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Another Delta Stealth “enhancement” to SWU with Skyteam partner KLM – July 22, 2013

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


swu change delta

EDIT: Delta has UPDATED the information about this issue HERE!

As you can see from Delta.com, a Delta or KLM fare to Europe, if available, can be upgraded with a SWU or systemwide upgrade certificate.

However, with a HT to this link at FlyerTalk, this has changed as of July 22, 2013 to ONLY “Y” class with KLM and stays Y, B & M with Delta. I have confirmed this change with the Diamond Medallion line as other have in the FT thread.

Delta would not provide a comment about this latest change. Unfortunately this is yet another in a long line of stealth changes that we have to find out for ourselves and even the Delta.com web site weeks later showing outdated information.

Delta SWU are not very user friendly to begin with and this is just one more blow to the certificates. Will this change make you rethink this as a yearly “Choice Benefit“? – René

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.

11 Comments

  1. I never choose them because of existing restrictions. It’s baffling that Delta doesn’t just discontinue these as a choice benefit rather than fine-printing them into near-complete uselessness.

    I suppose it makes good business sense to “bet on stupid” and hope people choose these largely useless certificates that will wither unused on the proverbial vine, rather than one of the other benefits that Delta would be forced to actually honor.

  2. We may not use those certs because we know better, but just like with High Price (in miles) awards, I’m sure that there are plenty of those people that still use them. Delta make a lot more money (and miles) that way.

    And if people eventually don’t use them, they can always claim “We are phasing out this benefit, because of lack of interest.”. American Express has gotten rid of many benefits that way.

    If it wasn’t for their service, that it’s the known and that I want to achieve Million Miler status, I’d probably be flying AA.

  3. I use all 10 of my certificates every year, i fly to Central Asia from the west coast and my company will purchase upgradable Y fares for itineraries over 12 hours. I think there great for that, just because they dont make them easy to use doesnt make them worthless. HAlf the time Delta doesnt even take them out of my account, sometimes i will use miles to upgrade to business and they never take my miles either.

    • @Bob – OK you are right, for a company who will pay full Y class (often as much as a BIZ class price) and you can take advantage of that situation, there is real value. For the rest of us where price matters this stinks!

  4. I think Bob’s an outlier. I came to DL after a million and a half on UA, where I used SWUs all the time. Of the six DL SWUs I chose last year, I used one: on LAX-MSP. Won’t make that mistake again. They’re barely even usable domestically.

  5. I wish they would just buy us business class tickets but that is percieved badly, instead they buy 5-6K economy tickets to Kazakhstan. But I agree I would never use them for personal travel.

  6. I no longer choose the SWU Certs as I also find them hard and expensive to use. I just choose the miles so I can get some low award fares.

  7. It [stinks], but this is the brave new DL world. They will probably hear little noise because there is a limited number of flyers (like Bob) who could have benefited from the SWUs anyway. So they will get away with it. Honestly, we should expect nothing less. They fully intend to push the boundaries of their program to maximize revenue and minimize their cost of supporting FFers (be it award tickets, upgrades, whatever) until they cross a line that causes a big uproar which significantly impacts their bottom line. I learned long ago that SWUs were pretty much useless to me because my company was almost always able to purchase discounted biz or economy class tickets, even at the last minute. So I always choose the miles and/or gift card on the Choice Benefits.

    DL is not dumb. They don’t run a charity and probably would like to break the airline cycle of boom/bust once and for all. Trust me, if the other airlines see their strategy working, they will adopt it too. We’ve already seen that with UA adding a revenue component to status qualification requirements.

  8. I’m in a similar boat to Bob and a DM who uses all 6 of my certs as that is enough for a year for me. My trips are usually paid for by my work and I usually buy B fare economy class tickets that I can upgrade/change. Most of my trips include a transcon flight on KLM, so this is a serious devaluation to me. They already make it so hard to upgrade on delta equipment, they could/should have made it easier when MQDs were announced. More for shareholders (for now) less for their best customers (also for now!!!)

  9. Pingback: Random Musings – August 10, 2013 - Marshall Jackson on Travel

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