard to write as it is to act on. I mean, I have some things that are simple in my blogging life. Take for example a deal or something someone shares with me in private and asks me not to blog about it. No problem, I am on board with that. That is unless someone else posts about it because then it is already out in public and the person who told me is no longer the source.

Some readers were actually upset at me for posting about when Delta was overcharging Medallions for award tickets compared to others. They said now everyone is paying MORE since the “bug” was working in the favor of non-medallions. Yes, that is true, but it makes my head hurt to think that I could just stand by while Delta overcharged medallions (many who are my readers) for awards. No, sorry, I did not and would not keep such a story private.

But what about stuff like this post that was sent to me by travelzork.com. I already knew about this bug. I had not posted about it, that is that Delta, over the phone, was charging less “taxes/fees” if you called vs booking online from Europe. I am sure now that this is out in public Delta will fix it so that both online and phone bookings cost the same ridiculous amounts compared to the same flights starting in the USA.

And there is my quandary. I have lots of little Delta bits in my head, some I have found, others told to me in confidence that work out very well for us. I share some of them at events like the Chicago Seminars each year, but ask folks please not to post them as some of them will die if they get internet attention from our Delta mothership.

I have had some folks suggest I just fix this by blogging about things like this in “code” or in a way that travel enthusiasts will understand, but not so much that it blows the deal or the whatever. But then, since not all readers are at the same level of travel understanding, I will be asked for a clear breakdown of what I am talking about (preferably with photos explaining it clearly). I think you see my point. I can not tell that reader go away and come back when you “grow up”. So, to me, code is not an option.

I know I am not the first, or the last for that matter, blogger to have to find a balance with this topic. What do you think. Is there a better solution to matters like these? You tell me! – René
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Did you see my guest post on Elliott.org on: “Should airlines require GPS tracking of unaccompanied minors?”

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Yesterday I had the privilege of posting on my friend and fellow BA bloggers site Elliott.org about the new GPS tracking Delta has started to offer to folks. Here it is in case you missed it!

dog in car photo

Delta Air Lines yesterday started letting you track your pet using GPS. It’s no April Fool’s joke. You can tag Fido’s of Fluffy’s pet carrier now if you are willing to ship ‘em on a cargo jet.

In fact, an airline representative told me that, for a $50 fee, Delta cargo will GPS tag anything you want to ship, not just a pet.

But the real joke would be if Delta stopped there.

Tracking pets really is a terrific idea. Americans love their animal companions. They take them everywhere. I mean everywhere.

Yet each year beloved pets are either lost, run away or for some reason die in the belly of jets. Last year, airlines lost a total of 42 pets, according to the Department of Transportation. Of those, 21 were reported killed, 15 injured and 6 simply misplaced.

If your pet is small enough, and you don’t mind paying yet another airline fee, you can take them as carry-on luggage to keep them safe. Or, with Delta, if your larger pet is famous enough — yes, this really is a rule — then you can buy a ticket and a seat for them onboard.

But has Delta gone far enough? Since you’re paying yet one more in a never-ending list of fees, why not have the option to GPS-tag a pet on the same flight as you are on? Sadly, I was told Delta has no current plans to offer the GPS tracking service on passenger jets.

We could take this even one step further. Airlines, including Delta, have had issues with unaccompanied minors getting “lost” along the way . I can tell you if I were sending a precious child on an airline unaccompanied I would love to be able to GPS track where he or she was along the journey, even for a fee.

If an airline can spend a small fortune to “enhance” their travel “app” to offer up-sells for seats, wi-fi, meals and more, then why not spend a few dollars on something that could make such a difference to so many? Peace of mind is something I value highly.

For example, I have installed on both my wife’s and my phone a simple app that can tell me where my phone is at any time in real time. I can even command it remotely to take a photo with either the front or rear facing camera. Not only does this give me peace of mind if the phone is stolen, but if something goes wrong I can find my wife in an emergency.

