The recent Delta KEEP CLIMBING Diamond and Platinum Medallion perk change is a real stunner! Chris highlighted the news here with the long-time begged-for change from Delta to allow us to search for Regional and Global upgrade space on Delta.com. Well done, Delta – simply well done (and about time).
Speaking of time…
I really wish Delta had done this or told us about this coming change before the end of January. I freely admit I would have picked Global Upgrades vs. all SkyMiles as my 2020 Medallion Choice Benefit had I known this was on the way. Then again, at that point, it looked like my chance to get a COVID-19 vaccination was maybe sometime this summer soonest. But now it will happen in less than two weeks (yeah me)!
Anyway – back to my first ever booking experience with the new rules.
Delta, as you can see from the SkyMiles news updates page on Delta.com, has in black and white the updated info. But the info is not everywhere yet — so I was a bit anxious about how the booking would go. After all the T&C for the Global UG certs still say:
But I was hoping that the Delta Medallion phone rep would have better info than the above screenshots of the published Delta.com cert rules.
I am planning, now that I will have my COVID shots done and max protection by early May, to visit Europe in the fall. My wife loves to be able to sleep flat traveling over the water. We found the perfect flights, after using the new data to show upgrade cert space was OPEN, and were able to book coach award seats for 44,000 SkyMiles each one-way. Yes, there were cheaper flights but again these were perfect and also Delta GU cert upgrade space showing on Delta.com. But would it all work? Time to call Delta.
Unbelievably, the Delta phone system put me in contact with a Delta rep I have known for well over 10 years. He is now a Delta 360* rep but was helping out on the Diamond calls today. He had not yet seen the news that you can now use GU certs with an award ticket but looked at the rules and – as I had hoped – Delta HAD updated the rules at their end for reps to see.
In no time at all, he applied the GU certs and asked me what seats I wanted.
The only tiny funny little quirk you want to be careful with is that it takes a few hours for the ticket to really issue and be completed. This matters because if you try to change seats right away when you are done with the rep it could pop up the offer to charge you thousands of dollars! Just wait and you will be able to move around the cabin free in a while.
This really changes the entire elite question again at Delta. For now, we are still seeing SkyMiles awards a little bit cheaper than paying cash (i.e. 1 cent per SkyMile value). I do think this will change as soon Delta will, unless there is a flash sale, peg SkyMiles at 1 cent each. So for now, being able to use upgrade certs on awards is amazing and truly wonderful. My two tickets, if I had paid cash, would have cost me nearly $7,000 vs. 88k Skymiles, 2 GU certs and $11 in fees. Again, a stunning value from status!
Later on the same day, I booked another one-way ticket domestically and used a leftover ticket credit, combined with a Delta eGift card, and paid the rest on my Platinum Card from American Express. I also instantly applied 2 Regional Upgrade certs (the ones Delta thankfully extended through year-end).
Gosh, it will be fun to be back in the air and doing so once again with great value extracted from my years of loyalty and flying Delta! – René
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