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Have you ever had a delay induced long term stay in an airport? My wife once got to enjoy the day as an airport guest as a result of her flight being canceled after they damaged the aircraft fuselage by running into the terminal building structure. Ooppppssssieeeee!
So why am I on this track today, you may ask? Did you ever see that movie The Terminal? It was 24 years ago today that the actual guy who evidently inspired the movie began his stay in Terminal 1 at one of my personal favorites, CDG! He was an Iranian refugee at the time trying to get to the UK. It seems the story is that his briefcase with all his paperwork was stolen in Paris so the UK refused to allow him to enter and sent him back to CDG, where he remained until 2006!
It just got me thinking about a lot of things. Back in 1988 when this happened the TSA didn’t exist, so getting on a flight without any ID was not out of the question. Cell phones in 1988 were 1G and not very common. The internet was barely in the first stages of development. Obviously, all of those developments in tech and in the airline industry would make it nearly impossible for something like this to happen today, right? So why was the guy stuck in CDG until 2006? It appears to be a very long and tedious political and bureaucratic mess, which isn’t likely to happen to the average person. All the steps we take to ensure smooth travel connections sure seem even more sensible though when you think about the possibility of getting stuck for not just hours or days but months and years! I hope you have a nice flight today and get to where you want to go. – René
Knowing tech as I do, and using tech as I do, I take steps to try to mitigate the chance of information I want kept private from going public. I am still dumbfounded by the number of times people click on things they get from a “friend” either via facebook or an e-mail that ends up being a virus or malware.
But I digress. Today’s blog is about security when you travel. Most of us fly Delta with a cell phone, laptop and or a tablet of some kind. I use passwords for all of them on the startup page. A dedicated hacker who did get hold of my laptop could pull the drive and get to some data, but that is what it would take. Do you have passwords on all your stuff? Do you always put these items back in the same place or absentmindedly lay them on a chair or table or plug them in to charge somewhere? According to this article you should password protect them as millions of cell phones are lost each year and people who find them TRY to open data you wish they would NOT!
Delta Points readers are a select group. We “get” travel. We know the routine. We plan for what often times happens so we are not shell-shocked and frightened when travel goes awry, but just spring into action our next option to get where we want to go. And as I blogged about in my personal experience on a KLM regional flight we should be pro-active and aware of what goes on around us in our modern age.
A lost cell phone could cost you plenty in inconvenience and lost productivity, but if you cause a ruckus or delay a flight it may cost you thousands of dollars if you end up impacting other travelers according to the NYC port authority. Recently we were on an already delayed flight and had a now somewhat tight connection. Every minute counts at this point and a business traveler walked back up the asile to the boarding door and said he “left his cell phone somewhere near the window at the gate” and wanted the ground staff to look for his lost phone before they closed the door. He was ready to deplane to find his phone. What about his luggage? Would it have to be pulled? Plane side checked bags too? The list goes on and all our connections looking down the tubes due to one person’s lost phone. In this case it worked out and ground staff found it and we were only delayed 5-10 minutes all-in but you get my point!
Much of what we do is intended to improve our travel experience and avoid causing our own delays and frustrations. Please add this to your list of thing to think about each time you travel – Rene
Ogden’s Hinckley airport from Snowbasin
Your “pseudo-expert” Delta Points traveler has just returned from ski trip number two for the year to Salt Lake and did not follow his own advice. But, as my blog post title says, some days your timing can be good and there was a reason for my timing too.
I will have a detailed post about my trip and all the fun and saving I had, plus the kool part of meeting up with a blog reader at one of the best ski mountains on this planet or any other, but that will be for tomorrow, for now click on the photo above to see SLC airport from 10,000 feet!
Today, I want to tell just about the return trip and some things to think about when flying Delta. So here goes.
My wife and I were flying on 25k free tickets. We were routed SLC-ATL-SBN. I am slowly learning, including many questions and warnings from readers, to avoid hub-to-hub trips unless you are a Diamond and on a high price ticket if you want a free upgrade.
The 5 day window ( the normal time for a platinum to clear ) came and went. At the airport my wife and I were 24/25 of 60 with 1 seat open. At this point most regular flyers are saying yep this is an old story. But as it turns out I ended up in first anyway. Why? Well….
After breakfast in the skyclub that was the most packed I have ever seen at any airport I gave myself 45 min before departure time to get to the gate so I could confirm my status on the volunteer list to give up my seat.
