Sorry, no, Delta AMEX BOGOF certs are not Delta Comfort Plus upgrade (side-grade) eligible after 16MAY16.

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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.

delta amex bogof no comfort plus upgrades

The fine print is clear – no upgrades!

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).

the funny thing is during booking you can still choose upgrade option

BUT – at booking, on, it still says I can upgrade! (Yeah, well, welcome to Delta IT)!

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.

no no c plus for you

Don’t even THINK about C+ buddy!

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.

exit row will be just fine

I am just fine with EXIT row!

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


Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.


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  1. Delta IT has also been very efficient at blocking us from doing what the T&C spell out. Yesterday I booked round trip between ATL and ORD departing on 5/13 and returning on 5/30. I did not get the option to purchase a C+ fare for the return flight but the system wouldn’t allow me to select a C+ seat for that flight either because I had not booked the C+ fare. I called the Platinum line to get help and was told that the issue was probably due to making a booking that left before and returned after 5/16. They offered to find out how the fare difference to upgrade or to request an upgrade for me. I mentioned that my understanding was that Platinum Medallions should get upgraded upon booking, and they confirmed that was true (or within 24 hours of booking)…then they requested my upgrade which went through immediately and I selected my C+ seat.

  2. I can’t get the website to work just trying to book a flight lately much less worry about what seat I’m going to book. And, I think it is beyond rotten that delta won’t let my spouse sit with me in C+ seats just because he doesn’t travel for business like I do. It’s actually harder for him to stay at home when I travel because he has sole responsibility for the kiddos when I’m gone. For the occasional trip he took with me, his 6’2″ frame really appreciated the little bit of extra space he got. Not anymore – next business trip he’s taking with me is a 7 hour drive and we’re taking the car instead of trying to fly. Delta better be careful because we just might find that that mode of transportation works better anyway!

  3. P.S. I have a hard time using the certs too because my company won’t allow me to book first class. I’m embarrassed to admit that more have expired than I have used for that very reason. Do you know of a workaround?

  4. I’ve been looking at 1st seats for September and there are no A fares available so I can’t book my tickets with the cert this far in advance. Lots of stupid off the charts fares for Labor day weekend with empty planes. Ahh, the games they play. Sad situation.

  5. @Sarah – No workaround for exp date but offer to others rather than let expire. Or, look at other airports nearby where you live. Or, search for A or I fare class w/out cert, do screen shots, then call and have them match that price.

  6. Sadly the 5/16 changes are the final nail in the Delta coffin for me. They have basically sad [bug off] if you are Platinum and, heaven forbid, want to travel with your family. I booked myself, spouse who is Silver and daughter with no status on the same itinerary only to discover that with three people there were no upgrades for ANYONE. I had them split my daughter and then discovered the C+ upgrade would not clear till Silver did. At that point I split my wife and I, took my upgrade and bought the C+ for my wife and daughter as it’s a 4.5 hour flight and they wanted the leg room. With this note about the BOGO I am going to cancel my Delta Platinum Amex and start shopping based purely on cost. I live in Minnie but I’ve simply had enough. They have removed any reason to be loyal.

  7. Not being able to upgrade does not matter if one is not able to use the coupon. Since they can only be used for LUT fares, I have had almost no luck booking.

  8. It gets worse and worse with DL very sad that status really means NOTHINGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. I only pray Delta Corp is reading these comments! Delta no longer honors loyalty, will they ever get the message?

  10. It’s there an address, email or postal, that we could send a message to Ed Bastian personally that Delta is ruining the medallion program, swiftly. If enough people wrote but it make any difference? People are leaving Delta left and right!

  11. @Tony – You know this has changed as now BOGO is not just C+ “upgrade” open but also 1st class update open so maybe they are reading!

  12. @Tony – The direct Delta contact info is in a post in the “Essentials Tab” on the blog (see top right).

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