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$2 short for status - Delta doesn't budge

$2 short for status - Delta doesn't budge

Old May 1, 18, 2:58 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Programs: delta, southwest
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Exclamation $2 short for status - Delta doesn't budge

Copying what I wrote on reddit, because a few of you gave me these suggestions to push to have MQD's recalculated. Hopefully, it's at least a cautionary tale about earning skymiles.

Last year, I was ~$300 short of making status (I had accumulated more than enough MQMs), and after posting here about whether or not it was worth spending $300 to achieve silver, I decided to take a trip to meet the required dollar spend. After speaking to two Delta agents on the phone, both of whom assured me this trip would qualify me for status, I booked a RT 24 hour to Phoenix from Chicago. After returning, I looked at my account to see that I was a mere $2 short of status.

I called customer service to see if there was anything that could be done (I was willing to spend the $2, but was frustrated as I was promised I would have already been qualified with the Phoenix trip), and was told my only option was to buy miles at $290 dollars. After calling customer care once more, I was told that if I asked to have my dollar spend recalculated (maybe cents were missed or rounded down) they would find the $2 and I would achieve status. When I asked why, the customer service agent said "I cannot confirm that you will achieve status, but you need to ask to recalculate your dollars and you will achieve status." This was also confirmed by a few flyers on this forum. That request was denied.

I was then offered by Delta, at the beginning of 2018, to purchase more miles, in a final (post 2017) attempt to make 2017 status. I, instead, took a RT to Paris from New York. After finding out that a trip taken with the airline on Jan 9 DID NOT count towards this last offer, I became furious. That trip was taken during the same time the promotion for buying into 2017 was offered. When I wrote Delta for the third time to ask why these dollars hadn't counted, but those spend to purchase miles would, the email I received stated that all qualifying miles and dollars had to be earned/spent in 2017, which directly contradicted the offer that was made (via email) to buy into the program in January 2018.

I have spoken with multiple status holders here who have assured me that Delta has bumped them into the next status category even when they fell short. Apparently, this is not the case for those attempting to achieve silver. I have also had the discussion about the slippery slope argument, and I understand the concern, however: 1. I was assured I would achieve status after the CHI PHX flight, and relied on that assurance to take a flight I never would taken had I known I would have been short, 2. I was told about rounding down issues in calculating MQDs, and I have been on enough flights that this seems like it could be a possibility, 3. I then spent more money in 2018 only to find out that I had spent money the wrong way?

I am so disappointed in how this was handled, and I will never fly Delta again (thank you forum member who, possibly snarkily, possibly seriously told me to consider WOW air. They were wonderful, albeit a little disorganized). I was disgusted that a customer who spent thousands of dollars and flew tens of thousands of miles is turned away for $2, a $2 that was most likely rounded down in multiple trips taken where the numbers past the "." were below 50. I always caveat these stories with - I did this with my own money and on my own time. Silver, $3000, and 25k miles may not seem like a lot to most of you, but I really stretched myself for the MQDs. I guess I need to spend much more to be considered a customer Delta cares to keep.
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Old May 1, 18, 4:13 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: SJC, SFO
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Posts: 1,149
OP, to be honest, Silver is not what it used to be and hardly worth much. Even as a Diamond, my upgrade rate is dismal and we have a higher chance of getting shoved into a comfort plus middle seat.

Cautionary tale - as a Diamond, I find quite a bit of MQD calculation errors, to a point that I keep meticulous records of every flight using a finance app. Here are the common issues:

1) Airline surcharges - these are qualified amounts towards MQD, and they can be quite significant, as much as 1/3 of the ticket cost. I find that they seem to appear on DL-coded partner-metal flights.
2) Codeshared partner flight sold by DL on 006 stock - a few airlines are major offenders of not posting - China Airlines (CI) out of Taiwan is one the worst - they almost never post automatically and require multiple phone calls. I would avoid them but don't have a choice until Korean Air JV comes fully online. If Delta sold the ticket, you get full MQD credit for that segment.
3) Ticket changes - man, this is a mess. The system recalculate even the flown/credited segments because the change of the un-flown segments can change the fare for the flown segments.

