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In 2009, Delta announced a new top-tier status for its most loyal flyers: Diamond Medallion. But that’s not the actual top of the heap. In addition to published top tiers, like American’s Executive Platinum, Delta Diamond and United Premier 1K, all three carriers offer an even higher level of status, reserved specifically for the biggest spenders.
Delta 360 is Delta’s version of an invite-only, hyper-exclusive service tier. It compares to American Airlines’ Concierge Key and United’s Global Services. Here’s the official description from Delta: “Delta 360° is an annual, invitation-only program for our top SkyMiles Members, offering an exclusive suite of benefits and services even beyond Diamond Medallion Status. An invitation into Delta 360° is based on your overall investment with Delta. If you’re selected to join, we’ll contact you directly.”
Intrigued? Let’s dive in and see what this exclusive status is all about.
How to Earn Delta 360 Status
I caught up with a current Delta 360 member to get a feel for what it took to trigger their invitation and how they’re looking to maintain it in 2019. One Detroit-based member, who hasn’t received word on whether he’ll re-qualify for 2019, received this year’s 360 invite via email in early February. He’s presently sitting at just over 240,000 MQM (with 86,000 of those rolling over from 2017), which were accrued over 43 segments. His MQD count is just north of $42,000. He’s taken six international business trips this year, is a Delta Million Miler and puts “a fairly significant sum” on his Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express.
Despite Delta 360 offering (arguably) the weakest set of perks among the three major invite-only programs, it generally requires the most to get in. A spate of Delta loyalists at FlyerTalk have recently chimed in, with one NYC-based flyer having nearly $90,000 in spend but still lacking a 360 invite. Another based near Huntsville (HSV) has spent nearly $50,000 year-to-date and is also looking in from the outside. A few added data points show that in saturated Delta markets, such as New York and Atlanta, you may need to hit six figures in annual spend to be in the mix for an invitation.
A separate poster explains that Delta looks at more than just overall spend, including how much control you have over corporate contracts that could funnel vast sums of money into Delta’s coffers.
For those who do get the invite, you can look forward to a few extra perks.
Delta Sky Club Executive Membership
If you frequently travel with family or colleagues, or want the ability to spontaneously guest someone into the Sky Club after sparking a conversation on a flight, this is a significant perk. Delta Sky Club Executive membership includes unlimited Club access for the member and up to two guests per visit.
If you wanted to pony up for Executive Sky Club membership, you’d need to pay $845 annually, part ways with 84,500 SkyMiles or pay $75 for 12 monthly installments.
The only other way to procure Executive Sky Club membership for free is to burn two Choice Benefits for Delta’s Diamond Medallion members. Given that Diamond members only receive three Choice Benefits, that’s a steep price to pay.
Dedicated phone line with best-in-class agents
While each of Delta’s published elite tiers (Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond) receive priority phone treatment, with increasingly skilled agents assigned to higher tiers, Delta 360 members are able to dial up what amounts to a personal assistant. Based on feedback from current and former Delta 360 members, the dedicated VIP phone line gives them 24/7 access to the crème de la crème.
These agents are given extra autonomy to cut through red tape and do whatever is necessary to get Delta 360 members out of jams when it comes to irregular operations (IROPS) and weather-related delays/cancellations. They’re also more likely to bend the published rules when members need to make schedule changes or add legs to itineraries.
Greater chance of a Porsche gate-to-gate airport transfer
Delta carefully monitors the travels of its Diamond Medallion members, and if it detects that a member may miss a critical connection agents will work hard to position a Porsche at their arriving gate in order to expedite their transfer to the connecting gate. This service is primarily found at Delta’s large hubs, such as Atlanta (ATL), Detroit (DTW), Minneapolis (MSP), Los Angeles (LAX), Salt Lake City (SLC) and Seattle (SEA).
When it comes to Delta 360 members, however, this monitoring is taken to entirely new heights. They are given Porsche priority when the fleet is at max utilization, and are more likely to receive a courtesy Porsche transfer even when it’s not necessary to make a tight connection.
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?
Higher upgrade priority on Delta flights
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.
Of course, chances are quite good that these travelers are booked into paid first class as it is, so any upgrade perks may not be applicable.
One could expect that the dedicated individuals employed to service Delta 360 members would also go above and beyond when flight plans are thwarted due to schedule changes, weather delays or IROPS, but on paper you’ll see a more robust set of exclusive perks when achieving American Airlines Concierge Key and United Global Services.
In fact, one Delta 360 member told me that he hasn’t felt a huge difference since being elevated from Diamond Medallion, which can be looked at one of two ways: Either Delta isn’t doing enough to celebrate its 360 members, or its top published tier (Diamond) delivers truly exceptional service, making the differentiation between the two tougher.
As a Diamond Medallion myself, I’d say the truth likely lies somewhere in between. I’m consistently impressed with how well I’m treated, particularly giving my relatively small Diamond spend ($17,000 MQDs for 2018), but I’d be angling for a few more Global and Regional Upgrade Certificates at the very least if I ever hit a point where 360 was a possibility.
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.
- Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express (30,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.)
- Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express (30,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 in purchases on your new card within your first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new card within your first 3 months.)
- Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express (35,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card within your first 3 months. Plus, a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase within your first 3 months.)
- Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card (40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months.)
Are you a Delta 360 member? Share your experience in the comments below!
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