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Is Delta Not Honoring Platinum Medallion Offer For New York Flyers?

by on March 7, 2014 · 61 comments

in Delta, Elite Status

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Back in January, Delta announced a drool-worthy offer for New York-based flyers with a fast-track to Platinum Medallion status. Whereas Platinum Medallion status normally requires you fly 75,000 miles or 90 segments (and starting in 2014 that you spend $7,500 on airfare or $25,000 on a co-branded Delta Amex), those flyers targeted for the offer were entitled to the following.

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 9.45.03 AM

Targeted folks who register before March 31, 2014, can receive:
• 60 days of complimentary Platinum Medallion status.
• 60 days of complimentary Delta Sky Club membership.

Then to keep that status, they have to book one BusinessElite ticket and fly within 60 days of registration to earn:
• Platinum Medallion status through February 2015.
• Delta Sky Club membership for an additional 10 months.
• 100,000 bonus miles

The offer was targeted to NY flyers.

The offer was targeted to NY flyers.

The offer seemed almost too good to be true – Platinum status, SkyClub membership and 100,000 bonus miles all for taking one BusinessElite flight – and it apparently was! Readers have been writing to me that, though they were targeted and met the conditions of the challenge, they have not been getting the promised status or bonus miles.

I will just remind those of you targeted that hte T&C are very specific and state: “This offer is nontransferable. To be eligible for the status upgrade, a member must (i) register online by March 31, 2014, and (ii) not have received a status match or complimentary Medallion status in the past.” So that’s the first thing to look out for.

Second, you can’t buy just any old business class ticket to qualify for those extra bonuses. You need to purchase and fly one qualifying BusinessElite fare (fare classes J/C/D/I/Z) on a flight offering BusinessElite service within 60 days after enrolling. Qualifying flight must be marketed and operated by Delta. Codeshare flights operated by carriers other than Delta are excluded from this offer.”

So you have to be careful about the tickets you buy and make sure they qualify. However, I think TPG readers are a very savvy bunch (and teach me a lot!), so I tend to believe them when they say that they met the conditions but were not rewarded accordingly.

That’s because Delta appears to have changed the terms of the promotion after folks registered! The airline added the following terms:

“BusinessElite service is limited to the following long-haul international and transcontinental flights: (a) transatlantic, (b) transpacific, (c) transcontinental flights between John F. Kennedy/JFK and Los Angeles/LAX, San Francisco/SFO, and Seattle/SEA, and (d) between the U.S. and Brasilia/BSB, Buenos Aires/EZE, Lima/LIM, Rio de Janeiro/GIG, Santiago, Chile/SCL and Sao Paulo/GRU.”

So it appears that some targeted folks registered, bought and flew flights that qualified under the original terms by purchasing qualifying fare classes, but then were told they did not qualify. I suspect they did so on tag flights like those from New York to Atlanta or vice versa that the airline then uses the same aircraft to fly on a long-haul route from the gateway. Still, those counted under the original terms.

The flyers who are really stuck are those who either have traveled already and were told they didn’t qualify, or those people who bought non-refundable tickets and called the airline to see if, because the terms had changed, they could get their money back on flights not yet taken and were told no.

My Thoughts

Although I took the original offer to mean that Delta was targeting premium flyers on its international and transcon routes where BusinessElite is offered, the terms did not explicitly state the routes, only that the flight had to offer BusinessElite service and the fare had to be in one of those fare classes. Then Delta clearly changed the terms. It seems like a classic case of ex post facto, so that targeted flyers who bought tickets in good faith are now finding the offer rescinded after the fact, which is totally unfair. If people bought those tickets while the original terms were still in effect – and especially if they actually flew during that time – then they deserve the benefits of this promotion as it was originally laid out.

I can’t say I’m totally surprised given all of Delta’s recent customer-unfriendly announcements including a new mileage-earning structure, and hacking away at elite benefits, but this is so blatantly unfair, and readers report being brushed off by Delta customer service so thoroughly that it seems above and beyond even a typical level of airline indifference.

