Ever since Delta announced its new “Sky Priority” recognition program (for gold, platinum and diamond members of SkyMiles), I’ve been hearing from long-time silver medallion status members complaining about their rank at the bottom of the medallion totem poll.
But really now, has something changed? Or is it perception and a nagging inferiority complex on the part of silvers? We’ve got both sides of the story (a reader letter and a response from a Delta exec) so let’s take a look:
Speaking for many, TICKET reader “Nancy” submitted the following, which we forwarded to the head of Delta’s SkyMiles program, Jeff Robertson, requesting a response:
Last year, my company cut back travel substantially (and is doing so again this year). I missed Gold by about a thousand miles — silly me, I should have flown somewhere on my own to have gotten to Gold. So I’m Silver Medallion now and feeling the pain. I’m a Million Miler with Delta and purchased the Sky Club membership for 3 years, but now due to Sky Priority and the new signage, I can’t go through the dedicated security lines (they removed club membership as a qualifier).
I’ve never felt so under-appreciated until I read the CEO’s article in Sky Magazine this month. He states, “Delta continues to take steps to offer our MOST VALUABLE customers added travel conveniences. To this end, we recently launched Sky Priority, …” (emphasis mine) So as a Million Miler, I’m not considered one of the “most valuable” customers — though my loyalty is indicated by how I’ve consistently flown Delta for years and I’ve been Platinum for many of those years.
I understand Delta needs to influence their customer base to fly more now and the past is the past, but I think there is some recognition due to those who’ve reached milestones with Delta that demonstrate strong customer loyalty. For example, simply indicating the MM [Million Miler] status on the ticket and providing a few free drink coupons now and then would be a nice gesture.
Thankfully, due to the Rollover Miles feature, I’m close to achieving Gold status. That was a nice addition to the program.
Thanks for giving a forum to share our thoughts.
Here’s what we heard back from Jeff Robertson:
Thanks for the note. Are these customers being specific as to what benefit has been taken away? I’m confused. We did add incremental benefits referred to as SkyPriority for our highest tiers (Diamond, Platinum and Gold) that includes the highest boarding priority, priority baggage, security access and a better phone line, but Silvers had no takeaways or changes to their existing benefits and never had access to priority baggage, these new phone lines or preferred security access.
I want to answer, but I guess I’m not sure what the takeaway is? When a customer hits a Million Mile threshold, they are awarded with lifetime elite status at various levels and generally a set of Hartmann luggage. That hasn’t changed, nor has the gifting of Silver elite status to these 1M miler levels.
So Silvers, to warp a phrase from Janet Jackson: What has Delta NOT done for you lately? Is there a specific take-away you can point to as a reason for all the scorn? Please leave your comments by clicking on the COMMENTS tab below.
Here are a few snippets from other slighted silvers:
- I actually saw this Sky Priority “thing” in action this past Wednesday in Boston, when all Gold, Platinum, Diamond, SkyTeam Elite Plus, and Business/First Class passengers formed a long line to pre-board. The Silver Medallion members, of course, waited until all these important people boarded and then were allowed to board. –JL
- I have been Gold/Silver for over 15 years. Last year, I only flew 23k miles. I thought that the carryover would get me back into at least Silver, but after re-reading the rules, the carryover is only after you reach a medallion level. So now it’s to the back of the bus. Now that I’m starting to travel again, it sucks. —WL
- Silver level is now practically worthless since Diamond and partners were added to priority boarding, one does not board with other Medallions and is lucky to be in Zone 2. Sometimes SILVER status isn’t even mentioned… –DC
- Yes, it would suck to be a Silver Medallion, Especially in Atlanta. You have to put up with all of the uppity Diamonds, like me! –PB
- Due to travel cutbacks related to the economy, I went from Gold to Silver to No Medallion status at Delta. Apparently, having maintained either Gold or Silver for the past 15 years means nothing to Delta. Compare that to Marriott. I went from Gold to Silver. Their response: An upgrade back to Gold! My response: All of my hotel stays this year have been at Marriott properties. — EH
- Last year, as a Silver Medallion, you called 800 325 6330. You put in your Medallion number. Within 2 to 3 minutes, you got “Special Member Services”. I’ve booked/called 5x times this year. I’ve waited MORE THAN 30 MINUTES on the weekend. And then when I ask is this the “silver medallion’ line, they say ‘no’. –JT
- Not only am I silver medallion for over 14 years running, with some years making gold o platinum I’m a million miler as well. What does this get me? Nada. I have to board with everybody else. Hmmm, silver translates to so what suckers.—Ivan
- I’m a million miler and silver medallion for life…A few weeks ago I entered the premium security line with my Platinum AMEX card (not platinum Skymiles). This card allows you free entry into the Crown Rooms, Continental’s clubs and American’s clubs and usually was good enough for entry into the premium security line given that club room members can use this line as well. Delta’s agent very nastily informed me it was no good to them any longer. RJS
- Delta makes those of us who start at Silver Medallion earn it all over again (yes 25k) every year before they will use our miles to advance to Gold status. They also do not carry over these miles to the next year for us to use to advance our status. –RJC
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