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Customers Question Value Of Delta Perks

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(credit: CBS) Liz Collin
At 15 years old, Liz Collin made her broadcast debut covering...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota’s largest airline tells WCCO its online pricing problems for preferred customers were fixed months ago, but more Delta customers are questioning what they thought were the company’s perks.

Harold Lederman got the assignment to get his family together for the holidays.

“My wife and I decided that we will fly our daughter and her boyfriend home from Columbus, Ohio,” Lederman said.

To make the trip cheaper, Lederman decided to redeem his annual $99 companion ticket he gets for having a Gold Delta SkyMiles credit card. It’s part of a deal given out to Delta SkyMiles credit card holders where you pay full price for one ticket and get a second one for $99.

But Lederman noticed his full-priced ticket cost more than the exact same flight advertised on Delta’s regular Web site. The explanation about what happened from the airline may surprise other flyers.

He first found the fare for December 22 going for $397. But, you need to punch in your certificate number on a different part of the website in order to use the discount.

“I did that and, lo and behold, the first ticket was $489 instead of the $397,” Lederman said.

At the time, Lederman thought the cheaper flight must have sold out so he booked the more expensive fare. But, when he went back to Delta’s website, the same trip was still $397.

In all, he paid $588 for the perk. With the regular price it would have been only $496. That’s $92 more.

“What goes through my mind is your first report about the frequent fliers and the different fares, and my second thought is ‘Ah ha, they got you,'” Lederman said.

This summer, WCCO showed you how two business partners booking the same flight side-by-side discovered logging into your SkyMiles account sometimes meant paying hundreds of dollars more.

Days later, Delta blamed a computer glitch that they fixed.

Lederman assumed Delta would take care of this issue once he called. He wasn’t expecting the explanation he got.

“I did talk to a supervisor and he did acknowledge that the fare is higher if you use a companion ticket,” Lederman said.

When WCCO got involved, Delta’s response changed. Paul Skrebec, a company spokesperson, said in a statement: “After reviewing the customer’s travel plans, the companion certificate wasn’t eligible with the fare presented on our website under the terms and conditions of the certificate.”

He added that the web site that goes with the promotion-only shows fares that can be used. Fares on the regular Delta page don’t count.

The bottom line is that sometimes flyers will have to pay more to use that companion perk.

After WCCO called on his behalf, Delta did decide to refund Lederman the difference just this once and apologized for the inconvenience.

“I think that still shows that there’s something not smelling right,” Lederman said.

But Lederman says he still finds the whole process a bit fishy and wishes getting the best deal didn’t have to be so hard.

The Delta spokesperson told WCCO it doesn’t make any claim that the companion fare should be the best deal, but the airline said that is the company’s goal. Delta also said customers should look at the terms and conditions of the credit card where it’s all spelled out.

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