That is when the “fun” began. The inbound aircraft had had a bird strike so severe it BROKE a slat off the front engine fan. Thus a “lengthy” delay a.k.a. “this bird will not fly today or maybe for days”! Plus, the next bird to ATL was already “broken” per the red coat at the desk. Since I was already in line for bump, I was able to score a SLC-GEG-MSP-SBN. This was a rebook so full “Y” class was the new code ( no MQM or points but still Y ) so I moved up to the top of the upgrade list thanks to my DELTA AMEX RESERVE card that puts me ahead of anyone who does not have one in Y class or lower.
Now I would love to brag that I had looked ahead and printed all the routes so I could simply tell the red coat what I wanted. But, I was too much in vacation mode and just was at the right place at the right time. To be fair part of that was my early gate arrival for bumportunities that saved the day.
So what do I want you to take from today’s post? Be aware. Be prepared. Know Delta. Use the Delta APP for your phone. Have the Delta number on the speed dial on your phone. Have alternate routes for flying.
Also this goes to answer the much asked question of how to get upgrades. Think about adding legs if you can stand it. Maybe a hop from say ATL-CVG-LAX will get you 1st where ATL-LAX no way with a billion Diamond Medallions on the flight. So if you can stand the connection, you increase your upgrade chance.
I had a great ski trip and can not wait to share it in tomorrow’s blog! – Rene
There are some great advantages of being GM or higher in Delta Status and the AMEX Reserve or Platinum (Delta) cards can help you get there. With status, you can call the medallion line and most of the time they will answer on the first ring or your hold time will be less than 1 minute even in the middle of a snow storm or any other crisis.
But what if you’re Silver or just a standard skymiles member. What can you do and are you left out in the cold? First you must read my post about Twitter with @DeltaAssist as you can get almost the same service as GM or higher with them. Almost.
So let’s say you are waiting for your flight and you have no plane at your gate and it is time to board. What do you do? What I do is this. I check with my Samsung Galaxy 2s what other flights there are to get me home. Many times I have in advance printed the routes to get home so I know what is possible. Then, I call and ask the agent to “protect” me on another flight that will work for me. What this does is this: once your flight “cancels” you already have your name on the list to get you home. You then call back and ask them to confirm you on the flights you are already protected on.
So next time the crowd is rushing up to cue in line at the desk, you just relax, call or tweet, and then go to any printer in the airport and get your new boarding pass and go on your way! – Rene
Today I give away 5 free codes for 6 months of free PLUS service at Award Wallet Plus. I want to know YES or NO if you use twitter and have @DeltaAssist following you yet. This is a GREAT service from Delta so please sign up if you have not.
Winter is once again upon us and we all know what that means — delays! I took advantage of just such an occasion to chat with a Delta FA about some of her major concerns when it comes to our airline.
So have you always been with Delta or were you formerly with NWA?
I am a former NWA and must tell you, I was happier then in many ways!
Really? How so?
Northwest really took care of us, especially in situations like this. I am stuck here in DTW after waiting first for de-icing, then waiting for take-off, then as a result of that wait, another de-icing, then another truck when the one servicing us ran out of fluid until finally the flight was canceled. All of that time was “off the clock” since we weren’t in the air. Once back at the gate I had to wait to see if I would be needed for another flight, more time “off the clock” until finally I was given the all clear to stay overnight but by then all the hotels were full so I had to pull more strings to get myself a room for the night. Under Northwest I would have been booked into a room immediately on the cancellation of the scheduled flight and gone with it the next day.
That sounds very trying! Don’t they update you via an online system or is the employee computer as hopeless as Delta.com is for us flyers?
I really miss the NWA system each and every day. We used to be able to log in and check our schedules for changes well in advance so as to adjust any conflicts, etc. With the Delta system the information is frequently not updated accurately or in a timely fashion and just gives us far less to work with. Most often we have to call to find out and that takes a lot more time.
So when it comes to helping passengers what are your highs and lows?
The most difficult thing these days is electronics. I try to be nice and ask the passengers to please finish the call as quickly as possible. These are not my rules, but it is my job to enforce them. I’m not looking for an argument, just doing my job. To be honest though, there are many more highs to my job. I love seeing people excited to be traveling and being able to soothe the nervous ones. I became an FA because I like to work with people and when I can really be a help to my passengers it makes my day.
It really shows when you enjoy what you do. Is DTW your base or …?