If any of you have experienced this with this promo, I’d encourage you to call, email, tweet and write to Delta until you get a response, and please comment below with your circumstances so that others can draw from your experiences and vice versa. And hopefully if we get a lot of responses with some good, concrete facts, Delta will listen and react appropriately.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Justin

    Ah Delta’s fine print…the bane of our existence.

  • Lantean

    Really? Delta being dishonest and cheating loyal travelers? That is a brand new thing, never happened before!
    Hahaha

    Duck Felta!

  • Chris

    Your title says New York flyers but the post is about Seattle flyers. Was this offer for NY or SEA flyers?

  • Ed

    Indeed, lol.
    “Fooled once, shame on you, fooled twice, shame on me”.

  • thepointsguy

    Brain lapse – it’s New York flyers as the title says.

  • Rusty Longwood

    the ol’ bait and switch

  • Eric

    I’m flying tomorrow on to ATL to complete the original requirements, and will see what the result of the trip is in terms of them honoring the original wording of the offer. Kind of wishing I saved the original paper offer which had the original terms.

  • Mark

    Regardless of whether Delta is changing the rules, it ticks me off that I bust my butt to get status, yet Delta turns around and offers to award Platinum status to someone who only has to take one BusinessElite flight!

  • Eric W.

    Currently in the process of waiting for Delta Corporate to respond to me about this very issue. Extremely frustrating. Feel cheated by the company for shelling out money for a promo who’s rules I followed very explicitly (until they were changed)

  • SeaBee3

    I read that too fast and thought it said “Brian” lapse :)

  • Ivan

    I live in NYC but was not targeted. I tried to register for this promo, and then received an error message that I don’t meet the eligibility criteria……….Darn Delta…..

  • Aneta Genova

    I just flew on 3/5 LGA-ATL, up fare class Z, BE cabin as per the Delta
    chart online, and fare A first class on the way back. Woke up the next
    day to see no bonus points and no extension for the Platinum status.
    Thanks for nothing, Delta! I still have the original offer paperwork in
    my hands, where there is no mention of transatlantic or transcontinental
    flights.

  • Pazpeaceman

    Totally hear you, Mark! They’re making so many changes to “thin out” the elites, and yet just handing it out to folks like easy “first purchase” credit card miles.

  • Becoming NYC

    This exact thing happened to me. I booked a flight that “qualified” from LGA to ATL on March 1 flying Business Elite Z/I. I even had called Delta when I first was invited to join the promotion via mail, and they confirmed that ticket would qualify. Then after I noticed my status hadn’t updated after taking the flight, I called and was told that my flight did not qualify.

    I even faxed in the letter to Corporate Customer Care that I received from Delta in the mail that did not list specific flights that would qualify and they still wouldn’t offer the promotion. They acknowledged that they obviously made a mistake in not listing the qualifying fares, but the best they would offer me was 20,000 Sky Miles and a $150 credit that I could only use towards purchasing one of the BusinessElite fares that they said would qualify for the promotion. Complete BS!

  • Eric

    Called in and spoke to CSR in regards to the promotion. She spoke with promotions dept, and two supervisors about the offer and flight. Both supervisors denied the terms being modified, and it took a while for them to refund my tickets, but they eventually did.

  • JPWH

    I too flew LGA-ATL, on March 2 and was stiffed on the promo. I did however, anticipate them doing this, and saved the original materials mailed to me, and the ticket receipt saying BusinessElite (Z). First time I called DL, the person was useless.

    Second time, got someone very helpful who put me on hold while he went chasing supervisors who might resolve this (no, really). None would get on the phone, and best he could get was a fax (FAX!?) number where I had to send copies and he suggested how to word the request that they honor the promotion. We’ll see.

    End of the day it seems that they would rather send me and many disgusted others to the arms of a competitor than honor their offer. After all, they targeted us in the first place as worth keeping loyal. Great opportunity for AA.

  • Nick

    So I was literally about to buy my mother a ticket as a birthday gift because she was targeted but now I am hesitant. I was going to get Miami to NY or miami to ATL in the appropriate class, j/c/d/i but now is this really happening?

