Top 10 Reasons Why I Dumped Delta

by on March 4, 2014 · 119 comments

in Delta, Top 10

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I was a loyal Delta flyer (and enthusiast) for years. I had top-tier Diamond Medallion status (and used to love it), I was able to use SkyMiles to fly all over the world, I frequented SkyClubs throughout the US and abroad, I appreciated the (relatively) good service and domestic fleet-wide Wifi, and from time to time, I even found myself defending the program from naysayers. But enough is enough.

With imminent massive award chart devaluations, the implementation of Medallion Qualifying Dollars as another elite status requirement, the restriction of lounge access and a consistent hacking away at elite benefits, when the airline announced that it was restructuring SkyMiles to become a revenue-based mileage program, something in me snapped – and I am now breaking up with Delta!

I'm sorry Delta...we never had much...but what we did...IT'S OVER.

I’m sorry Delta…we never had much…but what we did…IT’S OVER.

In my opinion, these changes are all horrible, but let’s be honest – what’s a break-up if you can’t find a little humor? These images pretty much sum up how I feel about how the airline done me (and everyone) wrong.

1. The constant award chart devaluations: As if it wasn’t hard enough to use SkyMiles before, now even those low-level international business class saver awards are going to take a lot more miles for travel booked for on or after June 1, 2014. Fine – you don’t want me to use my miles, just say so, but don’t lead me on!

Stop the devaluations!!!

Stop the devaluations!!!

2. Cutting back on elite convenience benefits: Elite flyers are your most loyal customers – the ones that fly the most and (even those buying discounted economy tickets for the most part) spend the most on your airline, and the way you treat them is to hack away at benefits like being able to switch flights or find elite upgrade space on ExpertFlyer? A healthy relationship is about going out of your way for the other person, not making them work harder.

Way to step in and pull my seat out from under me Delta!

Way to step in and pull my seat out from under me, Delta!

3. Restricting lounge access: Not only did Delta raise membership prices for its SkyClub from $450 to $695 for a comparable level of membership, but it’s also going to restrict access to a single cardholder of the American Express Platinum cards, as well as its own co-branded Delta Reserve card - one of whose major selling points is lounge access! Are you trying to keep your own club members out?!

Delta is that you speaking? You...don't want to let us in?

Delta is that you speaking? You…don’t want to let us in?

4. Earning based on spending instead of miles flown: Delta just announced a change to the SkyMiles program that means that starting in 2015, you will earn a certain number of miles per dollar spent, instead of earning miles based on how far you fly. That means we’re all going to have to spend a lot more money to earn the same amount of miles as before.

Adios dinero! Off to Delta you go.

Adios, dinero! Off to Delta you go.

5. Yet another hoop to jump through…Medallion Qualifying Dollars: As if flying qualifying miles and segments – and purchasing the airline tickets necessary to do so – wasn’t hard enough, starting this year, Delta is going to require elites to spend between $2,500-$12,500 per calendar year on airfares (depending on their elite level), or $25,000 on a co-branded Delta Amex in addition to flying the necessary miles/segments. Hit the miles requirement, but don’t make enough spend? Too bad, you’ll only get the elite level of the spend you meet. It’s just another hoop to jump through.

Yet another hoop to jump through...Medallion Qualifying Dollars.

Yet another hoop to jump through: the Medallion Qualifying Dollars level feels like a slap in the face.

6. Slashing earning on partner airlines: Delta recently slashed the amount of  Medallion Qualifying Miles flyers earn on many of its partners including Korean Air, and flights ticketed on partners (rather than through Delta) do not even earn MQD’s, which could severely hamper elite status and mileage-earning in the new 2015 program. Why are you punishing us for flying your partner airlines?

Delta, please let us earn miles on our favorite partner airlines!

Delta, please let us earn miles on our favorite partner airlines!

7. No first class awards on partners: Delta also blocks all partner first class awards, so you’ll just have to settle for business class at best. That is, if you can find award space at all.

Delta, has it come to this? Fighting our way into first?

Delta, has it come to this? Fighting our way into first?

8. Terrible website: One of the most frustrating parts of being a Delta flyer is trying to search the website for awards. It’s darn near impossible – pricing out partners awards incorrectly (when it displays them at all), getting frazzled by non-nonstop routing, having a confusing class/calendar display and search, and generally being hard to navigate. Talk about sending mixed signals!

Delta. Seriously. Update your website.

Delta. Seriously. Update your website.

9. No more Medallion transcon upgrades: While upgrades used to be complimentary based on Medallion status, back in December, Delta announced that complimentary upgrades for the transcontinental BusinessElite routes (currently assigned at the gate based on availability) will no longer be a general Medallion benefit. Why are you shunting us to the back of the plane?

Delta, stop being a mean girl and let us get our first class upgrade.

Delta, stop being a mean girl and let us get our first class upgrade.

10. The annual fee on Delta Platinum Amex is going up: It’s not just the Delta Reserve card that’s undergoing a change either. Amex stealthily changed the annual fee on its Delta Platinum card, and it will be shooting up 30% from $150 to a new fee of $195 per year.

Hear that Delta? No thank you. Don't want your increased fee.

Hear that Delta? No thank you. Don’t want your increased fee.

I suspect Delta’s recent announcement was the final push many flyers needed to finally decide to drop the SkyMiles program altogether – I know that was it for me. From now on, I’ll just be burning through my remaining SkyMiles, flying on other carriers, and giving Delta a big, loud “buh-bye.”

And no, I don’t want to be friends!

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

    Here here. We definitely think alike. I’ve rid myself of all Delta cards both personal and business and haven’t looked back. They have just gutted SkyMiles to the ground. No reason you can’t just accumulate Alaska miles and you have more flexibility IMO. Glad to see some humor in the breakup. :)

  • Mark R.

    You forgot to add: my fee on the AMEX Delta Reserve used to be $395 because I also held a $450 per year AMEX Plat. & now that discount is going away & I’m sure that’s Delta’s doing.

  • oldmanpeabody

    Long overdue. Glad you finally saw the light and ditched Delta. Hope you’ll write some future posts about the best ways to burn up those Skypesos, since many of us are in the same boat.

  • peter

    perfect. I agree with everything you said. the others will unfortunately follow.

  • Adam W

    I just worry that Alaska and Delta won’t be able to stay friends… here’s to hoping.

  • Billy

    You’re sure?

  • Have Child, Still Travel

    I’ve been done with Delta for a while, but unfortunately I’m sitting on a bunch of SkyMiles. I need to work harder at figuring out how to use them. My Platinum AMEX SkyMiles card is due for renewal on May 4. Needless to say, I WON’T be renewing that.

  • Justin

    Agreed Adam…especially with the way Delta seems to be reigning everything in and the whole Pacific Northwest battle. At least Alaska has been smart enough to stay somewhat neutral and give us more options for partner awards. I’m going to concentrate most on having Star Alliance/One World options until the AA/US merger really gets shaken out and then I can really compare apples to apples.

  • Keith

    TPG – love the article, but come on – this isn’t BuzzFeed. Your content is too good to need cheap Tumblr gifs. :)

  • j

    totally agree… I leave out of sna. im a dm. i need a recommendation: american or United? what do you think?

  • Amy

    Whose’s to say other airlines won’t follow suit and change to an earnings based on spending, not miles, program? It’s hard for me to jump ship until I know. I’m just Gold on Delta, so #’s 2,3,6,7,9,10 don’t apply to me. I fly internationally so the minimum dollars spent is easy for me to meet. Unless you are a road warrior, I don’t see the Delta gold and silver medallion members jumping ship, especially if they are near a delta hub. Why start all over when all of the airline points are so difficult to use unless you are a very frequent traveler?

  • Allen

    What took you so long? I dumped Delta’s sorry carcass years ago.
    Now I enjoy Platinum for Life with American Airlines. No regrets.

  • sailbear

    I was dedicated from the time of Republic as it was the people that I liked. They were friendly and caring, but now the computer controls everything. Even the employees seem like they no longer care for the company they work for. It is just sad. We all helped build it up and this is what we get for it.

  • Shari

    Agree. But I feel the pain of folks below – I’m sitting on a ton of skymiles and already have 2 long haul flights booked on Delta this year. I’d normally be at gold, but MQD’s are leaving me a silver (and I have platinum now!). We’ll be a USAirways family from 2015+

  • Ed

    Delta’s Pacific NW strategy will now fail with the new Skymiles program as business travelers do not want to be treated badly.
    Alaska MileaPlan has instantly become immensely superior.

  • Matt

    Your best post ever!

    I, too, have dumped Delta (though I’m keeping my “platinum” band until I spend all of my miles). For all of the reasons you’ve listed, as well as for their pathological insincerity and hypocracy.

    1. Delta is the industry leader in moving the goalposts. While I was busy flying my *ss off on their airplanes, they changed from 100,000 to 200,000 to 325,000 the number of miles needed to get to Europe in business class. And it appears that they are set to invent more categoriesYes, there are one or two seats, here and there, that may come available at a lower point level, but they’ll likely require you to take a 5:50am flight to Detroit, and then layover for 10 hours before your int’l flight.

    2. When DL rolled out the new MQD requirements, they insisted that it was a way of ensuring that elite status was, in fact, reserved for those who deserve it. No sooner did I almost buy this load of poop than they began handing out elite status to ANYONE in the NYC and Seattle area who flew a flight or two with them. Way to make me feel special Dela!

  • dee seiffer

    Just finished up the last of my SkyMiles for a Christmas flight for my son. Done and done.Actually nice to have one less puddle of miles to think about.

  • Annalise Kaylor

    I think it depends on where you are, Amy. I’m a GM with Delta and I bailed for Alaska. I fly 98% out of ATL, where everyone has status and most of it far higher than mine. Unless I’m flying to a small city or at an odd hour, upgrades are few and far between. As such, miles for personal travel are my main motivator.

    Now that those have been parsed for 2015, I’ve status matched to Alaska. I’ll continue to earn the miles I want (until Delta yanks that partnership), but at least then, the miles I’ve banked can be used on American or other airlines, as well.

  • Ed

    I already switched to AS. In fact, I got my MVP card in the mail a few weeks ago (but still waiting for my DL silver medallion card)!

  • thepointsguy

    Come on.. let us have a little fun once in a while! It isn’t everyday that I get to use Honey Boo Boo as a post’s main image!

  • Dan Nainan

    TPG, I’ve been a Diamond Medallion member for a few years now. I have flown Delta and its partners to my performances in 21 countries, been whisked from one flight to another in a Porsche at ATL, been met at the gate at JFK and escorted through the fast lane of customs, enjoyed the free Sky Club membership, loved the great customer service from 99.9% of their employees, been so happy that I can switch co-terminal airports and flights at the last minute, and have enjoyed the many, many other benefits of being an elite Delta member.

    I can deal with everything else because it doesn’t really affect me, but if they don’t rescind #4, I’m afraid I’m going to have to find another airline. Fortunately, we have almost another year to see if the other airlines follow suit, but I’m willing to bet that they won’t.