I am considered based in DTW, but I live in a regional city. That’s part of the difficulty I had with this layover. Since I’m based here I am essentially on call here even though I don’t live here. There are so many of us who are in this situation and we have to rely on available seats to commute to our base in order to go to work, and then the reverse to get home. You could be on a DTW-AMS flight, for example, with a “Detroit based crew” who could have converged from Miami, Kansas City, Indianapolis, San Antonio or any other regional city. It’s all just a matter of coordinating who is available for what and then getting them there.
This was a unique experience and gave me so real incite into the life as a Delta FA. I have chatted with some of my crews on that route and discovered they were from all over the US, but I never thought of where they were based and the commute requirements. It was really a pleasure to have a chance to get to know this FA and if you are reading this – thanks for the education.
It was fun to see how everyone did last week with the pop quiz about how well we know Delta Airlines rules. It is an unfortunate fact that, like the change to the ETV rule, many of the updates are being sneaked in by our beloved Delta.
I am under no illusion here. I clearly understand Delta is NOT a charity. They do not fly as an altruistic endeavor so you and I can see those we love and enjoy the most amazing parts of this planet (☺ that is why we have card churning ☺). No, they fly to make money – period. But it takes passengers to do that and many rules have, as of late, upset flyers.
So let’s be informed. Here are some things you need to know. You need to know because Delta will NOT TELL YOU. Please look at this PDF link here about the EU rules Delta.com talks about when you are delayed and then come back to the blog post.
You have now read the PDF, right? OK. So what do you need to know here. The EU rules are very different from the USA rules. Do not assume that weather or other rules apply when you are over there. In this case they can work FOR you. Next time something comes up let Delta send you CASH direct to your bank account. That is the kind of “sorry” we all understand.
Also the old way of spending courtesy vouchers is changing as we can see from this link at Delta. Now we no longer just hand over vouchers, we use them like a credit card. We can no longer just “give” extras to anyone we want if we don’t need them. If we want to be nice to someone who deserves it, we have to buy for them – and that is fine.
The other big news is the 2 NEW Delta Hubs in NYC – talked about in this piece . Delta has in effect turned New York into a replacement hub for CVG. There is logic to this but considering what a mess EWR is already and delays common, I don’t know how happy flyers are going to be. Low level award availability should definitely from now on go up and all NYC airports should be a starting point to search for seats. There is a video at the Delta Blog as well.
So that keeps you up to date with more Delta info! – René
So Diamond’s, Platinum’s and Gold’s ( OK everyone else too ) – you think you know Delta right? You know all about your airline right? Since the rules have been changing this year and more changes start on the 15th of this month, let’s just see how good “you” are with a pop quiz. Don’t cheat and look down but see how you do on these!
Q1 – If you are issued a ETV ( electronic travel voucher ) for a bump or something how long do you have to spend it?
A. 6 months
B. 12 months
C. 18 months
D. 24 months
Q2 – When you spend an ETV you must complete travel?
A. Within 1 year of issue date
B. Up to 1 year after you spend the ETV
C. Within 2 years of issue date of the ETV
Q3 – When you spend an ETV you will?
A. Earn SKYMILES
B. Earn MQM’s
C. Both A & B
D. None of the above
Q4 – What is the maximum weight a bag can be without extra cost traveling coach domestically?
A. 42 lbs
B. 50 lbs
C. 70 lbs
Q5 – What is the maximum weight a bag can be without extra cost traveling coach internationally?
A. 42 lbs
B. 50 lbs
C. 70 lbs
Q6 – When traveling with Golf clubs or other sports equipment the max weight is 70lbs?
Q7 – When traveling with Skis you can check 2 bags for the price of 1?
Q8 – A woman may have a carry-on bag and a purse, but a man may not?
Q9 – When there is a schedule change what is the minimum departure or arrival time difference for you to have a no fee change of flights domestically?
A. 30 min
B. 60 min
C. 90 min
D. 2 hrs
Q10 – At what medallion level do you qualify for upgrade on a points ticket?
C. PM or DM
D. All of the above
So let’s see how you did. Each question is worth 1 point. So as long as you did not miss more than 3 you pass. Just!
The answer are:
1 B – You have 1 year from the date of issue to spend the ETV.
2 C – You have up to 2 years to complete travel from date of issue of the ETV.
3 C – ETV’s spend just like CASH. So you earn everything!
4 B – 1 bag $25 / 50 lbs – Medallions* 2 bags up to 70lbs each
* Silver Medallions must have AMEX card also to get 2 bags 70lbs in USA
5 B – 1 bag free/50lbs but Medallions 1 bag (Europe, 2 other) up to 70lbs
6 False – the 50 lbs rule still applies EVEN FOR MEDALLIONS (same Q7)
7 True – you can check ski bag+boot bag both count as 1 but total 50 lbs max
8 False – You may carry on 1 bag + 1 personal item no charge male or female
9 C – 90 minutes is the time to live by. More that that you can change free
10B & C – Only Silver do not get upgrades on points tickets, so keep flying or get a DELTA RESERVE card !
