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Delta Air Lines

Delta Sends A Warning to Elites Who Abuse Their “Privileges”

Delta Sends A Warning to Elites Who Abuse Their “Privileges”
Joe Cortez

Delta Air Lines wants flyers to know waivers and changes are there for flyers’ convenience – not to abuse. At least that’s what it says in a letter purportedly mailed to a Diamond Medallion member requesting that he stop using loopholes or risk revocation of his Medallion status and benefits. And it’s making plenty of frequent fliers plenty nervous.

A letter allegedly sent by Delta Air Lines is asking one flyer not to continually use loopholes in their system, or potentially face revocation of Medallion status and benefits. The letter was published in its complete form on the blog Rene’s Points, after circulating the internet from a private Facebook group.

A Habitual Loophole User?

“This letter is being issued to express our concerns regarding your ticketing practices in the past months” begins the letter that made its way onto the blog Rene’s Points after being posted on a private Facebook Delta Diamond group.

Yikes. His crimes according to Delta? “Trying to use the San Francisco construction waiver to change the length of your itinerary at no charge.” But also, “Quite honestly, your SkyMiles account is heavily documented with the many exceptions to our policies that you ask for and fare rules that you try to get around.”

It’s no secret that airlines and credit cards are attempting to cut down the number of passengers who try to use continued loopholes for their own good. In 2017, American Express formed a “RAT team” to reduce the number of people “gaming” the system for additional points or frequent flyer miles. And earlier this year, United announced additional actions against flyers who were “skiplagging,” or purchasing a ticket to a final destination with the intention of leaving at a connecting city. Thus, it comes as no surprise that Delta Air Lines wants to do the same with their own programs.

A High-Value Customer Desk Abuser?

“You repeatedly call our Reservations and High Value Customer desk to get what you want and if you don’t you hang up and repeatedly call until you get what you want,” continues the letter. “Your manipulative practices are unacceptable and we are sending you this warning letter to caution you that we will not allow it to continue.”

Sound familiar? The strategy of “Hang Up, Call Again” is well used, but there are clear-cut boundaries between convenience and overusing benefits. As the adage goes: “Pigs get fat; hogs get slaughtered.” So if you are concerned that you might be walking the fine line between taking advantage of benefits and abusing them, it’s always safe to err on the side of caution.

The Potential Consequences

Otherwise, you may receive a letter from Delta about your flying habits. “If you persist in engaging this type of business practice, we will be forced to review your current Medallion benefits as well as your current status,” the letter concludes. “Going forward, we strongly encourage you to conduct yourself in an honest and respectful manner and treat Delta with the respect that we give you [redacted].


What do you think about this letter from Delta? Are you concerned that you may get a letter like this one?


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View Comments (28)


  1. emma dog

    November 20, 2019 at 4:07 am

    Click bait on a closed thread.

  2. ulxima

    November 20, 2019 at 4:18 am

    These people are those who made open doors lounge access and other valuable perks to be discontinued.

  3. DeltaFlyer123

    November 20, 2019 at 4:24 am

    Well, I’m not concerned that I’ll get a letter, as I’m just a lowly two-million miler gold for life member who doesn’t fly much anymore. But when I was a diamond member (and I was a “charter member“ when that level was first introduced) it never occurred to me to abuse the system – I was thrilled with all the free upgrades to business class to Europe, China and Brazil, my main overseas destinations. I think people who abuse the privileges are hurting the honest flyers, because eventually they will cause these perks to go away.

  4. WoodyWindy

    November 20, 2019 at 4:31 am

    I think this is a perfectly reasonable response by Delta. Sometimes I’ve seen posts from folks who are clearly gaming the system, and wondered how long it would be tolerated. I’m sure the airlines themselves (and probably other types of rewards programs as well) also tread a fine line before determining that the cost of a behavior is so abusive that it outweighs the value of the particular member’s custom.

    They create and maintain these benefits on an ongoing risk/reward basis. If anyone wonders why there is a “race to the bottom”, one big factor is just how prone to abuse a particular benefit becomes.

  5. weero


    November 20, 2019 at 4:40 am

    I had no idea that there were still any Medallion benefits or privileges left.

    I extrapolate from AAdvantage that the landscape must be barren.

  6. Jcmontecarlo

    November 20, 2019 at 4:51 am

    Delta should be ashamed of a letter like that . Frankly just shut the loophole or the pie hole. Your airline is as bad as the others. How can one abuse an abuser?

  7. Travel Entuziast

    November 20, 2019 at 5:00 am

    This is a hoax and it undermines the credibility of the site to post it.

  8. csaunder

    November 20, 2019 at 5:03 am

    WOW! Extraordinary!
    Certainly the airline has a right to discourage frequent flyers from behaving like this, but the arrogance and disdain they show in their communication is unbelievable. Have they forgotten that frequent flyers represent a huge proportion of their revenue, and that without them they wouldn’t have jobs?
    Is it beyond the wit of Delta to establish some formal rules that limit the extent to which these loopholes can be used, so that everybody can know exactly where they stand? Or at the very least, can they not extend some common courtesy to their customers? Whatever happened to ‘the customer is always right’?

  9. zitsky

    November 20, 2019 at 5:03 am

    I’ve read the letter. I doubt it’s real. I don’t think a Delta rep would use that kind of language. Smells fishy.

  10. AADFW

    November 20, 2019 at 5:04 am

    Outrageous. If Delta is so concerned about this, perhaps they should do away with their litany of arcane rules in the first place.

