OK, I’m kidding about carrying Delta Points‘ luggage, even if he does have a bit of the big head about hitting Diamond Medallion since he did ask me to carry his bags for him when we were on the same flight earlier this week. Hey, he really was kidding. :D That said, I’m not kidding about Platinum Medallion. I posted recently about my quest for maximizing Delta MQMs now that I have relocated to Atlanta. Let’s look at my situation.

  • I live in Atlanta.
  • I fly outside the country once per year, on average. (Ships don’t count)
  • MrsMJ accompanies me on less than 25 percent of my flights.
  • I live in Atlanta.

About Atlanta. Hey, this is Delta’s home and largest hub. I can fly to just about anywhere in the country, heck, on the planet I want to go nonstop, or with only one-stop. I no longer travel outside the country significantly, so SkyMiles less generous systemwide upgrades are not a huge deal breaker for me. SkyMiles’ respectable domestic upgrade program is just that, respectable. Its one weak spot – traveling with a companion and you go to the bottom of the list. If I’m traveling with MrsMJ, I split the reservation and put myself in the least desirable of our two seats. Upgrade clears, MrsMJ sits up front, I take her better seat in coach. If mamma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy, right? For that flight headed across the pond, I’ll redeem miles for premium travel for the both of us. I have actually seen Delta Business Elite availability at the low level, not a ton, but it’s there if you work for it. Further, I’ve got a healthy cache of alternative currencies to spend on premium travel if I need to.

Did I already say “about Atlanta?” Yes, I did. My other choice is Southwest. Frankly, I like flying on Southwest just fine for certain flights, but until they figure out what TSA PreCheck is, there isn’t a snowball’s chance in a Silver Medallion upgrade out of Atlanta on Monday morning that they will routinely see me on one of their flights. And you know what? That’s just fine, because I like flying Delta. Yes, I really do.

Why bother with Platinum? Hey, it’s higher than Gold, and at my current flying and MQM earn rates, it’s not only obtainable, more importantly to me, it is maintainable. I don’t expect to get upgraded on every flight, heck I don’t expect to get upgraded on a lot of flights. I do expect an improved travel experience, and a slightly better level of care with the higher status. In short, it will make what I have found to be a very good customer experience with Delta just a little better. And Delta Points will stop asking me to carry his bags.

-MJ, May 15, 2013

We arrived at the airport very early. Just before 3PM. Our flight is at 6:45PM. First note….it really doesn’t take very long to travel from our home to the Atlanta Airport (ATL) during non-rush hour. We were the third group of 2 checked in for LH 445. Waiting in the F queue, the agent working that was getting set up. No issue. Within about a second, we were called down to the coach queue for check in before any other passengers were processed in the coach line. For what it’s worth, in Atlanta, the First Class check in queue is the Star Gold line, and the Business queue is the Star Silver line. From presenting our passports at check in, to clearing TSA, I can’t imagine that more than 10 minutes passed.

We walked over to the Lufthansa Senator Lounge, which happens to be in the E concourse, while our flight will depart from the new international terminal, or F concourse. The lounge is adjacent to the well-regarded One Flew South restaurant (which is probably where we are about to go spend the remainder of our time).  Nothing wrong with the lounge at all. One attendant at the door, a little self serve bar, and a little food spread. No complaints, but knowing what’s waiting for us in Frankfurt…. well, you know what I mean. Here are a few pictures.

I have just begun a 3 day business trip that started around 11am today. I went into the office early to take care of some things, and then departed for the airport from there. I normally take rail transit to the airport, but I’ve been itching to give Uber a try, having downloaded the iPhone app many weeks ago, but not yet using it. I was running late anyway, so this was an ideal opportunity.

I clicked on the app, entered my address on the map, and found that a car was 12 minutes away. Perfect! I finalized everything, and with that, my car was ordered. I really like that the app shows the position of your assigned vehicle on a map display so you can plan accordingly. I walked outside when the car was about 5 minutes away, and sure enough…my driver soon appeared.

The car was late model and clean. Bottled water was provided, and I had a comfortable and timely ride to the airport. While Uber fares are close to cab fares in some instances, downtown Atlanta to the airport is not one of those. The fare is a flat $75 dollars. I should’ve looked before I bought, but I’m not disappointed in the service or the price at all….it is what it is. Fares are easily found on Uber’s website.

The verdict – Uber is a handy service and I will use it again. I especially like the easy to use iPhone app and the no hassle pricing that is automatically billed to your credit card.

Yes, I know. First world problem. What the heck am I talking about? My first real stay as a Starwood Gold after one year plus of Starwood Platinum. I’ve made more than a handful of stays at this particular hotel, and I don’t believe I’ve ever been placed below floor 20. This stay – 10th floor. Yes, I know….first world problem. Other than that, the stay has been just as any other. Desk staff – polite and welcoming. Lobby bar staff – awesome as ever. Only other difference – WiFi not complimentary in the room (unless you make the right benefit choice). Good thing I always travel with a Verizon 4G MiFi nowadays, huh?

I was offered a choice of amenities at check in as detailed in SPGs new benefits: 250 points, comp internet, or a comp cocktail. I went with the points. In truth, about the only thing I’m missing is the possible upgrade to a real suite. With just a 2-night stay, I’d almost be a shoe-in for a decent upgrade as a Starwood Platinum. As a Gold…at least for this stay, not so much….not even a next category room this visit. I did check spg.com, and there are NO ROOMS available for booking for the dates of my stay, so I guess I’ll take what I can get!

Starwood Preferred Guest continues to be one of my favorite hotel loyalty programs.

Another Friday at the airport, another opportunity to be glad to go home. As much as I love to travel, I think I love traveling home more. This one was a week where I got some stuff done, just not anything I’d planned on (hoped for). Had a great stay at the W Atlanta – Midtown, and I will work on my review over the weekend. Should post Monday. I’ll be back in 3 weeks, and I thought about staying in Midtown again, but Buckhead has kind of grown on me, so it’s back to the W Atlanta – Buckhead next time.

Anyways, coming up:

  • More on my new flirtation with US Airways Dividend Miles
  • A word about needing to fly to 25 cities in a not so lengthy amount of time
  • Full review of the W Atlanta – Buckhead

It’s gonna be a busy weekend of blogging. And if I can get the right light and a good angle, I’ll post a few shots of the re-spiffed Delta A-17 Sky Club in Atlanta.

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