MSP/Delta Questions

Discussion in 'Delta Air Lines | SkyMiles' started by ZCT, Sep 17, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. ZCT

    ZCT Silver Member

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    Hello!

    I am relocating from Houston where I have Gold status with Star Alliance / United to Minneapolis.

    First question, does United / US Airways have a reasonable number of flights out of that airport domestically, or would I be better served using Delta (I believe their hub is in MSP).

    Second, has anyone got any suggestions about trying for a status match with Delta?

    Thanks!
     
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  2. rwoman
    Original Member

    rwoman Gold Member

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    Not sure on the #'s of flights ex-MSP for UA or US...you could look at their respective schedules and probably get an idea. I assume it's mostly MSP-hubs.

    MP Thread on Status Match/Challenge - LINK

    Delta.com: SkyMiles Medallion Status Match Challenge
     
  3. mattsteg
    Original Member

    mattsteg Gold Member

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    The number of gates controlled by Delta is something around 90% in the main (read non-LCC) terminal (Lindbergh, or '1' if terminals named after people confuse you - they apparently confused enough people to spend millions renaming the terminal). Delta is overwhelmingly the dominant carrier here. There are direct flights on Star carriers to SFO, DEN, PHX,IAH,ORD,CLT,CLE,YYZ,IAD,PHL,EWR - basically to the hubs.

    Delta will be vastly more convenient. Star is probably doable, if you're OK always connecting or happen to be going to a star hub. It'd be a big fight against the grain, which typically means more inconvenience and more upgrades.

    Relative to UA gold (50k level) DL's domestic elite benefits and earning are somewhat better in many regards, but redemption is substantially worse as are international upgrades. It's not as bad as reading some posts would make you seem, but it's not as good as UA and there is more unease regarding stealth devaluations of the program at Delta. This is largely due to past track record.

    The hard and soft product are good, domestic upgrades are strong, elite treatment is good. The airline does a great job at delivering a nice product. The FF program has strengths and weaknesses, but a few more warts than the domestic alternatives.

    Know and keep in mind the location of delta "sky priority" checkin and security which (also includes TSA precheck if you have that), as well as the separate all-airline elite line that can sometimes be quicker, since almost all of the elites here are DL flyers or have precheck.
     
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  4. DTWBOB

    DTWBOB Silver Member

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    Unless you like connecting at ORD, you don't have much choice.

    Also, you're going to find the climate a bit different ! For one thing, MSP doesn't get him-a-canes !

    DTWBOB
     
  5. mattsteg
    Original Member

    mattsteg Gold Member

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    We do get global warming though!

    Part of it undoubtedly comes from originating further North in the state, but the climate of today is not the climate I remember of 1-2 decades prior.

    Also, DL is the official airline of those who enjoy a nice Bourbon.
     
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  6. Gargoyle
    Original Member

    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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    I'd suspect MSP deals with snow better than IAH deals with rain.

    There are advantages to being a non-hub elite; Skyteam Gold at MSP is like Star Alliance gold at ORD- you're one of thousands. OTOH, Skyteam golds at ORD and Star Alliance golds at MSP are not as common, and get better treatment. If you can handle the connections, you accumulate miles or segments faster, since most r/t's require at least four segments.
     
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  7. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    In addition to elite/FC check in lines and the all-airline elite security line, UA maintains a small but nice lounge at MSP, where small means one room, IIRC with no restrooms inside. It accepts the less restricted version of Priority Pass. The SFO nonstop is once a day, not always at a good time. ORD service is a mixture of mainline and RJ, with the larger planes early and late for business travelers and also timed to connect, especially internationally. There birds tend to have at most two rows of FC, fewer than DL, if you want to assess upgrade odds. US has flights to their hubs; gates are near the UA lounge and gates, which are not a long walk from their check in counters and the security entrance.

    Given UA's merger mess, this could be a good time to at least experiment with DL. One should be able to get a status challenge, although corporate contracts might included DL status for some employees. You could also do both alliances by getting a DL AmEx card; these tend to give most benefits of Silver status except for the rare chance of an upgrade. For elite security, you would show the *A *Gold card at the all-airline elite line regardless of the carrier you are flying that day.

