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Are there IT issues affecting when we can use Delta Regional Upgrade certificates?

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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.


delta 1st class seat review by rene

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:

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

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.

10 Comments

  1. ed jenkins Reply

    Are you seeing this with Global Upgrade certificates as well Rene or is it limited to RU’s? I have 3 of 4 legs of an int’l trip that have not cleared with 75% open space on 2 and 88% open on the third.

    Thanks

    • @Ed – Have not cashed in my GUs yet so can not say. I tend to work around open dates for my GUs to clear at once. I do not want to ride in coach for that long of a trip – EVER! 😉

  2. Rene, I checked that flyer talk thread about the trick for selecting seats on that D1 tab for the waitlisted upgrade segment. Last week I used one of my GUC’s and got cleared on 5 of 6 flights initially. That 6th leg did show the D1 tab, and I did get the upgrade, but only after I was on board and the door about to close. Ha! But today, I just and checked my upcoming RUC waitlisted flight segment and found no D1 tab. I don’t know if this has anything to do with it, but I only waitlisted the ATL-LAX portion of the trip for the RUC and left the other segments for my Diamond Medallion upgrade request. Does anyone know why that might be? Is it because I don’t have the entire trip under the RUC? I remember once in one of your posts Rene that you suggested only waitlisting the long haul/most popular segment only and that if you did not get it, you get to keep your RUC because you did not use it for the other segments as you have a normal chance of getting upgraded the old fashioned way on the other segments. So that is what i did for this trip. But there is no D1 tab for that segment. Any ideas?

    • @Scott – The reason for the only do the longest flight is that if the shorter one is open they will clear you right away and pull the cert. You have done it the best way possible IMO.

      • Rene, thanks for getting back to me and yes, I agree it was the best way possible. But that still does not answer the question of why no D1 tab shows up next to the targeted segment of ATL-LAX, such as it did when I used my GUC on my last trip. As well as the person on the FlyerTalk thread you had a link to. I would love to try that trick he suggested, but without the extra tab, I cannot. Any ideas?

        • @Scott – Sorry missed that. If you have ANY segment listed the “extra” tab should show up. Ask Delta Assist to look into it to confirm you ARE in fact listed.

          • Rene, just called the Diamond Line and she is stumped by the lack of 2nd D1 tab for the ATL LAX leg. And could not do anything about it. Interestingly enough, while I was dialing her, I clicked on a seat for my LAX MSP leg on the return journey that was also waitlisted with my RUC and it clicked on a first class seat. Just like the FlyerTalk thread suggested. And when the Diamond rep got on the phone she exclaimed “Oh, it looks like your LAX MSP leg just cleared!!! So funny. So she also cleared the other small segments on the return journey. Still waiting on the outbound to clear. Anyway, she told me a trick she recently learned was that if we, as Diamonds, call a couple of days ahead of our flight, if it still hasn’t cleared, we are to ask the rep to re-waitlist the segment, because apparently, inventory opens up and won’t assign you the waitlisted upgrade normally, but will (sometimes, if it is open) if you re-waitlist it. So she told me to call a couple days out, if it still has not cleared. Thought you might want to know that for your readers, if you don’t already know that. It was news to me.

  3. FCM! Ugh!!!

    Being waitlisted on a RUC and then checking in only to be offered the upgrade if I purchase it.

    That means there’s inventory but they don’t want to give me the UG based on the deal they offered all DMs.

    What a JOKE!

  4. Pingback: Delta is becoming SUPER tight on ALL upgrades even when NO seats sold! Our #LoyaltyNotRewarded - Delta PointsDelta Points

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