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the dilemma - what to do about status qualifications

the dilemma - what to do about status qualifications

Old Nov 2, 2023, 11:36 am
  #1  
tck
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SEA or often in Asia
Programs: DL Platinum
Posts: 10
Question the dilemma - what to do about status qualifications

Infrequent poster but read and follow along gleaning wisdom from many of you. Loyal NW/DL flyer for the past 25 years. Platinum for the past 8 years or so but will barely make silver after next year with the planned changes. Would rather not jump ship to another airline/alliance but Delta has made it really difficult to have any meaningful status (meaning gold or above.) The dilemma...I'm at 850k toward million miler status. It would be feasible to reach the million mile goal with about 11-12 international trips (flying with silver or no status) over the next 4 years and then be set with Gold for life assuming they don't devalue the program again (a big assumption I know.) Flying 150,000 miles in the next 4 years seems an easier, less painful and certainly less expensive way to get Gold status than what it will cost to get gold year after year under the new rules. OR...I jump to still Mileage based Alaska (where I did status match into their Plat equivalent) and can get their equivalent of gold year after year by flying one world alliance airlines much easier.

So the question is do I continue to play the mileage/status game indefinitely with Alaska or take 4 years of no or bare minimum status flying with Delta to achieve Million miler Gold status and be set for life (again, assuming nothing changes which I assume will not be the case!)
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Old Nov 2, 2023, 11:42 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Hotlanta.
Programs: I've gone underground!
Posts: 4,491
It depends. Where do you live and fly? Do you like AS?

1MM will always be there. Gold for that may not, even if you earned it tomorrow. Think of every decision as affecting the next 12-18 months and nothing more.
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Old Nov 2, 2023, 12:02 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Programs: DL, Hilton, National
Posts: 826
What does GM really get you for the next decade or so? It is likely that Sky Team benefits and the reciprocity continues to decline - it is already pretty fragmented about what you actually receive as a benefit. On Delta, your benefits are pretty limited to things you could also get even from a fairly low fee credit card. The off chance at a possible upgrade on very obscure occasions doesn't seem worth it. If we were talking PM with Choice Benefits, perhaps. But GM? I wouldn't make the extra effort.
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Old Nov 2, 2023, 12:43 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: GA
Programs: VA-PLT, QF-GLD, DL-GM, UA-ex1K, AA-exPLT, HH-DM, IHG-PLT, MR-GLD
Posts: 8,239
GM doesn't even get international lounge access anymore. It's easy to see these benefits as something painful to lose (especially if you've had them since the 90s!), but for the most part they are benefits you can buy outright when you want them.

Go to Alaska, or just buy the cheapest airline and buy the benefits you want. Don't spend 4 years getting benefits worth a few hundred a year at best.

I am at 780k on MM and I would leave DL if I had a better alternative. But being based in ATL I'll keep flying them... although certainly not exclusively.
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Old Nov 2, 2023, 12:50 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 1,852
It depends on where you live and where and when you fly. Living in SEA, I know many AS fliers that have the same complaints as ATL-based DL fliers. If you can fly off peak, or are not traveling the high business traffic routes, you might get good value from their program. Otherwise, in the long run you may have more value from DL's program, even as they continue to cut it back. I faced the same dilemma with the changes and while AS's route map looks like it would work with my travel, the timing of their flights either did not fit my schedule or was outrageously expensive (even compared to DL), so I am stuck with DL and going for MM.
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The Situation is offline  
Old Nov 2, 2023, 1:07 pm
  #6  
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: SEA (the REAL Washington); occasionally in the other Washington (DCA area)
Programs: DL PM 1.57MM; AS MVPG 100K
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OP's profile says "WAS" ... if travel paradigm involves a lot of short- to medium-distance trips from/to DCA, being able to fly AA and credit to AS may be a good approach (beware of reduced earning on lowest fare buckets, although the 500-mile minimum makes this less of an issue) ... AS Lounge+ membership gets access to Admirals Clubs; the newest one at the top of the E concourse at DCA is quite a nice space
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Old Nov 2, 2023, 3:59 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: CHS/LIN/IBZ
Programs: DL 2MM/DM, Hilton LT Diamond, Hyatt Globalist, Marriot Titanium
Posts: 528
As tck stated "[AS] where I did status match into their Plat equivalent", he already made his decision to fly AS as AS only allows one status match per lifetime. Otherwise the current day AS status match is a wasted opportunity. The current DL million miler 850,000 MQM(miles as of Jan '24) balance will never expire, as OP can fly AS and if unhappy with then can fly DL for the remaining 150,000 miles for GM at a latter date.
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Old Nov 2, 2023, 6:41 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Somewhere
Programs: Delta Plat
Posts: 3,346
I have the same dilema, I have been plat for the past 4 years and I don't always buy 1st but I often do and or pay for the upgrade prior to checking in. But even so due to my once-a-month trip JFK to SDQ I'll barely make silver.