    What on earth are you smoking, Delta?

  • DoneWithDelta

    I can no longer find the page on Delta’s website stating the mileage requirements for Round-the-World tickets. Did they remove it? Do you know where to find this information or how to confirm how many miles are required for economy and business class RTW tix through Delta? While this mileage requirement hasn’t changed with recent devaluations, I’m concerned it will change with the upcoming redemption tier announcement.

  • Andy

    Same here. Goodbye delta. Another diamond member gone….

  • Anne

    The Biscoff are no longer enough!!


    You forgot about, SDC gutting, devaluing Skybonus, word on the street is rollover MQMs are going away next, T-72 miles just gone if cancel, oh Delta DieMiles® – if you die, your miles are GONE, #SkunkyGate – aka bad free beer in Skyclubs.
    At least we still can get Woodford onboad or things would REALLY be bad! ;-)

  • Amy

    Good point Annalise. Alaska won’t work for me with their limited Midwest and East Coast options…very frustrating.

  • whrobb

    Last year was the first year I hit PM. I’ve never actually flown on the airline since I hit the milestone… and I won’t be any time soon. Good riddance.

  • Hunter

    I enjoyed you mixing it up with few cheap gifs. Seemed fitting for a “break-up” …

  • GSection

    I dumped Delta years ago when I told them I thought they had a great airline but wow the economy seats were horrendous, couldn’t they at least add some type of headrest? I received a form letter stating that this is what their customers wanted and it was the industry standard.

    I’m now flying Oneworld with BA and AA as well as most of the people in my company.

  • jefferson jef

    Do you really think Delta cares? In your LIFE, how many money have you spent on Delta? $10K? maybe $25K? Substantially all your flying on Delta was on miles or cheap fares. A lawyer/banker/CEO/CFO doing 1 r/t JFK to LHR per quarter generates $64K/year for Delta. A tech executive doing 1 r/t JFK/SFO per month generates $53/year for Delta. These people generate all of Delta’s profits and then some; they probably lose money every time you fly them given your fares/miles. You think you’re a big spender on Amex? Not really important. Amex pays Delta around $700m each year; small change given $38bn of revenue. Delta would be happy to keep you around to generate revenue, but also entirely happy to lose your loss-making business.

  • Gary Arndt

    I ditched Delta last year and haven’t flown on a Sky Team airline since (almost 100 flights).

    Everything is now Star Alliance or OneWorld.

    While I keep accounts in every major alliance for when I have no control over ticket purchases, I’m considering just getting an account with KLM or something.

  • Teej

    Completely agree, just switched to AA and I can say that it is MUCH better already. BYE DELTA.

  • Sesp Person

    I encourage everyone to contact Delta (identify yourself as a SkyMiles member) and reiterate TPG’s complaints. ALSO — please send your comments regarding your disgust for Delta TO YOUR LOCAL AIRPORT. In my case, Little Rock is trying to build itself as a modern airport with the coolest airlines. Dissing Delta will make an impression on them.

  • Chris

    The Points Guy: With all of the recent negative talk around frequent flier programs (most notably Delta), which airline(s) do you recommend to start building status for someone who has NY as their hub?

    I am going to have to start traveling more for business and Delta/Sky Team was the clear choice for me since I travel to the Netherlands for business about 3x per year. The other main routes I will also be flying are NY to DFW, NY to MIA/FLL, and NY to LAX/SFO. Not sure which airline would be best any help is greatly appreciated.


  • Sesp Person

    Can anyone provide some email address for Delta corporate leaders? I advocate that we put some teeth into our collective complaints by not just talking among ourselves, but making sure the top guns know we mean business (or rather, we mean to pull our business).

  • MiamiDreamz

    I enjoy the gif’s…especially HoneyBooBoo haha. If there’s such a
    backlash, why would they do it? Will Delta really lose a ton of loyalty
    or is Delta figuring people are just huffing and puffing?

    I get a
    lot of American Express Rewards points, and Delta is super easy to
    transfer points to and find flights, albeit for really high points

    If someone uses American Express Rewards points often and
    wants to stop using Delta, I find the major airline alternatives not
    nearly as convenient. One could transfer to BA, but there is serious
    lack of availability domestically on AA or partner airlines to Europe.
    At least Delta will have availability if you’re willing to pay a lot of
    points. Also, one could transfer to Aeroplan, but again the availability
    to fly domestically on United or to Europe is lacking.

    What to do, PointsGuy?

  • Ken

    I had to type (‘img’).hide() in my javascript console to enjoy this post.

  • Sherm

    Most people who care about this mile game have LONG dumped Delta. They seem to be doing great without them. The majority public just feel good and think “I fly and get free flights!” Time to dump Delta miles, and buy Delta stock.

  • Mehul Sheth

    Agree, but THERE IS NO VIABLE ALTERNATIVE! I have no doubt that United/American will follow suit-I’m just preparing for a world where purchasing an airline ticket is just that-an agreement to get me from one place to another without promise of anything beyond that…no wonder Spirit is growing faster than pretty much every other airline…

  • Ian

    Excellent article!!! I called Delta yesterday to lodge my complaint and the customer service representative told me that I should write in to complain, but they had changed the programme based on customer feed back!!! I told the lady that was interesting as I have not read one positive comment, not even from diamond members. I , too, will be changing. Am also fed up with every flight I take going thru ATL!!

  • Derf

    I too have now dumped Delta

  • janakj

    Your examples are not very good. Bay Area tech executives pretty much all fly United, not Delta, since SFO is a captive hub. And JFK-LHR is dominated by American and BA.

