Delta! When even good news could become really bad news. Real PE seats coming soon & Medallion upgrade improvements!

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.

Sign-Up Bonuses

delta to add real PE seats to a350 jets

What will happen to GU certs?

One would think this is outstanding news but in today’s modern world we always have to ask “why” and just what is it going to cost us for [insert whatever] move Delta has just made. How will [again insert whatever] seem like a good thing only to be a cut to the perks we currently have as an elite or SkyMiles member or whatever. This is how the game is played in 2016.

ed at delta media day

From @Delta on Twitter

@AirlineFlyer on Twitter today tweeted from the Delta “dog and pony show” at the corporate headquarters in Atlanta that Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian has said what you see above that Delta will in fact be adding a “real” PE or Premium Economy seat at long last to the new Delta Airbus A350. Not just that he later tweeted:

Ed Bastian, Delta’s CEO, says DL learned a lot about premium economy from partner @VirginAtlantic & @AirFrance. Now is the time to roll out”

Shudder. Let’s turn that into understandable “just what this means” to you an me and the implications and likely ramifications on us. I am guessing at this, but this is a well seasoned guess after a very good understanding of how our mothership works.

air france sign pay to upgrade your seat dtw detroit airport delta skyteam renespoints blog

Want to pay for an upgrade?

To me what the above very likely means is they have learned they can SELL them for way more than a “fake” (Comfort Plus) C+ seat and even up-sell at the gate from (Main Cabin) C- to PE. That is what the partners do so follow the money. Really this is not that bad but…

You know what is next? Right now, with Global Upgrade certs we can upgrade to Delta ONE (D1) and now even KLM Business Elite seats and low cheap fare classes. But, I think once Delta has a PE seat they will limit you to one class of upgrade. So, you want D1 you must buy PE then upgrade to D1. Or, you buy C- and upgrade with the certs to PE. Think about it, I am sure it is on the way. A guess for now but a good one I think.

Virgin-Atlantic-MAN-to-ATL-Upper-Class-review-by-RenesPoints blog

Virgin PE seat. As big as Delta 1st class!

Heck all you have to do is look at the pricing for PE or W class seats right now and you will see this already has become the new “affordable” award class in some circumstances. So that is that news. On to the next.

way back machine delta upgrades page delta-com

Old Page

new upgrade page

new page

This one, at this point, I just am in love with and am struggling to see why Delta would make this change (i.e. where is the money). For now, the above are before and after on the Medallion perks pages and below the text that has been updated:

Upgrade priority:

  • Medallion level is the most important factor in upgrade clearance priority, starting with Diamond Medallion members, then Platinum, Gold and Silver.
  • Members at the same Medallion level will be cleared in order of fare class families for revenue tickets, Award Tickets and Pay with Miles tickets, with higher fare classes among all ticket types holding higher priority.
  • Partner airline elite members and SPG® Platinum Preferred members will be eligible for day-of-departure upgrades only.
  • Y class fares will no longer be upgraded at booking. <-BOLD MINE

Rewarding your loyalty:

  • Delta Reserve Credit Card Members will still have a higher prioritization within their Medallion peer set for upgrades.
  • Delta Corporate Travelers will now have a higher prioritization within their Medallion peer set for upgrades.
  • If all else is equal, Card Members who earned the Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) Waiver by spending at least $25,000 in the current calendar year on their Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express will enjoy higher priority.
  • Date and time of upgrade request will be used as a tie-breaker.

Now again, this is just stunningly good news (to me). A Silver Medallion buying a Y class ticket will no longer have the chance to auto upgrade. In fact, since the 6/5/3/1 day window for upgrades does not even consider a Silver until 1 day before travel all Diamonds (and so on) will have a much better shot at that upgrade even on a cheap ticket (see why I am confused). But don’t get me wrong I just love this. Do keep in mind once we get to the 24 hour windows fare class still matters as it does each day you hit each elite level. That has not changed.

I think the corporate text and change is a way to offset the removal of the auto-up shot from Y class contracts.

The rest of the tweaks Delta is adding another tie-breaker to encourage spending on Delta AMEX cards. This is way down on the list after so many others so while it is a nice change and a perk I think just how many times this has an impact will be limited. But hey, thank you for anything we can get!

What do you think of all this new Delta info, my PE guesses and the Medallion changes? – René


PS – The Chicago Seminars 2016 are now on sale and LIVE so go get’em!


  1. Will PE start on the new A350’s and then across their int’l fleet? Do the 350’s slowly replace the ’67’s and 330’s?

  2. Too bad. or good. In some cases I like it, IE MSP-LAX-BNE in PE from LAX-BNE and full Y from MSP-LAX. Enjoyed that FC, especially as a Gold.

  3. I follow you religiously i.e. I am jaded towards the mother ship ✈️ I think they are throwing us a bone after all they have done, and buttering us up before they drop the guillotine for 2017 or 08. 100 % revenue to achieve medallion. Hope not

  4. As a PM Amex reserve holder who will hit my spend in a month, I’m looking forward to ‘enjoying’ increased upgrade frequency. We shall see!

  5. I’ll add this to the very long list of why silver is totally useless. I’ll not be making any effort to keep that “status” next year.

  6. @mbh – Not useless, just less useful. You can still do #TeamBoardLast for the win as well as exit row and some C+ “side-grades”.

  7. Give me back my ability to upgrade my husband to C+ when he flies with me – or he just won’t go with me anymore.

  8. Do you think, the change that Y tickets no longer upgrade instantly, actually changes anything? I mean, are there people out there booking full fare coach? If it changes ANYTHING, then I think it won’t change MUCH.
    So it won’t change anything for me as a Silver. I really much prefer to book deeply discounted coach, no full fare tickets for me 😉
    And the introduction of PE? I agree that sooner or later that will lead to one-class upgrades. So, yes, I assume you will only upgrade to PE with an upgrade cert, if you booked main cabin. Maybe a possibility to use two certs for two-class upgrades?
    For me it doesn’t matter. Again, as a Silver I don’t get any upgrade certs and don’t have a shot at int’l upgrades (except for op-ups).
    And I won’t be able to pay regular tickets for a true premium economy seat.
    In my dreams it would not cost more than current C+ 😉
    But as soon as I wake up it is much more expensive … 🙁

  9. This is nice, I suppose, or will be, when Delta starts taking delivery of the new A350s, *maybe* next year (they currently don’t have any listed on their fleet page). Since these are likely to see service only on long-haul international routes, it won’t matter much to everyday domestic business flyers. Hopefully the model will be well received and spread to the rest of the fleet (some day…).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *