I want to apologize. I really should have posted this before. Yesterday reader Deb in the new and improved Ask Rene tab was having some issues with the AMEX BOGOF or buy one get one free certs that you can get in the second year of card membership from:
What I want to focus on is the coach BOGOF option from ALL of these cards since the Reserve card ones that also offer 1st class seats (as a choice) are not relevant to today’s post. But first some facts we must know.
We all should know that after 16MAY16 Delta will consider Comfort Plus (C+) seats an upgrade. If seats are available, and not blocked by Delta for sales i.e. controlled by revenue management (expect this to happen soon), then both Platinum Medallion and Diamond Medallion members can receive an instant “free” upgrade to a C+ seat. However, unlike pre-16MAY16, those with you on the same itinerary (PNR) will not get the same free upgrade unless they too are Platinum Medallion and Diamond Medallion elites.
Now notice the highlighted terms from the Delta AMEX BOGOF certs. It very clearly states that:
“Tickets are not eligible for mileage upgrades, Platinum Systemwide Upgrade Certificates, or Medallion Complimentary upgrades.”
For years and years the only thing we had to be upset about was the fact that if we chose coach seats then we were not being able to upgrade to 1st class (unless we worked it to accomplish this anyway).
We never really thought about C+ seats as they were just a coach seat with some extra perks and some additional room. We never dreamed that Delta would reclassify the exact same coach seat as an upgraded seat and thus block us from them when we used our BOGOF certificate.
What is even worse is that even Platinum Medallion and Diamond Medallion elites are also now, for flights after 16MAY16, excluded from C+ seats with these certs since they are, according to Delta, an upgraded seat even though we all know it is for all practical purposes at best a side-grade not a real upgrade.
Are there any workarounds for this? Most of the old methods we used under the old system have been shut down, that is, splitting the PNR so that at least one of the two could upgrade no longer works. Getting a Delta rep to in some way force us to be eligible for an upgrade seems gone as well. Delta IT has had a bunch of problems but has been very efficient at blocking us from anything beyond what the T&C spell out.
Does this make the AMEX certs worthless after 16MAY16? For me, no, as I am a Reserve card holder and use mine booking 1st class as I see the max value realized that way. However, if I were booking coach I would still have access to exit row as those seats, as well as “preferred” seats, are not yet also termed any kind of an “upgraded” seat.
It really is hard to candy coat this as it is a downgrade but not really due to the cert itself but due to the change that Delta is bringing down on us all starting a little over a month from now. But at least we can still use these, as before, for ourselves as well as any other two people on the planet we want to. This is a HUGE perk no matter what class of service or seat “experience” Delta offers you or yours!
Ultimately will this impact how I value this perk from my AMEX cards? Unless you are a medallion this has zero impact on you. For medallions, this is just one more sad impact of the Delta changes but if you are flying coach exit row, with one seat free (other than tax) they still have great value. Again, if you are using 1st class BOGOF cert you have no impact at all. – René
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