    In fact, your use of JFK isn’t great, as it’s a competitive hub for Delta and American, and United has transcons and partner flights out of JFK (and the massive hub on the other side of the river which isn’t fragmented between two different airports in Queens). Speaking of which, the combined AA/US will also have a LGA presence that will rival Delta for many destinations.

    It’s one of the few hubs where frequent fliers *can* switch, and easily. Your argument would be better if you used ATL.

  • UrbanPhoenixInjunCAM

    One more year as a Silver Medallion and enough SkyMiles for roundtrip to Hong Kong and Tokyo. Then I am done with Delta.

  • janakj

    Your only other practical options are American, JetBlue and United.

    American has hubs at JFK/LGA, DFW, MIA, LAX and will be flying their new planes to SFO, so you’ve got nonstops to all of your destinations, and frequent at that. The only downside here is that AA dominates DFW and MIA, so their NY-DFW/MIA flights may be less competitively priced at times. Other than that, it’s a decent choice (and it’s what I fly). Of course, this all depends on what shakes out of the AA/US merger.

    JetBlue flies from JFK to FLL, LAX and SFO but not DFW nonstop. They do have more legroom in their economy section but no first-class (yet; they will later this year to LAX and SFO). Their international partnerships are slim (although they do have Emirates) and they have a points system, not a miles system. However, a lot of folks like JetBlue.

    United mostly makes sense if you prefer to fly out of EWR; they have a massive hub there that flies pretty much everywhere. From there they should have nonstops to all your destinations. From JFK they only have nonstops to SFO and LAX. Their mileage program, while hacked down a bit, is still pretty good, especially on UA metal.

  • janakj

    SNA is a small airport, so it depends on where you need to fly to nonstop. The tl;dr is that United has more destinations (although Alaska is an AA partner), so it ultimately depends on which ones you need.

  • RobertBarron

    Yes, but bear in mind that most flyers have choices as far as which airline they can/will fly; and no business helps itself in the long run by making itself less attractive per se. You give examples of lawyers/bankers/tech executives generating X amount of revenue and profits, but as a lawyer myself, I can tell you that any person also wants to perceive value (both immediate and long-term) from their spending and other economic activities.

    And you don’t need a law degree to realize that. That’s common sense.

    When any business makes it harder to earn elite status, redeem miles for awards, or earn miles in the first place, etc, etc, etc, that business is not working to ensure long-term loyalty among it’s customer base.

    Frankly, if I was an executive in the FF miles/loyalty program at United, AA, or Southwest, I’d be greeting Delta’s announcements with whoops of joy; because I’d see an opportunity to go after all of their disaffected customers.

    I’d like to see how this works out for Delta; not three or six months from now, but four or five years from now.

  • Santastico

    I hate Delta but based at MSP I have no other choice unless I want to connect to get to my final destinantions. Most of my business flights are to places that only Delta flyes non-stop from MSP and that saves me a lot of time that I can spend with my family rather than at a lounge in some airport. One interesting point is that people say they are dumping Delta but on my last 4 flights in the last 2 weeks all flights were oversold and people were getting vouchers to take a later flight. Thus, Delta is not worried about peple dumping them since there will always be enough people to fill their planes. If I ever move to another city with an airport hub that is not Delta I will switch in a heartbeat.

  • Marnie

    Bay Area and Los Angeles executives primarily use United and/or American, Delta barely registers on the map. And I would say that is the general consensus for most West Coast travelers unless they are flying to the Midwest or Atlanta.

    I am a recruiter and fly often, I’ve only used Delta for a personal visit to Minnesota.

  • peter

    just got 3 tickets to Santiago. all just to ditch cards/points.. between virgin atlantic (they are worthless) and their bff delta, nothing else was open. now, what does one do in Santiago?

  • Trae Stewart

    BAH! Love, love, love it! Just needs a RuPaul clip and you’re all good. ;)

  • DavidYoung2

    The others may follow, or they may just follow Delta’s demise as it’s most frequent flyers abandon it in droves. If this turns into an unmitigated disaster for Delta, they’re unlikely to follow.

    BTW, the flight I normally book on Delta through SLC to Boise? Yesterday I booked on Southwest through LAS. Can’t wait to visit the Centurion Lounge in Las Vegas — and my business partner won’t have to stand in the hallway like he would in SLC if we had flown Delta. Delta lost $874.00 from me…..

  • Lynda Carswell

    Read this entry, and decided to burn my Delta miles. Yeah right, I’m small time, 29,000 miles, thought I’d be able to use it for a one way domestic flight. Nope, 40,000 miles to fly one way SNA to SFO. Good by Delta….

  • LMP

    I want to dump Delta, but with my habbit of AMEX use, and my home airpot being Atlanta (a Delta hub) it is SO hard to find another airline to use. Any suggestions? Perhaps you could do a post on alternatives to Delta and AMEX for folks in hub cities!

  • John

    Anyone know if RTW award redemptions are going to change? (currently 280k to sit up front)

  • David Emerson

    Ha! I just tweeted this exact question / suggestion to @thepointsguy:disqus. I too would like to see some suggested strategies for the ATL dwellers like myself. Can I just status match to Alaska, book through Alaska, and fly the same flights I would have taken anyway on Delta metal? What is the downside?

  • Noel

    I’m a tech executive that flies between NYC/SF/LA at least 6-10 times a year not including all over the country (50-75 MQS). My company almost exclusively requires us to use Delta however, our ticket prices are capped at $700 R/T meaning all of the executives must adhere to the policy of purchasing economy tickets.

