Delta to Give SkyTeam Elite Plus to Gold Medallions Plus More Planned Enhancements

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Delta recently hosted a bunch of frequent flyers to their Atlanta headquarters for a weekend of fun. Unfortunately I was unable to attend due to a family wedding, but

I heard Delta really pulled out all the stops- including speeches by the CEO and VP of SkyMiles. They also gave away 1 million SkyMiles to a table of 8 lucky attendees who won the trivia game. 125,000 miles each can get you to the Seychelles in business class (as I did this summer using my SkyMiles)!

Anyway- the key enhancements that I heard are coming are:
1) Coming March 1, 2011 Gold Medallion will now be given SkyTeam Elite Plus status. Currently only Diamond and Platinums get SkyTeam ElitePlus, which gives you lounge access to all SkyTeam lounges when traveling internationally and it also gives baggage priority. A nice benefit if you travel internationally on coach fares.
2) Upgrades on Air France are coming. They already announced that System-Wide Upgrades are now available for use on AF (which I love and wrote about here), so now anyone will be able to use miles to upgrade an Air France flight. I’d like to see Medallions eligible for complimentary upgrades when traveling in Europe even though European business class isn’t anything noteworthy.
3) Tightened partnership with Alaska Airlines. Reciprocal upgrades and lounge access to be further strengthened and Delta elites exempt from baggage fees.
4) Tightened partnerships with SkyTeam partners Alitalia and Korean coming up next. I would love to see stronger upgrading opportunities using SystemWide Upgrades and miles.
5) A possible increase in the 3 hour Same Day Confirmed benefit. Other airlines allow their top elites to switch to any other flight on the day of departure, whereas Delta only allows you to confirm to a different flight (as long as its the same departure city and arrival destination) 3 hours before the flight takes off. This is a risky proposition if you try to switch to a later flight and all the sudden it books up and you are stranded.

Overall, not earth shattering changes, but enhancements nonetheless, in my opionion. SkyTeam isn’t the strong alliance in terms of members, but I do like seeing them integrate and add more reciprocal benefits.

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