For me even if I achieve million miler status, with the change whatever airline is cheaper is who I'll fly (taking spirit and frontier and redair out of the equation).
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Old Nov 2, 2023, 8:43 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: AMS
Programs: Delta Skymiles - Platinum; Hertz - President's Circle; Expedia - Gold
Posts: 450
Silver level is almost guaranteed with Delta AmEx platinum: 2500 MQD head start, some comfortable flying with your 2024 still Platinum status, and some relaxed spending on AmEX.
If you go oh all-in for the 1MM you could also add AmEX reserve for the 2nd 2500 MQD and target gold level while having lounge access
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Old Nov 3, 2023, 12:32 am
  #10  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis: DL DM charter 2.3MM
Programs: A3*Gold, SPG Plat, HyattDiamond, MarriottPP, LHW exAccess, ICI, Raffles Amb, NW PE MM, TWA Gold MM
Posts: 100,181
My advice would be first to maximize MQMs before the end of this calendar year if you can do so for a reasonable price. If you're close to a MQM boost on a DL AmEx credit card, go for it. For trips you need to take, look for cheap premium cabin fares (that earn more than 100% MQMs toward MM status. MM qualifying miles will be harder and more expensive to obtain after December 31st for most people.

Currently DL miles don't expire and your MQMs become MM qualifying miles automatically when the changes take effect, so you can decide whether to prioritize DL flights or not. Picking DL would probably give you 1MM and therefore annual GM in about five years or maybe in many more years organically--if DL doesn't change the program by then--if you go the free agent route and fly DL if and only if the combination of schedule/price/reliability/experience make DL the best choice for that particular trip.

Look carefully at the rules regarding flying AA as an AS elite and note that there aren't many AS operated flights east of the Rockies, with the exception of relatively infrequent flights between major east coast airports and the west coast.
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Old Nov 3, 2023, 6:52 am
  #11  
tck
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SEA or often in Asia
Programs: DL Platinum
Posts: 10
Thanks for all the feedback and helpful thoughts. Helpful to be reminded that MM miles aren't going anywhere so I can play with Alaska this coming year and always come back and that a CC can get you many of the same benefits. It's a strange/fun/absurd game we play but these latest changes are taking a few more mental gymnastics than usual. I am either in Seattle or Asia now (need to change my bio!) so I'm less concerned about the domestic side of things. Appreciate all the comments!
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Old Nov 3, 2023, 1:40 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: West of CLE
Programs: Delta DM/3 MM; Hertz PC; National EE; Amtrak GR; Bonvoy Silver; Via Rail Prfrence
Posts: 5,317
You get MQMs for trips where you use miles instead of money. If you can travel before the end of the year, use miles for tickets. Mrs. ND76 and I cashed miles in for two separate trips to Europe (see needs MQMs to make PM for 2024).
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Old Nov 3, 2023, 9:31 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: New York, NY
Programs: AA ExPl, DL PM, UA Silver, Hyatt Globalist, Marriott Titanium, probably some others
Posts: 3,926
Originally Posted by tck
Infrequent poster but read and follow along gleaning wisdom from many of you. Loyal NW/DL flyer for the past 25 years. Platinum for the past 8 years or so but will barely make silver after next year with the planned changes. Would rather not jump ship to another airline/alliance but Delta has made it really difficult to have any meaningful status (meaning gold or above.) The dilemma...I'm at 850k toward million miler status. It would be feasible to reach the million mile goal with about 11-12 international trips (flying with silver or no status) over the next 4 years and then be set with Gold for life assuming they don't devalue the program again (a big assumption I know.) Flying 150,000 miles in the next 4 years seems an easier, less painful and certainly less expensive way to get Gold status than what it will cost to get gold year after year under the new rules. OR...I jump to still Mileage based Alaska (where I did status match into their Plat equivalent) and can get their equivalent of gold year after year by flying one world alliance airlines much easier.

So the question is do I continue to play the mileage/status game indefinitely with Alaska or take 4 years of no or bare minimum status flying with Delta to achieve Million miler Gold status and be set for life (again, assuming nothing changes which I assume will not be the case!)
I'm in a very similar situation, at 880K with DL. I've thought about hustling over the next couple of months for MM status while there are still class of service bonuses.

But then, I gave it some thought. Let's say I get that extra 120K miles and I'm a Gold Million Miler. Great! Now what? Am I going to steer flights towards DL so I can take advantage of ... a free checked bag? Y+ seats the day of departure? An occasional upgrade if I'm lucky on 45-minute flights? The value proposition just isn't there. It would be nice to have that in my back pocket if I end up flying DL, and I'll get there eventually, but I can't imagine going out of my way to fly DL just so I can make DL slightly more tolerable in the future.
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Old Nov 4, 2023, 6:53 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 4,972
Originally Posted by steveholt
I'm in a very similar situation, at 880K with DL. I've thought about hustling over the next couple of months for MM status while there are still class of service bonuses.

But then, I gave it some thought. Let's say I get that extra 120K miles and I'm a Gold Million Miler. Great! Now what? Am I going to steer flights towards DL so I can take advantage of ... a free checked bag? Y+ seats the day of departure? An occasional upgrade if I'm lucky on 45-minute flights? The value proposition just isn't there. It would be nice to have that in my back pocket if I end up flying DL, and I'll get there eventually, but I can't imagine going out of my way to fly DL just so I can make DL slightly more tolerable in the future.
A DL Amex has almost the same privileges as GM in USA.
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Old Nov 4, 2023, 5:04 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Programs: DL PM, MM, HH Diamond
Posts: 160
Originally Posted by CPMaverick
GM doesn't even get international lounge access anymore.
Why do you say that? I just checked the website to confirm and see that GM comes with SkyTeam Elite Plus status and SkyTeam lounge Access. Am I missing something?
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