    On top of the Delta airline spend i generate about $50-$60K spend on my Delta Amex (Reserve and Biz Plat) each year, while spending $$$ on CSP, and AMEX Premier Gold.

    I’m happily looking at AA and United, i’ve got Ultimate Rewards miles that are accumulating and being NYC based i have options galore. I’m going to make PM by May (thanks rollovers) and hold onto that until 2016 while garnering valuable miles on AA or United. In the meantime i’ll book a bunch of rewards tickets for myself and the wife in Economy Comfort (i don’t care for Business Elite and its crappy miles requirements) and try to use my hundreds of thousands of SkyPesos. Bye Delta!

  • amateurflyer

    Delta may not care about the TPG, but I’m sure Delta cares about me.

  • jefferson jef

    I don’t mean to be mean, but if you’re spending $700 r/t for transcon, you’re probably only marginally profitable to the airline, if at all.

  • jillian thompson

    Why is no one talking of the United Airlines’ recent changes: Revenue based Mileage Plus program and devaluation of miles for tickets on UA and partners airlines? Slowly but surely the industry is taking a different look at their loyalty programs. AA is still a good program respectful of its frequent flyers. But for how long? I am an Ex Plat. since 2008 but if AA is switching to a revenue based frequent flyer program I am getting used to the idea of not belonging to any program and be very opportunist when it comes to selecting my carrier for a particular destination. I will take into account the best departure or arrival times, best travel times or connecting airport and taking most importantly the best airfares or promos. So I am watching very carefully what’s going on right now as the future of airline loyalty programs is at stake.

  • Ray S.

    Thanks for expressing my thoughts so eloquently.

  • Seth

    What a sad time for us frequently fliers. While it’s easy to focus on Delta, my fear is that other airlines are going to start to look more like Delta. Maybe JetBlue or another less obvious carrier will overcompensate and improve their program as a result. I don’t care about first or business; I just want quick access through security and an economy plus seat.

  • nsant

    Every time I call Delta, they “congratulate” me on being Silver Medallion, yet every time I board a plane I am in Zone One, which seems to contain at least half the passengers. Silver Medallion status seems about as “statusy” as handing me a set of kiddie plastic wings.

  • Bart verbeke

    As a Diamond Medallion Member I only get my status via flying international in the back of the plane (often deep discounted tickets), so I will feel the pain from next year onwards. On Top 10 list I like to add: if you fly on KLM-Air France you will see on preferred seats but the moment you book your flight, all disappear and you can only get regular seats (often only middle seats available). You need to call the reservation desk, request your preferred seats and wait till reservation agent gets confirmation of your new seat assignment from KLM – Air France (which can take 48 hours). Oh by the way when you log back in on, you will never be able to see this preferred seat request. Really Delta is this what we call a SkyTeam partnership for your high flyers??

  • jamiejones

    amazing post! i just canceled my delta skymiles amex card yesterday (it’s up for renewal on Friday) and will use my miles for one final flight and say goodbye forever. they are some of the greediest. they should merge with comcast.

  • Brian C. Lee

    “Why is no one talking of the United Airlines’ recent changes”

    Maybe because the changes, while bad, were made months ago?

  • Ranka

    The Amex money is far from small change… it’s almost pure profit! (Unlike the rest of an Airline which is very difficult to make a profit.) Most award seats that are redeemed would have gone empty anyways.

  • Ranka

    Yeah, zone one is ridiculous. All medallions + all SkyTeam elites + all Economy Comfort + all Delta credit card holders (which they push pretty aggressively for all pax, advertising “priority boarding”)

  • honeyboo-soright-sowrong

    agreed. And TPG’s use of Honey-Boo-Boo “not thanks” video truly expresses so many complexities of my sentiment of Delta.

    Good bye Delta. I hope you are listening. Otherwise, you will find that turd polishing will provide you a very lingering, slow death… and I hope that US taxpayers don’t bail you out.

    FU, Delta, and the horse you road in on.

  • die

    Delta will die now. I hope my taxes don’t pay for their bailout.

  • Mike

    Reason #11 … The BIGGEST reason of all to dump Delta is….

    That the recently announced changes are just the beginning of those that have yet to come. To all (except perhaps those who still believe in the tooth fairy), it is obvious that Delta’s real end game is to transition to a 100% REVENUE/DOLLAR-based incentive program, whereby you earn points for the dollars you spend and those points can then be redeemed at a fixed rate for award travel. The first part was just announced; the other is just around the corner.

    To those who say “why switch though…American and United are just going to follow suit”, I say why not stay with job that underpays you, the restaurant that doesn’t honor your reservation or the boyfriend who beats you….I’m sure the next one is just going to do the same.

    Seriously, the ONLY reason that United or American WOULD follow suit is if Delta MAKES MONEY with this move. You and I, and everyone else who is feeling burned by Delta have the power here. If we change our buying habits and our loyalty en masse, then this will be a very unprofitable move for them.

    Unfortunately for us, Delta is patiently changing their program one piece at a time– devaluing their award chart, implementing MQD requirement, adding a credit card requirement for smaller spenders to maintain their status, booting guests out of their lounges, increasing the (bullsh*t) fees that were once waived for medallions, increasing the annual fees on the credit cards that are now required in order to be loyal medallion, devaluing their award chart again, reducing the number of miles most people earn per flight, etc.– so that people don’t realize that the multiple cuts they are getting are, in fact, bleeding them to death. The good news here is that you and I, by going elsewhere with our business may get to have the final say. If these decisions end up costing Delta as many customers and as many dollars as it should, you can be sure that UAL and AA will NOT follow them down this rabbit hole. Again, Delta is counting on you to not count your paper cuts. Don’t let them win.