As fast as technology is advancing, maybe a GPS tag should not just be a cargo option, but required for the things we hold most dear in our lives. – René
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There are days I just LOVE being a blogger & can’t stop smiling (& even cry some times)

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email photo

Gosh, I love reader e-mail and comments on the blog. It does take a bunch of time and effort to publish the blog and sometimes I wonder if some posts are really worth while. For example, some of the “angries” on FlyerTalk have been their usual snarky selves about my posting weather updates from Delta. But then I get emails like these (some personal info has been removed btw):

Hi Rene – I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for posting the fee free changes because of the late spring storm this weekend. If not for this warning – I would have missed my flight to SLC and 3.5 drive for my father in law’s funeral. Two other east coasters missed the funeral — the next day would have been too late. Thanks to you and I will always cherish being with family at this time. Many, many thanks!

or

Hej Rene – Just wanted to say thank you! Checking the blog this afternoon my time in Scandinavia I saw the weather changes post in AMS and was able to change my ticket from and add an extra day to my ski trip home in the west at no cost. Also my system wide upgrade stayed in tact so in business elite still. I had wanted to rebook and add this day, but didn’t want to pay for the change. Now thanks to you and the wind I was able to! Thanks for the great blog and timely updates from points to weather changes!

Those two sure touched my heart and made my day. So weather updates are worth the time to post about. Got it! :-)

The next one is about mileage runs. I am really trying to find time to post as many DeltaMileageRuns as I can but with the new tighter requirements I have self imposed for a good deal it really is harder to find runs to post. But then I get comments and emails like:

Rene, Just finished booking. Freaking awesome. I used one of my $200 Diamond vouchers so round trip at $109! You ROCK man!

or

Thanks Rene! I’m on a mistake fare JFK-AMS-DOH that I got for $306. On my way back, instead of flying from Doha to AMS at 11:59pm (barely April 1), they let me change to DOH-DXB-ATL-MIA-JFK so my $306 fare will net me over 16,000 mqm. The KLM flight was delayed for almost 5 hours into Doha so they gave us all $25 voucher and I got another 15,000 skymiles out of it as well. Not bad for a mistake fare!

Good stuff! I was to be on a mileage-ish run test today with PWM that is Pay With Miles from my Delta AMEX card but my first flight was oversold and I took an $800 bump and will try again tomorrow. Yes, #Winning ;-)

Lastly I get loads of fun emails that go something like this one:

Hey Rene! Just wanted to say that I’m starting to get into the world of frequent flying and have made Delta my airline of choice. Your blog has helped me immensely, keep up the awesome work!

I will keep up the hard work cuz someone has to do it. That is, someone has to fly Delta and do their best to get them to fix the frequent flyer program. The rest, i.e. flights, product, people and food is just outstanding already. I am really looking forward to a full month of Delta flying coming up and I hope to bump into you along the way! – René
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A video of the Germanwings final moments inside the cabin? No thanks! Enough already!

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is there a video of the final moments

I have not posted anything about the Germanwings incident. I have not flown them but do REALLY love their parent company, Lufthansa and would in half a heartbeat book a ticket with them. I like the airline, the people, the service!

But this latest claim, if even true by paper ParisMatch is to me just too much. If there is video of the final moments from inside the cabin I do not want to see it. EVER!

Would you?

Seriously. This is getting out of hand and we need some respect shown to those who were murdered by the co-pilot.

The pilot trying to save the passengers:

Patrick Sondenheimer

Is a hero whose name I am really trying to hold in my memory as something to talk about. Also I don’t mind discussion about what can be done to stop this from happening again.

What is NOT something to talk about is saying things to US pilots like:

tweet from chris manno aa pilot

This tweet is from AA pilot Chris Manno who I follow on twitter. I also follow some Delta folks on twitter. I put my trust in them each time I fly, that is Delta people, and I will not even once give that a second thought. The level of respect I have for these people is without question. Period.

If I were Chris, and someone said that to me, they would be taking the next flight as they would not be on my plane anymore (maybe it is good I am not a pilot).