  • Indieproducer

    Lately, my roundtrips from JFK-LAX have not been upgrade eligible on Delta like they have been in the past. So those great $308 round trip fares have no upgrade options whatsoever and I don’t see them offered up over the next few months. Are they eliminating them? Is this a push to have people buy the more expensive tickets for that option?

  • Ced

    How do you search for BusinessElite fares? I was targeted for the Gold version, with 50,000 miles, Delta Gold and Skyclub membership. I need to find BusinessElite fares (I understand it’s only a handful of city pairs) but I can’t tell how to specifically find BE. Also pls confirm if a one-way is enough, or if you must do a round trip. To diminish the cost I’d want to book 1 way BE and 1 way back in Economy!

  • Bowserscastle

    I just sent this to delta and was told the award would be fulfilled.
    This message is regarding the recent Platinum Medallion NYC based promotion. I just spoke with Ryan, a Delta customer service representative I reached through the Skymiles Priority help line. After an hour and twenty minutes, we finally determined that I had indeed qualified for the original terms and hence the benefits of this offer. Under the original conditions,

    You need to “purchase and fly one qualifying BusinessElite fare (fare classes J/C/D/I/Z) on a flight offering BusinessElite service within 60 days after enrolling. Qualifying flight must be marketed and operated by Delta. Codeshare flights operated by carriers other than Delta are excluded from this offer.”

    I understand that later an amendment was added requiring that the flight be a specific route,

    “BusinessElite service is limited to the following long-haul international and transcontinental flights: (a) transatlantic, (b) transpacific, (c) transcontinental flights between John F. Kennedy/JFK and Los Angeles/LAX, San Francisco/SFO, and Seattle/SEA, and (d) between the U.S. and Brasilia/BSB, Buenos Aires/EZE, Lima/LIM, Rio de Janeiro/GIG, Santiago, Chile/SCL and Sao Paulo/GRU.”

    I was unaware of this change, and it is not reflected in the promotional materials I received. Additionally, BusinessElite service is NOT in fact limited to these specific routes.

    I booked my Business (I) class ticket on the SLC-DTW leg of my trip from Oakland to NYC Laguardia on March 18. You can see here (http://www.flickr.com/photos/32477538@N03/) that the seat map labels the cabin I am sitting in as BusinessElite (additionally when you purchase a BusinessElite ticket on one of the routes specified above the designation of class is also Business). Given that I will fly this segment within 60 days of signing up for the promotion (and purchased it after I had signed up for the promotion) I should receive the full benefits of the promotion as originally offered.

    I regret that I had to go through the ordeal of clarifying this slightly confusing promotion, but I look forward to continuing my loyalty to Delta as a Platinum Elite member (at least for the next year) once the award is processed.

  • Max

    Delta trying to make a quick buck.

  • Bruce

    I got an offer by mail for Gold status and a 50K bonus, and it clearly says that J/C/D/I/Z classes in BusinessElite are eligible. However, they changed the Terms&Conditions on the website.

  • studd

    To be made whole on this is now just not was offered but the inconvenience and trouble encounted in attempting to get Delta to follow through.

  • Becoming NYC

    Please let us know if they do end up honoring it for you. After talking with several people at Corporate they would not honor it for me even with me sending in proof of the original offer.

  • Max Bilen

    Very useful post. I would also like to know if you end up actually getting the points/extension of status honored.

  • emnyc

    Delta pulled the same nonsense on me. I flew last week first class (code “C”) from ATL – LGA on a business elite flight. I was told over the phone when I booked the flight last month that it would qualify me for the Gold medallion promotion.

    Now they are saying that it only counts for international or transcontinental business elite. Delta moved the goal posts after the fact. I have the original marketing materials from Delta that I received in the mail and it makes no mention that my trip had to be cross country or international. It only had to be a business elite segment in J/C/D/I/Z class.

    I am writing a letter to the Chairman of Delta and will include a copy of the mailer that I received in January. Delta is a disgrace.