One best way is to look at your receipt, and add up base + all airlines surcharges (not taxes, government fees, airport takeoff/landing fees), and that's your earned amount towards MQD. I have had multiple arguments with Diamond desk agents, many do not know airline surcharges are eligible. They usually act like a jerk and refuse to pass the information to Sky Miles desk. I usually get testy with them, at which point they reluctantly call Sky Miles desk and only to be told I am correct on the surcharges. I find Sky Mile desk seem to be pretty recent - the challenge is to get the front line agent see things your way and call Sky Miles desk.

It's an uphill battle to correct missed postings and miss calculations, even for us Diamonds. Best practice is always check within 1-2 days after the flight and don't wait to correct the mistakes.
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wlau is offline  
Old May 1, 18, 4:16 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 1,989
Sympathetic to your plight and I know how it feels to have missed the goal by such a close margin. On a lighter note, this feeling is almost like how I relied on a new GPS to guide me to my destination only to be told it's the wrong turn over and over again.. That said, you posted as a cautionary tale, I too will respond with my personal opinions. (1) Trusting an agent over the phone on your account in most situation is fine but one should verify. This is also likely your strongest argument. But was there any reason you had to rely on them to determine the MQD when it is usually a easy calculation exercise (2) Requesting a recount like any appeals is never guaranteed to work in your favour. You gave it a shot but they turned it down. (3) I think this is your weakest argument of all. Trying to equate a final buy up offer to a flight taken in Jan is not going to fly. They did not extend their qualification period. They are allowing members who failed to qualify in the usual way a means to buy the status using cash. It was a mistake to assume otherwise. Still, I feel your pain but it is hard to pin all the fault onto Delta here. Just my 2 cents.
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Old May 1, 18, 6:26 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
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You took a risk spending as little as possible to meet the spend that it backfired on you, get over it. Not Delta`s fault

if you think sharing your story here will have masses stop flying DL, sorry not going to happen.

hold on to that anger though, very healthy.

Enjoy your flights on United
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BusTrav8yrs is offline  
Old May 1, 18, 6:40 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Programs: Delta Plat; UA 1MM (former 1K)
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I keep a screen grab of the "Mileage Estimator" with details expanded, for every purchase. One can see this before completing the purchase, so if one forgets or buys over the phone, one can duplicate the information. The word "Estimator" is troubling, but so far these grabs have never been wrong for me. (I too track everything in a spreadsheet. I once made United 1K by $38. That's my idea of cutting it close.)
Syzygies is offline  
Old May 1, 18, 6:47 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
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Originally Posted by wlau View Post

One best way is to look at your receipt, and add up base + all airlines surcharges (not taxes, government fees, airport takeoff/landing fees), and that's your earned amount towards MQD. I have had multiple arguments with Diamond desk agents, many do not know airline surcharges are eligible.
Random question - does the $200 change fee for all my the times i change my ticket count for this as well?
Worldtraveler727 is offline  
Old May 1, 18, 6:50 am
  #7  
LBJ
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Originally Posted by Syzygies View Post
I keep a screen grab of the "Mileage Estimator" with details expanded, for every purchase. One can see this before completing the purchase, so if one forgets or buys over the phone, one can duplicate the information. The word "Estimator" is troubling, but so far these grabs have never been wrong for me. (I too track everything in a spreadsheet. I once made United 1K by $38. That's my idea of cutting it close.)
The disclaim any errors in the estimator and there was a case a few years ago where it was giving wildly​​​​​​ inaccurate results for Canadian origin tickets. Your email ticket receipts have the details needed to calculate MQD's in the Fare Details section which lists base fare and fare components (including airline surcharges).
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Old May 1, 18, 6:53 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
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Originally Posted by BusTrav8yrs View Post
You took a risk spending as little as possible to meet the spend that it backfired on you, get over it. Not Delta`s fault

if you think sharing your story here will have masses stop flying DL, sorry not going to happen.

hold on to that anger though, very healthy.

Enjoy your flights on United
Feel better?
apodo77 is offline  
Old May 1, 18, 6:54 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
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Originally Posted by Worldtraveler727 View Post
Random question - does the $200 change fee for all my the times i change my ticket count for this as well?
No.
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Old May 1, 18, 7:46 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
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The OP first mistake was thinking that being Silver would mean a hill of beans. It does not. BITD there were stories where Delta bumped, long term previously high status holders, but those days are gone. Especially at the lower lever. If someone wants pseudo Silver status spend $$ on a Delta AMEx card.
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FlyingUnderTheRadar is offline  
Old May 1, 18, 7:54 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
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Originally Posted by Worldtraveler727 View Post
Random question - does the $200 change fee for all my the times i change my ticket count for this as well?
Nope!
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Old May 1, 18, 7:59 am
  #12  
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Whether the whole effort was worth it to make Silver is irrelevant. It is a status which DL offers and which OP wants. The fact that any given person may find it valueless has nothing to do with this OP.