I am flying Delta today. I can not wait to get up in the air. I love flying. I am done with Germanwings coverage. Are you? – René

Is the Germanwings coverage in the media too much?

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Reflecting on the end of the CRJ200s & a compromise I am so happy to make.

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delta crj200 sbn airport

Yesterday in my post about some of the Delta news highlights from March, I touched on a piece about the further reduction of flights from CVG, that is, Cincinnati airport. Some of these changes are as a result of fewer routes but others are from smaller CRJ200 jets being switched to larger jets like CJR700/900s or even mainline 717s.

A number of readers have commented that they would rather keep enduring (a good word I think) the tiny 50 seats jets rather than reduce the frequency of service to their home airports. For me, personally, I would MUCH rather have less flight choices and only have larger birds. Thankfully, in this one case, Delta agrees with me as we keep seeing the reduction of the CRJ200s continue system wide.

delta connection crj 200

Now I can say I do miss some of the ships that were around before the CRJ200s. Take for example a turbo prop my fellow blogger MJ flew for a living (for AA not DL) that is the SAAB 340. I really liked this plane (and not just because it was Swedish). ;-) While the SAAB was not fast, it was a comfortable ride and a fun ride as well. Sure it was loud but one of my favorite “features” was that this plane had the tendency to have “weight and balance issues” that resulted in many “bumpertuinties” or chances to get a voucher to take a later flight.

first delta crj700 sbn

All of this brings me to my very special day on the first Monday of this month that was the very first scheduled flight from my home town airport SBN on a “real” jet. A CRJ but a 700 with “1st Class“, Comfort Plus and Main Cabin coach seats was so sweet. I spent 50,000 SkyRubles to fly this in 1st class in 1A and did earn points for this historic trip. It was great I have to tell you.

rene delta points first woodford reserve delta crj700 sbn airport

The FA, once I told him just what the flight was and what it meant to me, even served me my first ever Woodford Reserve in a “real” glass prior to flight in SBN. It is a moment I will never forget. Maybe not a Lufthansa 1st class on a 747-800 but to me “almost” as special after decades of horrid CRJ200 flights from SBN.

Now much of this post is clearly personal and I guess for a Sunday post this is just a good place to share this, but I would love to get more feedback. Am I the only one who is more that happy to trade comfort for frequency of flights? You tell me and please vote in my poll below! – René

The reduction of CRJ200 flights is:

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Tippecanoe place – Things I would do when visiting South Bend Indiana

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Tippecanoe place – Things I would do when visiting South Bend, Indiana
Studebaker Museum – Things I would do when visiting South Bend, Indiana
South Bend Cubs – Things I would do when visiting South Bend, Indiana
Warren Golf course at ND – Things I would do when visiting South Bend, Indiana
Seasonal & other fun – Things I would do when visiting South Bend, Indiana

Tippecanoe Place South Bend Indiana delta points blog

After almost thirty years of living in the South Bend, Indiana area, I thought it was about time for me to share a few places and things you should put on your short list when visiting my “neck of the woods” as they say.

Most of them are year round or mostly year round. Either way if you have a short time to visit there are a few things that I really enjoy. I may expand this list and will pop up posts on several Fridays during the year.

“Tippecanoe Place is a house in South Bend, Indiana, United States. Built in 1889, it was the residence of Clement Studebaker, a cofounder of the Studebaker vehicle manufacturing firm. Studebaker lived in the house from 1889 until his 1901 death”

Tippecanoe Place South Bend Indiana delta points blog (4)

The above is a quote from Wikipedia about Tippecanoe Place. The home is amazing and massive and just such a neat place to go for a meal and to walk around and soak in local history.

start of my brunch Tippecanoe Place South Bend Indiana delta points blog

One of the things I really enjoy is their Sunday brunch. They have just so much you can enjoy so go hungry as this can be your meal for the day!

