If you are a mountain climber you need to trust your gear. You need to trust that what is stated on all the different components are rated correctly and when it really matters they will perform as promised.
Now a Delta “Regional Upgrade (RU)” certificate clearly is not as important as climbing gear that can mean your life or death. But, I like the comparison because there is a ton of “trust” involved with both and we just have to hope they perform as expected. With RU certs, so much can go wrong you may not know about and I have first hand knowledge to share.
First off there is just so much we have to just “trust” when it comes to upgrades from Delta. We all “know”, from much questioning and evidence, what impacts your shot at a complimentary upgrade with Delta. We all “hope” those rules are followed. But much can impact them. For the most part, the same “rules” apply to RU certs. Like what?
Well say you are a medallion and want to upgrade and use an RU cert. What matters? The items that, according to all testing and sources, affect your shot at such an upgrade are:
- Fare class
- Time of ticket purchase
- Time of RU request
- Medallion level
- Other tie breakers
Now let’s say you are at the same medallion level as another flyer, with the same fare class, both with the Delta AMEX Reserve card, then what is most important to you? Time of ticket purchase and time of request to use the RU cert. But can you trust this? Not always as so much can mess this up.
On my last mileage run of the year I
dragged convinced bamboozled suggested a few other Diamonds join me flying to San Francisco for dinner at the AMEX Centurion and then flying back. Here is the deal. I booked first. Many of them, same status and same fare class and Delta Reserve card holders and requesting Regional upgrade later than me got upgraded before me. So, please take from this that what you expect and hope should happen may not always be the case. Then there can be so many issues.
Delta seems to have real problems if you apply a cert to one of your shorter segments, clear, and then wait list for upgrade on the other segments (one-direction of travel). Delta, in my case, had royally messed up my ticket and had to reissue it to fix it (Delta Assist in this case). The reissue was not done right and it resulted in a new date of ticketing dropping me WAY down the upgrade list. Ugg. The normally outstanding Delta Assist was kinda like (not a direct quote):
“Oppseee. Sorry. Yeah we goofed up. You are not where you should be on the list. But at least we fixed it the best we could via Gogo. So, we are done. Go away. Txs for your loyalty – sucker”
Now to be fair, after many HUCB events, I finally got a medallion rep worth their salt and they manually fixed the issue making it right. The rep clearly saw the failed steps from incorrectly assigning the RU cert to the reissue problem and on and on. So kudos to them for stepping up. I do feel part of this was due to the fact that I could prove, due to those with me, what was wrong. Most times I think reps just say something like: “there must be other factors for why you are not higher on the list than you are“. This time I caught them in the mistake.
So what should you take from this adventure and what will I do from now on? Here is my most important advice:
If you can not clear all segments at once, only request for the longest segment.
So much bad can happen if you do it any other way. Once that segment has cleared, THEN you can go back and request for the other segments. They may clear instantly or not but you can then fight with Delta to make sure the same cert (it does not take more) is correctly applied to the rest of your segments in the one direction of travel. Worst case, if things go wonkie, you have at least cleared on the longest most important part of the trip.
Folks, upgrades are becoming a real battleground. There is a thread on the Delta FlyerTalk board talking about how some Gold’s have scored ZERO upgrades this year. Also in that thread, one Platinum out of Salt Lake said he had only had 1 upgrade all year. I guess FCM is really working well for Delta. Good for them, but not for us.
But when it comes to regional upgrade, I wish Delta would be a little more generous with open space as this is a perk of the elite program and if they are going to make it this hard to use and “play” with the rules, what is the point of being an elite at all? We trust Delta will treat us right for our loyalty. Loyalty, after all, is a two way street! – René
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