Delta & Gol add Sky Priority – expect hiccups; no mention of award availability

When Delta rolled out its Diamond Medallion status there were months of cases of travelers denied benefits such as lounge access because the various staff, from airport contractors to partner lounges, had not gotten the message about the new program tier. People that had Platinum cards with validity resorted to those.

So when I read that Delta and Gol in Brazil are rolling out reciprocal Sky Priority benefits, and think to my own recent chaotic Gol experience, I expect growing pains. Gol currently does not have functional priority check-in and boarding lines for its own elite flyers at some airports. Like me at Salvador (SSA), you can stand in the priority line and be ignored until you push your way to a counter.

The checked luggage benefits will be nice, and though SMILES VIP lounges are simple, a lounge is a lounge.

During the teething problems it may be useful to carry a printout of Delta’s press release in Portuguese as well as English. Hard copies can do wonders to convince skeptics. Information from Gol directly is preferred but I cannot find anything on Gol’s Portuguese or English sites.

Note, as per Delta practice, there was no mention of award availability on Gol, because Delta believes awards are not as important to its customers, as, say, rolling out more and more cumbersome iterations of its website, er, online travel hub. My attempts to book intra-Brazil awards on Gol have all ended in failure, and best I can get from various sources is that flights to Fernando de Noronha are totally blocked from Delta, though in fairness most months there are no award seats for those flights for Gol’s own flyers. Similar availability to Tam on more mainstream routes would be nice, however unlikely.

Comments

  1. FWIW, it just took me about 5 minutes to book an intra-Brazil flight using 20k Skymiles and availability is pretty plentiful and searchable using ExpertFlyer…the only catch is you have to call Delta

  2. @Albert – thanks for the info, and a reminder to me that I need to learn ExpertFlyer, FlightStats is supposed to show Gol but the results are quite unreliable, many flights do not appear at all.

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