RenesPoints Podcast EP3 – Delta Regional Upgrade vs. Free Medallion upgrades

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when will a delta ru cert clear - before free upgrades - no

How did you vote?

This week again we are talking about Regional Upgrade certs and if it is wise to use them or pull them as you approach the “upgrade window” for Delta. Should you do this? Take a listen:


Also below we have links that were talked about in this week’s PodCast!

  • Link to last week’s Podcast about Regional Upgrades – HERE
  • Link to Twitter poll on Regional Upgrades – HERE
  • Link to the “Ask Rene” tab – HERE
  • Link to e-mail Rene tab – HERE
  • More on upgrades link – HERE

Hope you enjoyed this week’s episode and hope you have a great weekend! – René


Thank you for ALWAYS starting here!



  1. I enjoyed the podcast, Rene – thanks! Nice to mix things up a bit. 🙂

    Question – how are you able to determine that the seats that went away at the 5 day window went to complimentary upgrades?

  2. Rene,
    Thank you for the informative podcast on the RU certificates.
    A month ago I tried to apply a RU certificate going from ATL to SAN. I was listed as #4 on the upgrade list as a Diamond with only 2 seats available. I called the Delta Diamond line 2 1/2 hours before the flight departure to use my RU certificate. The Diamond rep was helpful and told me it had been applied to my reservation and that I would be number one on the list.
    30 minutes passed and I did not see a change in my upgrade list rank. I called the Delta Diamond line to inquire about the RU certificate. I was then told that the RU certificate has to be entered into the system at least 3 hours before the flight. Believe you mentioned 2 hours in your podcast.
    So no upgrade for me on the ATL-SAN flight 🙁
    PS: Another interesting point is that Delta does not allow for the use of RU certificates on SkyBonus tickets. Even worse, I have been informed that SkyBonus tickets are not even eligible for complimentary upgrades. Flew ATL-BGI (Bridgetown, Barbados) and sat in Economy Comfort even as there were First Class seats empty on the flight.

  3. @Rene – ok, I guess I’m confused then! 🙂 You stated in the podcast that Medallions with a higher fare class cleared the comp Medallion upgrade at 5 days because Revenue Management opened up the space. Are you speculating that is what happened, because it sounds like that is the basis for your understanding of how it works? Sorry, just trying to understand here! 🙂

  4. @DiscoPappa – RU space is not the same as Medallion UG space. Either may or may not exist.

  5. Podcasts are nice but could you provide transcripts too? I can read faster than I can listen and it is easier to reference back to something in writing == Thanks

  6. Rene, thanks for the details. Have question around being on a waitlist for a RU. Background: I put it in about March 10th for an April 10th segment. The Delta rep removed my request for a complimentary upgrade when I put in my request in and I assumed this was necessary. I called again today to see if the waitlist had opened up (per a Points Guy tip.) I questioned today’s rep about it and she said they cannot add me to the waitlist unless they remove my complimentary upgrade request. Question is should I use the app and reinstate my complimentary upgrade request? Not sure if it will mess anything up or not. I’d obviously prefer the free and bank the RU, but it’s a redeye…and I’d like that upgrade!

  7. @Tom – Much is wrong here. I would call back and have them remove the RU request. Then call back and have them do it right. You can have BOTH in place.

  8. Is the correct quiz answer (Answer “No”) still valid as of January 31, 2019? As of now, there is no more 6/5/3 day window anymore. On the Delta website, instead, it clearly states “Global and Regional Upgrade Certificates have a higher priority than Medallion Complimentary Upgrade requests.” So it seems like the “buckets” idea described in the podcast isn’t accurate anymore?

  9. @Peter – This is a 3 year old post. The upgrade window changed to starting at 5 days out (plus or minius a few hours) and continues until gate control.

  10. Yes. But I my question is directed more at the “buckets” maintained by the Delta Revenue Dept, as discussed in the podcast, rather than the upgrade window itself. It doesn’t seem like Delta would need “buckets” anymore now in 2019. UC can only be used on revenue flights and not award flights, so now all upgrades are lumped into what was the “fare bucket”. And because UC always have priority over Medallion complimentary upgrades, I think that therefore UC will always clear before Medallion complimentary upgrades. I’m just trying to see if this is really the case?

  11. @Pater – Ah OK I see now. Fare class still matters a ton when you are say head to head against another member at the same medallion level. The same goes for the Reserve card and 25k spend etc.

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