Now these are the Delta rules for checked baggage and for carry on baggage as well as for sports equipment. But, as we know, anyone can override these if they want even when it comes to refunds and changes to a ticket. Also know many times in Europe and abroad the 50lbs rule will be imposed on medallions even when it should not be as well as a 20 pound carry-on rule plus size-wise restrictions! Lastly there are a boatload of exceptions due to when you purchased your ticket so you may want to print this page if you fall under those dates to show the agent when you check in if they want to charge you extra!
So how did you do. Be honest. Tell me what you got and you have a chance to win 2 more DELTA drink coupons today. – René
I have my card clipped to my computer bag when I travel. Do I ever need it? Not really. Today there will be few times you must show it but there are exceptions. Most of the time your status is printed on your boarding pass. A DM can use their card to enter the SKYCLUBS. You can also use your card to check in at the kiosks or to reprint or even to board (freaks the gate agent out when you scan the bar code and out comes a pass – fun to do – try it some time just for grins). So there you are. If your skymiles number is in the reservation you are set.
Q2) FT’er -If a new Skymiles member is going to make a run at Silver Elite in calendar year 2012 – basically 0 miles to 25K – what happens at the end of the year?
Rollover miles are any miles above one status level yet under the next or over 125,000. So, if you start 2012 at ZERO. Then fly say 25,000 miles in January 2012, and then do not fly again all year, you will be SM until FEB2014. (you earn it and have it 2012, earned it for 2013, it expires in FEB 2014). Now, let’s say you fly 1000 more miles in 2012 and then go home. You will start 2013 with 1000 miles rollover and only need to fly 24,000 to earn SM status until FEB2015.
Q3) ItalyLovers – Can you use Delta miles for hotel stays?
Yes. You can log on to Delta.com and go to use miles and in the marketplace pick hotels or cars. Most of us value our Delta points at 1 cent. I use 2 cents for me. So let’s see about a ski day in SLC. You see below it is much cheaper to pay $49 vs points $86. Now the funny thing(s) is a car rental. Here we are almost at 1 cent per point value. Other readers have said they like this way of burning points. Value is up to you! Also funny in researching this is a convertible in SLC in the middle of winter priced ridiculously low, but that is for another post!
Q4) Steve – So not infrequently I need to make a last minute trip and of course it’s usually pretty expensive. So I want to use miles. And since Delta doesn’t offer a one way award, I book a RT, picking a return date at random (falling on a “low mileage” day). Of course in the event I want to use the return leg, I need to pay a fee to change it to my real desired date. Any strategy for this that I’m missing?
Since Delta does not as of yet offer one way awards, the way to help yourself is the mulit-leg return packing strategy and wait for a schedule change. So, you can fly direct ORD-SLC let’s say. Now you can for the return book SLC-ATL-DTW-ORD. Book them as far out as you can and as tight as you can. Then, when the flights change and don’t work, you can either ask for your miles back or change the date to something better!
Q5) Danielle – which delta credit card is best? (or how would you determine that?)
That depends on what you want. I was just talking to a reader about this and they do not want status. They want Delta points. I suggested he and his wife BOTH get a personal and business AMEX DELTA GOLD card. Each of them gives you 30k with no 1st year fee. This will earn them after low spend 120,000 points. But, if you want status, then the AMEX PLATINUM or RESERVE cards are good choices as they give you MQM’s for getting the cards and for spending on them each year.
Q6) Mike – I usually cant stand any flights over 2-3 hours. I know this is matter of preference, would you say its worth to spend extra miles/$ to upgrade to better seating when flying over 3 hours? Or should I just save them and drink some hard liquor and pass out during the flight?
Never over drink. It is especially dangerous to over drink on a flight in case of an emergency and your life may depend on being sober. I would work on getting PLATINUM or higher status with DELTA. Start with the DELTA RESERVE card to earn 10k MQM and go from there to earn FREE upgrades on both paid and points tickets.
Q7) Sandy – Which airline/hotels/credit cards can you transfer to using Delta miles? Which airline/hotels/credit cards can transfer to Delta?
