Why Get Status Anymore?

Old Mar 9, 16, 12:57 pm
  #1  
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Why Get Status Anymore?

As A DM right now it looks like all the benefits of being DM are being taken away with no further operational upgrades. Looks like I wont go for Diamond again this year. This will apply across the board to united/american and delta. They are really stripping away just about everything. Not a good year for me with this and the SPG/Marriott merger.
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Old Mar 9, 16, 1:40 pm
  #2  
 
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Why Get Status Anymore?

As you noted, the world is changing and the benefits of years gone by are no more. My assessment is that, rather than focus on what has been lost (which just serves to frustrate) the best option is to look forward. What is my best option for today and tomorrow.

Is there a value to status looking forward - yes. It's not the same value that is used to be - but compared to no status it is better. If you fly a lot then IROPS are a fact of life - having status makes those events easier.

Status means more flexibility - and at the Diamond level it brings global upgrades. Again - those are not what they used to be - but are still better than the options for someone with no status.

The real question is which airline. All the airlines are changing and the changes are similar. In years past flyers often stuck with the alliance in which they were the most heavily invested. Going forward that will not be the case. Price and schedule may be most important. Or, if planning a trip when bad weather, is expected the airline with the best perceived service recovery may be most important.

The bottom line is that the airlines are no longer blindly loyal to their most frequent flyers - they are now loyal to those flyers they value most - the biggest spenders. As consumers, we need to make sure that we understand that change.

If we stay loyal to one carrier even when it is inconvenient or more expensive then we are the fool. Our loyalty should be to the airline that is Mr. Right - not Mr. Right for ever and ever - Mr. Right now. This us business - set your personal feelings aside. To do otherwise is bringing a knife to a gunflight.
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Old Mar 9, 16, 1:49 pm
  #3  
 
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In the past I did buy more expensive tickets on my preferred airline for status reasons. The airlines have forced us to buy the lowest cost tickets now so it's a race to the bottom.
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Old Mar 9, 16, 1:53 pm
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Originally Posted by robertw477 View Post
As A DM right now it looks like all the benefits of being DM are being taken away with no further operational upgrades. Looks like I wont go for Diamond again this year. This will apply across the board to united/american and delta. They are really stripping away just about everything. Not a good year for me with this and the SPG/Marriott merger.
I don't quite understand your post.

Your claim that "all the benefits of being DM are being taken away" isn't substantiated. For example, Global Upgrades Certificates, which can be worth thousands of dollars per certificate, are still offered as a Choice Benefit option for DMs. Additionally, preferred treatment during IRROPS situations is another important benefit for DMs.

I also don't understand your comment about "no further operations upgrades." Operations upgrades were never a Medallion benefit and are solely done for the airline's convenience -- to allow selling more Main Cabin tickets when Delta One isn't sold out. I expect Op Ups to continue given Delta's revenue management strategy (high international business class fares and overbooking Main Cabin).
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Old Mar 9, 16, 1:57 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by robertw477 View Post
As A DM right now it looks like all the benefits of being DM are being taken away
They're taking away bonus miles for being DM? Priority Customer Service? Choice Benefits? Comfort Plus+ and Priority Seating? Priority Check-In Desks? Free Award Changes/Cancellation/Re-Deposit? Free SDC? Free SkyClub Membership?
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Old Mar 9, 16, 1:59 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by FirstInFlight View Post
As you noted, the world is changing and the benefits of years gone by are no more. My assessment is that, rather than focus on what has been lost (which just serves to frustrate) the best option is to look forward. What is my best option for today and tomorrow.

Is there a value to status looking forward - yes. It's not the same value that is used to be - but compared to no status it is better. If you fly a lot then IROPS are a fact of life - having status makes those events easier.

Status means more flexibility - and at the Diamond level it brings global upgrades. Again - those are not what they used to be - but are still better than the options for someone with no status.

The real question is which airline. All the airlines are changing and the changes are similar. In years past flyers often stuck with the alliance in which they were the most heavily invested. Going forward that will not be the case. Price and schedule may be most important. Or, if planning a trip when bad weather, is expected the airline with the best perceived service recovery may be most important.

