Delta Devalues Its Gifts To Million Miler Elites

When you reach a million mile threshold with Delta SkyMiles, they offer you a choice of gift. It’s a really nice touch, or at least it was. The program was paused during the pandemic, and just re-launched. So everyone who earned million mile status since the program went on hiatus (or earned a selection, but their selection didn’t ship prior to Covid) was invited to pick a gift from the new program.

Delta has a new website for this,

Million milers – whether earning lifetime silver at 1 million miles or lifetime Diamond at six million – used to get a choice of some fairly nice gifts. Three years ago there were numerous choices from each of three brands. There was a selection of (6) Hartmann luggage pieces, a choice of several Tumi bags, and Tiffany items (pendants, earings, bowls) as well.

This year there are fewer choices, and none of them strike me as being nearly as appealing.

The Delta Heritage Logos art piece, customized with your name on it, is kind of cool. But it’s more of a piece that signifies the achievement and markets your relationship with Delta. Sending one of these to everyone at a million miles would be cool. Asking you to choose this or a backpack feels strange to me.

Some people are backpack people. Others are laptop bag people. Others prefer to use small roller bags. Giving customers a choice of luggage, like Delta used to, seems better when offering a choice of gift. For those who aren’t backpack people this says ‘even after a million miles, or six million miles, Delta doesn’t know me at all.’

The wine set is actually nice, or I should say a single bottle of Joseph Phelps chardonnay as offered here is a nice $50 bottle I don’t mind drinking. It’s something to toast your achievement with! Thanks to government regulation it’s also not available in about a third of states.

The Royce backpack is probably the most expensive item here at retail, though again it won’t appeal to everyone. You’d think they might easily offer choices of an upgrade certificate, gifting mid-tier elite status for a year to a friend, or additional bonus miles. That way members who don’t value the more limited set of choices currently available would still find the effort valuable.

American Airlines has the weakest lifetime elite recognition program of the three largest carriers, but the upgrades they offer strike me as better that Delta’s current choices. Not all will agree!

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