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Will Delta’s Latest Companion Upgrade Change Affect What You Select for Your Choice Benefits?

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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.


As we wrote a couple of days ago, Delta made a rather eye-opening decision about companion upgrades to first class.

The airline allows a Medallion on her reservation to link a companion’s reservation — and both passengers will be eligible for upgrades. The real news is that linked companions with no status will clear with “their” Medallions’ priority — but linked companions with Medallion status won’t clear until their respective tier’s window.

So if you’re a Diamond traveling on linked PNRs with a Gold, that Gold won’t clear with you. They have to wait until the Gold window opens. But someone with no status gets upgraded with you.

To be clear: this only affects separate but linked reservations. Two people traveling on the same PNR may clear at the higher Medallion level’s window. 

But here’s where decisions may get interesting for some Diamond and Platinum Medallions.

Gifting Status as a Choice Benefit

Diamond and Platinum Medallions receive Choice Benefits each year. (Remember, Delta told us that Medallions will get Choice Benefits next year as part of the Great Status Rollver of 2020.) Of the available options, Diamonds can gift Gold Medallion status to someone they choose; Platinums may give Silver Medallion.

But if you’re, say, a business person whose spouse (or significant other or child or friend — whatever) regularly travels with you on trips but on a separate ticket, are you going to burn a Choice Benefit by gifting them status? Perhaps they travel solo (or with others) on other trips — and the gifted status comes in handy then.

But this new rule change puts potentially places you and them in an uncomfortable position.

Silhouette of young man traveling by airplane. Pensive passenger looking through window during flight at sunrise.
(©iStock.com/Chalabala)

You and your companion are essentially penalized by gifted status– because their upgrades are lower priority than someone with no status.

What Will You Do?

Each person’s travel needs and practices are different. So I’m curious to hear what you’re going to do: no longer gift status to your favorite companion? Gift it to someone else? Choose different benefits?

Please tell us in the below Comments section!

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.


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5 Comments

  1. I have a question regarding choice benefits. I made Platinum this year and received my choice benefits. I will also make Diamond in December if everything goes as planned, so I should get Diamond choice benefits in December. Will I get an additional set of choice benefits in February? My personal analysis is that I won’t because my “earnt” Diamond choice benefits are for the 2021 year. I would get additional choice benefits in 2022

    • You won’t receive additional CBs in February. Though given the current state of airlines, who knows. 🙂

  2. Relative to GUC and RUC upgrade issues, self or companion – this is a non-issue to most DIA’s

  3. “The airline allows a Medallion on HER reservation to link a companion’s”.

    What is Delta’s policy when “HE” links a companion to his reservation?

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