Making the change from United to Delta

Discussion in 'Delta Air Lines | SkyMiles' started by wilkinsonmd, Aug 26, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. wilkinsonmd

    wilkinsonmd Active Member

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    Hello Delta forum posters! I'm currently doing most of my business travel on United and am thinking of switching to Delta next year. There are some considerations I'd love to have your comments on.

    The Scenario
    I do my business travel on United and easily make gold each year. My husband has Platinum on Delta and most of our leisure travel is with DL. I hit Silver last year without even trying.

    We scored round trip business elite tickets to Hawaii (for our honeymoon) for $150 in the fare glitch that happened last December. My miles this year will qualify me for gold, but the MQD will hold me at silver. Thus, I will have A LOT of rollover miles in 2015 (I think).

    I did some back of the napkin math and I'd make it to Diamond this year on Delta. Being a top-tier elite is VERY tempting, but there are some benefits on United I really enjoy that I have questions about.

    Complimentary Upgrades
    Comp upgrades are very unlikely at gold on United. I'd say the success rate if 5-10 percent. What's it like for those who are Delta Diamond?

    Upgrade with Miles
    I know many people think upgrading with miles is a waste. But in my line of work, sometimes a comfortable ride home on a transcon flight is priceless after a tough time in the field. On United, as long as I can find upgrade space, I can get the upgrade at booking.

    I know Delta has a similar option with some other limitations. I think I need to book in fare class K and above. What can I expect as the price differential to do this? My employer is VERY cost conscious of my travel. Also, can upgrade if seats are available? Or does there need to be "upgrade space" in the form of a specific fare class or some other limiting factor.

    I'd only do this kind of upgrade for domestic flights.

    Credit Card Earning
    My United card earns 1.5 miles per dollar. The Delta cards all seem to go dollar for dollar. But there are other perks like earning MQMs at certain threshold. How's the value on the DL cards?

    What Do You Think?
    I'd love your comments on the items above. And if there are other thoughts (including anything you think I'm mistaken about), please share!

    This was a long post so kudos for making it this far ;-)
     
  2. Gargoyle
    Original Member

    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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    DL has unlimited complimentary DOMESTIC upgrades for medallions based on space availability. The algorithm determines upgrade lists by medallion status, ticket class, etc... the usual stuff. As a Diamond you'll get a very percentage of upgrades unless you're based in ATL or maybe MSP. As a platinum based in a non-hub city (ORD) I'm 12 for 14 on domestic segments this year. I missed one ATL segment (I was number 2 on the list when the gates closed) and one because it was a little barbie jet without a front cabin. :)

    Int'l upgrades are extremely rare- they are afraid giving those away would cannabilize their premium product sales. I've only ever gotten 4 or 5 TATL u/g's from DL in over 100 segments. They only happen if they are overbooked and want to get more revenue pax into the rear cabin. That said, I'm 2 for 3 on DL TATL segments this year. :)

    I've done much better TATL on partner airlines (AF, AZ, KL) based on my DL status- I'm probably closer to 7 or 8% on upgrades there, including the biggie- twice where my wife (with Gold or Silver status at the time) also got upgraded with me.

    Note that I buy cheap non-refundable coach tickets, so I'm low ranked for upgrades behind PM's with higher fare buckets and behind Diamonds.
     
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  3. wilkinsonmd

    wilkinsonmd Active Member

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    Thanks for the rundown on the success rate of comp domestic upgrades. Sounds like Platinum has a huge success rate at this. I should've mentioned that I'm DC-based and while DCA is far and beyond my preferred airport, I do fly from IAD and BWI usually as a cost-saving measure.
     
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  4. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    Wondering has any Gold ever gotten a TATL upgrade?
     
  5. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    oops.. Too fast.

    Gold + TATL upgrade + not travelling with a Plat or a Diamond

    any success stories?
     
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  6. Flyer1976
    Original Member

    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    Operational Upgrades...

    If economy is oversold the agents have discretion in upgrading whoever they want.
     
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  7. Jimgotkp
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    Jimgotkp Gold Member

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    If I were in your shoes, I would just rollover a ton of miles after achieving Platinum. By doing this, your qualification for Platinum will be much easier the following year.
     
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  8. Gargoyle
    Original Member

    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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    All my DL TATL op-ups were as PM. My first ever TATL op-up I had achieved enough MQM's for Gold, but DL still had me listed as Siiver. However, I was flying AZ metal and they u/g'ed me as a DL silver. Quite a nice surprise.
     
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  9. wilkinsonmd

    wilkinsonmd Active Member

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    Does anyone have anything to add about upgrading domestically with miles? I'm very curious about that...
     
  10. MrLincoln

    MrLincoln Gold Member

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    It'll probably be cheaper to just buy the A or G fare.
     
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  11. Flyer1976
    Original Member

    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    Yup!

    That what I did with my ATL LGA itinerary in two weeks. It only cost $135 more for first class so I decided to buy First class for that leg.
     
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  12. SunAlsoRisesMSP

    SunAlsoRisesMSP Silver Member

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    Upgrading with miles for domestic travel is probably rarely a likely scenario if you're a Diamond; besides needing a K or higher fare class, I've found that if that particular upgrade inventory is available you'd clear for it with your status anyway.

    The one exception that I've found very useful is JFK - LAX/SEA/SFO. DL has a great Business Elite product on these routes that they do not offer complimentary medallion upgrades on, but they do allow upgrade using miles. 6 hours up front on those flights is nice.

