Should You Write Delta A Dear John Letter Next Year?

Dear John Delta,

I hope this letter doesn’t shock you. I can no longer continue with this relationship.  When we started going together you were always there for me.  I will always remember fondly our time together in Atlanta, Memphis, Detroit and Up and down the West Coast.  I do hope we can still remain friends, and see each other sometimes.  My future Elite program and I will surely find space for you in our lives, and I’m sure you’ll find someone to spend time with you as well. Perhaps we could get together for holidays next year?

Seeing as how we have had such a long relationship, I think it is only fitting to explain why I’m leaving you.   I always wanted our relationship to be an honest one, and I will continue that to the very end.  It isn’t that you often make up new rules on me, or ask me to spend $25,000 on Gold, Platinum, or Reserve Delta Cards.

I have always appreciated you showering me with gifts over the years.  The millions of skymiles I’ve earned meant a lot to me when you gave them to me.  Now that I see how little they are truly worth I don’t appreciate them nearly as much.  The world is changing, Delta, and I can find ways to get my own skymiles without your help.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that you want me to commit to you–but you won’t commit to me. Changing the rules on our relationship isn’t fair to either of us.  I wish we could go back to the start–when things were simple and you didn’t even have lie flat beds.

I know you have to do what’s best for you–I stood by when you tried your hand at the oil business. I’m pleased to see that is starting to work out for you.  But all the flashy cars, and high power deals have changed you, Delta.  We used to be happy with a small meal, some wine, and a short flight anywhere I wanted to go.  Now I’m unhappy and flying with you just because we have such history together.

To be honest–there’s another who has my heart–Milenomics.  While you have your own airline, Milenomics makes me feel special no matter who I’m traveling with. I said I want us to still remain friends, and I mean it.  We can travel together, I just don’t want to complicate our relationship with money. You’re out there advertising that you’ll let anyone lie down with you, provided they buy enough tickets  from you.  I won’t play that kind of game. To borrow a line from a song “They Say that a cheater is always a cheater. I’ve got my pride and [they’ve] got you.”  

Please respect my decision, I’m happier now than I ever was before, and I hope that you can get there too someday.

Always your friend (I mean it!),

Your Ex

All kidding aside, Delta’s requirements to spend 5 CPM on each ticket, before taxes and fees is the biggest change ahead of a Delta flyer next year.  Unlike United, Delta lets you exempt yourself from the MQD requirement all the way up to Diamond Medallion by holding and using their credit cards for $25,000 per year.  Spending $25,000 seems like a lot–but using MMRs and creative card tricks you could hit that spend without any trouble.

Personally, I think Delta flyers have had it rough for many years.  If you were going to leave Delta you probably already left them.  That said–I would like you to consider the consequences of leaving, and think about what direction you should go next year.  With rules changing, mergers, and miles being devalued it could make sense either way; stick with Delta, or leave to someone else.

Should You Stay or Should You Go?

Only you know the answer to that question.  On Monday I’ll have a more comprehensive plan for Elite flyers who aren’t sure what to do now that MQD requirements seem to be creeping at the mainline US carriers.

If you decide to leave, and spread your flights around to the cheapest and most direct routes, you could keep the Delta Credit Card and exempt yourself from MQD, and possibly still earn Gold Medallion. Also with that same credit card you could buy up using your Skymiles. Buy the coach fare–and pay with points to upgrade to First.  Instantly guaranteeing yourself a seat in the front when you want, and using your Skymiles up at the same time.

Think about status matching to Alaska, and booking with them whenever possible.  When you do need to fly Delta book with miles into first, or pay and upgrade yourself instantly whenever possible.  For some of you this won’t be an option–but at least look at all possible choices before making up your mind, and spending your hard earned money and miles.

2014 promises to be an interesting year for frequent flyers.  If you’re ready to leave Delta, or if you’re not, make sure 2014 ends with you in a happy place. Milenomics would love for you to Be Your Own Elite (BYOE) next year, but to borrow a phrase from another song, “I want to see you happy, even if it’s not with me.” 

About the author

- Written by Sam Simon. All ideas are my own, but I encourage you to see my point of view and I promise I'll try to do the same. Connect with me on Twitter @Milenomics.


  1. Meh. I have zero status with any airline, and that is fine with me. Unless I am on a flight that is going to be 12 hours long or worse, coach is OK (as long as I get an aisle seat). In Delta’s defense, I get much better treatment from them than I do from American or United. I get bumped to first class surprisingly often, and I’ve never asked for it (not just on Delta, it also happens on United and American). No one’s ff plan is very good anymore, and since I now live on Delta’s home turf, they are going to be getting the bulk of my travel dollars. I have an “earn em’ and burn em'” attitude towards miles and points, so as long as I can get to wherever I want to go at any given time, I’ll do it however I can and be happy about it.

  2. I just ran the numbers. Makes sense for me to continue with DL rather than start over with no status on another airline. While DL has high award redemptions, they are very liberal with points vs other programs. So their inflated award redemptions are offset by inflated number of miles they offer.

    As such, was surprised to learn their program isn’t much different than others when you compare earnings rates vs spend.

  3. I have no status with any carrier. Delta is the only one I know that doesn’t charge an outrageous close-in award ticketing fee. That is worth a lot.

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