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Top-tier elite status with an airline can get you plenty of perks, from upgrades to better phone service. However, each of the three major US carriers also offers a more exclusive program to its most valuable, highest-spending customers. Today, TPG Points & Miles Editor Sarah Silbert takes a look at one such offering: Delta 360.
Airlines make the requirements for earning elite status — including miles, segments and elite-qualifying spending — quite clear, but the three largest US carriers have a more mysterious level to their programs as well. Details for these ultra-elite status levels aren’t published, but it’s well known that American, Delta and United only extend invitations to their highest-spending customers.
We’ve taken a look at the details of American’s Concierge Key program and United’s Global Services, and now we’ll round things out by examining the top perks of the final equivalent offering: Delta 360. While you won’t find any official information about this program online or anywhere else, we’re bringing you details courtesy of TPG readers who currently are (or were previously) Delta 360 members.
HOW TO EARN IT
As is the case with American’s Concierge Key and United’s Global Services, it’s unclear exactly how much you need to fly and spend to qualify for Delta 360. One member says he received an invitation even when he didn’t have enough MQMs to qualify for Delta SkyMiles Platinum Medallion status. However, Delta likely invited him due to his frequent business travel and relatively high spending given the number of segments flown.
Another 360 member was similarly unsure of what prompted his invitation, though he reported spending to up $55,000 per year on Delta flights with an average of 180-240 segments per year. Interestingly, though none of his spending or flying patterns have changed, he no longer holds Delta 360 “status,” and the airline didn’t provide an explanation when he inquired as to why.
If Delta deems you eligible for its 360 program, you’ll enjoy a handful of perks — some exclusive, and some a bit redundant with the benefits enjoyed by top-tier Medallion members. Keep reading for a rundown of each.
1. Dedicated phone line — Just like American Concierge Key and United Global Services, the Delta 360 program offers members a dedicated desk staffed with agents ready to help with any reservation issues or requests. Delta elites have access to dedicated phone lines (with priority based on status), but you can expect even shorter wait times with the 360 desk. Plus, one member of the program reported receiving a call to notify him of an upgrade to Comfort+ (hardly a groundbreaking benefit, but it’s always nice to get a heads-up).
2. Porsche airport transfers — At select airports including Atlanta (ATL), Los Angeles (LAX), Minneapolis (MSP) and New York-JFK, Delta 360 members with especially tight connections may be picked up directly from their plane in a Porsche and driven across the tarmac to make their next flight. However, some members say this benefit has only been available to them a handful of times, and it appears that it isn’t even strictly limited to Delta 360 passengers; as early as 2011, the airline described this perk as available to “high-value customers,” and a more recent press release indicated that “select SkyMiles Diamond Medallion customers” have access to these luxury transfers.
3. A fancy Champagne gift — You can enjoy a glass of bubbly in Delta One and Delta first class — not to mention the premium cabins of most other airlines — but Delta also has been known to send its 360 members a magnum of Louis Roederer Champagne and Tiffany & Co. flutes. It’s not a travel benefit per se, but who wouldn’t be happy to receive this package in the mail?
4. High upgrade priority — As with American Airlines’ Concierge Key, Delta 360 doesn’t appear to offer any significant advantage over its highest published status (Diamond Medallion) when it comes to upgrades, but at least members get the same priority. That said, reports indicate that when members do receive complimentary upgrades, they tend to clear on the same day of the flight — rarely as early as five days out.
While few of us would turn down a Porsche tarmac transfer or a fancy gift of Champagne and Tiffany & Co. flutes, the Delta 360 program offers a relatively limited selection of benefits to its members. Perhaps the most valuable of the bunch is access to a dedicated support desk of 360 agents who can assist you in the event of delays or cancellations, but overall it’s clear that this program — like American’s Concierge Key — falls considerably short of United’s Global Services when it comes to concrete benefits (with this latter program you can order your onboard meal first and have your companion upgraded from economy to business when you have a business-class ticket).
In some ways, this is good news to other Delta Medallion elites who might feel like they’re missing out — since in reality top-tier Diamond Medallion members largely get similar customer service and a comparable overall experience flying Delta. If you’re currently working toward status on this carrier, make sure to check out the top cards that can help you earn MQMs and offer a variety of elite-like perks. For example, with the Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express (with a $450 annual fee), you’ll earn 10,000 MQMs after signing up, plus up to an additional 30,000 MQMs when you spend $60,000 on the card in a calendar year — and you can even gift those MQMs to someone else if you’ve already reached your desired status level.
Are you a Delta 360 member? Share your experience in the comments below!
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