One of the greatest possible values of attaining Delta Diamond Medallion status is the perk of being able to select as a “Choice Benefit” Global Upgrade certificates. They can literally be worth thousands of dollars in value depending on where you fly and utilize the certificates to upgrade to business class from cheap coach fares (E class is excluded).
Until recently these certificates have really only been of true value when you have selected Delta metal flights, that is, flights that are Delta operated. Two partners, KLM and Air France, have been available but only if you selected Y, B or M class fares that can often be as expensive (or more expensive) than discounted business class fares thus making them all but useless to most flyers.
However, recently Delta has made a change when it comes to KLM Code Shared flights per the link on Delta.com describing the T&C about the certs. Notice the updated wording that states on Delta.com:
REDEMPTIONS ON KLM – ROYAL DUTCH AIRLINES
Valid on Delta-marketed, KLM-operated flights for use globally on published Main Cabin fares booked in Y, B, M, S, H, Q, K, L, U, T, X or V class to Business Class.
Valid on all KLM-marketed, KLM-operated flights from published Main Cabin fares in Y, B, or M class to Business Class.
Global Upgrades on KLM flights must be confirmed 24 hours prior to departure.
For flights departing Amsterdam, Global Upgrade Certificates may be applied prior to check-in either with a KLM ticketing agent or at a KLM Crown Lounge.
Global Upgrade Certificates may not be used to waitlist for a KLM-operated flight
REDEMPTIONS ON AIR FRANCE
Valid on most transatlantic flights operated by Air France.¹
One-way upgrade from Main Cabin when booked in Y, B, or M class to Premium Voyageur Class.
One-way upgrade from Premium Voyageur when booked in S or W class to Business Class.
¹ Not valid on AF operated 747 aircraft flights; only valid on flights with the Premium Economy Cabin.
This really is exiting news. KLM’s full flat product, while all seats do not offer unobstructed aisle access like Delta does, is a very nice new product.
I have yet to fly the new KLM full flat seat (thanks to highly restricted award space as KLM and Delta do not play very nice when it comes to premium award space) but reports from those who have say the product is an outstanding business class full flat seat.
Do take careful note it is ONLY code share flights that will be open to these Global Upgrade certificate eligibility. The exact same flight that is booked with a KLM code (i.e. marketed) will not be eligible under the new discounted Global Upgrade fares, that is, you are back to Y, B & M fares.
Air France, despite the partnership with KLM, is not eligible as of yet under this new code share upgrade arrangement with Delta. This is frustrating but do keep in mind one of the big differences between KLM and Air France is that they offer a “real” Premium Economy product while KLM offers a Comfort Plus type product similar to Delta (that is same seat, just some tiny extra perks).
I would not be surprised to see an improvement in perks not only for Air France soon but also for Virgin Atlantic as well as long as they too offer code share operated flights. The key factor in this, it seems to me, is Delta needs to be earning a piece of the pie if they are going allow Diamond elites to qualify for upgrades at the lower fare classes they currently enjoy on Delta operated flights.
Overall this really is a positive change and I commend Delta for this. I would have loved to see many other partners included but one step at a time and any improvements in Medallion perks are greatly appreciated even with code share restrictions! – René