The bottom line is that the airlines are no longer blindly loyal to their most frequent flyers - they are now loyal to those flyers they value most - the biggest spenders. As consumers, we need to make sure that we understand that change.

If we stay loyal to one carrier even when it is inconvenient or more expensive then we are the fool. Our loyalty should be to the airline that is Mr. Right - not Mr. Right for ever and ever - Mr. Right now. This us business - set your personal feelings aside. To do otherwise is bringing a knife to a gunflight.
^
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Old Mar 9, 16, 1:59 pm
  #7  
 
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Rather than analyze every issue that could creep into this discussion, I will try to simplify my opinion.

I'm a DM who has over 5 million total program miles. I've never failed to reach the highest level of status, going back to 1990 during the Royal Medallion days. I'm also a Flying Colonel.

The only "perk" I ever wanted was upgrades. I didn't really care about free tickets.

We all know about FCM. So I buy first, primarily GAP fares out of TPA. I am a self employed consultant, so I am lucky in this area. Whatever other perks I might have coming, I don't care about and frankly don't even know what they are

Since FCM is the "new normal", then I simply don't care about status any more, although I will probably hit DM again this year. I fly 300 days a year.

One person's opinion, one person's perspective.

Will be interesting to hear others
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Old Mar 9, 16, 2:06 pm
  #8  
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Elite status in general is still incredibly valuable. Free upgrades isn't the only factor.

Status makes what has become a generally inhumane industry much more tolerable. You're almost guaranteed to never get stuck in the middle, you get Sky Priority benefits that make everything a bit quicker, and yes, you can still get upgraded. You can also add better treatment during IRROPS, and vastly superior customer service.

The days of almost everyone getting upgraded all the time are over. Period. You can become a free agent peon with all the carriers, or you can stick with one and still get plenty of benefits. Delta is usually a good deal for me out of DCA, and I don't mind connecting. Especially when it means avoiding the abomination that is UA, and the hellish gate 35X that is USdbaAA. I am willing to fly AA if it significantly cheaper (having OW Sapphire helps), but it is still my second choice by far.

Last edited by KDCAflyer; Mar 9, 16 at 2:19 pm
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Old Mar 9, 16, 2:21 pm
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Originally Posted by WWads View Post
Elite status in general is still incredibly valuable. Free upgrades isn't the only factor.

Status makes what has become a generally inhumane industry much more tolerable. You're almost guaranteed to never get stuck in the middle, you get Sky Priority benefits that make everything a bit quicker, and yes, you can still get upgraded. You can also add better treatment during IRROPS, and vastly superior customer service.

The days of almost everyone getting upgraded all the time are over. Period. You can become a free agent peon with all the carriers, or you can stick with one and still get plenty of benefits. Delta is usually a good deal for me out of DCA, and I don't mind connecting. Especially when it means avoiding the abomination that is UA, and the hellish gate 35X that is USdbaAA. I am willing to fly AA if it significantly cheaper (having OW Sapphire helps), but it is still my second choice by far.
That sort of sums up my thoughts. Status still gets you some amazing customer service. Whenever I have an issue the Diamond line is usually super responsive, quick and professional. @DeltaAssist is super fast as well, often responding in seconds (doubt that's entirely status related though) and during IRROPS you get ridiculous levels of help/customer service.

Is it as important as it once was? Definitely not, but is it still useful? Only a fool would think otherwise.
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Old Mar 9, 16, 3:15 pm
  #10  
 
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Rethinking the chase

I've recently wondered about whether to actively keep persuing PM status, especially since 50% of my yearly flights were for leisure/requalifying purposes. With PMUs being replaced with RUCs, and the possibility of complimentary upgrades being tightened or abolished in the future, maybe I should just buy half the tickets I normally do each year, but in discounted F/J cabins, as those paid tickets would include many of the remaining perks which status conveys..