Tippecanoe Place South Bend Indiana delta points blog (3)

You can start with an omelet with anything you want on it or do as I did and get a small one to go with all the other good lunch-ish stuff like…

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Roast beef and omelet for breakfast after fresh fruit and other goodies – yes please! Mimosa along with my Tea – sure why not.

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The history of the home is fascinating and I will not spoil it by telling you everything. You need to go and explore (before you eat please as much harder after such amazing food)!

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If you are a fan of custom hand done woodwork, you are going to be in love with this house.

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Don’t have time for a full meal (their steaks are fantastic btw) then just walk around the home and have a drink at the bar. You will not be sorry to spend time in this amazing mansion.

After your time here there are a great many things to enjoy after you drive the short distance to downtown. The South Bend Chocolate factory, if you have room, is a nice treat as well as walking along the “race” along the river. Why not see what is playing at the “Morris Performing Arts Center” and maybe take in a show. A nice way to spend a day in South Bend and more on the way in the next post! – René
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Oh, I really didn’t think Delta would go there – but they did! Delusional and sad.

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Just about every airline, hotel and car company is sending out reminders to vote for them at the Freddie awards, the MOST prestigious frequent flyer awards ceremony held each year and respected world wide, but I really did not think Delta would send beg emails out.

Even though it is being held in Atlanta and at the Delta Flight museum, I could not dream, after Delta has done nothing but DECIMATE their frequent flyer program over the past two years again and again, they would have  unabashed gall and delusional nerve  to request votes for SkyRubels – but they did!

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I mean let’s break down what they think is vote worthy:

  • Best elite program? You mean like cutting perks for elites – fewer free bags for Silvers, only getting to pick C+ seats for Golds at 72 hr mark, removing access for upgrade for Platinums on JFK-LAX/SFO route, FCM making upgrades harder for MOST medallions. Oh how about removal of greater award space for elites. Yeah, those are vote worthy moves :-(
  • Best customer service. OK if there is one place they maybe can get a vote it is here. But you still have to PUSH reps to get what you want most times even as a Diamond. And sometimes reps just give you wrong info.
  • Best redemption ability. WHAT? I just fell out of my chair. Delta, your award calendar is broken beyond belief. You now HIDE your award charts. You often charge us for two tickets rather than one and cover it up by hiding the award charts. Please don’t insult us in asking for a vote by tossing us a bone to spend a few less miles now and then. No one will vote for a redemption win for SkyRubles.
  • Best Loyalty card. You mean the card from AMEX that gives you MQMs boost. Yeah that is a nice card. But you cut one of the best perks 1MAY14, that is, allowing us to bring our wife and family or our business partner into the Skyclubs. How about MORE award space for card holders (yeah that is gone this year too). Please don’t think you are going to get a vote here.

I could go on and on but I have already covered all of these points over and over this year. But I guess just like the delusional insanity of THIS email about spending your points by flushing them down the drain for half their value (or less) the mothership actually thinks someone will vote for Delta this year at the Freddie’s – YEAH RIGHT! – René

Will Delta win ANYTHING at the Freddie’s this year in Atlanta?

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What to do if Delta info is WRONG? What can you and should you do (and when).

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bad info from delta assist

Air travel is unique. We are put into a stressful situation and are “trained” to follow orders. Think about this, when you first pull up to the airport, a police officer is normally close by and you need to follow his (or her) direction or else you could be in BIG trouble.

So this sets the tone from the start of your travel adventure. Once inside you may approach an airline representative to check in. At larger hubs these are “real” Delta people and there may even be some directing you what line to enter even before you approach check in. But at smaller airports they may be non-Delta people who are wearing Delta colors and look like Delta people. These may not be as good at the rules as “mainline” folks so keep that in mind.

So what, you may ask? It is all about the psychological impact of those around you and their telling you what to do. Is the information they are telling your correct? And if they give you bad information how do you know? Is it worth pushing it when you think the information is bad and just who should you push (if anyone)?

Take my example in the opening screen shot from twitter. The flyer reached out to Delta Assist, who normally is VERY good with info, but in this case gave out WRONG information. I jumped in and provided a link on Delta.com showing the correct information (and never even got as much as a thank you from the flyer or Delta Assist :-( ).