    To those who say that it sounds “fair enough” that Delta would want to go to a FULL revenue-based program. After all, jetBlue and Southwest have had such a program for some time. To this, I would highlight the following differences:

    1. First, and foremost, jetBlue and Southwest have never pretended to offer aspirational awards, whether it be a coach trip to Cancun or a business class flight to Australia. Delta has always pretended that these were attainable, even as they continue to put up impediment after impediment between us and these awards. In short, jetBlue and Southwest have been clear and respectful of their customers. Delta continues to dupe theirs.

    2. Virtually every seat on a jetBlue plane is already the near-equivalent of premium economy seat (a perk reserved for “good” medallions, and lesser medallions with a few dollars in their wallet), while seats with even more legroom are available for a very modest, up-front fee. Ditto, priority security. Ditto, priority boarding.

    3. jetBlue and Southwest don’t charge for a checked bag. This isn’t a perk for their best flyers who choose to fly with them week in and week out. It’s free for everyone. Everyday. Respect for their customers. Not a load of hooey.

    4. On routes these airlines share with Delta, their prices are consistently lower. While the “business” traveler that Delta has been lasciviously courting may, at times, be less price sensitive, and their companies may be willing to pay a few more dollars to allow them to fly on their preferred airline, a majority of leisure travelers and a large number of business travelers go where the value is the greatest. With Delta whittling away the benefits of the SkyMiles program and with their ultimately move to a full pay-to-play model, then the value equation for many is going to change.

  • Beck

    Look for the petition on

  • -

    Delta knows it’s pushing customers away; it’s positioning itself to be a “boutique” airline. But with Skymiles devaluing faster than Zimbabwean dollars I doubt even ballers will tolerate their endless abuse.

  • Indieproducer

    How do we burn DELTA MILES? #tpg ? can you give us an example?

  • Rocker

    Love the P diddy and honey boo boo

  • Alex

    Goodbye Delta, Hello Alaska!

  • kimpossibble

    But now what? American is a risky bet with the merger, and United is consistently terrible. I live in NYC, where Delta has a stranglehold on routes and fares. What’s a status obsessed girl to do?

  • kimpossibble

    Silver on Delta is virtually worthless. However, as other airlines also move toward a 4 tier system, I don’t see any viable alternatives on other carriers.

  • RB7

    I love the change. Finally, I get to earn miles based on dollars spent instead of distance flown. It makes WAY more sense… Why should a person who takes one trip to China get as many miles as I earn in 10 trips? The people who get miles should be those who fly a lot and are profitable to the airline. Unfortunately, even though I fly a lot, I fly short distances and thus have measly miles. I can’t wait for 2015. I am truly pumped about this change… Delta is the only airline that appreciates people like me: the road warriors who fly expensive, short-distance flights.
    A good example of why the old system is broken: Two weeks ago, I flew Delta from Atlanta to Charlotte for $960. Yes, $960 for a flight that was 32 minutes long. My company had to get me there, so they paid it. And I got the minimum miles since the distance is so short. Meanwhile, a flight to certain destinations in Europe were also about $960 that week, and those fliers got way more miles than me. How is that fair? My flight was actually more profitable to the airline (less gas used, quicker plane turnaround time, etc). Yet they got more miles for their next vacation while I got 500 miles (aka, nothing).
    I hope all airlines make this change, because then I will have more choice of airlines. In the meantime, I’m 100% a Delta devotee. Wondering who gave the Delta customer service line the feedback that they wanted this change? Fliers like me!

  • Josh Cabrera

    You might have been better off booking a flight to a different city with a layover in ATL and purposely missing your second leg if you wanted to save money.

  • RB7

    I live in Atlanta.

  • RB7

    And I guess I also should have mentioned – I didn’t need to save money, because it’s the company’s money and the company chooses whether or not to spend it to send me places. I would just like to get a reasonable number of miles for the money spent!

  • Josh Cabrera

    Sorry, I misread as CLT to ATL, and that’s a terrible attitude about to have about your company’s money.

  • RB7

    So I should call my company’s travel department or my boss and argue with them that there can’t possibly be a business need to have me in Charlotte that day? That’s ridiculous. It’s a completely appropriate attitude to have. Like most people traveling for work, I don’t make the reservations.
    The point is that the new system rewards people like me – the short range frequent fliers. Yay!

  • jefferson jef

    Delta Diamond here, always buy F class fares. Super thrilled with the changes. — A Profitable Delta Customer

  • Eric

    Don’t spend a lot of time in Santiago. Valparaiso is less than 2 hours away and it’s really nice. Near Valparaiso are a string of seaside towns.

  • Susakajo


  • DBest

    Redeem them on partners. Alaska domestically is one way to stick it to them, I did LAX-SEA-ANC and back with a stopover in Seattle for 25k.

  • Not Jef

    This is getting strange, with all the one-liner Delta fans. Some publicist firm that Delta is hiring to spew crap all over the web?

  • Paul

    Perhaps a petition to other airlines to start serving ATL, and a letter to the federal government asking for more competition in ATL (e.g. Delta has stalled another ATL airport from opening up).

  • oo9

    Understood, but shouldn’t you save your ire for Delta, who defends it’s ATL hub and doesn’t allow competition? That’s the reason you (and your company) are paying the outrageous fare in the first place.