That said, it is up to OP to calculate all of this, not to call DL or others and have them do it for him. He should go back through his e-ticket receipts and calculate the values on a spread sheet. If he can bring himself over the threshold, submit it to DL. If he can't, forget it and move on.

As to the TATL flight he took, he will need to take a look at the exact t&c. If he can point to the term which entitles him to credit, he should take a run at DL. If not, move on.

There are no guarantees in life, DL sells status and OP did not buy it.
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Often1 is offline  
Old May 1, 18, 12:06 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
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OP needs to take personal responsibility.

It is not hard to complete basic addition and subtraction. It should have been simple to used the MQD tracker to see what the deficiency was, then look at the ticket receipt to make sure that amount is more than exceeded in base fare.

In addition, the offer to purchase status clearly states that it extends the qualification period. There is NO such disclaimer or note for this to happen with actual flights flown - those have never, ever, ever been backdated by any frequent flyer program. OP tried to apply the T&Cs from a status promotion to regular status qualification, and that's just not how things work.

If OP cannot figure out these basic tenets of qualification I worry to think about how well she/he may or may not make use of the associated benefits with Silver (aka will they act like an overentitled DM or like someone without any status and knowledge of a free bag, SDC, etc).

I'm usually on the customers side but I don't see how DL erred here. Here's how they may have erred: rounding aside, it's possible MQDs for 2017 travel was misallocated.

$2 isn't hard to find. AND there isn't really a time limit (except a point after which 2017 earned status expires). If OP goes back and compares all 2017 receipts against MQDs, $2 may be found. OP can then call DL and ask for reprocessing of that particular ticket or segment and that could fix the problem. I've had DL and even hotels forget to post 1 or 2 nights or whatever here or there that made the difference to status. The only way around it is to reconcile your account to find any differences.
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Old May 1, 18, 12:24 pm
  #14  
 
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Just to play Devil's advocate, a fair question to ask is "Where is the line then?" This almost becomes one of philosophy but it's still a fair question. OP is 2 MQDs short. They choose to grant a waiver - then what about the person who is 3 MQDs short? Then the next one who is 4 MQDs short? Sure you could look at two drastic cases and see the difference - someone is 100 MQDs short. But given the amount of passengers DL has, I'm sure there are plenty of customers who were 2 MQDs short, plenty who were 3 MQDs short, plenty who were 4 MQDs short, etc. They grant a waiver to someone who is 48 MQDs short but not someone who is 50 MQDs short. The difference between the two is the same as OP and the current mark - 2 MQDs. So where is the line drawn?
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ATOBTTR is offline  
Old May 1, 18, 1:01 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Originally Posted by ATOBTTR View Post
Just to play Devil's advocate, a fair question to ask is "Where is the line then?" This almost becomes one of philosophy but it's still a fair question. OP is 2 MQDs short. They choose to grant a waiver - then what about the person who is 3 MQDs short? Then the next one who is 4 MQDs short? <snip> So where is the line drawn?
I'm not sure this would be possible, and it would be qualitative, but I might suggest that waiving in people who are "close" could be based on whether that person has been a "good Delta citizen" and other factors. By this, I mean has the passenger engaged in such activities as:
(1) Taken the time to write a complimentary note to Delta when it has been deserved, and perhaps has shared such positive experiences on social media
(2) Taken the time to write a note providing constructive feedback or mature, well-articulated criticism about something that went wrong (but not a rant; i.e., something Delta could potentially use to improve their service)
(3) No record of "no shows" for flights
(4) Lifetime status record (i.e., person has had long history of achieving status)
(5) Lives in a non-hub city (idea here is that the person truly has a choice of airlines, by which status would potentially be a win-win for Delta and the passenger)
(6) Bad luck in past year with irregular ops, canceled flights, being bumped, delayed/ missing baggage, that sort of thing
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