The card all of us crazy bloggers just love love love is the SPG AMEX card. Why? If you send 20,000 SPG points to Delta you earn 25,000 ( they give you 5000 bonus each time you send over 20,000). The other is the AMEX Membership Rewards card. In the past they have given as much as 50% bonus miles and MQM’s for first time transfers!
Q8) The Weekly Flyer – What market is Delta targeting for fast track elite marketing promotions (i.e. 2011 2 trips to gold, 3 trips to plat)?
There is no question that Delta is “head hunting” other airlines’ elite flyers. But, the 72hr change rule has also cost them a good number defecting to other airlines. This year they had Silver to Gold and Gold to Platinum promotions with just a few flights. There is a very targeted promotion now for some AMEX holders to get status. My guess is there will be great promotions coming Q2-2012 so stay tuned and I will post them as soon as I hear the news!
Q9) Michael – Since the Delta website can be a ‘little cranky’ at times, what tips do you have for booking Delta awards using other websites(to use Delta miles)? Is there a ‘best’ carrier for Delta awards?
So can you use like AF & KLM or Alaska Air to look for Delta space? Sorta. But the bottom line is you will have to have space showing in the Delta system to get the seats. The one leg at a time search is the only way to be sure low level seats are really available.
Q10) Napolehon- what happens to the miles when i book a round trip award ticket for 100k and i cancel after my first leg?
Under the new 72hr rule you have spent 100k for a one leg trip. ( unless you get a nice rep who can help as any of them can override the rule if they want – crazy way to run a program but that is the “rule” for now)
Q11) Danny – What does Delta charge to cancel/change an award redemption? Is there any way to get those miles back once you’ve booked? Is there a certain level of status necessary?
Platinum and higher get free changes all they want up to 72hrs pre-flight. The only other way is if there is a schedule change then you can ask for them back or change at no cost. A great way to move up, as talked about in other questions, is the DELTA RESERVE card to earn 10k MQM to start and up to 30k more each year.
Q12) Josh – Just made Platinum for the first time (thanks AMEX for the 40k EQMs). Status changed about 10 days ago. Will my Platinum gift options be in my Platinum welcome kit and how long does it usually take to get a welcome kit?
First well done my fellow Platinum Medallion flyer I will see you “in front of the curtain”! Now you can pick your Platinum gift when ever you want. Your kit can take up to 6 weeks and you will get a new one by March next year as well!
Q13) Stephanie – I have about 27,000 miles in my account right now..enough for a free domestic flight..do you think it would be worth it to use some of those miles to upgrade on an international flight?
You touch on a very “touchy” subject for Delta flyers. Here is the deal. Look up the price of an international flight in a fare high enough for upgrade and then same thing for lowest business class fare and you find the price is about the same. So, no. Just save and earn until you have enough miles for a 100,000 point low level trip to Europe!
Q14) Rob – Is Platinum worth it, or should I stay Gold and roll over ~22k MQM’s?
This is a very personal question and answer. Platinum is a must have if you are going to burn a bunch of points and want unlimited changes. Upgrades are better. You can pick a Platinum gift like 20k Skymiles. If you pay for tickets GOLD is maybe good enough for you with 100% bonus on miles and now access to international lounges free on any class ticket! So you make the call. (sorry but it really is a personal choice – I love Plat but never pay for tickets ).
Q15) Alen – If you select a Preferred Seat at booking, then get upgraded to First Class during your upgrade window, but then get bumped from First Class, only to be re-issued a non-preferred seat (or, worse, a bad bulkhead seat), do you have any argument with the GA to give you a better seat? (Presumption: the flight is full.)
Yes – sorta. You can request to be put on a later flight and immediately cleared to 1st class. It should be E-Z for them as the rebook is “Y” class and your upgrade should auto-clear then as well. On the current flight, you are stuck with what they have. One other fix is use Twitter. Go away from the desk and let @DeltaAssist fix it for you !
Q16) Dave – Any idea why DL occasionally runs P fare first tickets for less than coach? I just picked up NYC-MKE over Christmas weekend for less than comparable routed coach seats on CO.
With Delta “IT” who knows but my guess would be price match or mistake etc. Keep in mind agents are inputting price codes all the time. Things happen like the $150 all-in trip NYC to Denmark last year (I was on a cruise ship or would have booked 10 of those trips!)
an update this far in – some questions are covered by others’ questions
Q17) Rob – Hi, do you know whether- with the Delta Amex Gold offer now for 30k miles-you can get these miles if you already have another delta amex that has given you miles?
