Crossover Rewards between Delta and Starwood are now live for registration! You can sign up through the Delta site or the Starwood site. I entered my SPG number on the Delta site, and saw that my programs were linked when I checked the SPG site, so it seems like you only have to sign up through one portal.
The main bonus for SPG Gold/Platinum members who fly Delta is the 1 Starpoint per dollar spend on the base fare for Delta marketed and operated flights. If you value Starpoints at 2.5 cents each, this is basically a 2.5% rebate on all Delta tickets. There are some restrictions – if one leg of the ticket is not flown by Delta, the itinerary is ineligible for Starpoints. In addition, special group fares earn 500 points, while fares booked through Online Ticket Agencies (OTAs) are not eligible for Starpoints. Note that SPG Gold can be achieved by simply holding an American Express Platinum Card, even as an additional cardmember, which I have in part for lounge access to Delta Sky Clubs.
Delta Diamond/Platinum Medallion Benefits at Starwood Hotels
Diamond and Platinum Medallions receive access to elite check-in lines, 4 p.m. late checkout, enhanced rooms at check-in, and complimentary internet if not already provided.
In addition, SPG Gold members who are Diamond or Platinum Medallion can use their welcome amenity for a different option, such as 250 bonus Starpoints. As a soon-to-be Platinum Medallion, this is fantastic, since I have the American Express Platinum Card for Delta lounge access and SPG Gold. Each Starwood stay now nets me an additional 250 bonus Starpoints, worth about $7.
SPG Platinum Benefits on Delta Flights
Other benefits seem to be made for those who
- have SPG Platinum status
- do not have Delta Medallion status
- do not hold a Delta American Express card
First bag free: SPG Platinum members get 1 free bag each for themselves and up to 3 companions. This is less than the Silver Medallion and Delta American Express free baggage allotment of traveler + 8 companions. Additionally, the SPG Platinum baggage waiver cannot be added to the medallion/credit card waiver (on the other hand, if you are a Silver Medallion with a Delta American Express, you get 2 free bags).
Priority boarding: SPG Platinum members and up to 8 companions on the same reservation get zone 1 priority boarding on Delta and Delta Connection flights. Note that zone 1 is actually the 4th zone called after Pre-boards (if applicable), Premium cabin passengers, and non-upgraded Sky Priority/Diamond/Platinum/Gold Medallions, as well as SkyTeam Elite Plus and Alaska MVP Gold passengers. Zone 1 also includes Silver Medallions, Skyteam Elites, Alaska MVP elites, and Delta American Express cardholders.
Priority check-in: SPG Platinum members can access the Silver Medallion check-in line where available (in most Delta hubs/focus cities) or Sky Priority check-in lines (where Silver Medallion lines do not exist). Note that even Delta American Express cardholders do not get this benefit.
I’ve noted that many of these benefits are similar to those of Silver Medallions, although it’s missing the 25% mileage bonus as well as irregular operations priority. What’s odd to me is that in 2014, Delta will begin the Medallion Qualification Dollars counter, which requires $2,500 in eligible spend to achieve Silver Medallion. Keep in mind that this is exclusive of taxes and fees, and it’s well within reason to suggest that Silver Medallion will cost $3,000 of total Delta spend next year.
However, SPG Platinum could be an even cheaper route to getting these Silver Medallion-level benefits. For starters, opening both the SPG American Express Personal and SPG American Express Business cards will give you a total of 4 stay credits and 10 night credits to begin with. SPG Platinum requires 25 stays, so 21 one-night stays would give you both SPG Platinum as well as many benefits of Delta Silver Medallion. Even at $150/night, that’s close to the same “cost” as Silver Medallion (and you get arguably one of the better hotel top-tier statuses as well).
Of course, the cheapest way to “pseudo” Silver Medallion is to just open a Delta American Express card.
This program between SPG and Delta only reaffirms my mentality that Silver Medallion is not worth chasing, since there are so many ways to realize those benefits through other means. Sure, if you fly Delta because it’s the most convenient and you just happen to hit Silver, then keep it for what it’s worth. But low-tier elite status is nothing to actually strive for nowadays.
I’m curious to see how far this partnership will go. For one, Delta has already announced that BusinessElite cabins will soon get Westin In-Flight Heavenly Bedding. There are hotel & airline loyalty programs that partner with each other more closely than normal. Last year, Hyatt gave many Diamond members (except Scott) 50,000 United MileagePlus miles. If Starwood and Delta do the same, I only hope it’s bonus Starpoints and not Skymiles.