  • emnyc

    They would not honor it for me either. I have the original marketing materials and am sending a copy with a letter to Delta’s Chairman, Richard Anderson. Delta pulled a total bait and switch,

  • Lola

    Hi all…same thing happened to me. I filed a complaint with the fed trade commission as well as the NY attorney general’s consumer fraud division http://www.ag.ny.gov/consumer-frauds/Filing-a-Consumer-Complaint

    F Delta! What a sham, dishonorable organization.

  • Dabomb

    Honestly, I think Delta’s initial intention was for the specified pairs only, however some realized that there was a loophole in the T/C as it didn’t specify the routes, so they had to quickly change it.

    Not to justify what Delta has done, and I believe Delta should honor the original T/C for those that registered before the T/C’s were updated, however for those that registered after, you’re agreeing to the T/C’s regardless of what you received in the mail.

    Not sure if this was in the original T/C’s posted on the registration page, but it states Delta may change the T/C’s at any time.

    On another note, a DansDeals forums member took the NYC/ATL flight early on in the promotion and did receive the extension and bonus miles.

    I received the Platinum Med. promotion, I’m not taking chances so I’m flying to SEA direct from JFK, and it cost me $572 OW Business Elite.

    I suggest that you try and find availability for SEA (appears to be the cheapest) and enjoy Plat Med for the year at a cost of $572 (give or take a few $).

  • Jim

    I just booked a JFK-SEA flight on 4/3 in BE for $572……at this moment, there is one seat left at that price. other days are available for approx. $750. Seems like a good deal to me….payoff is 100K miles, Platinum status and Sky Club membership for almost a year.

  • JOwens

    I got the promotional offer in the mail and enrolled 1/23. I called Delta reservations to book a flight biz elite Z-class leg from LGA to RDU on 2/28, and specifically asked would this qualify me for the upgrade & bonus miles. I was put on hold so the rep could double check with someone in promotionals department. They said the flight would qualify me. I booked it. 2 weeks later I call to check on why the miles had not yet posted to my account. I got a new story that the flight had to be out of JFK. After some back and forth about it, they offered me a $100 voucher for my “inconvenience.” Not satisfied. I want the miles and status upgrade that was promised!!!

  • Guest

    If you live in NY State, please see the link below and complete the consumer complaint form for the Attorney General’s office (Eric Schneiderman). He will open a formal investigation if he receives enough of these and I know several people have already sent their forms in. I am going to do the same over the weekend.

    http://www.ag.ny.gov/consumer-frauds/Filing-a-Consumer-Complaint

  • Adam Hitt

    The same exact thing happened to me! My offer was for the Gold Medallion Status, 10 months of sky club, and 50,000 miles. I flew an I class flight from LGA to ATL on March 7, and now Delta’s telling me I don’t qualify. I just found the original document tonight though, so there’s proof that they changed the fine print!

    Needless to say, I’m livid.

    Will be contacting the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau tomorrow.

  • Adam Hitt

    Eric, was your promotion for Gold Medallion? If so, I can send you a scan of the fine print on my offer.

  • Lola

    You should also consider filing with the NY Office of the Attorney General–they have a consumer fraud division. I agree with another poster that if enough of us do so, they will launch a comprehensive investigation.

  • Adam Hitt

    I absolutely will. I don’t think there’s any question that this is unacceptable behavior. I’m just thankful to know that I’m not the only one fighting this! Thanks thepointsguy for making the post!

    Additionally, Am I the only one who thinks Delta should compensate us for the collective hundreds of hours we’ve spent on the phone? I’m extremely dissatisfied with the way Delta has dealt with this situation and I can’t say I’ll be satisfied if they just meet the minimum demand of honoring the promotion they offered us.

  • Lola

    I agree 100%…sounds silly I suppose but this has been time consuming and frustrating. It’s the fairness (or lack thereof) that it so troubling.

  • Aneta Genova

    Thanks for posting this link. I will file too! I still have the original paperwork and the ticket receipt, which shows the LGA-ATL Flight as BE

  • Eric W.