You can have any DELTA AMEX “flavor” card and even all at once if you want. If you cancel one you must wait 24 months to get a “new” signup bonus again. So yes you could get GOLD now, then in a few months get PLATINUM, and then in a few months get DELTA RESERVE card if you would want to. Same with the business cards by the way!
Q18) Weston – What are some tips on scoring a bump on a Delta Flight?
I talk about the best way here in this blog post all about bumping.
Q19) Anna – What’s the easiest way to become Delta elite? Is it MRing on Delta flights, credit card spend, etc.?
I will have a great blog post on the way soon about this so stay tuned. But for now yes the best way IMO is the DELTA RESERVE card that can earn you 40,000 MQM’s first year!
▲Delta▲ SkyMiles® Credit Card
American Express – RESERVE/PLATINUM/GOLD
Click here for more information
Q20) Angelina – Does Delta offer any kind of status match with CO/United? I am Gold Elite… If so, how would I go about asking for one?
Yes but be careful about status match with any airline. Most are once in your lifetime! So pick the match very carefully. Here is the link to request the match.
Q21) Frequent Miler – As a new Delta Platinum Medallion, I have a question about the free award changes. I understand that changes have to be made more than 3 days prior to your flight. My question is about the return flight: suppose I start an award trip by flying outbound somewhere and then I want to change the return. Can I still do so if it is more than 3 days before the return?
Flip a coin! I love my Delta airline but this rule is ever changing. Here are the facts from the Delta.com support desk confirmed with a supervisor. The 72hr rule ONLY applies to the outbound part of your trip. Once you start the trip, you can change the return without any risk of loss of miles up to the time of flight. PM & DM pay no change fees. Now does the DL site state this clearly? No! Do reps get the rule wrong? Yes! So we all hope the verbiage will be made clear soon.
Q22) Lauren – Could you please explain more about how the same-day confirm change ticket benefit works? I am a Delta Gold and I believe I can change my ticket for free but I was wondering if you had specifics.
Yes GOLD and higher can do what you want but your request must be within three hours of the scheduled departure of the new requested flight. You can see about this and all the Medallion benefits at the Delta.com site here.
Q23) Allen – I live in a city within 250 miles from ATL, so I always got connected via ATL. The short hop is great for the min 500 miles, but I can hardly find any good fares for MRs. What’s best strategy for me?
This is talked about a bunch here at Flyer Talk. I would read that post and think about the fact that each way on a trip you can have up to 5 legs and keep it “legal”. So always think not ATL-LAX but ATL-DTW-MSP-SLC-LAX! Reps understand mileage runs and most are happy to help you work a long route to get the most points.
Q24) Mike – Can you speculate about the changes (if any) to the 2012 Skymiles program? And/or tell us what you’d like to see changed?
O’ this one is talked about big time all over. Here at Flyer Talk and even fellow boardingarea bloggers here and here are on this one as well. For me, just make the 72 hr rule go away and I would be a happy flyer again. But that will never happen. It is a point of pride for management now.
Q25) Joel – What’s the recourse if, well in advance of a flight, Delta changes the departure time of your booked flight?
If more than 90 min change outbound or landing you can change free, money back or miles back.
Q26) Ed – Can you please explain how various fare codes can affect your ability for upgrades? For example, if I bought a K fare, under what circumstances am I allowed to upgrade with points/money? Are fare codes important if you are have elite status (silver on Delta in my case).
Another great question but no fair asking more than one question (kidding)! Upgrades are based on the fare class and your medallion level and if you have the DELTA RESERVE card as well. There is a good link here that explains all this. They even have a Medallion Upgrade Priority Calculator to show where you land on the pecking order. Try it out.
Q27) JP2 – How do you deal with situation where the routing (e.g. LAX-SYD) has no R/T low awards at all?
Well it can be found but not much I know. This is another reason to have the highest status you can with Delta as they release more seats to DM, then PM and so on at low level. Also look outside the box. I know this is crazy but LAX-SYD I show only one seat in business direct on the 20th in low level business class. But, if look SLC-SYD I find the same seats on the 20th and 21st of Feb. Now I hope you see where I am going with this. If not please read the Points Guy post below. Find any dates that will work, load on a bunch of legs, wait for the schedule change and then pick the direct flight as the points no longer matter! Another way is V Austrailia talked about here by The Points Guy at his blog. He also talks about OPEN JAW and STOPOVERS here too.
Q28) Kay – How does Delta organize it’s boarding order for non-elites in economy? Do the people at the very back of the plane board first, or do the window seats board first? I just booked a ticket for Memorial Day travel, and I want to choose a seat that will help me avoid gate checking my bag.