  11. MimiB22

    November 20, 2019 at 5:28 am

    My son in law must travel for business. He flies weekly and must often change his reservations. Is he “abusing” the system when his travel arranger tries to avoid high fees and book convenient last minute flights? He is one of those “high value” customers. He’s not trying to game the system or abuse “privilege”. He’s trying to make onerous travel less inconvenient and less expensive and also wants to get home once in a while. Delta has the most flights from his hometown, so that’s the airline he flies most of the time.

  12. caholladay

    November 20, 2019 at 5:34 am

    If true, its fantastic. Its about time these travel companies fight back instead of just taking this from their elite guests. Being in hotels myself, I think its time we start fighting back. I’ve had many a meeting or phone call where I cant believe I have to sit here and listen to this BS. Bravo Delta.

  13. RedElmo

    November 20, 2019 at 5:38 am

    It’s sad. But people find loop holes everywhere. Ppl are no longer as honest as they use to be and will abuse anything and everything. It ruins nice things for the actual honest civilian.

  14. Bear4Asian

    November 20, 2019 at 5:41 am

    Wow! If this letter is real it’s a body slam when a simple “we’re watching” would make more sense.

    The airlines have all the power in this relationship, until they don’t. When full planes become half full planes due to business, or other setbacks.

    We are watching you too. We pay more for less. Less room, less service, etc., etc.

  15. eefor jfp

    November 20, 2019 at 6:28 am

    I agree that there’s a fine line between using benefits and rules and abusing them. If Delta is right and he is abusing the system, I agree with them that they can fire him as a customer. it’s better for the rest of us in the long run if we all adhere to norms of behavior and practice that are reasonable.

  16. hyho61

    November 20, 2019 at 6:30 am

    If it is allowed, tben what is DL’s problem. They should eliminate those loopholes, do not blame your very valued medallion customers. Calling repeatedly is ok to get what you want. If Delta does not like it, then they should train the customer service agents properly.

  17. luv2vacay

    November 20, 2019 at 6:51 am

    Wow, talk about a clickbait title/headliner.

    First, it’s an *alleged* letter sent to ONE person.

    How anyone could construe that to be a fact titled:
    “Delta sends a warning to *elites* (plural, more than one)…” is beyond me.

  18. m44

    November 20, 2019 at 7:06 am

    DELTA – stop terrorizing your elite just because they choose to fully use what you offered.
    Withdraw the benefits you offered or shut up.

  19. jamesteroh

    November 20, 2019 at 10:31 am

    With the HUCA complaints from Delta, it’s quite possible the customer has legitimate reasons for doing it. Whenever I try to SDC on a RUC, I always have to HUCA at least once because the first agent claims I can’t SDC even though Delta’s policy clearly states you can do it as long as there is an open first class seat. I’ve also had to do it at least two times this year because the agent didn’t know you could co-terminal as long as the same fare class is available.

  20. hfly

    November 20, 2019 at 11:23 am

    These letters are real, I have seen a similar one that someone that I know received. Same language, same unsigned, the difference being that what they accused this person of in essence was excessive complaining.

  21. awlitt

    November 20, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    I am the person to whom this letter is addressed but I never received it in the mail so I’m not sure how it got to Facebook.

    More importantly, I haven’t done any of the things that are described in the letter and in fact I’m not sure I’d know how to do them!

    I’m very upset with Delta for damaging my reputation in this way and have asked them to retract the letter.

  22. AJNEDC

    November 20, 2019 at 2:40 pm

    This is one of the silliest things ever. An entity provides a loophole and doesn’t want its customers to use it? Really? In what universe? For the US market – imagine the IRS providing a loophole, let me see a show hands for those who would not employ said loophole to reduce taxes paid.

  23. Allan38103

    November 20, 2019 at 3:16 pm


  24. Irpworks

    November 21, 2019 at 7:30 am

    A loophole is not an item to cheat, it is something not specifically covered. Someone is not cheating when using a loophole. The rule setting party can always change the rules to close the loophole.

  25. MikeFromTokyo

    November 22, 2019 at 2:31 am

    I applaud Delta for this letter. I have not been a fan of Delta in recent years, but did love it as a child. Honestly my opinion of the airline went up after reading their response to this person’s abuse of the system.

    I have a contrarian view to some others expressed in this thread. A Frequent Flyer program membership and any status one may have is a privilege and not an entitlement. It is very clear that waivers and other customer friendly policies are intended to be used in good faith. When someone games the system, and manipulates call centre employees into circumventing fare rules, that is tantamount to stealing money from the airline. Furthermore, it is an unnecessary waste of resources to have the airline track down people who abuse the system.

    It is very clear in the FFP Terms and Conditions of airlines that the membership card, miles, and status technically remain “property” of the airline, and that they can be revoked if the airline determines that a customer is not behaving in good faith and is a repeat offender trying to game the system.

    We all know that airlines are generally lenient with occasional exceptions to rules. So, if someone is getting a strongly worded cease and desist letter from DL, frankly they must really be a serial abuser of the systems and good fait rules that are in place.


    November 26, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    Also to add that many people obtain status via credit card offers, etc and do not spend their own money obtaining the level so to say that “frequent flyers represent a huge proportion of their revenue, and that without them they wouldn’t have jobs?” is silly at best

  27. Grog

    November 29, 2019 at 3:43 am

    Delta stole my “Never in My Lifetime to Expire” miles. They have some real balls publishing letters like these.

  28. honest_abe

    December 2, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    Then there are those of us who nicely ask for a one-time accommodation in a frequent stayer program and get turned down flat.

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