I recently qualified for Delta Platinum Medallion status for 2024. For those not aware (or confused), as of January 1st everything we do with Delta earns elite points and credits for next year. Had I not had any status starting the year (or lower than Platinum), I would have “free” Platinum status for the rest of this year and I would fly that status in 2024.
I did this by completing both parts of the Delta Air Lines elite equation: that is holding — much due to rollover — over 75,000 MQMs or Medallion Qualifying Miles (not the same as spendable SkyMiles) and spending at least $25,000 on my Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card that gives me a waver of needing to spend anything on actual Delta tickets.
The reason I did the above is that, while I find myself flying many other airlines more than ever, I still fly Delta for a number of my flights over this year, next year, and 2025. Flying Delta with Platinum or Diamond status is a much better experience when things go sideways, as well as when interacting with SkyTeam partners.
But even without any status, Delta has one amazing rule that is so powerful it makes me appreciate and applaud Delta. This also gives those of us who know the rule (and can plan a long way out) the chance to take full advantage to save huge amounts of cash and Delta points when booking tickets. Take a look at what I mean.
Above is a screenshot from Delta.com. On one of the many FrequentFloaters cruises I have booked over the next few years, not shockingly out of Miami, I have had a schedule change. I had booked this using a tiny Delta e-Gift card and then paying with my The Business Platinum Card® from American Express to get the ticket almost free (I have Delta as my selected yearly $200 “incidentals” credit airline, BTW).
The day I booked to fly was not really the day I wanted to arrive in Florida. Yes, I always arrive at least one day before the cruise ship departs because I know the ship will leave without me if I can not get to the departure port city on time. But I also do this because I want a few days by a pool to get some sun before I face the blazing Caribbean sun in the middle of winter. But the cheapest price ticket from SBN or South Bend (my hometown airport in Indiana) was many days before the sailing.
Enter the Ultra Powerful Schedule Change!
I say “ultra” because it really is. Once Delta impacts your departure or arrival by 1 hour or more (as you can CLEARLY see from the Delta.com screenshot above) you have simply amazing flexibility to do almost anything you want within reason.
You now have the chance to change for free, not just flights, but even the DAY you want.
So in my current situation, I was able to change from the cheapest day of the week to fly to the exact day I wanted to fly in the first place, something that would have cost me hundreds of dollars more had I booked those days to begin with.
That is ultra cool and amazing!
Most of the time, you can make these changes either online or in the Fly Delta App for free with no human interaction required. As much as I gripe (and correctly so) about Delta’s IT system – this is the one thing that normally just works perfectly and is a real winner and this alone is one big reason to fly Delta Air Lines.
But not always, sad to say.
A competent rep should be able to do all I have mentioned above — but you may get pushback over any number of things including the length of your schedule change, because so many of the current crop of reps are so poorly trained they don’t know the rules. Please just stand firm and you should be able to get it done as you want, even if you have to HUCB (hang up and call back).
It truly is much harder than ever to find value flying Delta in 2023 but this is one of those simply amazing sweet spots that makes me smile almost every single Saturday when schedule changes roll out and gives me the chance to tweak what I have booked and most times for the better! – René
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