Now that Delta has unveiled a few more details about their new top tier status, let’s summarize what you get for your 125,000 MQM’s or 140 segments per year with Delta:
- 125% mileage bonus (which Platinum members used to get)
- Free SkyClub membership (which Platinum members used to get)
- Priority upgrades over Platinum members
- A dedicated phone line
- Two “choice” benefits
So basically this is Platinum status from a few years ago, before all the double elite qualifying miles promotions and all that other good stuff. The idea as such of a fourth tier is a good one, in my opinion, given the huge combined elite ranks of Delta/Northwest. I would expect that Platinum members will have close to a 100% success rate with domestic upgrades. Other than that, the benefits are by no means fantastic, although they’re not bad either. The one thing I was desperately hoping for were some “real” systemwide upgrades which wouldn’t require a ridiculously expensive coach fare, but they quite purposefully left that out.
I would argue that despite requiring 25,000 more flown miles, Diamond isn’t as good as Executive Platinum at American or 1K at United, thanks largely to the international systemwide upgrades. Diamond is probably better than US Airways Chairman, although that has more to do with the product as such instead of the actual benefits. As of now they have a slight edge to Continental, although I bet we’ll see some adjustments in Continental’s program soon.
I see a lot of people speculating about how the other airlines will react to this. I’m betting they won’t. This is a non-event. American and United know their elite programs are better, so there really isn’t much of a need to throw in a free lounge membership or more redeemable miles. Continental is the only airline where we might see a reaction, but that has a lot more to do with their transition to the Star Alliance than anything else.
The only thing I’m really not sure about is the awesome new “rollover” benefit which Delta has introduced, whereby “extra” elite qualifying miles count towards next year’s status. Will the other airlines match? It wouldn’t surprise me, but I’m not counting on it. If United matched I might just have 1K in the bag till 2013.