Relocating to NYC - Sell Me on Delta

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Old Mar 11, 19, 11:54 am
  #61  
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Depending on how often OP would be flying on SQ, would it make sense to use the SQ FF program for *A and enjoy PPS benefits? The revenue requirement would be fairly easy, even though IIRC only FC and business class on SQ counts. OP would lose the possibility of domestic FC upgrades and free Y+ on UA flights, but it sounds like that won't matter. SQ miles seem to have reasonable availability (plus waitlist requests) for SQ award flights and upgrades, although the obvious drawback is that SQ miles expire. IIRC having *A Gold status on a different carrier is good for UA lounge access on domestic UA tickets, or do I have that wrong? Of course, a lot of the SQ vs UA comparison depends on whether OP would get UA GS or not.
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Old Mar 11, 19, 12:24 pm
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Quick update since it's come up a few times. Transcons will be booked in coach so upgrade availability on NYC-SFO is now factoring into the equation.
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Old Mar 11, 19, 12:27 pm
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Originally Posted by axpmaluga View Post
Quick update since it's come up a few times. Transcons will be booked in coach so upgrade availability on NYC-SFO is now factoring into the equation.

I don't think United offers complimentary upgrades on transcon routes, and Delta does. The DL experience at SFO is really nice in that it's not a huge terminal, it's quick to get through, and the lounge is really nice and not usually crowded.

If you are flying paid J on Delta/Sky Team on other routes and you get to DM status, this should help your chances of getting upgrades on the transcon routes. You really need to be DM to have a good chance of upgrades on JFK-SFO. If you are PM you can get regional upgrade certificates which can also be used on this route.
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Old Mar 11, 19, 12:29 pm
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Originally Posted by axpmaluga View Post
Quick update since it's come up a few times. Transcons will be booked in coach so upgrade availability on NYC-SFO is now factoring into the equation.
That would actually push me pretty strongly towards Delta. United seems to be willing to sell even the very last seat for paid upgrades, meaning that I'd basically never expect to be upgraded on the transcons. On Delta I've been upgraded almost always using a RUC (and you could get up to 12 per year if your international travel is all going to be in paid business so you don't need the GUCs).
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Old Mar 11, 19, 12:31 pm
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Originally Posted by jdrtravel View Post
I don't think United offers complimentary upgrades on transcon routes, and Delta does. The DL experience at SFO is really nice in that it's not a huge terminal, it's quick to get through, and the lounge is really nice and not usually crowded.
Although Delta does offer upgrades on the TCONs, the reality is that it is extremely unlikely you would receive an upgrade to anything above C+ unless you take a connection at an oddball time, avoiding ATL. The DL experience at SFO is quite good though.
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Old Mar 11, 19, 12:33 pm
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Originally Posted by axpmaluga View Post
Quick update since it's come up a few times. Transcons will be booked in coach so upgrade availability on NYC-SFO is now factoring into the equation.
That does complicate matters a little bit. On UA you'd have to use RPUs to upgrade those flights. On DL in theory you'd be eligible for complimentary upgrades, but in practice you'd probably need to use RUCs on that route most of the time or your upgrade wouldn't clear (and even with RUCs, at peak business travel times of week you may still not get the upgrade, though that's probably true on UA as well).

How you earn RPUs and RUCs is slightly different between the two airlines ... on UA in theory you can earn lots of them if you fly a ton each year (IIRC I think you get 2 at 75K miles and 2 more for every 25K after that? Or something like that). On DL you can earn 4 at 75K miles/Platinum, and 8 more at 125K miles/Diamond, but no more than that. And on DL those RUCs are part of the choice benefit program, meaning you have to give up something else to get RUCs -- most notably, at the Diamond level, you can only choose either 8 RUCs or 4 Global Upgrade Certificates (which would most likely be useful to upgrade personal travel, given your business travel patterns), but not both. Though to be fair, other than having to choose between RUCs and GUCs at the Diamond level, the other options for your Choice Benefits are mostly things like bonus miles or gifting status that UA doesn't offer at all, so you're not missing out relative to what other airlines offer, you're just creating an opportunity cost decision for yourself.
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Old Mar 11, 19, 12:34 pm
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Originally Posted by The Situation View Post
Although Delta does offer upgrades on the TCONs, the reality is that it is extremely unlikely you would receive an upgrade to anything above C+ unless you take a connection at an oddball time, avoiding ATL. The DL experience at SFO is quite good though.
Even for DM's into SFO? I would have thought that this would be a somewhat decent chance.
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Old Mar 11, 19, 12:42 pm
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Originally Posted by bgriff View Post
That does complicate matters a little bit. On UA you'd have to use RPUs to upgrade those flights. On DL in theory you'd be eligible for complimentary upgrades, but in practice you'd probably need to use RUCs on that route most of the time or your upgrade wouldn't clear (and even with RUCs, at peak business travel times of week you may still not get the upgrade, though that's probably true on UA as well).

