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Delta Spoils Its Most Loyal Flyers With Exclusive New Upgrade Option — Private Jets

Following model to reward the highest-paying customers, Delta reveals a plan to allow flyers to upgrade to private jet.

Elite members of Delta Air Lines’ SkyMiles Medallion program will soon have a new upgrade list to aspire toward — one that allows them to bypass First Class for the luxury of a private jet. The airline announced Monday it will soon begin offering private jet upgrades to select elites in specific markets.

The new program, which has yet to be named, will be targeted toward “high-value” Medallion flyers. Although the upgrades were initially only going to be available to top-tier Diamond Medallion status holders, Delta told Bloomberg the program would be open to all Medallion elites, including the lowest-tier Silver status holders.

“Private travel offers concierge-level services that Delta’s premium customers are sure to appreciate, and Delta Vacations is pleased to offer opportunities for these experiences,” said John Caldwell, president of Delta Vacations, said in the company press release. “This is an innovative way for us to thank valued Delta customers for their loyalty.”

Under the plan, targeted flyers going through Delta’s east coast hubs will be offered the opportunity to upgrade to one of the airline’s private jets at a cost ranging from $300 to $800, depending on the destination.

“This is truly a groundbreaking new approach from both industry standpoints,” James Murray, vice president of operations for Delta Private Jets, told Bloomberg. “Nobody else can do what we’re talking about doing.”

The move comes as Delta works toward attracting more business travel and high spending customers. Last year, the airline announced an increase in elite qualifying dollar spending to earn Medallion status. In order to earn or renew status with Delta, flyers will have to spend an additional $500 to $2,500 while traveling with the airline.

This increase in spending, however, is coming with more tangible benefits. In 2014, the Atlanta-based carrier expanded its Porsche transfer service to multiple airports across the U.S. for utilization by high-tier elite flyers.

[Photo: Delta Private Jets]

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beansb July 28, 2015

It's funny. I used to be a Delta flier, 1M+ miles, Diamond for three or four years running, $25-30k spend last year. This year I switched to United (due to corporate pressure) where I am 1k. Have not heard a peep from Delta about where have I gone. Apparently my $25-30k is not enough for them. I also never once got a Porsche transfer even when I had very tight connections (heck, I missed one once by about two minutes because of a late inbound flight - would have been nice to have the transfer then). Not sure I see this happening for the regular medallion members any time soon.