This one really was a simple choice for my 2019 choice but first some of the basics because so many Diamonds forget about this. Each year you earn Diamond Medallion status you get not just Diamond Medallion Choice Benefits but also a Platinum Medallion choice as well. You only get 1x choice per year and you are earning your status for the following elite year. You can, once you have hit the elite qualification marks, choose the benefit early like I have i.e. choosing my 2019 choice in 2018. Or I could have waited all the way until the last day of January 2020 to select my 2019 choice had I wanted to.
Now that we are all on the same page, to me this choice was a no brainer and here is why. Delta is clearly doing all they can to sell upgrades cheap. This is a sad reflection on loyalty but at the same time it means we have to work that much harder to score an upgrade. For me any flight longer than 3 hours is an outstanding candidate to try to apply a Regional Upgrade cert on to increase your shot at sitting upfront i.e. a real upgrade since Comfort Plus or C+ does not count as a “real” upgrade.
Beyond the above are some of the shockingly truly positive changes to the medallion program this year that will allow me to link my reservation with my wife and then apply an upgrade cert to her and then, maybe, roll the dice for me to score an upgrade on my own. I have done this already once this year with a cleared upgrade for her (and I am then wait-listed for an RU).
I know many choose the $200 voucher but to me the shot at 4 upgrades to 1st class vs. a 3+ hour ride in coach is worth way more than two hundred “Delta Dollars”. Heck, depending on the route, even one upgrade cleared vs. not can be worth that much to me personally. Plus after all my years as a Platinum and Diamond Medallion I have only ever had 1 single RU cert ever go un-spent ( I get this is not always the case for everyone).
I also did consider 20,000 bonus SkyMiles since they do not expire until you die but I have so many SkyMiles that I just do not need more and am between my wife and I again nearing 1 million in our combined accounts and that is just way too many for my comfort level.
Clearly Sky Club non-“membership” is a joke since as of next year there is no more membership and holding a non-Delta Amex Platinum card or a Delta Reserve card will be for all intents and purposes the exact same as “real” club membership (i.e. you must be flying Delta to enter the club – even as a “member”)!
Bottom line for me RU or Regional Upgrade certs was the winner choice once again. What about you? Do you still value RU certs as much as I do or has the difficulty in burning them made you consider other options? – Rene
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