But let’s get back to flying. You may see “goons” hired by the airline to enforce carry-on size restrictions in front of TSA folks. They have NO power and the TSA will NOT stop you if you ignore them. They are NOT TSA and the TSA does NOT enforce airline rules. TSA is there for safety. I have in the past got a Delta rep to walk over and physically block one of these goons while I went through security. I would today just ignore them and ask the TSA personal if I may proceed. This one I would push! Just not the TSA folks ;-)

The next interaction for many of us is the Skyclub reps (or another lounge). Here you may have to fight for access when you know the rules. For example, one of my fellow bloggers had Delta try to charge for his less than 2 year old to enter the club under the new 1MARCH rules. Delta allows those under 2 free with you when you enter. Again, know the rules, push or get someone else to help you or go to another club if there is one rather than make an issue. After all, winning is getting what you want, not creating new problems.

Next we have the gate agents. So much can and does go wrong at the gates. Gate agents have MUCH control over what happens until the door is closed on the jet. From bags to seats to if you are even allowed to get on the plane at all – THEY HAVE THE POWER! Respect that. Let me make this very clear – do not fight with a gate agent if you want to get on the jet. If you want to complain about a gate agent – do it after the flight. Winning is flying. Now I am not saying give up if things do go wrong. You can point out rules and even VERY nicely ask for a Redcoat to see if they could maybe help whatever the situation is, but please do it in a nice way.

Washington Nationals at Baltimore Orioles May 20,  2011

Lastly we have flight attendants and flight crews. Many will say until the door is closed you don’t have to listen to all they say. Legally that may be the case, but once again winning is flying. I was reading a post the other day about a Delta flyer who went to the bathroom just before takeoff and the FA objected and told the passenger they had to get off the plane or the cops would be called. The flyer said call the cops. You can guess what happened next. Not winning. My advice, always always always listen and follow what your FA and flight crews say. Complain later once you are where you want to be.

The bottom line to take from this is DO have good information and share it with those at Delta, but do so in a nice way. Know what people have the power to make your day miserable – even when you are right. Never ever raise you voice. Never get angry. Just have the facts and, worst case, complain after the fact and get satisfaction from some kind of compensation for what went wrong. – René
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Is this dog not famous enough to fly on a 1st class Delta ticket?

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Delta has more rules than the IRS it seems. I know the frequent flyer rules VERY well because I eat, breathe and sleep points each and every day. Plus Delta often changes things on a whim and does not tell anyone about the changes until we find them (often not telling Delta people either).

no puppy you can not fly delta 1st class

This new report from CBS Minnesota just makes my head hurt. Delta does, on a case by case basis, allow “famous” dogs to fly on-board. In this case, this puppy was not famous enough even though the owner had purchased a 1st class Delta ticket for it.

Now we are not talking about a SkyMiles issue. It is not like the cello incident where the puppy was trying to earn SkyMiles for travel, just trying to travel. Again, on a paid 1st class ticket. Nope!

I respect the flyer did not want to try to just “call” the puppy an emotional support or service dog to get around this. Florida is working to pass a law that would crack down on those abusing this certification of an animal. I agree it is needed as I know of a few instances of folks getting the certification for their pet to circumvent the fee to include a dog as your carry-on (I disagree with the fee, but that is another post).

At the same time airlines need to be VERY careful. One twitter follower has such a support dog. It is very much needed. Due to a hearing issue, the person can not hear very high and very low tones. Take for example a knock at a hotel door – they can not hear it – but the dog can and alerts them. But a Delta gate agent got all in her face in Atlanta and told the flyer that they did not look very disabled to need the dog. Not good. Delta, in the end, sincerely apologized and sent the employee off for sensitivity training.

So what do you think of these crazy rules. Should a “famous” dog get to fly Delta? What about the rules certifying a support dog – are they too lax? Let me know – René
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