Great question. Delta boards by ZONES. Business and Medallions board zone 1. If you have any DELTA AMEX cards you board zone 2. The rest board according to seats and fare class. You have plenty of time to get the card and will get 30,000 skymiles on top of that.
Q29) Aleks – Any thoughts on Amex Platinum $200 fee reimbursement strategy? I’m DL Gold for next year, and I also have the DL Plat Amex, so I rarely incur any fees on DL, since I get free checked bags, SC access, etc. And I do fly DL 90% of the time. Would you still recommend keeping DL as my selected airline for fee reimbursement? I’ve used it for onboard drink purchases and successfully convinced Amex to reimburse appx $150 in award tix fees (although this seems to be getting more difficult to do).
This one is talked about a bunch here at this Flyer Talk thread. I used mine to buy 2 $100 SW AIR gift cards but I hear that may be no more. I read that most are buying 1 day skyclub passes and giving them away etc.
Q30) John – Is the Delta reserve card worth the $450 fee for a regular delta flyer?
Maybe. If you spend big on it you can earn 40k MQM 1st year. You get better upgrades and free lounge access. If you like SKYCLUBS, and I do, then about the same price as yearly membership plus you get more perks. Also as a side note, if you use my links to get your Delta Reserve Card it does support the blog and I thank you so very much for your support! – René
Q31) JD – What are the benefits of Economy Comfort seats? Secondly, are they worth the extra fee?
You can read all about them here at Delta.com .Extra room and recline very nice on long flights of say 6+ hrs! Service is just as bad as any coach class seat!
Q32) Chris – My question would be is there really a benefit to being a Silver Medallion? I received this status via an AMEX transfer bonus earlier this year and while I already get free checked bags due to my Delta Amex, I don’t really see the 25k MQM’s that came with the offer that beneficial to someone that isn’t shooting for upper elite levels such as myself.
Well you do have the status this year and until FEB2013 so you are set for another 14 months at your current status. There could be time for this challenge if you want to jump on a plane and qualify for it just one international trip and you are GOLD. Try and see . Gold is very nice!
Q33) Ashley – I am delta upgraded by not by miles gold with 33k miles. Will 8k miles roll(33-25) over or will i have to start from 0 next year. Does it pay to get the delta mqm card now and get the 10k mqm or better wait until next year. will those 10k mqm count to gold qualification to make up the qualifying miles i never did or will they roll over as well from the 25k silver threshold.
I think if I understand you were gifted GOLD and now have 33k MQM’s this year. If that is the case yes 8k will rollover. If you can get 17k more by the 31st you keep your GOLD. AMEX card is one way but would have to apply ASAP and hope maybe there is time for you to get points this year! They should credit to this year per AMEX terms but be sure you confirm that with the rep when you activate the card (it should be a recorded line with AMEX). You could do that and buy 7500 MQM with current promotion and make it.
Q34) Cory – s there any benefit to paying for access to a lounge if you only have a layover of 2 hours or less?
Don’t pay. Either find a meet-n-greet or “lurk” outside a club and ask if you can be guested in please.
Q35) TJ – Do you think the Amex Delta Companion pass is valuable? I’m not sure whether I should upgrade my Amex Delta Gold to Amex Delta Plat. One intriguing benefit is that the Amex Delta Plat’s companion pass is free to use, whereas the Amex Delta Gold charges $99 to use the pass. Depending on how easy this pass is to use, I may be more inclined to upgrade cards. ( another reader ask about if you can transfer the GOLD/PLAT/RESERVE $99/free coupons to someone else )
Yes! I have used these in the past ( the free ones from my DELTA RESERVE card that is ). For me the 1st class tickets are too much so I use mine coach ( sorry my bride ). Also you get NO upgrades on these but if you ask the reps at the desk why you are not on the upgrade list they will often times upgrade you on these because, like everything Delta, no one knows the rules and you can use that in your favor this time. Also you can transfer them to whoever you want. Two of your friends can use them to fly if you want but you must pay for the tickets with YOUR AMEX and have them pay you back!
Q36) Trey – I see that Delta transfer bonuses seem to come up frequently. Could you please explain how often these bonuses come up and when/how frequently we can expect to see them in 2012?
Who knows with AMEX but they do them each year. Now they have gotten a little worse each year so that unfortunate trend will more than likely continue I hate to say!
