Rookie Wednesday: Can I book two seats for myself with my Delta / Amex Bogo cert? Yes – but there are drawbacks.

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It’s like biz class lite!

First let’s get the obvious out of the way. Yes, you can use your Delta / Amex Platinum card (personal or business) Bogo cert (buy one get one free + tax) to book two seats for yourself. You can not do this online you have to call Delta and so they should waive any booking fees as again, you can not do this yourself online. One ticket will be in your name and one will be called EXTRA and then your last name again.

Next, why do this? There can be a number of reasons as the photo at the top of this post shows.

Say you and your +1 are flying somewhere and the jets you are looking at are 3-3 in coach. If you book a ticket (on another reservation) for your +1 and then you book for you two seats with the Bogo you end up with basically a European Business class product (most airlines over there use a coach seat for business and simply block the middle seat empty).

Or, say you are alone flying wherever and are on jets with 2-3 configuration. You could have two seats for yourself meaning you have one seat to sit in and one to have the tray table down for drinks and stuff and just about as much (or more) space as a business class seat. Not just that, but you could use the under seat storage for a carry-on and still have room empty for your feet. Nice right?

I guess there are other personal reasons for burning your Bogo this way but the point is you can if you want to. But do know there are some downsides / restrictions if you choose to do this.

No upgrades!

If you are a Medallion you normally have a chance at an upgrade to 1st class and (cough, choke) an “upgrade” to Comfort+ (we all know C+ is the same size seat as the rest of coach right?)! However, if you are using the Bogo for you and for the extra seat then you have an issue. You i.e. the Medallion could upgrade but your “other self”, the free seat, does not and cannot have a Delta frequent flyer number thus your other self is blocked from any possible upgrade. It will not however block you and your other self from choosing preferred seats i.e. exit rows as they are not considered an upgrade.

Not only does the above apply to knocking you out of the upgrade option but if you are flying with your +1 with no status they have to be on the same reservation as you to have a shot at the +1 upgrade. That is not possible if you are booking them on a separate ticket to sit in the row with you with the center seat empty. Bottom line is forget about upgrades if you do this. Maybe…

I say maybe because, as with all things Delta, things are impossible until they are suddenly possible. Er, what? Delta will tell you that you cannot split a Bogo reservation into two reservations. Yes and No. Officially you cannot but maybe someone will do it anyway. Then, in say the case of just you flying on a Bogo cert with an extra seat for you, you may upgrade to 1st class but your Extra self will be stuck back empty in coach as it cannot upgrade ever.

A word of warning if you play the split reservation game. If you “upgrade” only to C+ then your Extra self, who is not eligible to upgrade to C+, will be stuck back in coach and you will not have an empty seat next to you in C+. As we know, Delta will sometimes auto upgrade you to C+ even when you have said no to this so it could be a reason to avoid splitting the reservation. I would hate to have someone else enjoy your empty seat behind you while you are stuck in a middle seat C+ “upgrade” seat! 😉

One last warning if you do get a Bogo reservation split idea. You must, for each leg, still check in both seats or the EXTRA seat reservation will cancel along the way. Yep – you will have two boarding passes and at each leg each one must be scanned when boarding even if you are in 1st class (cleared upgrade) and your extra self is back in coach.

Personally, with the change to allow your +1 to upgrade even on a coach Bogo cert, I see less appeal than before in trying the empty seat option. But I often travel with my +1 so that is me. If I were single I could see this option worth considering as a non-medallion with an Amex card cert to burn.

Lastly on this, as I know there will be questions about “what if” like bumps or points or whatever for the EXTRA seat. Keep in mind the extra seat, as already mentioned, is not a real person. They cannot have a Delta FF account. Thus they are not eligible for anything that a person would be if things go sideways during a trip (note: the Bogo flyer never earns points only the primary passenger does).

Any questions on this week’s unique topic? Fire away in the comments below. – René