    Also, I'm a Diamond based in LAX and I'm consistently over 95% upgrade success on domestic.

    Good luck!
     
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  13. Davescj
    Original Member

    Davescj Silver Member

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    This is basically a waste of money, as pointed out, you'd be better off buying an A or G ticket. The same basically holds true internationally. The required ticket is so high you may as well have bought a discounted BE ticket. The only time I would suggest it is a deal is when the company requires you purchase a Y ticket (even if more expensive than discounted F).

    The thing with the DL Credit Card - depends which one you carry. The DL Reserve from AMEX I don't think is a great deal. It is 450/yr, which is the same as a SC membership, but without the SC membership. If you read the SC entry rules, you must be on a DL flight that day to get in free. Also, as a FO (or higher), you get a discounted SC membership ($$ or points, DM it is complimentary anyway).

    If you get the DL Gold/Plat card, after 25K in charges, you get 10K MQMs, so that can be a good deal. Welcome to DL!
     
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  14. wilkinsonmd

    wilkinsonmd Active Member

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    I'm told elites are also eligible for complimentary upgrades on Alaska. How does that work?
     
  15. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    Heh! No problem. You may find our comments - as well as DL's SM program - to be...

    [​IMG] MEJOR EN SU CLASE [​IMG]

    As you wrote above, those are all considerations. FWIW I'm UA 1K and get UG about 50% of the time, but of course, so much depends on where you're going...from EWR to STI last month I could have UG companion, and had room to spare...but LAX or SFO to ORD or IAH, weekday, fuhgeddaboutit.

    There is one thing you simply must do before you commit. Perform a simulated redemption for the kind of trip you expect to be able to use your miles for (e.g. summer TATL in J). Use both DL.COM and UA.COM. Check a couple of destinations. If using miles is not important to you, don't waste time on this. But if it is, do yourself a favor. Do not be one of those people who considers other aspects with great care and posts in shock when s/he discovers the redemption situation. You will find it to be...well....
     
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  16. anileze

    anileze Gold Member

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    Sorry to come late into this thread. As @Gargoyle mentioned, if you are PM and above flying out of a non super-fortress-fort-knox DL hubs (read ATL, MSP) your automatic upgrade is probably going to be in 80+%. If you choose your flights carefully, 100%.

    International: Gold is unlikely to get upgraded. Having said that, an OP-UP chances are very high for million milers with mid-tier (Gold or PM now) coming back home ;)

    Catching LGA-ATL first flight out on weekdays i.e 6AM is always an issue for non DMs. If you are flying into the Caribbean via ATL, you are stuck taking the 6AM. If one takes the first flight out of EWR, nonDMs get a good chance of an upgrade.

    BTW: DL Amex, gives 2miles/dolla for DL purchases.

    my dos centivos.
     
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  17. Gargoyle
    Original Member

    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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    Does million miler status count in the upgrade calculations? If so, good news, since I should hit that sometime in 2015.
     
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  18. anileze

    anileze Gold Member

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    I don't know, but I want to be deluded into believing that ;) You'll at the very least get few extra words of Salutation, in regular frequency :) On TOBB, there were a couple of PM for life, and they seemed pleased as punch.
     
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  19. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    Hmmm... in spite of the fact I'm Jeff's historic enemy, I'm FO/MM. And I haven't noticed much of anything.... although, a total of one paid DL sector this last year might explain that :p
     
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  20. monitor
    Original Member

    monitor Gold Member

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    Since the OP stated that he flies a great amount for business, he certainly should have more criteria for choosing an airline than its loyalty plan.

    Perhaps good service with flights running on or very close to schedule and efficient handling of IROPs should be considered. For business travelers, UA fails consistently in those matters. Do you prefer nice mainliners over small RJs? DL is buying 717s and utilizing the big ERJs heavily. UA has UA Express which is mostly small ERJs and IME is continually firmly set last on all lists when it comes to operations but first when it comes to cancellations.

    Some of the UA domestic business travelers of my acquaintance frequently purchase flight interruption insurance protecting themselves against the kinds of delays they continually encounter. I know of none who fly DL (including myself) who buy that policy.
     
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  21. rwoman
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    rwoman Gold Member

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    While OpUps are not overwhelmingly common. When my sister was a Silver a few years ago she was 3/3 for LHR-USA departures to get an OpUp. On one of these occasions she was traveling with her non-status son and DL upgraded both of them.
     
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  22. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    Amazing.
     
  23. anileze

    anileze Gold Member

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    Opups are easier from other countries into US on DL. I was OPUP Ed on delta coded AF metal earlier this year. From norway to CDG
     
  24. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    NO, it's not the same inventory class. Upgrades with miles require OP/RP (the ssame bucket as SWU/GUC/RUC upgrades) while free elite upgrades, including from full Y fares at time of ticketing, use OU/RU. TThe twwo inventory classes mean that insturment supported upgrades and free elite upgrades technically don't compete with each other until the gate, when according to the rules upgrades with miles are not possible--but some GAs who know how will process such upgrades if there's time.

    DCA can be a tough upgrade due to all the government elites who often travel on YCA fares and otherwise use HCA, which is still a relatively high fare class.IAD and BWI are much better. HHowever, a lot depends on when you fly, with the ttypical consulting business travel schedule making upgrades very competitive.

    Instead of using miles to upgrade K+ fares, you can do pay with miles upgrades, IIRC if you have aa DL AmEx. Essentially you use miles at approximately one cent per mile to buy up to a discounted FC G A P fare and earn full MQMs and RDMs on the ticket.
     

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