Delta has been leading the way in monetizing their offerings. They’ve done it by, among other things, decreasing the number of people who can get into their SkyClubs while at the same time charging for food and drinks when inside, or by charging extra for their “preferred” seats on the plane. They’ve been successful in their endeavors so far because of their ability to price these items where they feel worthwhile. They’ll even offer paid upgrades to first-class seats at check-in for a reasonable up-charge, which means there’s even less upgrade space, much to the chagrin of the most loyal, and valuable Delta flyers.
So when I received an email from Delta introducing me to their new SkyMiles Select service, I gave it a look.
For Delta frequent flyers or those who are into miles and points, this offer is a hard pass, but might it be a good choice for some less frequent Delta travelers?
A SkyMiles Select membership costs $59 a year. For that fee, you get three main benefits:
- Main Cabin 1 Boarding
- 8 Drink Vouchers
- Limited-Edition Bag Tag
Since many of these benefits can be purchased a-la-carte, it’s easy to see if you’re able to save money by buying a yearly subscription.
Main Cabin 1 Boarding
Immediately you will notice that the Main Cabin 1 Boarding overlaps with a benefit you’ll receive from having one of the Delta co-brand AMEX cards, like the Delta Gold card. The Delta Gold AMEX card has a $99 annual fee but does come with some other benefits, like a free first checked bag for up to 9 people on the same reservation.
But what if you were just buying the service? You can purchase Main Cabin 1 Boarding as an add on to your reservation for $15.
If you have no other way to get on the plane with group 1, paying $15 extra will get you there.
You get eight drink vouchers with your membership.
If you’d use them for anything but 8 mini-bottles of Woodford Reserve, you’re doing it wrong IMHO. That’s $72 worth of liquor.
Limited Edition Bag Tag
You’ll get to show off your SkyMiles Select status with a limited edition bag tag. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather use one of these bag tags if given a choice. Honestly, this is my current bag tag.
Delta SkyMiles Select Value
So what actually do you get for your $59? At a minimum, you’re prepaying for 8 drinks and saving anywhere from 10% to 20%.
If you’re just looking at the Main Cabin 1 boarding, it would cost you $15 a flight to pay for that by itself, so you’re breaking even at 2 round-trip flights.
I’m not giving any value to the bag tag.
For anyone with Delta Medallion status or cardholders of one of the Delta co-brand cards, this is a hard pass! You already get most of the same benefits this package offers.
I could possibly see this making sense for someone who, for reasons, doesn’t have, want, or can’t get an AMEX Delta card. If you fly semi-regularly on Delta, it could be worth $59 to get an earlier boarding group to make sure there’s a place for your carry-on, so it doesn’t get gate-checked and damaged, If you join for that reason, then the drink vouchers are just a nice bonus. If you don’t drink, they’re a great way to make friends with you seatmates 🙂
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary