Just how great are the Delta / Amex Upgrade Changes now in effect? The real impact on us Medallions.

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updated 3 delta amex cards

AMAZING news for card holders!

Over the past two years there have been so few positive SkyMiles and Delta Medallion elite changes that that every time they make an “enhancement” we look for the dark meaning behind the event. Take the post this past Friday about the new PE seats on them for example.

thom patterson what delta says about PE seats and Delta Medallion global upgrade certs

Ruh-Roh! Not what we want to hear.

I asked Thom Patterson, CNN Digital senior producer who reports on aviation, technology, on twitter who was at the Delta media day event to ask the Delta folks if the new PE seats will mean that Delta will only allow one class of seat upgrade with Global Upgrade certs. You can see the answer above. Expect the worst, folks.

But then we have the other half of the news from the past week that is the just flat out OUTSTANDING news that AMEX, and how much you spend on the Delta AMEX cards per year, will have a bigger impact on your ability to secure a complimentary Delta Medallion 1st class upgrade.

Let that sink in a for a bit. Delta is making it BETTER for just about everyone who reads RenesPoints blog. 🙂 (well, almost all of you that is).

Delta in big bold letters again CONFIRMED what all smart Delta flyers know (like me) that holding the Delta AMEX Reserve card is simply the best choice even if you are a Diamond Medallion. I, with some work, have my fee all but wiped out each year and even if I did not, just getting a few more upgrades by holding the card makes the card worthwhile to me. I like riding up front, don’t you?

Then we have the NEW news that just again is simply amazing, that is, now if you do spend $25,000 on the Delta AMEX card (Gold, Platinum or Reserve) you are also going to see more upgrades. Again, simply OUTSTANDINGLY good news for us all. Not only are we being rewarded for simply meeting this spend (see this post how I did this in 13 days) but to me this also reaffirms Delta’s commitment that big spend matters and will likely continue to matter for MQD exemptions for years to come. I am beyond thrilled!

Then the good news just kept coming. The end of the Y-UP upgrades means we may, for a change, see MORE 1st class seats open up for us all. Think of just how GREAT this news really is. Delta Revenue Management may be able to pry loose a few more seats on each flight for Regional Upgrade certs (wahooo). They may clear a few more seats for complementary upgrades (again, wahooo). Now yes, I get they may also have a few more seats for FCM up-sells but for now I am staying positive and just LOVING this Y-UP change. Again, I am simply beyond thrilled!

Really the only “gray lining”, that is, vs. a “silver lining”, I can see the change that corporate accounts now get a higher upgrade priority. I say this because, just like the punishing changes at Skybonus that shows Delta hates small business people who fly Delta, that this change rewards mega companies with huge contracts to fly Delta. Now I clearly understand this and from a money standpoint is probably a wise move, but at the same time I wish they had come up with something that also included the same waiver for those who spend over 100k as a small biz with Delta. But again, this is not enough to rain on my parade today.

For those who are upset by any of these changes you need to get with the times. Delta has a great relationship with AMEX and they have for years. They have a long term contract with them and are clearly affirming this with these loyalty changes. They are amazing and as I fly Delta today I will be smiling from ear to ear and you should be too! Well done Delta – #KeepClimbing! – René



  1. Just used my DL AMEX Res Card Companion Cert. last night for a 1st class trip from ATL to SAN. While $724 round trip is not awful it was still more for the 1 ticket using the Cert then if I just bought 1 tix as a non companion booking. Also the amount of flights are less when you choose the Cert option as well. Question, do you think those 2 issues will ever change the paying more with cert for the 1st ticket, and lack of flights with cert?
    Good news I will get 5741 MQM’s which plus my 30K MQM’s will get me close to Gold without flying “all that much” AND get to sit in front which hardly ever happens. Just wish it was an updated 757 and a better 767 flying home on redye..

  2. @Scott – You need to search fare class A & I w/out cert. If you find those fares then screen shot and call Delta to force a price match with cert. Done it many times.

  3. Rene, screen shooting and calling works to “force” a lower fare?
    I assume this a non-published medallion Diamond/Plat YMMV thing?

  4. @Geoff – Nope. If the site displays price w/out search must match w/cert. Now mistake most make is not finding A or I fare class.

  5. I’m thankful for the close relationship between Delta and American Express. Perhaps Am Ex will be able to convince Delta management that it’s a bad idea to begin allowing only single class upgrades because Am Ex has a lot to lose.

    I hold a Delta Reserve Am Ex card. It’s the only card I use. I don’t write checks and I do not use cash. Restricting upgrades to a single class would not only be the end of my relationship with Delta, it would also be the end of my relationship with American Express.

    Am Ex’s close relationship with Delta may be the key to saving us from single class upgrades.

  6. Thanks. My t&c’s state the following(perhaps because my cert is attached to a Platinum, not Reserve, Card:
    “Booking Class Seats are limited in L, U, T, X, V class of service”.

  7. @Geoff – Ah yes for Plat and for Reserve in coach. Yes search for those fare classes. For First A & I (I thought you said you booked 1st class, sorry)

  8. Rene, running into the same A/I issue — is there a specific sequence/script to follow, like have them search for 1 ticket at A/I, then say you want to use the companion cert, etc.? And do you run into ‘supervisor’ or HUCA issues often, or fairly straightforward for agents to do?

  9. @Skdelta – You do search. You do screen shots. You have them search no cert for A & I. When they find have them or supervisor apply cert and match price or else mention bait-N-switch pricing. Often must get dot-com support to help but whatever it takes = winning.

  10. Thanks — I’d done step 1 so far (search myself, confirm the pricing issues). Screenshot and then time to call the DM line…..

    Unrelated issue – anyone else have issues getting the DM line to recognize your caller ID? I have to punch in the skymiles # each time, and they (DL web support, tech support, etc.) been “looking into” this for several months. I did have two accounts using the same phone #, but separated the numbers six months ago, still no luck 🙁

  11. Guess I may have to re-think not renewing my Amex delta reserve card after all . . . And, Rene, does that mean delta will combine spending on reserve and platinum for the $25000 or does it have to be on only the reserve card? I carry the reserve, husband carries the platinum with both linked to my account. Guess it would be smarter to both carry the reserve, he as the plus 1 . . .

  12. @Sarah – Delta always included cumulative spend across all your personal and business AMEX cards.

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