Delta Celebrates One Delta Diamond Family’s “Double Qualification” In The Atlanta Sky Club

In the fictional book Up in the Air Great West Airlines counted all miles towards lifetime status and Ryan Bingham was on a quest for 1 million miles. He was being tracked by the airline along his quest and they celebrated his achievement when he reached it.

In the film version, George Clooney’s Bingham was an American Airlines flyer and on a quest for 10 million miles. Here he describes that when you hit 10 million “lifetime executive status, you get to meet the chief pilot Maynard Finch, and they put your name on the side of a plane.”

Here’s Clooney actually crossing 10 million miles inflight, and being recognized by the airline.

In real life most customers don’t get any special fanfare when earning annual status or lifetime status unless it’s Tom Stuker. One couple shared that they earned Delta Diamond status together and that seems to have gotten the airline’s attention.

Delta greeted them with a special welcome into the Atlanta Sky Club to celebrate their achievement!

Meanwhile – go figure – American Airlines offered some real-time recognition for a newly-minted million-miler.

These ‘moments’ go a long way to solidify loyalty. And let downs at these crucial moments, after a long period of loyalty, create risk that a customer will feel that their sunk costs were bad choices and defect as a result. So putting more effort into acknowledgment, and indeed celebration, can make tremendous sense.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I hit a million miles with Delta in December 2019. Did about 225,000 MQMs that year too. Never got anything, not even the “gift” I chose in early 2020. Delta eliminated million mile gifts as soon as the pandemic hit. Not only that but they never fulfilled outstanding gifts.

  2. It’s all about customer service. Frankly, I’m surprised that Delta (and the others) don’t have a special “task force” of Customer Service pros who track and watch for people hitting different milestones.

    Think of it this way: That charcuterie board, the fruit, and the champagne cost Delta nothing…but made that couple’s day and year. Think they’ll ever fly on any other airline again? Nope!

    Should be done ALL the time!


  3. Approximately how many individuals have 10,000,000 miles on American, Delta, or United Airlines?

  4. @Ed it’s not redeemable miles, but miles flown. Lots of people may have 10M from credit card spend but flying 10M is a serious task! I wouldn’t imagine too many have 10M butt in seat miles. I’m pushing 1M and I fly a lot.

  5. So great to watch the movie clip and see the old AA seats. From a day when flying was still somewhat comfortable.

  6. I hit 1MM United miles on a flight outta Houston (shocker) and there was no on-board recognition whatsoever. To be fair the lifetime Gold status is more important to me, but how much would it cost UA to track these events and make a note to the FAs?

  7. I have 2.5 million with UA but my 1 Million was hit on a FRA to SFO flight which I couldn’t upgrade out of economy. At boarding I was called up to the desk and given an upgrade from economy to first (not business as they used to use a 3 class plane on that flight) and the desk agent thanked me. It was also my birthday week. In flight, the Captain came back with a biz card with well wishes written on it, and shook my hand. That was a little uncomfortable as other passengers starred at me wondering what was going on.

  8. Late 2019: had my laptop *stolen* (United, inflight, bag overhead, removed from my carryon) on UA flight as I crossed over to “1Million miles” — flying to Beijing. / Bitter sweet. Nice note from the pilot but UA never caught the person(s) who stole 5+ laptops inflight. 🙁 / (DON’T SLEEP TOO SOUNDLY – WATCH ANY PAX OPENING YR OVERHEAD BIN W/OUT REASON)

  9. Achievements are things like awards from a competition, or graduation from school, or landing a coveted job. Spending a lot of money is not an achievement. But the loyalty programs make people think it is.

  10. You can buy that status. I suspect there is something fishy about the delta diamond couple. Do they vlog or have some other “influencer” chops. Maybe they simply called up Delta and asked for special treatment. Glad they got treated well.

  11. After they established the tier, my wife and I regularly hit diamond together. Not a word from DL.

    We switched a lot of travel away from DL, and did anyone there bother to wonder why some diamonds were no longer even making gold status? Nope. Not a peep of curiousity as to why business went away.

    Toss in the devaluation of SkyPesos and we both now just look for the flights that work the best – and often that’s not DL.

    But DL is properly woke and hip. As for the couple, they have latched onto their new fame with a twitter handle of “deltadiamondcouple”. Barf.

  12. @ Donald Mamula:

    Leave the “woke” and “hip” out of it…not necessary.

    However, you do raise an excellent point. Delta’s job – if they’re serious about success which we assume they are – is to also have Customer Service pros who should be monitoring these things and notice a radical change in patterns. You and your wife were Diamonds who fell below Gold. That should trigger a response from Delta to at least “try” to find out why. Maybe – God forbid – something terrible happened and you’re not in great health. Or maybe…you just switched airlines.

    That’s on Delta to then win you back. If they don’t bother to try…then you voted with your wallet and there’s nothing wrong with that.

  13. That was a great movie on many levels. Anna Kendrick rocks!
    I read her book and it was a brain blast! Oh, and Clooneys good to!

  14. Good customer service counts! It’s good for business. But you shouldn’t have to pay tens of thousands of dollars to buy enough “status” in order to get good service.

  15. Warren – the woke and hip comments are appropriate, because that’s where DL is focusing their attentions. Not to the tried and true customers they used to serve and take care of. They must think that being socially relevant and engaged is the way to get and keep customers.

    Personally, I’d rather have an airline that isn’t into causes — except for the cause of safe, on-time operations with genuine customer service. Keep your eye on the ball.

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