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Delta Diamond “Charter Member” Credentials Arrived

by on January 14, 2011 · 10 comments

in Delta Air Lines

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So last year I hit about 135,000 MQMs on Delta, which qualified me for Diamond status. In addition to the main benefits, which I’ll sum up below, I also received a free Skyclub membership, Diamond Brag/Bag Tags,  drink coupons (for those dreaded times I need to fly in coach) and Job Well Done certificates to award to the Delta employees that go above and beyond.  Beyond these token gifts, my membership card also bestowed upon me the title of “Charter Member” of the Diamond Medallion club. While flattered, I almost feel unworthy since this is the second year the program has existed. Did they truly mean to include me as a Charter Member, or are they simply using leftover cards? As much as I’d like to deny it, my bet is on the latter.

SkyClub Welcome

Bag Tags… AKA Brag tags

Drink Coupons I’ll Hopefully Never Have to Use

Job Well Done Certs

Beyond these token freebies, I value Diamond status for the following reasons:
1) I got 4 choices benefits. In the end I received 50,000 miles, a $200 Delta gift certificate, and gifted Gold status to a friend for 13  months. While this was somewhat of a fluke, I’ll continue to receive two of these choices every year I requalify.
2) Almost 100% upgrades on domestic tickets. As a Platinum I was near 90%, so I imagine as a Diamond I’ll be even higher. I mostly purchase cheap tickets, so this is an amazing benefit to me. As a Platinum I got upgraded 6 days out from each flight and as a Diamond it should be 7.
3) Upgrades on award tickets. I can book an award ticket at 6 days out and get a confirmed upgrade- this works well since Delta releases a ton of award space at the last minute and doesn’t charge a last minute redemption fee. No other airline (that I know of) does this
4) Unlimited free changes to award tickets- this is needed when booking crazy Delta awards since they release a lot of space at the last minute
5) Good customer service- the Delta Diamond line reps do aim to please
6) Free same day confirmed changes and even sometimes with the flexibility to change flights to a co-terminal (this is huge with having the ability to fly out of/ from JFK/LGA/EWR)
7) Escort service when flying into JFK internationally- reps meet the plane and take you through immigration. A very nice touch and a service provided even when you fly coach

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  • Mooper

    Nice summary of the reasons that being a Diamond Medallion who flies domestically is so incredible with Delta. Being able to readily get confirmed first-class flights about a week out fr 25K miles, then cancel/change if needed without a fee, is the next best thing to charter travel, as you can travel in class on a whim for peanuts. Especially when you consider that you can earn SkyMiles more cheaply than any other airline via the abundance of promos and credit card offers, it really hits the spot.

  • Buster

    I, too, am a newly enshrined Delta Diamond medallion member; however, I am not impressed so far. I just took a three-leg, cross country flight from ATL to MEM to LAX back to ATL. I was upgraded to first/business class just one out of those three flights — the shortest flight, I might add, from ATL to MEM.

    Having been a Platinum member for years, I must say my experience with Delta is getting upgraded on short flights is never a problem. It’s the one where you really need it or want it — the cross-country treks — where the upgrades seem to disappear.

    The program isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I think I’ll be a one-year Diamond member.

  • The Points Guy

    Hi Buster- I think there are a ton of medallions right now because everyone who qualified in 2009 and 2010 currently have their status. Hopefully the numbers will drop once 2009 status runs out in February. Though, with the Amex/Delta 25k MQM bonuses currently happening, I suspect continued MQM inflation.

  • w0r1dtrave1er

    I have three years of Platinum Medallion brag tags and I can tell you the cards you received are the 2010 design despite the 2/29/12 expiration. I am still holding out hope for a new design for the 2011 credentials. I would save the Charter Member brag tags, they might seem cool in ten years. Or they might be just more junk in the drawer. Still haven’t determined if I am proud or ashamed of my own wallet candy I guess it depends on the situation. The Sky Club card has remained unchanged for at least the last three years and I carry and use that one frequently. Like eating breakfast in the SFO international Sky Club after arriving on Virgin America or coffee and quiet space at O’Hare when corporate books me on United. In fact you Diamond Medallions are pretty lucky, the second choice selection and Sky Club membership?! I might shoot for DM one of these years. Cool blog.

  • The Points Guy

    Thanks WT. As a first time qualifying Diamond I got 2 choices of 2 benefits, which was extremely lucrative. They closed that loophole, but I still think 2 choices is nice, especially the Gold nomination and 20,000 miles (which I always use for expensive international trips).

  • Mike

    Good blog. I’m a Diamond, and have noticed a big drop off in my upgrades in 2011. Last year I was getting them %80 of the time. Anyone else notice this?

    Seat 12F

  • The Points Guy

    Mike- tomorrow marks the day when everyone who didn’t qualify in 2010 drops in status so hoping things get better. Although we can’t really be surprised about inflated elite ranks when thousands of people (myself included) have taken advantage of the 25,000 MQM Amex transfer promo.

  • SamD

    Did anyone notice in the literature that Delta sent out with your Diamond status information that it said you would receive a MQM bonus on every flight. The literature did specify fare class. When I contacted Delta they said it was a mistake (they said it was only on certain fare classes) and they did not intend to do anything about it. I thought they should honor the MQM bonus on all 2011 flights.

  • Cosmokazi

    I have been Platinum for over a decade, Gold before that for several years. I just hit Diamond this year. I have already flown MCO-ATL-LAX and then SAN-ATL-MCO. I only got upgraded on the shorter Orlando/Atlanta flights, on the ATL-LAX flight, I was number 8 out of 68! Same thing on the SAN-ATL flight, I was not even close to getting upgraded. I am flying MCO-KOA next week, so hopefully I will make the upgrade on the cross country flights, but I am out of luck on the Hawaii-bound flights, as my flight was not booked in the proper fare class to use System Wide Upgrades. I am afraid that I should have stopped short of the 125,000 miles needed for Diamond and had the 49,000 miles roll over to this year. I know it’s still early, and I am hoping that Diamond will be different, but so far, I am unimpressed.

  • Doctorbird

    Just hit diamond. However, my pet peeve is that the would not upgrade on international flights. What is the point of being their top customer only to see people with freebie buddy passes lounging in first class while you languish in coach on international flights. They need to find a worthy reward or I will spread my miles around to other airlines.

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