If you happen to be walking across Hartfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, you might notice the beaming smiles of the satisfied Delta Diamond Medallion customers who are being transported to their post-airport destinations in a lap of luxury. Try not to drool.
One such lucky Delta passenger recently posted to a forum on flyertalk.com about his experience:
“Delta just made my night. I was flying from DFW to ATL and after we pulled up to the gate everyone began speculating about a white Porsche outside. When I walked off the plane I found out the car was waiting for me. They drove me directly to my car bypassing the whole process of having to ride the train. I just made Diamond Medallion but if this is any indication of the service I will get, I am sold. The driver said this was a new service offered for Diamond Medallion members at random.”
What Delta Has to Say
When forum responders questioned whether this person was telling the truth, Delta assured them that the swank rides were not a myth:
“I see that you’ve noticed a few of the spanking new vehicles trolling around ATL. It’s true that we have a team dedicated to transporting our highest value customers around the Atlanta hub and they’ve got a fleet of several vehicles with which to do so. As part of our partnership with Porsche (which includes shipping cars from Germany to Atlanta), they’ve provided us with a few fancy new rides to add to our VIP fleet. A couple of things to clarify:
1. Delta didn’t pay for these cars.
2. You won’t see any of our executives in these cars – they’re for High Value Customers only.
3. The Porsches are quite literally a new toy we get to play with so we’re testing out how to best use them. Right now, and for the foreseeable future, they’ll be used as a ‘surprise and delight’ for some of our best customers.
If you’re lucky enough to score a ride in one of these vehicles, let us know how you liked it!”
According to Delta, HVCs are selected at random to receive a ride in Porsche Panameras or Cayennes.
So what will your free shuttle ride cost you? Diamond Medallion Members must fly 125,000 Medallion Qualification Miles – determined by miles flown and fare class purchased from Delta and Skyteam partners – between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31.
According to an article on ABCnews.com, the average cost per mile for Delta is 14 cents. This means, in order to achieve Diamond status, a Delta customer would have to pay at least $17,500 for airline miles alone in a year. This (very rough) estimate does not factor in the cost of things like seat upgrades or added fees.
Of course, your status as a High Value Customer gets you more than a free ride to your car. Among other benefits, Diamond Medallion members can receive free membership to the Delta Sky Club, priority boarding, complimentary seat upgrades, 125 percent bonus mileage and plenty of other freebies. Delta is testing out other perks for elite members, including a “meet and greet” service for Diamond members arriving from international destinations at JFK, which fast tracks them through immigration.