Q37) Rikki – I am moving and would consider Delta for my personal travel. How often do elites get upgraded on Delta and what is the breakdown of status levels?
Ah – upgrade roulette. We all play the game. The simple answer is it depends where you fly. If you fly ATL on DIAMOND heavy routes you had better be a DM with the DELTA RESERVE card and have a Y class ticket or better! If you fly other routes like DTW-MYR you can expect 100% upgrades for any level of medallion status. On average, DM 95%, PM 85%, GM 70% and SM 50% from what I have seen from others.
Q38) Brian – Is there any websites that offer free delta miles?
Yes! Here is a link for lots of free Delta points. One of them is e-miles where you can get FREE Delta points many times a year. Depending on how many you do maybe 2000 or more per year!
Q39) goheerow – What do you recommend for families? I’m the only one who plays the miles/points game, so wife and kids have zero miles on delta since we usually fly UA/CO. I’ve got about 25k skymiles that are itching to be used, but not sure how to use them for a potential family trip. Any suggestions before they become worthless?
You are my kind of reader. Start churning credit cards my friend. I just got 170,000 in my last churn. I will pick up another 130,000 when I do my wife’s churn in January. 300,000 in a month. In 90 days I will pick up another 200-300k. This goes on and on. Work at it and look for other deals like the 25,000 point Skymall deal this month!
Q40) kyle – When does Delta release the most low level seats?
Some 331 days out. The rest now and then. Just have to keep checking. Plus others may cancel their seats and then they open up.
Thank you all so much for all these great questions. I hope this has helped you all. I plan to do these once a month and plan to add a tab at the top of the blog where I will post all these Q &A’s for all to read and search. It means so much to me to share what I have learned and to get tips from all of you! – René
Before anyone blasts me about this, know that my mom is well over 80 years old, has a metal pin in her leg, and can only walk “so far”. Clear?
OK, now that that is out of way I can get on with today’s post. Knowledge is power when it comes to travel. With DELTA rules are always changing and that can drive you kinda nuts! Also, all the rules can be over ridden by anyone who can push the “big red candy like button” as “Ren and Simppy” would say.
Well what am I going on about you may ask. I hope you remember my blog post from the other day about booking low level award tickets:
Now why do I bring this up. Well my mom does get a bonus for being 80+ and having requested a wheelchair. The DELTA rules say a minimum connection time is 30 min domestic and 90 for an international gateway. This is UNLESS you are in a wheelchair. In that case you must ADD 30 minutes to those totals.
So, if you are in need of wheelchair assistance, you get even more time to help out with your schedule change rule. The next time someone tells you to “break a leg”, maybe it can help you in some small way. Who knows, you may even be better by the time you fly and not end up needing the wheel chair assistance by the time you fly. If that is the case be sure to call and cancel the request for that at least 1 week before your trip!
Happy flying! – Rene
I have been told by those who fly UNITED that you can ask at check-in to be put on the list and all the way along your route if they need you on any of your segments they will have you on the BUMP list.
With DELTA it is not that E-Z. In fact, boarding organization is not one of DELTA’s strong suits. But paying you for bumps is very nice most of the time. Regionals pour out $400 vouchers like water I have found. Mainline jets can play around with the price but $300-400 is the norm. On international $800 and up is what you can expect (yes I know about the new rules this year for bumps, but we are NOT talking involuntary bumps but volunteering). Suspended Travel FAQs at DELTA website
I have had flights were I volunteered at check-in on a regional jet, then the same agent later runs the desk, the flight is oversold, and they take some else who just walks up when I had asked before anyone at check-in!
So, if you want to BUMP, tell everyone along the way. At check-in and at the gate. One tip I can share is that you print TWO copies of your boarding pass for each flight. Then, just tell the gate agent to HOLD ON to your pass just in case they need you (after all you have your extra one).
Also never ever trust the DELTA seat map as a check to see if the flight is really oversold (I missed out on a $2000 bump for an oversold international flight sitting up in the SKYCLUB looking at delta.com seatmap). Until the agents are working the flight, you can not be completely sure of the real numbers. As blogged about before, when you do give up your seat, work it for the best flights, seats, and maybe more vouchers when you have to stay overnight.
On a side note, and I am in NO WAY suggesting you invest in DELTA stock (I sure am not) this article does tend to show our DELTA flights will be more and more full over the short term and give us more chances to bumps!
Happy “bumportunities” – Rene
Also, to end the week, post a comment below (by 9 PM EST) and you will have a chance to win ONE – FREE DAY PASS to any DELTA SKYCLUB!