    By the way, is there any way (not that I’m doubting you) that you can verify you’re an actual person and not working for Delta or their PR agency. It’s a little strange to hear that your company doesn’t care about $$.

  • Ed

    I dumped my Delta Amex card last year because of their “required round-trip” award mileage redemption policy. I’ll never understand why Delta insists on charging 25,000 miles for a one-way domestic flight when the competition charges half that; the policy has resulted in me ignoring Delta options when I look to purchase air travel.

  • Charles

    This sums up quite nicely how disconnected the Delta execs (fly coach sometime in your own cramped planes, where you can’t even fully open your laptop) are from their customers. I hope SW, Virgin, and American kick the living shit out of them. This, from a soon to be former, elite business flyer who flies 50 weeks out of the year. Glad to take that business elsewhere…..

  • Andy

    I just saw that AMEX will now start charging $55 for what used to be a free Delta Amex card. I’ve been a member since 1983. No more.

  • r

    How does Delta have a stranglehold in NYC? Between EWR, LGA, and JFK you have nearly every single airline represented. B6, AA, UAL are the ones I fly consistently… AA will be busy with the merger for the next year or two, so I wouldn’t expect any changes from them so they seem like a pretty safe bet to me.

  • TwoCoasts

    I have written a letter to the CEO of Delta (and CCed with a special handling letter to the CEOs of American and United) stating I am a diamond leaving Delta with a sour taste in my mouth with many examples. I might suggest you post names and addresses who we all can send letters to get the maximum effect. If they don’t get a flood of letters at the big airlines, the marketing people at AA and United may act quickly to match. If they receive stacks of letters showing how upset Delta folks are, they may change their calculus to ‘we’ll take em(customers)’ rather than ‘we’ll match em (Delta’s new program).’”

    You would be astonished by how many managers at Delta are unaware of the changes. I was on a Delta flight to KEF when the VP who runs the MSP base overheard me complaining to the purser in 1st about these mounting changes. He was completely in the dark about this and referred me to a medallion rep in Atlanta.

    Your article plays to us, the traveling public. This VP never heard of you (or anyone similar) because his family flies 1st anyways for nickels. Unless the people at Delta, AA and United sense a mutiny, it will get worse. Please post who and how we can send our ‘love’ letters. I don’t know who is in charge of the medallion program or who made the decisions. I have a spoiled fish and some newspaper for them. Thanks.

  • TwoCoasts


    I have written a letter to the CEO of Delta (and CCed with a special handling letter to the CEOs of American and United) stating I am a diamond who is leaving and why. I might suggest you post names and addresses who we all can send letters to get the maximum effect. If they don’t get a flood of letters at the big airlines, the MBAs at AA and United may act quickly to match. If they receive stacks of letters showing how upset Delta folks are, they may change their calculus from ‘we’ll match em (Delta’s new program)’…to…’we’ll take em.’ I get the feeling many have given up and are willing to except what they believe is the inevitable. Coke tried it once. It only changed through outrage.

    You would be astounded by how many managers at Delta are unaware of the changes. I was on a Delta flight to KEF when the VP who runs the MSP base overheard me complaining to the pursor in 1st about these mounting changes. He was completely in the dark about this and referred me to a medallion rep in Atlanta.

    Your article plays to the traveling public. This VP never heard of you because his family flies 1st anyways. Unless the people at Delta, AA and United sense a mutiny, it will get worse. Please post who and where we can send our ‘love’ letters. Thanks.

  • Ralph Van

    Now you need to remove the delta credit card links from the site so no one accidentally signs up for them.

  • BBallFan69

    I live in ATL, so Delta is my hometown airline. Therefore I have to play devil’s advocate.

    While I’m not a big fan of the many changes, like the requirement to achieve $12.5k MQD’s for Diamond Status next year. Especially, since bulk tickets (travel agents / websites), and tickets purchased on “” don’t count towards MQD’s status, yet our company travel dept. insists on buying these tickets.

    Maybe these changes will help thin-out the ranks of Diamond Medallion. I heard from a Delta Rep, that there are almost as many Diamond’s as there are Platinum’s. It makes for crowded lounges in ATL, where you can’t even find a seat, and it makes for unlikely upgrades on popular routes out of ATL. It amazes me that as a Diamond, “since the inception of this new top tier”, that I was 10th on the upgrade list on my flight from ATL to SFO this past week. All of us fighting for 3 seats in biz class on the day of travel.

    Delta has made some improvement to the lounges in ATL (A & F concourse only), with better food options. I don’t really care much for the alcohol.

    So for those of us who are stuck in ATL on Delta, we have to make the best of these changes.

    The best change for me would be a thinning of the Diamond ranks.

    Bye Bye to all the faux Diamond Medallions earning status with opening two and three credit cards each year, or what ever “hocus pokus” used to achieve faux status.

  • driven01

    Boarding by row always made far more sense to me.

  • driven01

    I switched to AA. I’ll need some connections. Not perfect, but I’ll be darned if I’m going to keep pumping money into Delta after this.

    Alternatively, I could use two airlines for domestic / intl like I used to do with Delta & NWA back in the day. Perhaps Southwest domestically and KAL or another airline for my International flights.

    For for now, I’m giving AA a try. (and heck, with the connections, I get more miles.) An extra 2 or 3 hours in travel won’t make that much of a difference to me when I always fly out the night before to avoid the ATL crowds.

  • driven01

    The MQDs are easy to meet. But you are likely to get far less rewards on your International flights than you get now. If you don’t care about redemptions later, then this doesn’t affect you.

  • driven01

    I achieved Diamond all in flight miles. I also live in ATL. Yes, I’ll need connections now, but I’m done with Delta.

