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What should an AA refugee know about switching to DL?

What should an AA refugee know about switching to DL?

Old Jun 22, 16, 9:53 pm
  #1  
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What should an AA refugee know about switching to DL?

I'm looking at switching my flying over to DL after the dumpster fire that the AA/US merger has become of late. With lifetime status already secured, there's little reason to endure the mess. My plan is to wait until after 7/1 to comp over.

My travel profile is mostly domestic, up and down the east coast. I'm (newly) based in RDU so the availability of non-stop flights to more than just hubs is appealing to me. I fly probably 180-200 segments/yr, spend is in the $25-30k/yr range. Company will pay for C+ and club membership.

Assuming I'm comped over to Plat, what pitfalls/tips/tricks do y'all think will be most handy?
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Old Jun 22, 16, 9:56 pm
  #2  
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DL has been doing status challenges, not matches. In a normal full year, you'll earn DM by segments (and MQDs).
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Old Jun 22, 16, 9:59 pm
  #3  
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Being RDU based you will have access to most any destination you'll ever need with a quick flight to ATL. I would say that is the biggest advantage over AA.
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Old Jun 22, 16, 10:03 pm
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Familiarize yourself with Delta's new Comfort+ rules. It seems this is the big and only source of confusion/frustration among Medallions right now.

There's a thread here about it, but I recommend looking up the Comfort+ page on Delta's website and reading the FAQ there first.
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Old Jun 22, 16, 10:04 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
DL has been doing status challenges, not matches. In a normal full year, you'll earn DM by segments (and MQDs).
With the travel I have planned for Q3, I'll easily meet the challenge for Plat in about a month so that doesn't worry me much. I don't have enough left this year to make it to DM which is also fine with me.

Mostly interested in what I should know and any tips to make the transition a bit easier.
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Old Jun 22, 16, 10:17 pm
  #6  
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the RDU skyclub is an overcrowded closet and is basically terrible all around, though not the worst skyclub in the DL system. Flight availability from RDU is excellent, though, you should overall be extremely pleased.
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Old Jun 22, 16, 10:17 pm
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If you don't have either, I might recommend getting either a Platinum American Express (not the DL Platinum American Express) or the Delta Reserve American Express. Annual fee for either card is $450 but would get you SkyClub access (at least until you hit Diamond next year and then you'd get a club membership for reaching DM). There may be a nice sign-up bonus of MQMs for the DL Reserve American Express that would maybe even help you reach DM status by the end of the year. Having the DL Reserve AmEx also gives you a little bit higher priority for complimentary UGs.
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Old Jun 22, 16, 10:25 pm
  #8  
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Thanks for the tips! Keep 'em coming.

(my wife even added one for me: now she doesn't have to stop on her way to CDG. )
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Old Jun 22, 16, 10:27 pm
  #9  
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Originally Posted by McFlyPHL View Post
With the travel I have planned for Q3, I'll easily meet the challenge for Plat in about a month so that doesn't worry me much. I don't have enough left this year to make it to DM which is also fine with me.

Mostly interested in what I should know and any tips to make the transition a bit easier.
Some major differences compared to AA:

No free snack when seated in coach, but you do get free alcohol and the enhanced snack basket in C+, which is now treated as a different "class" into which one can be upgraded.

Upgrade priority is based first on elite status, then fare class, then Reserve card status, with time of request used as a tiebreaker. However, some changes are coming....

You can't gift upgrade certs unless you're traveling with the person, officially on the same PNR.

FAs are generally nice to customers; we don't seem to hear stories of deranged FAs going off on a passenger.

Some GAs follow "you board you lose" policy for gate upgrades; if you're reasonably near the top of the list, you can win an upgrade by not boarding with the elites.

DL GAs and RedCoats can have difficulty with travel document requirements and refuse to board passengers who have the required documents. Be prepared for DL to refuse to follow TIMATIC rules.

SDC rules are different from what AA does.

No IFC (and you cannot use DL miles or instruments to get into partner IFC cabins, such as KE and AF), no PJs, etc.

When you search on delta.dumb, the default is to list flights according to "best match" which often means the flights DL wants you to select. Good prices or nonstops at attractive times can be hidden on the second page of results. Watch out also for broken fares being offered, which can limit SDC possibilities.

Also when you search on delta.dumb, your one and only chance (50-50 probability of it working IME) to see the fare rules is just before the purchase, by clicking links on the bottom of the page.

You probably don't want Basic Economy (E class) tickets.