    Just received the below from Delta. The email came within 36 hours of me sending a very detailed complaint letter to one of the execs listed on the Delta website. Despite the hassle of all this, they did come through and honor the promotion, but what a pain it has been getting this resolved

    +++++
    Hello Eric,

    Thank you for reaching out to our Senior Vice President – Europe, Middle
    East, and Africa, Perry Cantarutti. I’ve been asked to respond to you.
    It must’ve been confusing and concerning when you were informed that the ticketed travel you had taken would not qualify for a promotion you had received.

    As a SkyMiles member, you know the service we strive to provide and we
    appreciate your loyalty. I realize that you had enrolled in the NY
    Loyalty Offer and had traveled in order to receive the complimentary 60
    day Platinum Medallion Status. You had stated you received differing
    information on whether the travel you had confirmed and flown qualified
    you for this promotion.

    You’re correct. We had amended the terms of this promotion on February
    13, three days after you had enrolled and ticketed. I’m sorry for the
    different answers you received as a result. I’ve communicated with our
    SkyMiles team and they have honored the promotion as it was original
    viewed. You will notice this update on your SkyMiles account via our
    website.

    We Hear You
    I’ve passed your comments directly to the SkyMiles leadership , so they can consider your experience when making needed changes to improve our service when rolling out promotions.

    Again, Eric, thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. I hope you
    enjoy the benefits associated with the Platinum Status and the comfort
    of the Delta Sky Club lounge. We look forward to serving you better in the months and years to come.

    Regards,

    Gina Rubino

    You Share, We Care

  • Lola

    Wow…great news! Can you please share exactly how you sent your letter-mail?

  • Eric W.

    sent mr. Cantarutti an email from my personal gmail account. My gut says the execs get this all the time and then forward to someone in corp comms / customer service to handle.

  • Lola

    Just checked my gmail…yay!!! I faxed a letter to corporate 2 days ago (and also filed claims with the FTC and the NY Attorney General’s Office). Relived but I will never (ever) deal with this BS again. The email I received follows. They heard us loud and clear!!! Phew. Now we all need to meet for a cocktail :)

    D
    Delta Air Lines
    to me
    19 minutes agoDetails
    Dear Ms. …,

    Thank you for contacting SkyMiles.

    We would like to apologize for any inconvenience you may have endured with the terms & conditions of the 2014 New York Loyalty promotion (970627) for your SkyMiles account xxxxx.

    The Terms & Conditions were not added to our website until mid February 2014, therefore we are going to honor what you were advised by a Delta Supervisor, that your flight on ticket #….. would qualify for the promotion.

    If you sign into your account on our website, you will see the 100,000 bonus miles were added to your SkyMiles account.

    Your Platinum Medallion status is now valid through February 2015. You should be receiving your Platinum Medallion credential packet with in approximately 4 weeks. The packet will include your Platinum Medallion membership card.

    Your Delta SkyClub membership is now valid through January 27, 2015. You may check with a representative in any Delta SkyClub if you have any questions regarding the SkyClub membership terms & conditions.

    Please accept our apology for the unfavorable impression you received in this instance. We appreciate your selection of Delta and will always consider it a privilege to be of service and look forward to assisting you in your future travel needs.

    Sincerely,
    Jeff Toopster
    SkyMiles Support

  • Adam Hitt

    Hey guys!

    Delta just honored their word with me also… took a TON of calls and many hours but, they eventually acknowledged their mistake and apologized. If you haven’t gotten what they promised, don’t give up!

  • Adam Hitt

    Oh, and to be more specific, I called corporate, and explained to them that they changed the fine print AFTER I bought my ticket… so… no argument on their side really!

  • Becoming NYC

    Lola,

    What number did you fax your letter to?

  • Becoming NYC

    Eric,

    Can you share the email address for Mr. Cantarutti?

  • Lola

    404.715.9220

  • Eric W.
  • Becoming NYC

    Thanks! Just got a response back from them and they’ve credited me the 100,00 miles and extended my Platinum status for the next year per the bonus offer.

  • Aneta Genova

    They honored the Platinum status offer for me too! I bought a LGA-ATL BE ticket on Feb 5 and flew on March 5. As long as ticket was bought before Feb 13 they are honoring it. The reply letter wasn’t even personalized. I feel that at this point they have a form they are sending out. Bonus points came through this morning.