    I do suspect you’ll have plenty of room in the lounges now. Very exclusive I’m sure.

  • jillian thompson

    Not really months ago. All the game changed (as far as redeeming miles) on Feb 3….

  • deltasegmentflyer

    No longer required in 2015.

  • Robert Johnson

    There could be an upside to all of this. Delta’s devaluation of rewards may afford them the resources to buy ticket folders again. Oh yes, and hot towelettes for first and Killians Red…And the list goes on. Nah, that would mean Delta would need to make concessions. I went from 150K to 0 miles per year on Delta in 08. The funny part is I really don’t miss that slap in the face (wallet) approach to business. Great business model – turn your best and most loyal customers against you. Shareholders will love this revenue move until Delta becomes gramps and granny airways serving Detroit to West Palm Beach.

  • Brian Werner

    Wife and I have around 100K each Delta miles each – enjoyed DFW-FRA last summer so much that we thought we were getting on the Delta train! Got the Amex to get Silver Status…and since then have been continually disappointed.

    Were just looking to book SLC-ATL for an upcoming trip and saw that the business elite service was offered – was going to book a Y fare and enjoy our status upgrade…then saw that no upgrades on Business Elite! Thinking about just cashing in 80K miles for BE and being done with DL…

  • Matt

    Great article. I too have flown Delta for years and have been a part of the Medallion program the entire time. I have decided to give my remaining miles to charity. So long Delta. You really screwed this one up big time.

  • Coco

    I recently started a new job and it looks like my routes/destinations will involve a lot of Delta/Air France flights. I haven’t flown either of these airlines in over 10 years, and have neither a Delta nor an Air France FF account. I see that the TPG has recommended using an Alaska account to earn miles as they are worth more. Is anyone else doing this with success? Any advice, TPG?

  • ronswanson

    Unlike all of you apparently I fly Delta because I actually like then aircraft, routes, airports, design, and service they offer. I honestly dont really care about their skymiles crap, but I’m loading upmon miles so someday when I’m 90 or whatever I could redeem them if I wanted to. I don’t get why people freak out about this kind of stuff. Just be happy that you got from point A to B in one piece, and actually try to enjoy the flight, not worrying about how much you can milk from the airline. You all should be ashamed…. -.-

  • Matt

    I see that I am responding behind someone else named “Matt,” however I am a different person. Regardless, I agree completely. In short, have been an INCREDIBLY LOYAL customer for decades. Ridiculously loyal. Loyal to a FAULT. And now, I say without regret, I am DONE. No more. When I look for flights now, I search for just about any other airline. I am finding myself going out of my way to avoid booking a flight with them, and will continue to do so. I know I am not alone, as many of my friends are saying the same thing.

    Bye Delta. You are nothing but a memory to me now.

  • Not Jef Either

    who buys F fare when A or P is available, anyway

  • Brett

    The reasons for dumping them are serious, and I could do without the silly clips……I think they really believe that customers are made to be bent over, so I too am done with them after all the crap they’ve pulled over the past few years…….

  • yuv

    Great Post! I agree with everything.
    I’m a Gold Medallion member, can I move to another airline and keep my status? please advise

  • AJ

    I just cancelled my Delta Platinum Am Ex as I don’t travel enough to justify the $100 increase in the annual fee from $95 to $195. The carrot they offered was 12,500 bonus miles to keep the card, saying they were worth $400. That paltry offer in concert with their reward redemption devaluation was just a slap in the face. Despite my excellent credit and being a cardholder for 13 yrs, loyalty is clearly only one-way with Delta. So long Delta!

  • Silver Surfer

    I have decided to dump Delta for the reasons described above as well as the changes to the “same day confirmed” benefits. Delta does not seem to realize that their level of greed led to their bankruptcy. I expect to see them in bankruptcy court again…

  • Scotto

    As a business traveler, I can say you’ve got it completely wrong. For work, I can about any airline I like. My employer pays for business class. For this patronage, I gather points which I use for flying the family on vacation, those one or two times each year I’m allowed such an event.

    I certainly don’t want my relaxing trip to white sand and clear water starting off by wedging into an economy seat, to 1 of 6 destinations that Delta offers without a layover (I can only take 4 days away from the office and sure as hell won’t spend it in the DTW/ATL lounge).

    A first or business class awards ticket from LAX to Tahiti is enough to make me look a bit more for that Delta flight when I have to visit a client on a days notice.

    I suspect Richard Anderson will squeeze cash out of this company every way he can, pushing the stock price up in the short term, before taking his turn-around accolades and cashed-in options to a new project, just before the shares begin to slump from these short-sighted decisions. With only 5% of his total 2012 compensation coming from salary and the rest tied to stock performance (according to Forbes), who can blame him?

  • Alex T

    Just another name on the stream, I dropped Delta recently as a Diamond because of the transcon upgrade issue. Been with United now for a few months and find it horrible. Looking into Virgin America now.

  • Matt

    Agree. Spend $30-40K per year and am looking forward to the changes.

  • nocmas

    Here is the bottom line: the TRUE frequent flyers, the ones who actually made Delta’s FF program what it is today, are the ones who are getting screwed. The guy who cheats and travels to China twice a year thus earning undeserved elite status, is not a true loyal customer. In my best year, 2010, I logged 235,000 miles…all domestic. Yeah. Domestic. And what do I now get for that loyalty? Jet Blue I guess. 235,000 bitches. Impressive, huh?
    Signed, a sad Platinum flyer. Been fun. Good luck Delta. You’ll need it.

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