How you earn RPUs and RUCs is slightly different between the two airlines ... on UA in theory you can earn lots of them if you fly a ton each year (IIRC I think you get 2 at 75K miles and 2 more for every 25K after that? Or something like that). On DL you can earn 4 at 75K miles/Platinum, and 8 more at 125K miles/Diamond, but no more than that. And on DL those RUCs are part of the choice benefit program, meaning you have to give up something else to get RUCs -- most notably, at the Diamond level, you can only choose either 8 RUCs or 4 Global Upgrade Certificates (which would most likely be useful to upgrade personal travel, given your business travel patterns), but not both. Though to be fair, other than having to choose between RUCs and GUCs at the Diamond level, the other options for your Choice Benefits are mostly things like bonus miles or gifting status that UA doesn't offer at all, so you're not missing out relative to what other airlines offer, you're just creating an opportunity cost decision for yourself.
OP is *only* going to SFO six times per year, which would be 12 RUCs if they all clear, or 200,000 miles on UA to get 12 SWUs. Depending on the fare class, OP could also explore using miles to upgrade or taking a FCM upgrade offer and paying the additional cost with miles. It sounds like OP will be doing his/her own bookings directly with the airline, so there should sometimes be decent upgrade offers as well as the possibility to call DL and use some miles to secure the upgrade.

BTW my *guess* is that D1 upgrades are generally easier on SFO than LAX routes.
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Old Mar 11, 19, 4:32 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
BTW my *guess* is that D1 upgrades are generally easier on SFO than LAX routes.
That would be my guess as well, but is not my experience out of JFK, unfortunately. I think LAX may just have more widebodies.
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Old Mar 11, 19, 6:00 pm
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Originally Posted by SamOF View Post
That would be my guess as well, but is not my experience out of JFK, unfortunately. I think LAX may just have more widebodies.
Hmm I would have also guessed that given the lower amount of medallions at SFO vs JFK & LAX both being hubs. On the other hand, there are a lot of really rich people flying out of SFO.
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Old Mar 11, 19, 8:07 pm
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Originally Posted by SamOF View Post
That would be my guess as well, but is not my experience out of JFK, unfortunately. I think LAX may just have more widebodies.
SFO seems to be mostly 752s these days -- I haven't been able to snag a widebody on my RDU - JFK - SFO turns in about 6 months unless I skip the next available JFKSFO leg and take a really long layover (which isn't worth it)
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Old Mar 12, 19, 6:04 am
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Originally Posted by axpmaluga View Post
Quick update since it's come up a few times. Transcons will be booked in coach so upgrade availability on NYC-SFO is now factoring into the equation.
Here I would give the edge to Delta even tho youll be competing with lots of other Medallions out of JFK, you still may get good usage out of your RUCs vs UA as others said.

Although I think the plane is a 737 (so no D1), Delta also does a few JFK - SJC routes daily and depending on your business needs, this can sometimes be just as fast to/from the airport. The good thing here is there tends to be less Medallion competition on this route (at least in my experience). I was getting auto-upgraded on this route as a GM last year. As airports go, SJCs Delta terminal is even smaller than SFO but that also makes security extremely fast. So you have options, is what Im saying.

I still stand by my original suggestion to try to earn status in multiple programs and then favor one if you find you prefer the planes/service. For the first year, you can always status match (try to time it to July/August to get the match through the following year) one to another and then compare the domestic upgrade options that way.
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Old Mar 12, 19, 8:48 am
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Originally Posted by film_girl View Post
Although I think the plane is a 737 (so no D1), Delta also does a few JFK - SJC routes daily and depending on your business needs, this can sometimes be just as fast to/from the airport.
This route is only flown once per day, and the SJC-JFK is a redeye (that does not offer lay flat seats). I think the only upside of this is the location of SJC if you are in silicon valley, and perhaps the ability to upgrade more cheaply with miles or cash to the domestic F seat.
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Old Mar 12, 19, 4:01 pm
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Given that the OP has replaced FRA with TXL as one of the international destinations, I'm surprised that there isn't more love on this board for AA/oneworld. JFK-SFO several times a day on AA's three-class A321; JFK-GRU on both AA and oneworld partner LATAM; one-stop JFK-SYD connections on AA, QF, or a combination of the two; no JFK-TXL nonstop, but one-stop connections via MAD, HEL, LHR, or even LCY! on oneworld carriers. JFK-SIN single connections via either CX or JL.

Upgrades on AA's JFK-SFO might be tough, but with AA's lowest-tier elite status (AAdvantage Gold), one can select a Main Cabin Extra Coach (34" pitch, dedicated overhead bins, free alcohol) seat -- if still available -- at check-in, 24 hours before departure. With any higher AA status, MCE seats can be selected for free at booking.
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Old Mar 12, 19, 5:00 pm
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
Given that the OP has replaced FRA with TXL as one of the international destinations, I'm surprised that there isn't more love on this board for AA/oneworld. JFK-SFO several times a day on AA's three-class A321; JFK-GRU on both AA and oneworld partner LATAM; one-stop JFK-SYD connections on AA, QF, or a combination of the two; no JFK-TXL nonstop, but one-stop connections via MAD, HEL, LHR, or even LCY! on oneworld carriers. JFK-SIN single connections via either CX or JL.

Upgrades on AA's JFK-SFO might be tough, but with AA's lowest-tier elite status (AAdvantage Gold), one can select a Main Cabin Extra Coach (34" pitch, dedicated overhead bins, free alcohol) seat -- if still available -- at check-in, 24 hours before departure. With any higher AA status, MCE seats can be selected for free at booking.
Yeah ...... but then you have to fly AA.

In all seriousness, while there are certain advantages to AA (its miles still have good value for certain uses, and it does have a few nice aspects of its product, like a good 777 business class seat and a nice lounge product which unlike Polaris lounges is even open to elites), AA just isn't a serious player in NYC any more with ever-less service other than core routes. So if you earn status on AA, it is less likely to be useful than DL or UA status would be when you want to get upgraded on your personal travel or if your business travel patterns change.
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