    Regardless of carrier and status, a good security checkpoint to keep in mind is the skyway one for any passenger with a boarding pass (or who can get one from a DL kiosk without help from an agent) and no luggage to check. It's at the back of the parking garage and almost on the path from the light rail station to the terminal, although it's not close to the UA/US gates.
     
  8. MrLincoln

    MrLincoln Gold Member

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    I moved to msp a couple years ago and am just past 12 months on DL now. Prior to that was 25 years on UA. Agree with Mspeconomist on most points: 1k in MSP gets more love than DL diamond.

    The msp club does have bathrooms, and the espresso machine is better than DL (which has crap coffee but better bourbon and tequila). Best feature though are the staff. Carol in particular.

    Ord/iah conx are the norm.
     
  9. MrLincoln

    MrLincoln Gold Member

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    ... Picking up after going through the mag...

    The ordmsp schedule has downsized in the last two years, with a lot more e-jets and less mainline. It's less frequent, though there are still three ord flights most mornings that allow conx with reasonable convenience. Mspiah is not as freq as ord and features more er4s than I care for. (I also had to fuel stop in kansas once on the way to iah, which was weird.) Mspden is at best occasional -- den gets smaller every year ,it seems -- and I usually went through ord when going west.

    You will miss UA swus. The DL swu is about worthless internationally.
     
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  10. MrLincoln

    MrLincoln Gold Member

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    The main things that attracted me to DL after a few years on UA out of msp were these.

    Pervasive WiFi. DL has gogo on every two-class domestic flight now, including larger RJ's (anything over 50 seats). Means I can expect to work on most every flight.

    Nonstops from msp to most of my domestic destinations. Even small stations ,mostly, get at least one nonstop. Saves me two hours in transit and taxi time through ord. However ,it also means I don't get Tortas Frontera.

    Larger F cabins, in general, but with caveats. I rarely sat in Y on ordmsp as a 1kMM. The early am and late pm UA flights on ordmsp are basically all commuting employees and pros. But on DL there is more competition for the F seats and more ways for non status to buy up. On the third hand ,co is headed that direction as well of late.

    Finally ,it was precheck that pushed me over the edge last fall. DL had it and UA didn't.

    I gave up some things ,too. Next post. (door closed)
     
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  11. MrLincoln

    MrLincoln Gold Member

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    The main thing I gave up in switching was the UA airside staff. DL folks are nice and they thank me for my business -- no worse than UA -- but they don't remember me. When I was commuting on UA I saw my pals in the lounge every week ,they seemed glad to see me and disappointed when I passed by to say hi and why I wasn't seeing them as much. My toddler would ask if we were going to see our friend Carol every time we took him to the airport. (We were.) When my conx would go askew, I would land late at O'hare to find that I had already been protected on a later flight by my msp friends.

    The second highest impact was international. DL swus are only good on Y, B and sometimes M fares. Those are usually easily multi thousands of dollars more than a UA W fare. The international route network from msp is less than you might expect from a DL hub. Msp is more of a feeder to ams/cdg than an O&D in it's own right. The majority of eu nonstops are via jfk/dtw/atl. Schiphol is nice ,though.

    Also, the international hard product is improving but UA is better. There is still plenty of recliner J seating where UA is mostly flat now.

    As Mspeconomist noted, taking nonstops halves your segment count. Don't forget that DL top tier is 125k/140segs. As a DL plat you will miss F upgrades regularly on hub routes (lax, e.g.) Again, though ,UA is probably headed that way this year with 75k plat. All that said ,I tend to do 175k/year, almost all domestic, so the segment count didn't make much difference to me.

    I can't speak to award redemption much. I tend to earn and burn on conus redemptions to bring my family with me. So I try not to pay attention. It's better that way than lamenting when I lived in sfo and could do eu and iad turns for super cheap, or go meet my wife for a long weekend after her meetings in Melbourne. :)

    All in all, I miss the people but the frequencies and precheck combined with my mostly domestic needs make up for it. I still visit my friends every now and then when I'm taking the family to Chicago or overseas. Still have UA miles to burn.

    Oh, and they cater minis of Woodford and Avion in F. Not inconsequential.
     
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