  • Bowserscastle

    Looks like im getting the promotion now, but the miles they gave me as a courtesy for my trouble in explaining their own promotion to them have been taken away. That’s my next fight. I will win!!!

  • Guest

    Hi Aneta,
    Glad to hear that Delta did the right thing for you. If you don’t mind me asking, how long between the time you sent your complaint did you receive credit? I haven’t heard back yet and its been three days. Did you email, fax or snail mail your complaint letter?

  • Aneta Genova

    I emailed [email protected] as commented below by Erik W. By their answer it was evident that my email was immediately forwarded to customer support. I sent the email at 1pm last Friday and I hit an answer around 4:50pm on Monday. Considering their corporate offices are closed Sat, Sunday I’d say they answered me within 36 hours. (Just FYI Perry is a woman)
    I also called delta on the main line and asked to speak to a supervisor. There was no help there and I was advised to submit a claim form through the customer complaint delta site. http://www.delta.com/contactus/pages/comment_complaint/
    I did that on Friday around 2pm, but haven’t received a separate answer from them. Not sure if they saw that the matter was resolved or they are really behind on those answers.
    I would have faxed, since you cannot submit any visuals through the website, but waited to see what answers I get first and at the end I didn’t need to.
    Hope that helps.

  • Guest

    This is very helpful information. Thanks Aneta, I sent a fax and will wait one more day. Then I will email Ms. Cantaurutti.

    Thanks again!

  • Aneta Genova

    Good luck! Hope it works out for you too!

  • James

    I had e-mailed Perry last night and received a response from a 980 Exec Request e-mail address stating they would honor the promotion. I had purchased a BusinessElite LGA-ATL flight on 1/31 and flew on 3/8. I was pretty surprised by the quick turnaround.

  • Guest

    Delta credited my account today with the promotion. I never received any response from them, but logged onto my SkyMiles account today and noticed they updated it with the Gold Medallion status through next February plus 50K bonus miles.

    Glad to see they did the right thing I think it also helped that the NY State Attorney General received a lot of complaints about this promotion which may have put pressure on Delta to do the right thing.

  • Aneta Genova

    Excellent news! Enjoy the status and the bonus points!

  • TravelNat

    Same thing happened to me…. Bought a qualifying Business Elite class Z on Feb 14th based on the mailer I received in January. As the offer sounded too good to be true, called Delta before I booked to confirm my ticket qualifies, which they did. Another offer with the new language came by email sometime in February. Traveled from JFK-BOG ($1K roundtrip) but never saw the miles. Plus my Platinum medallion status dropped today as it’s been 60 days. Called Delta Customer Service – they told me that my fare didn’t qualify for the offer because I actually bought an economy discounted fare – the actual statement was: “Although it says BusinessElite on your ticket, because the price was so low, it’s considered Upgradable Economy fare. Real business Elite would run you $2,800″. Wasn’t even sure how to process this absurd statement. They recommended to call Corporate as Customer Service Supervisor can’t do anything. (Phone number 800-455-2720, prompt 1, then 4) After 45 minutes on hold, finally spoke to a Corporate Rep. She asked whether I responded to the offer by mail or by email. When I mentioned that it was a mailer, she said that the fine print on that offer was very vague, so Delta should be honoring it. She open the case for me and told me to keep checking my miles account and if I don’t get Platinum Status and 100,000 miles with a week, call them back. Will wait and see….This is the most horrendous Delta experience ever! I’ve been a loyal member for years and now I’m reconsidering!

  • TravelNat

    Got the miles and status back within 12 hours after the phone call to Corporate.

  • dabojath

    I was also a victim of this bait and switch – until today when I got the 100k miles deposited into my account. I registered for the promotion and flew before the offer was changed. When nothing happened I sent an email in Late February but was told basically “sorry you’re wrong” and was even told that there was no change to the terms!!! Did nothing until last night when I decided to check out this forum and emailed Perry (forwarding them the last response from Delta) and within 24 hours everything was taken care of. Now I have my Platinum status back as well as the 100,000 miles. Thanks everyone!

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