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Thinking Of Quitting Delta Skymiles  
User currently offlineRsrik From India, joined Oct 2008, 164 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 5530 times:

Hello Guys,
I need to wonder something out aloud, and invite your opinions  Smile.
I have been DL Platinum since 2007. This year I have already flown in excess of 100K, and will therefore remain Platinum until early 2011. This year, I can actually become a 'Diamond medallion' flier, if I choose to continue flying them. Looking back, I am afraid I picked the wrong airline for my loyalty. DL appears better suited (in terms of upgrades) for domestic travelers. For international, DL is no match to UA because with United, one can actually make use of the 6 systemwide upgrades. DL's upgrade coupons, honestly, are useless. I feel that if I had flown UA instead of DL on my 21 international trips the past 22 months, 6 round trips could have been in Business class!
I believe that I should immediately stop flying DL and build my status on another airline. I think, that at the end of the day, things such as lifetime miles don't mean any thing. No point in trying to dump my million miles on DL... what is your thought?

Another thought on the same topic is: I fly from SFO - NRT every month. I will fly this route every month at least until July 2010. Instead of choosing UA, should I choose ANA or JAL??? I hear (from my colleagues) that airlines such as JAL, AF, LH have all handed courtesy upgrades once in a while. UA doesn't quite do that. Any thoughts on that?
Thanks

19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineDeltAirlines From United States of America, joined May 1999, 8903 posts, RR: 12
Reply 1, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 5524 times:

I'd agree with you that Delta's program is geared more toward a domestic flyer. I'm a PM and have used my PMUs once this year - on a CVG-LAS flight on a K fare (which I would have gotten upgraded on had I not used my PMU). My two trips to Europe have had me sitting in coach.

DL's program is fine for domestic, but very lacking compared to AA/UA for international. There's been a lot of discussion about the value (or lacktherof) of PMUs over on FlyerTalk - there are a lot of people that aren't happy about it. Many people were hoping to at least have them good on K+ fares for Diamonds, or a couple good on any fares, etc., but that did not happen.

I'd personally go with UA over the other carriers for upgrading though. In general, upgrading doesn't happen on those other airlines unless there's an operational need to do so. UA at least gives you the 6 SWUs.

Even better, if you don't mind connecting, is AA. They give you 8 eVIP Systemwides for ExPlat. The downside is you'd have to fly SFO-LAX-NRT to get on AA metal for LAX-NRT, but I'd consider doing it if it meant I could sit up front 4x/yr round-trip across the Pacific.


User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25512 posts, RR: 50
Reply 2, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 5516 times:

As a AA EXP and UA 1K, I'd say both programs are very good on international upgrades.

From your profile, being the in Bay Area and frequently flying SFO-NRT, I think UA is the no brainer choice.
I'd give them a call and see what status match they can offer you. They don't give 1K out, however have been known to status match to Premier Executive(Star Gold) level.
Also another not well known perk of UA SWU;s is that they are also good on Lufthansa based on availability on the day of departure, so if you do some Europe flying that might also be an added perk for you.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineRsrik From India, joined Oct 2008, 164 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 5440 times:

I seriously considered discontinuing DL/NW two months before. However, I heard it from as many as 5 different (very friendly) FAs that NW has an undocumented policy of upgrading up to 5 Platinum members depending on availability. I decided to give it a couple more round-trips to see if I could get in on one of those upgrades.... which never happened. And last month, I was told that policy has been abolished by DL. Fair enough. And now, I have decided it's time to move on. After seeing their 2010 Skymiles program, there is no motivation to stick around either (especially, given the lack of reasonable international upgrades).
The one thing about UA that I am still deliberating is that I might find myself in their 747s with no AVOD  Smile. ANA and JAL, on the other hand, have excellent entertainment choices. That's one of the reasons I am weighing flying them. Plus, I have never had any elite status on an Asian carrier, and I am fancying that too.
Any stories/experiences from JAL or ANA elite members are also appreciated  Smile
Thanks!


User currently offlineDeltAirlines From United States of America, joined May 1999, 8903 posts, RR: 12
Reply 4, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 5436 times:



Quoting Rsrik (Reply 3):
I seriously considered discontinuing DL/NW two months before. However, I heard it from as many as 5 different (very friendly) FAs that NW has an undocumented policy of upgrading up to 5 Platinum members depending on availability. I decided to give it a couple more round-trips to see if I could get in on one of those upgrades.... which never happened.

This policy was never extended to SkyMiles Platinums - it was only for WorldPerks Platinums/Golds. And this was an official internal program on Northwest - 5 Platinums/Golds would get upgraded on each international flight if there was room up front - it was known as "The Love Tap".

