One of the biggest grips from Delta elite’s I have received for a long time now was when Delta changed C+ seats to an “upgrade” as it ended the choice to at least get these seats when burning the coach BOGO cert. In case you are not aware each of these cards come with a BOGO cert (buy one get one free Delta ticket) – the second year of card membership (See E22 post for redemption options & ideas).
To be clear the Platinum card comes with a coach only BOGO and the Reserve card come with the choice to select either a coach or 1st class ticket in year two of card membership.
Many have also complained that these certs can be VERY hard to use. That is it can be hard to find the valid fare class for to even be able to use these BOGOs and especially so in 1st class. I have found, with some work and flexibly (and planning a long way out) real value can be extracted year after year after year. I have not had much difficulty finding coach space almost whenever I want. Then again, I hate flying coach.
However, the latest change one month ago to allow, not just C+ upgrades, but the shot at even 1st class upgrades is really a nice “enhancement” and a change that to me makes these certs worth even more than they were before this improvement.
But it begs the question what card is now the best one for an elite to hold. That really depends and the medallion math that keeps getting more complex but I am in no way complaining at all about this. More complexity can often mean more perks if you are willing to think it through and do the work. Let’s break this down.
First the Delta Platinum card (personal or business). If you are a Delta Platinum Medallion member or lower this really is now the go-to card to hold. You have the chance to earn, with spending $50,000 per calendar year, 20,000 bonus MQMs. That could mean the difference between reaching or keeping the next elite level or not. Plus, if you can plan to fly your BOGO on say a Saturday, your and your +1 upgrade chance is not bad at all. Sweet.
Now the Delta Reserve card. To me, if you are Diamond Medallion, the Reserve card is now just such a smart choice. Not only does it help you with upgrades each time you fly but if you can spend $60,000 you are adding 30,000 MQMs to your elite totals. And, now with the addition of the 3rd Choice Benefit and allowing you to have a “Guest Pass” option to get folks into the Sky Clubs it helps justify the cost of the card even more. Lastly, you have the option between choosing a coach seat with your BOGO if you are flying an off day like a Saturday and your and your +1 have a decent shot at an upgrade. Or, if flying on a peak travel day, just buy 1st and don’t worry about the upgrade 😉
Bottom line is I am really pleased with all the positive changes Delta is making with the Medallion elite program and the tie-in with AMEX. One of these two cards is the right choice (or both) for Delta Medallions! What card do you hold? – René