Either these seats go, or I go…
I’m torn. This was my first ever business class product several years ago when I redeemed some American Express points that I transferred to Delta for a flight to LHR out of DTW. I’m not the first and I won’t be the last person to say that once you fly business class you are changed forever, and over a million first and business class miles later, you will still remember that first flight, even if the others start to blur together…
In this post...
How it all started
This flight had me flying from SEA to ATL, and I knowingly took this flight because I saw it was a 767 with Delta One business class seats on board. It was a domestic first class fare bucket and not business class, so it was only a 32.5k SkyMiles redemption. That may sound like a lot, but it’s only 7.5k above the usual 25,000 minimum for first class, and that seems like a deal for me for lie-flat comfort on a 5-hour flight!
How to Earn Points & Miles for Delta One First & Business Class
American Express is the go-to issuer for all things Delta and SPG, which is something you’ll want to consider given the SPG/Delta Crossover Rewards program. You’ve got several solid rewards cards to choose from, depending on what you want your points strategy to be. I generally recommend earning multiple point types (e.g., an airline card, a general card, and a hotel card) so that you have flexibility when it comes time to redeem points for a trip, but if you had to pick one of the cards below, I’d go with the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express or The Platinum Card® from American Express.
Cards with no annual fee:
- Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express – earn Delta miles with no annual fee, with 2x on dining, 2x on Delta in-flight purchases, and 2x on Delta flights.
Cards with an annual fee:
- Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express – this card currently offers a 35,000 mile + 5,000 MQM welcome offer! Other perks include a free checked bag and priority boarding.
- The American Express® Gold Card – currently offering a 50,000 point welcome offer (after spending $2k in the first 3 months), and this card gets 4x on dining, 4x on groceries (up to $25k per year), and 3x on flights booked directly with airlines, all for a $250 annual fee.
- The Platinum Card® from American Express – my personal favorite card. 60,000 points welcome offer (after spending $5k in the first 3 months), plus 5x on travel, Delta SkyClub lounge access (also Centurion lounges and Priority Pass), $200 Uber credit, and a $200 annual airline fee credit. The $550 annual fee is waived the first year.
- Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express – this card offers priority boarding, a free checked bag, 2x miles on Delta purchases, and currently has a 30,000 SkyMiles welcome offer after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months, making this a great card for Delta flyers.
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card – This one’s from Chase, with a 100,000 Bonvoy point welcome offer after spending $5k in the first 3 months. SPG points transfer to Delta at a 3:1 rate with an 8.3% bonus on up to 240,000 points transferred per day, so 260,000 Marriott points (bonus included) = 86,667 Delta SkyMiles.
- Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card – same as above, only for small businesses (that means business owners could conceivably have both cards).
This list was updated April 5, 2019, and you can check out the latest offers right here.
Is this seat worth the points?
While this is a great way to travel transcon or as a short hop across the Atlantic, I would hesitate to book myself in these seats for anything longer than 8 hours. Yes, it’s lie-flat, and yes everyone has direct aisle access, but with all of the other business class products out there – including Delta’s own reverse herringbone seating as found in Delta One on the A330 – why not shop around for something more comfortable? Don’t stress if that fails — these seats are totally adequate, and while the service is decidedly business class, it too will ultimately please you unless you’re used to flying Singapore Airlines A380 Business Class everywhere… 😉
- 1-2-1 configuration means everyone has direct aisle access
- Lots of armrest/console space on one side
- Seats next to the window feel pretty private
- This particular product is starting to look tired and feel cramped when compared to the competition
- Seats aren’t perfectly flat (I know that’s nitpicking, but still…)
- In contrast to the window seats, seats next to the aisle feel almost like you’re sitting in the aisle
Here we have a staggered 1-2-1 forward-facing configuration, which you’ll find on many other airlines, including Swiss Air, ANA, Garuda Indonesia business class, American Airlines, and more. Though it may feel like there’s a lack of privacy, in the end that equates to an “open” feel in the cabin.
The same Thompson Vantage lie-flat, forward-facing staggered seats as on their other 767s. I find these seats to be “cozy” — comfortable for lounging and reclining, and good for sleeping even though the seats are comparatively narrow and pretty well-enclosed (especially the odd row window seats, 1, 3, 5, 7, 9). One advantage of that narrow feel is that the seats feel private, but if you’re particularly tall or wide, or like to sleep on your stomach, you will likely find these seats much too narrow.
Getting work done
Working at this seat was, well, ok. The design of the traytable is one that lends itself to fairly rapid deterioration (no resting point on the opposite armrest), so the surface is never level. Generally not an issue with dining, but with a laptop and a mouse (or not) this can be a pain in the ass, as a hump is created in the center of the traytable. That aside, alignment and height were both good.
Personal reading lights, not the overhead kind, are pretty standard these days, and in these seats it seems to work well and be well-positioned.
These seats work quite well for lounging, as the ramp in front of you makes a great intermediate footrest until you get to the padded area for your feet in bed mode, and that is also well-positioned.
Good, not great. 180 degree lie-flat, yes, but it’s not perfectly flat. Also, it is a very tight, enclosed fit, which is good if you like to feel like you’re in a cocoon when you sleep, but bad if you like to spread out at all.
This was not a true business class flight, so I will save that critique for another flight, but the meal (couscous salad) was perfectly fine. On this flight I’d say I had standard Delta One domestic first class service. This can be variable, but in general I have good experience with Delta cabin crew, and that’s pretty frequent as a Diamond Medallion.
Did I miss anything? What’s your experience been in Delta One on the 767-300ER? Have you transferred Amex points to Delta for first or business class tickets? Let us know in your comment!