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Another sad downgrade to the Delta Medallion program BOS-SFO & DCA-LAX no more upgrades! #KeepDescending worthy.

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

downgrade to delta medallion program

Welcome to a yet another #KeepDescending worthy change Delta is selling as a wiz-bang “enhancement”. Today Delta on the PR site announced in part:

“Delta will begin daily nonstop service from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) on April 24 and nonstop service from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) on June 8. Flights between DCA-LAX and BOS-SFO will be operated as transcontinental flights, and include the Delta One cabin featuring full flat-bed seats, as well as enhanced amenities throughout the Boeing 757-200 aircraft.” – Delta News Hub

There is much to say about this and IMO not much of it is good for us. Let’s start with the most obvious problem that was conveniently left out of the PR splash that this is a massive downgrade in value of the Medallion program because:

no more medallion upgrade for this new mid-full transcon flights
No Medallion UGs for you!

Yep, confirmed today via Twitter and the Delta rep who wrote the post as well, these new routes will be added to the growing list of routes that elite Medallions will not have a shot at a complementary 1st class upgrade.

DeltaONE Seats 757 Delta Points blog (2)
Avoid the window seat!

Now beyond this frustrating news is the choice of jet and seat they will use. The 757-200 Delta One seat has become the Delta One type / style seat I hate the most in the Delta fleet. They are tight – I mean really tight. You do not have direct aisle access and have to really work to get out of the window seat. Then the food / beverage serve is an attempt at a luxury international feel but the food and drinks offered often falls flat or really flat compared to your expectations.

Delta One JFK to LAX Review RenesPoints blog (5)
Are you impressed?

Bottom line is you are not really missing all that much not getting this as an upgrade but at the same time it is most frustrating to have this happen and to see routes you can not upgrade on as an elite flyer continue to expand. I would not pay a cash premium price for these new Delta One routes that’s for sure.

Delta is bragging Medallions can still get Comfort+ seat “upgrades” free – thanks! 🙁

So you tell me – is this worthy of what Delta is selling it as? Is this another blow to the Medallion program that makes you think twice about chasing Delta status? – René


Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. I’m already there. I don’t chase status. Status happens from the amount of travel I do and it falls where it falls – best price, best value, best schedule. That “best price, best value” is increasingly Jet Blue or Alaska, not Delta or American. Since first class pricing can be very reasonable, if I want it I buy it. (In many cases, still less $ than Delta coach. I’m still on strike from using United unless absolutely necessary – I remember what you did to me in 2012 -13!)

  2. So happy I switched away from Delta. (and my home Airport is Atlanta, it wasn’t easy, but I’m glad I no longer worry about what they are going to drop on my next.)

  3. Well they already don’t offer complimentary upgrades on JFK-LAX/SFO. Both of these new routes will be getting D1 transcon service, so this is in line with DL’s current policy. It’s not like upgrades would be likely on either route anyway.

    • @William – Saying “It’s not like upgrades would be likely on either route anyway” is a blanket statement without facts. I am sure at peak times that is the case but not every day every flight every time. And beyond that it is Medallion downgrade creep. Every one of these cuts is more one more of the “death by a thousand cuts”. Lastly, if there is no shot at upgrade, and say MINT has a better price who do you pick if you do not care anymore about loyalty? Would be it the Delta climb over your seatmate or the direct access seat etc? That is the real question when loyalty ends.

  4. This is not a downgrade. Medallions have never been upgraded to DeltaOne seats on transcon flights and still won’t. The airline is upgrading the aircraft on this route, not downgrading frequent fliers. If you want a complimentary upgrade to Boston, fly through Detroit.

    At least in the New York City market, Delta is by far the best carrier to most destinations. Best schedules, best frequency, best performance, best service. Jet Blue is a mess and is racking up senseless delays, and American treats their aircraft like Greyhound buses. Alaska??? Can you count available destinations from the city on one hand, or two? I think one will do.

    • @John – Uh, before on these direct routs you could upgrade free as a Medallion – now you can not. How is this not a massive downgrade in value of the loyalty program? 🙁

  5. @Rene – As far as I can tell Delta DOESN’T offer these direct routes now. The Delta One flights START on April 24 (DCA-LAX) and June 8 (BOS-SFO).