This policy went away in late-June...


User currently offlineCanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2839 posts, RR: 12
Reply 5, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 5422 times:

I've had two very, very bad trips with Delta this year. Most recently SEA-ATL-SVO (RT). I'm an Alaska Airlines MVP Gold FF, but I'm not flying Delta anymore even though I get miles on AS flying them.

Just last week I called Delta reservations from Russia which is not easy or cheep to see about upgrading to business from SVO-JFK using miles or cash with a traveling companion that had broke her foot. Not only could I not make any changes to my ticket, I couldn't get seats assigned or get special services for my companion. I know it sounds like a broad statement but as a past airline employee, now frequent flier DL has lost my business. When I got off the phone with DL I looked at one of my co-workers and said "they just took the service out of customer service. They shouldn't have even asked me if there was anything else they could help me with because they didn't help me with anything".

That's just one of my Delta stories. I travel a couple times a month on business and base which the FF program I sign up for based on where I fly (to gain the most miles/benefits) and the quality of service. I could get lots of miles with the Big D but the service has been horrible flying domestically and internationally.



The beatings will continue until morale improves
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25512 posts, RR: 50
Reply 6, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 5416 times:



Quoting Rsrik (Reply 3):
The one thing about UA that I am still deliberating is that I might find myself in their 747s with no AVOD

Well if IFE really means much to you, suppose that can be a downer, but you can always look to fly 767 or 777s. But more importantly, if you do become elite, hopefully you wont be in the back of the bus much and this would not be an issue anyhow.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineRsrik From India, joined Oct 2008, 164 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 5414 times:

Thanks for your inputs guys  Smile
I think I am done with my intention to fly JAL or ANA. They only allow 70% or 50% mileage accrual on anything other than the topmost Y fares. I think I will start flying UA from now on.
Too bad I wasted 17 trips on DL/NW !!


User currently offlineWarren747sp From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 1167 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 5411 times:

It is rather unfortunate that DL has not taken the hug advantage that NW has accumulate over the decades when it comes to internaitonal service. Just try booking flights now on NWA web site an compare with booking on DL site. NW shows option with KL, AF, and China Southern and or Aeroflot. DL only shows their own flights and some code share with AF. I am afraid it they do not change their mentality DL will lose out big on international bookings!


747SP
User currently offlineDeltAirlines From United States of America, joined May 1999, 8903 posts, RR: 12
Reply 9, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 5408 times:



Quoting Warren747sp (Reply 8):
It is rather unfortunate that DL has not taken the hug advantage that NW has accumulate over the decades when it comes to internaitonal service. Just try booking flights now on NWA web site an compare with booking on DL site. NW shows option with KL, AF, and China Southern and or Aeroflot. DL only shows their own flights and some code share with AF. I am afraid it they do not change their mentality DL will lose out big on international bookings!

I'd guess that it helps that NW's online res platform is basically using Orbitz, while DL is going straight through Deltamatic. Each has its pros and cons (notably nwa.com is a bit slower and clunkier when trying to price out an itinerary, but it does give a lot more options than delta.com).


User currently offlineCanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2839 posts, RR: 12
Reply 10, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 5382 times:



Quoting LAXintl (Reply 6):
Well if IFE really means much to you, suppose that can be a downer, but you can always look to fly 767 or 777s.

The 767 I flew two weeks ago from ATL-SVO didn't have IFE. And even though they are adding IFE to most of the fleet, the international product isn't that good IMHO. F class domestically is ok.



The beatings will continue until morale improves
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25512 posts, RR: 50
Reply 11, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 5360 times:



Quoting Canoecarrier (Reply 10):
The 767 I flew two weeks ago from ATL-SVO didn't have IFE. And even though they are adding IFE to most of the fleet, the international product isn't that good IMHO. F class domestically is ok.

I am speaking about UAL.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineDeltAirlines From United States of America, joined May 1999, 8903 posts, RR: 12
Reply 12, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 5351 times:



Quoting Canoecarrier (Reply 10):
The 767 I flew two weeks ago from ATL-SVO didn't have IFE.

I'm willing to bet you a bit of money that it did have IFE and a movie was shown.

IFE does not equal AVOD.


User currently offlineAA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 5843 posts, RR: 11
Reply 13, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 5331 times:



Quoting Rsrik (Reply 3):
Any stories/experiences from JAL or ANA elite members are also appreciated



Quoting Rsrik (Thread starter):
Instead of choosing UA, should I choose ANA or JAL???

