As we all know, life happens occasionally. And if your event results in diminished travel, it could have an impact on your elite status (not to mention numerous other consequences, which are best explored at a different blog). Until today, no network carrier had a plan in place to help. Delta has changed that and I hope that its competitors follow.
Reclaim My Status
Today, Delta announced its “Reclaim My Status” (RMS) promotion. The terms are simple. If you experience a life event that causes you to drop in status, they’ll allow you to apply for a 3-month exception, which restores your previous level. How do they define “life event?” Well, they don’t. Examples they give are job loss, birth of a child, return to school, etc., but it’s up to you to apply and up to them to approve you. They will ask you to provide documentation, but a quick read-through of the T&C makes me think that they will be generous.
RMS bears similarities to the Hilton Honors Diamond Extension. Hilton allows certain members to apply for a one-time waiver if their status lapses but, in most respects, is more restrictive than Delta. It’s good only for the top-tier Diamond members who have had at least three full years of Diamond status at any time in the past. Candidates must also have accrued 250 lifetime nights at Hilton or 500,000 base points.
RMS is User-Friendly…
Reclaiming your status is generally more user-friendly at Delta. Here are the nuts and bolts:
- Any elite member can apply to have their status restored. That differs from Hilton, who will only extend Diamond members.
- If your application is approved, they’ll notify you by email and your status will be updated automatically.
- The status begins from the day of the approval. Use it wisely. It doesn’t make sense to apply for the renewal in March if you won’t travel until July.
But There are Some Restrictions
- Unlike Hilton, who gives a full year of status, Delta only gives you three months. Fortunately, there is a way to extend it. More on that later.
- If you have Platinum or Diamond status, you’ll keep your flight benefits but won’t get a choice benefit. Sorry, they’re not going to give you the high value goodies if you may not be around long. It’s standard for Delta not to give Choice benefits with complimentary* status.
- You can apply for RMS once every three year.
You Can Extend Your Status
The requirements for the challenge are 1/4 the full year requirements.
While you don’t get an automatic 12-month extension, you can participate in a challenge that will give you status for the rest of the current year as well as the following one. Here’s how it works:
- Your three-month extension begins the day that you get approved. Remember, don’t request your extension until you are ready to go.
- You can restore your status by completing the above challenges. The challenges correspond to 1/4 of the annual requirements for the given status. That makes sense for a three-month promotion.
- You cannot earn a higher status than the previous one you had. Delta does say that there are case-by-case exceptions, based on where you’ve been in the past.
Overall, it’s a Generous Offer
Airlines don’t offer promotions out of the goodness of their hearts. Well, except Southwest. But that’s only because they operate out of Love Field in Dallas.
But the promotion makes perfect sense and is the rare “win-win” for both the company and the passengers. Customers have the opportunity to miss the occasional year but still maintain their status. For Delta, it means that they don’t have to worry about passengers becoming free agents because their status expired. Delta can reward long-term loyalty with short-term benefits.
A man walks into a bar. The bar is empty, so he finds a seat and waits for the bartender.
After a few minutes, he hears a voice say, “Nice shoes!” He looks around but doesn’t see anyone, so he continues waiting.
A few minutes later, he hears a voice say, “Nice tie!” Again, he doesn’t see anyone, but is starting to get a bit nervous.
It isn’t long before he hears, “Nice suit!” By now, he’s completely freaked out, and he starts to leave when the bartender returns.
“What’s wrong?” said the bartender.
The man responds, “Well, I was just sitting here and I heard this voice. It said ‘Nice shoes,’ ‘Nice tie’ and ‘Nice suit!”
“Oh, don’t worry,” says the bartender. “That’s just the peanuts.”
“The peanuts?” asked the man.
“Of course,” said the bartender. “They’re complimentary!”
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