    One can be unhappy with not getting complimentary upgrades on D1, but we shouldn’t misrepresent this as a downgrade.

    • @JEM – No matter what way they spin this it is a downgrade. To either change an existing flight or bring on a new one and exclude upgrades is a downgrade an a FAIL. There is no misrepresentation when Delta is making the elite program worth less that it was before rather than making it worth MORE and to make flyers want to always choose Delta!

  6. FNT Delta Diamond Reply

    I don’t know many diamonds with Delta who get upgrades out of Reagan (DCA) unless they’re on the first or last flight of the day.

    I also honestly don’t think this product is worth paying more than $500 for. It’s a 2×2 product, which is really inferior. Who sleeps on a daytime flight? I’d rather just make a connection somewhere and get domestic first-class.

    Neither the Boston nor the Reagan Sky Club lounges are premium for Delta One. Most of the time they’re fairly overcrowded, though Boston is a little less crowded.

  7. Poo Poo Comfort + upgrade? You don’t have take it. There are plenty of seats without the extra leg room. Allow us to appreciate the up-grade enjoy those seats. No, I don’t work for Delta.

  8. Guess I’ll have to agree to disagree on “downgrade”, though I agree it would be nice if they UPGRADED the new routes to allow complementary upgrades. But just to explain my analysis more fully:

    Delta did not make ANY existing route worth less for Medallions. You will still get complimentary upgrades on the existing DCA-LAX and BOS-SFO routes with connections. To me that’s keeping level, not downgrading.

    They do not currently allow complementary upgrades on existing Delta One flights. They will still not allow complementary upgrades on the new Delta One routes. Again, that seems to me to be keeping level.

    • @Jem – If we follow your logic then ATL-HNL that is a D1 seat but NOT a D1 route our service should be free. Same for MSP-HNL on all std birds and seats most with a stop but no upgrades as one flight number. There are too many Medallion “got-ya’s” and this is just one more and I bet more to come. Death by one stab or 1000s cuts is death all the same!

  9. Let’s say DL started ATL-LIS on a 752 with a Delta One product in J. They obviously wouldn’t offer complementary upgrades and you’d be fine with it. Because Delta doesn’t offer them on Delta One.

    Then let’s say DL stated DCA-LAX on a 752 with a Delta One product in J. Why is it different? This is why they have their Delta One product, right? To differentiate it from ATL-YYZ and the like?

    • @James – Lest we forget Delta said last year dca-lax would not be D1 service and we could upgrade.

  10. Previously, you could get C+ seats by simply selecting them. (Which AA still allows you to do) These aren’t premium econ, they are the same seats with a few extra inches of leg-room. Now, you have to get in line to upgrade to these (and could end up in a middle seat, I’d rather have an aisle further back)

    • @Boney – Thanks for your thoughtful comment and reading the blog via Gogo (hope you are on a Delta jet)!

  11. John Miller Reply

    I don’t share your grim review of the seats, and I’m no twig! I quite like the 757 and its offerings. Then again, I seem to have good luck in talking up Delta staff and getting upgrades at the gate. Special thank you to Charlene at JFK for my upgrade on my journey to LAX!

    With respect to the upgrades, however, if one cannot get upgrades on these flights, one needn’t worry about wedging oneself in a first class seat, nor being subjected to the food one so despises. If you hate the experience, perhaps its best that you can’t upgrade. A true blessing in disguise.

    • @John – Interesting I will have to seak out Charlene if free upgrades are being given out and I believe I mentioned just that point in the post in reg to missing the UG. 😉

  12. dotti cahill Reply

    It looks and sounds like another DOWNGRADE to ME!!!!!! not nice DELTA….

  13. @renee, I agree that new service should not be immediately excluded from upgrade possibility. Live in DCA and it would’ve been nice to get free upgrade on a Saturday morning to lax. Especially when elite load is LOW. Remember the day when SFO/JFK was changed to non upgradeable. I flew the day before and changed my flight back to dc so I could get an upgrade as atl flights had too many elites. Great service and flat bed was great for early flight. Since I’m just a gm, have to use miles or $$ for service

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