If you are a Platinum or Diamond Medallion flyer it is very likely that for one of your Medallion Choice Benefits you have selected Regional Upgrade certificates as one of your choices (I always do). Why? Well in case you have not noticed:
- Upgrades are harder to get due to FCM
- JFK-LAX/SFO upgrade requires one
- You can use them with a friend
- You can move to the front of the line
And even a few more good reasons. But my point is that if you want to try to assure yourself a ride in the pointy end of the jet then Regional Upgrade certificates (RU) can be a great help to accomplish that goal.
Last month in a Rookie Wednesday post I showed the different ways you will know if your RU has cleared, that is, via an e-mail or a call from Delta. But that is how it is supposed to work.
We all know IT is not one of Delta’s bits to brag about. We all know the award booking site is a mess and just forget about trying to make the mulit-leg page work at all (it doesn’t). There are other bugs that could lead to your upgrade certificate being deposited to another frequent flyer’s account. But are there bigger issues regarding open space?
A frustration with these certificates is that you have to call Delta. You and I cannot check if there is open space on a flight for a given day (or any day for that matter). Delta does not like giving frequent flyers useful information and tools (just ask Expert Flyer & Award Wallet). So we have to call. If space is not open you can then be wait listed for a flight. Then, as talked about above, you should be notified when space opens up. But is this working as it should? Maybe not.
FlyerTalk, love it or hate it, is a useful tool. You have so many Delta elite flyers posting data points. Some are one-off issues while others bring to light bigger issues with the mothership. Right now there are two interesting threads, one is how a user checks the seats to see if space has opened up but not yet notified us. The other one is also a similar type issue that space may have opened up but Delta IT did not let the flyer know. Interesting and frustrating.
At this point I have just trusted Delta to inform me when my RU has cleared. This may have been a mistake! My only real data point to support this is a few weeks back it seems like me, and a bunch of readers, had a virtual “wave” of upgrades all clear almost at the same time. Thinking about this it smells bad. To me this should not happen “this” way. Upgrades, depending on the mood of Delta Revenue Management that day, should each day clear some space. It should be a constant event, one would think, depending on what space is open as the flight time draws near.
So what do we do with this new information? We all fear “Shena” and Delta when humans get involved in the upgrade process. We normally “like” the IT as it should remove Shena from the equation, but now I am not so sure. Delta wants us to call for open space – so that is what I am going to do. I am going to call often about my RU certs that have not cleared. If Delta says this is the only way to check for space, and there seems to be some issues with the space, then I will use the tools they give me to see what is up. In fact, just this week, a Diamond Medallion phone rep told me there are times they will see space open up before the automated system alerts a flyer. That is really all we need to know! 😉 – Rene
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