Fare classes are ordered as follows:
D1/business class: J C D I Z
FC: F P A G, where P might or might not be flexible/refundable.
C+: W
Coach: Y B (earn 150% MQMs but no special treatment for upgrades) M S H Q K L U T X V
Basic Economy: E
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Old Jun 22, 16, 10:39 pm
  #10  
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Medallion upgrades don't use stickers.
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Old Jun 23, 16, 12:09 pm
  #11  
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Lots of great info, thanks!

Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
No free snack when seated in coach, but you do get free alcohol and the enhanced snack basket in C+, which is now treated as a different "class" into which one can be upgraded.
...if only we actually got free snacks. Most FA's look at you like you're green.

I'll mostly buy C+ so not too worried about it being a separate class.

Upgrade priority is based first on elite status, then fare class, then Reserve card status, with time of request used as a tiebreaker. However, some changes are coming....
Seems reasonable, and perhaps a reason to get the reserve card as my method of entry in to the Sky Club vs. just purchasing a membership?

If I understand correctly for Y->F upgrades, priority is by level then Y,B,M,then C+ (W)?

SDC rules are different from what AA does.
From what I've heard, online SDC actually works on DL. AA recently also banned SDC if your connecting city changes (e.g., if you're booked AAA-CLT-BBB, you can't SDC to AAA-PHL-BBB without paying change fees + fare diff). This was actually the last straw for me as I spent an extra 3-4 hours waiting around on my last two trips because of this.

When you search on delta.dumb, the default is to list flights according to "best match" which often means the flights DL wants you to select. Good prices or nonstops at attractive times can be hidden on the second page of results. Watch out also for broken fares being offered, which can limit SDC possibilities.
Is there a way to set your profile to show closest times or lowest fares first?

Also, how does one identify a broken fare?
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Old Jun 23, 16, 12:18 pm
  #12  
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Originally Posted by McFlyPHL View Post
Lots of great info, thanks!



...if only we actually got free snacks. Most FA's look at you like you're green.

I'll mostly buy C+ so not too worried about it being a separate class.



Seems reasonable, and perhaps a reason to get the reserve card as my method of entry in to the Sky Club vs. just purchasing a membership?

If I understand correctly for Y->F upgrades, priority is by level then Y,B,M,then C+ (W)?



From what I've heard, online SDC actually works on DL. AA recently also banned SDC if your connecting city changes (e.g., if you're booked AAA-CLT-BBB, you can't SDC to AAA-PHL-BBB without paying change fees + fare diff). This was actually the last straw for me as I spent an extra 3-4 hours waiting around on my last two trips because of this.



Is there a way to set your profile to show closest times or lowest fares first?

Also, how does one identify a broken fare?
You can't set this in your profile. You must continually re-do it even when you just go back in a search or change some other search parameter slightly.

The only way to identify broken fares for sure is to look at the fare constuction, but it's a dead giveaway when you see different fare classes being offered in the same direction. Often in such cases if you do advanced search by fare class and select a higher fare class, you will be offered the same flights for a *lower* total unbroken fare.

Remember that a SC membership allows access when you're flying another carrier/alliance. To access SCs with a Reserve card or with the AmEx regular Plat/Centurion charge card, you must be flying DL, with codeshares not being allowed sometimes. I'd still suggest picking a card for access based on its other benefits since as soon as you qualify for DM, you'll get the SC membership for free.
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Old Jun 23, 16, 12:43 pm
  #13  
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Originally Posted by McFlyPHL View Post
From what I've heard, online SDC actually works on DL. AA recently also banned SDC if your connecting city changes (e.g., if you're booked AAA-CLT-BBB, you can't SDC to AAA-PHL-BBB without paying change fees + fare diff). This was actually the last straw for me as I spent an extra 3-4 hours waiting around on my last two trips because of this.
Where'd you hear that from

I've never been able to get online SDC to work, not once. And if you have to call, it's a bigger battle if you're in First Class than Coach, and have to educate the agents on the rules.

But yes, you can change routings... the SDC policy as a whole is much better than AA's.
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Old Jun 23, 16, 12:43 pm
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Originally Posted by McFlyPHL View Post
From what I've heard, online SDC actually works on DL. AA recently also banned SDC if your connecting city changes (e.g., if you're booked AAA-CLT-BBB, you can't SDC to AAA-PHL-BBB without paying change fees + fare diff). This was actually the last straw for me as I spent an extra 3-4 hours waiting around on my last two trips because of this.
You can change your middle airport on DL you just can't go from a connection to a direct. And in Y the fare class you purchased has to have availability on the new route at the time your request the SDC.
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Old Jun 23, 16, 12:44 pm
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an oops
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