I have a DL AMEX Reserve card - so i have skyclub access, in addition to when i travel internationally (or are flying F/D1)

So if the benefits are there for a cheaper overall spend without chasing PM status (but with confirmed F/J seat), perhaps thats the way to go.
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Old Mar 9, 16, 3:38 pm
  #11  
 
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Originally Posted by FirstInFlight View Post
If we stay loyal to one carrier even when it is inconvenient or more expensive then we are the fool. Our loyalty should be to the airline that is Mr. Right - not Mr. Right for ever and ever - Mr. Right now. This us business - set your personal feelings aside. To do otherwise is bringing a knife to a gunflight.
Couldn't agree more.

For a person such as myself who flies for business, but not nearly as often as the really frequent flyers, pursuing status makes very little sense. I fly maybe 15 times per year, but all on F. Status offers nothing that F doesn't already confer. When on personal travel, I just app for the associated Airline CCs for the free bag, priority boarding, club access and some sign-up bonus miles.

Regarding upgrades to premium +, I'm not interested. I don't care where the seat is, it's still coach. I'm not going to pay more for or be loyal for a better coach seat.
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Old Mar 9, 16, 3:49 pm
  #12  
 
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I'm a very low-value DM based in NYC. I happily swipe my Amex to earn 100k MQMs solely from credit card spend. I book my travel months in advance, so I have been able to successfully use miles for J seats to Australia, Europe, Hawaii, and South America with no hassle.

I happily benefit from enhanced treatment at the airports, bonus miles, choice benefits, mileage redeposit, club access, fee waivers, etc. all while maintaining close to 90% on upgrades. I'm sure I would be frustrated if I were a real medallion, but for me, I have capitalized on my diamond status for low low low level MQD spending. And most of that spending is paid in Delta VDB vouchers.

Who knows how long I'll be able to make it last, but until that dreaded day, I am beyond thrilled with my airline status.
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Old Mar 9, 16, 4:04 pm
  #13  
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Originally Posted by HonoraryOrange View Post
Status still gets you some amazing customer service. Whenever I have an issue the Diamond line is usually super responsive, quick and professional ---- and during IRROPS you get ridiculous levels of help/customer service.

Is it as important as it once was? Definitely not, but is it still useful? Only a fool would think otherwise.
^
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Old Mar 9, 16, 4:07 pm
  #14  
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Originally Posted by iflyalexair View Post
Who knows how long I'll be able to make it last, but until that dreaded day, I am beyond thrilled with my airline status.
Funny, I was just going to start a similar thread to this.

Having been a platinum for the past several years on my own dime, the change in RDM miles really hurt me. Before, I could justify in doing mileage runs (MR) because for the I would be able to earn enough points for a free flight for about $500.

This year when the opportunity came to book a family vacation, I chose the cheaper and non stop route compared to the more expensive one stop Delta route. In fact, just yesterday I booked two F MR back to back for 5cpm. In the end I cancelled as spending $1000 for the privilege of nice seats is not worth it.

I do have to say though, it was hard not using Delta and having to cancel my flights, but at this time I cannot justify the expense for the benefits I am receiving.
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Old Mar 9, 16, 4:28 pm
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Originally Posted by TPAtoAnywhere View Post
Rather than analyze every issue that could creep into this discussion, I will try to simplify my opinion.

I'm a DM who has over 5 million total program miles. I've never failed to reach the highest level of status, going back to 1990 during the Royal Medallion days. I'm also a Flying Colonel.

The only "perk" I ever wanted was upgrades. I didn't really care about free tickets.

We all know about FCM. So I buy first, primarily GAP fares out of TPA. I am a self employed consultant, so I am lucky in this area. Whatever other perks I might have coming, I don't care about and frankly don't even know what they are

Since FCM is the "new normal", then I simply don't care about status any more, although I will probably hit DM again this year. I fly 300 days a year.

One person's opinion, one person's perspective.

Will be interesting to hear others
I agree. Short trips I grab Comfort + on DL or same on UA or AA based on price/schedule. Longer trips buy best F on the three. Maintain PL on AA and DL and at least G on UA so it works for me.

Last edited by Canarsie; Mar 10, 16 at 2:38 pm Reason: Consolidation.
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