How Delta Should Enrich SkyMiles Medallion Program

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We saw American Airlines announce American Airlines AAdvantage Elite Choice Rewards, as a way to reward Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum flyers who earn the status. It’s likely we’ll see Delta make some temporary additions to Choice Benefits for 2021, such as giving both Platinum and Diamond Medallions for those who qualify.

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, airlines have eliminated most change fees and award redeposit fees, which used to be a perk for elite members. Well this is great news for everyone, it does devalue elite status. We’re going to take a look at some new benefits Delta Could Implement to Enrich the SkyMiles Medallion Program.

Delta Should Make the Following Changes to its SkyMiles Medallion Program:

  • Allow Cabin to Cabin Same-Day Confirmed for Gold, Platinum and Diamonds
  • Allow for Same-Day Standby for Medallions + 1 Companion
  • CLEAR Membership for Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Medallions
  • 2 Global Upgrades as Platinum Medallion Choice Benefit
  • Complimentary Gogo WiFi for Diamond Medallions

I) Allow Cabin to Cabin Same-Day Confirmed for Gold, Platinum and Diamonds: Year ago, Delta allowed Same-Day Confirmed to be based on cabin availability rather than fare class. Delta switched to make the fare class requirement in place, however I’d like to see this switched back to cabin availability. Let’s say you’re flying from Atlanta to White Plains to see your family and you’re booked on a 6pm flight and have been upgraded to First Class based on your status, but want to change to the 4pm flight and your “T” fare isn’t available, right now you’d only be able to request to go standby on that earlier flight. If you do clear at the gate you wouldn’t be eligible for an upgrade to First Class. Bringing back Same Day Confirmed based on cabin availability would be a huge perk for Gold, Platinum, and Diamonds, especially with all the flexibility that Delta has offered to everyone else.

II) Allow for Same-Day Standby for Medallions + 1 Companion: If you hold Delta Gold, Platinum, or Diamond Medallion status, you’re able to take advantage of Delta’s Same-Day Standby on the day of travel, however this benefit only applies to yourself. If you’re traveling with a companion they’d be forced to pay $75 for this fee. Given that Medallion members can request complimentary companion upgrades to First Class, I’d like to see Delta waive the $75 Same-Day Standby fee for one companion traveling on the same reservation as the Gold, Platinum or Diamond Medallion.

III) CLEAR Membership for Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Medallions: Delta currently offers Diamond Medallions a complimentary CLEAR membership, and this is a benefit that should be extended to Gold and Platinum Medallions. When it comes to SkyClub access both the American Express Platinum and Delta Reserve card provide access when flying Delta, however neither of these cards offer any sort of CLEAR discount. Rather than extend any additional SkyClub benefits for Medallions, I believe a CLEAR membership would be more valuable. For context, CLEAR offers Platinum/Gold/Silver Medallion Members CLEAR access for $109 a year.

IV) 2 Global Upgrades as Platinum Medallion Choice Benefit: International travel will take years until it fully comes back, which could of played into American’s decision to offer Platinum Pro members a systemwide upgrade. Delta should look at adding 2 Global Upgrades as a Platinum Medallion choice benefit for those who earn the status in 2021 and beyond. Currently Diamond Medallions receive 4 Global Upgrades, so I’d love to see Delta adding these as an option for Platinum Medallions.

V) Complimentary Gogo WiFi for Diamond Medallions: It’s 2020, almost 2021 and Diamond Medallions still don’t receive complimentary WiFi onboard. Delta should provide Diamond Medallions with complimentary Gogo WiFi onboard domestic Delta flights. Delta has hinted at providing complimentary internet access for everyone, but in the meantime, Diamond Medallions should be the first to receive this value added benefit next year.

What are your thoughts on ways Delta could enrich the SkyMiles Medallion program? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed.

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  1. @ PMM — What Delta needs to do is STOP SCREWING US with the never-ending devaluations. It is theft, and I am done with it. They smile in you freakin’ face with their Southern Charm, while they pick your pocket. They can offer all of the freakin’ upgrades, stand-bys, blah, blah, blah in the world, and they still won’t get my money anymore. If they want me back as a customer, the value of their miles needs to increase. They have taken it too far. Screw them.

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