Bumpertunites, weather and your Delta options (and what NOT to do) – Part 1
Airport Express SFO stood me up (a service to avoid) & UBER saves the day – Part 2
Delta Air Lines DeltaONE 757 seats and service SFO to NYC (and back) review – Part 3
The Radisson Blu Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco review – Part 4
Delta Same day change, regional upgrade certificates and open space – Part 5
Are Delta Mileage Runs still worth it anymore? (a hard look at the numbers) – Part 6
Delta has really run the gambit on the SDC (same day change) rules and this is one that I really don’t get why they decided to push. Oh, sure, I get why from a dollars and cents side, that is, those who must change to get to a meeting will fork over the fee if they must so it is a great way to extract money from those who are already flying Delta. But the other side of the coin is that same traveler who just wants to get home to their family sooner. Your company, most times, will not pay to cover the fee when work is not on the line.
To me, leaving a flyer stuck in a SkyClub or waiting at a gate to SDS (same day standby) and hope they get the last middle seat is not a smart way win the heart of a loyal flyer.
Just to bring you up to speed if you have missed out on the fun, before you could change, as an elite, free if any seat was open in the cabin of service you were in. That is business class = business class or coach = coach. Then they changed hard and included fees and fare class restriction. Then they softened the fees. Then, with version 4.0 of the rules, they changed back so all business class fares qualified as they did back before the changes started so the fare class rule only applies to coach seats now.
Many have complained how hard and fast Delta has been in applying these rules. Some have even dumped Delta over just this change. I have found Delta, as a Diamond Medallion, to be somewhat flexible on the rules. Like what?
The first one is simple. Look at paying a little more for a slightly higher fare class that is available and have them waive the other fees to reissue the ticket. On a number of occasions I have paid say $5 or $10 or $20 more to change and that’s it. I move up a fare class or two and space is open and I am able to save many hours from A-B. Nice. That I can live with. Many reps I think do not even consider this as an option, but it is a winner on both sides. Not enough cost to upset me as a flyer but Delta still makes a bit more money.
Then you have the next issue of no longer “officially” being able to change from a direct to a connection or the other way around. I have found Delta to be all over the place on this one. Some reps are rock hard on this while others just don’t seem to care. Consider the amount of changes I have had both ways I think this is one they do have a lot of room to tinker with. I would HUCB if you get a rep who will not budge. This one can be worked around.
Lastly you have the option to play the elite card and just ask and beg. Ask for an exception. Ask for a one time allowance for whatever reason that is important to you for this trip. Delta talks loyalty and this is one way they CAN show it with real value to you. Heck, if it is really an important issue even lay it on the line and mention that since SkyMiles are just about worthless this is a way the airline can show they appreciate you.
Now I will say I really like the one change that was part of all of the adjustments and that is the rule that you can make changes up to just under 24hrs (the same day) if you can find them compared to the 6 hours we had before all the fare class rules coming into play. Move say an 11:30PM red-eye to a morning or lunch flight is just grand and impressive. I do like this adjustment and if you can work the above bits this is a way to make the current set of rules benefit you.
But what about Regional Upgrade certs (RUs) that I touched on in the title of this post. I really value my RUs and use them all each year and they are my stock Platinum Medallion Choice Benefit gift choice (as a Diamond you get both a PM & DM pick). I love moving to the top of the upgrade list when they do not clear me instantly and have only missed an upgrade one time when using them. They are truly a valuable gift and perk from Delta for loyalty. But how important are they as a Diamond? Here is one example.
I did an SDC during my trip to San Francisco or more correctly I was using one for the red-eye home. There was no space on the flight so I would have to wait for upgrade at the gate. My plans changed and I decided to go sooner during the day. I paid a few bucks to change myself to a fare class that had space and then moved my RU to that flight and after check-in I was number one on the list. However, there were 8 open seats with only 2 hours to go before flight. I decided to call and have the RU removed and just chance it for complimentary medallion upgrade but I had no idea where I would land on the list after removal of the RU (nor could anyone at Delta tell me where I would end up). I dropped from #1 to #2 and cleared with 9 seats open with 30 minutes to go before departure. An interesting data point if nothing else.
Bottom line is work all these benefits and rules to your advantage. Stick firm and be willing to call back and find a rep to work with you. Look at all the options. Only use your RU certs when you really want to and be ready to be flexible if it helps you either to add or remove legs depending on what you need! – René
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