Having previously worked contract maintenance for JAL, I can only tell you that, of all the airlines in the world, I have the utmost respect for THAT carrier. JAL is, above and beyond, and great airline when it comes to the important stuff: SAFETY. Cabin service might not be SQ, and the Seasons business class seat might be four years old while competitors are only three years old (I exaggerate to make a point), but when it comes to things that matter- maintenance- JAL is the gold standard.
I would trust myself or my family members to JAL before I would to any other carrier.
They're not infallible, but their company culture is amazing. It's also costing them billions.

As you commute from SFO, United would seem to be the most sensible bet. Granted, as far as airlines go, my opinion is that they're crap. But, it's hard to beat having a hub in your hometown.
And, if you had a UA account, you could fly Continental after October 27, which is a REAL plus!


User currently offlineRsrik From India, joined Oct 2008, 164 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 5325 times:

[quote=AA737-823,reply=13]
Hey, Thanks for the strong vote on JAL  Smile
However, I heard from both JAL and ANA Customer Service that they don't have an elite matching scheme, such as what the US carriers offer. Both airlines will have me start from scratch, and build my miles before I can expect perks such as priority seating, check-in, double miles etc. I guess UA gets my vote and future business (even though I agree that their service isn't anything to write home about).
- Sri


User currently offlineAlexEU From Serbia, joined Oct 2007, 1817 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 5320 times:

If you have UA then you could fly both ANA and UA since they are StarAlliance partners.

Do you think it would be better to have ANA Mileage Club or Mileage Plus? Having a foreing frequent flyer card can be ´´exotic´´ and since both UA and ANA are full partners it doesnt matter which one you have.


User currently offlineAndyinPIT From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 320 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (5 years 1 month 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 5116 times:

As others have said don't forgot about calling UA Mileage Plus about getting some status right off the bat with them. The higher you are at DL, the greater the chance of you getting something, at least Premier, to start out with...

User currently offlineDeltAirlines From United States of America, joined May 1999, 8903 posts, RR: 12
Reply 17, posted (5 years 1 month 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 5112 times:



Quoting AndyinPIT (Reply 16):
As others have said don't forgot about calling UA Mileage Plus about getting some status right off the bat with them. The higher you are at DL, the greater the chance of you getting something, at least Premier, to start out with...

UA will generally match DL Plat (or Gold) to UA Premier Executive (equivalent of Gold). UA generally won't comp someone to 1K (unless you truly are very valuable - ie someone who could most likely make Global Services after a year or so).


User currently offlineRsrik From India, joined Oct 2008, 164 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (5 years 1 month 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 5106 times:



Quoting AndyinPIT (Reply 16):
As others have said don't forgot about calling UA Mileage Plus

Andy, Thanks for the reminder. I was indeed aware of this elite matching scheme, and called UA ahead to get myself promoted to Premier Exec.

Quoting DeltAirlines (Reply 17):
UA generally won't comp someone to 1K (unless you truly are very valuable

Hmmm... I was indeed told that UA won't put someone up at 1K, but your comment makes it seem like there is some discretion/flexibility involved. I emailed my intended travel plan for the next 4 months (to the tune of 4-5 international round trips), and enquired whether I could be matched up to 1K. I was told that they do not do that. If you believe there is some flexibility involved, I will try again. Would really appreciate your response on this!

Thanks.


User currently offlineDeltAirlines From United States of America, joined May 1999, 8903 posts, RR: 12
Reply 19, posted (5 years 1 month 6 days ago) and read 5099 times:



Quoting Rsrik (Reply 18):
Hmmm... I was indeed told that UA won't put someone up at 1K, but your comment makes it seem like there is some discretion/flexibility involved. I emailed my intended travel plan for the next 4 months (to the tune of 4-5 international round trips), and enquired whether I could be matched up to 1K. I was told that they do not do that. If you believe there is some flexibility involved, I will try again. Would really appreciate your response on this!

It takes a lot to get comped up to 1K - as I said, it's pretty much reserved for someone that would become a Global Services - lots of pre-booked full-fare international First/Business tickets might be enough to sway them. Flying once a month trans-Oceanic (most likely in coach based on your first post) will not be anywhere near enough to get them to consider giving you 1K.

Not sure what you spend on your flights, but UA does allow you to buy 1K for a $20,000 travel bank. Basically you front UA $20k up front, they give you 1K status. That $20k can be used to buy tickets for a year. If you're flying to NRT once a month and spending $20k a year or so on these tickets, you might want to consider going this route and fronting $20k right away.


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