Delta has long been a leader in stripping away value from its mileage program, giving their miles the Skypesos moniker. However they have been a leader in elite status benefits. Until today.
The major perks of top-tier elite status are upgrades on domestic tickets and a number of certificates for confirmed upgrades on international business class.
When US airlines launched premium economy, many feared that it would be used as an excuse to avoid giving upgrades from economy to business class on long-haul flights.
Sure enough, those fears have now been realized.
On the plus side, Global Upgrade Certificates will be confirmed into first class or “Premium Select” premium economy immediately, rather than be waitlisted.
Certificates will be valid through the end of the elite year in January, rather than for 12 months from when you claimed your upgrades. If you qualify for Diamond status on 10/1/22, your upgrades will be valid through 1/31/24. That can be better or worse depending on when you claimed your upgrades.
But the massive devaluation is that Global Upgrade Certificates will no longer be able to be confirmed in advance from economy to “Delta One” long-haul business class. Instead you’ll only be added onto a waitlist for Delta One within 24 hours of your flight.
The thing I love about Hyatt Globalist status for example is being able to confirm upgrades in advance. I don’t enjoy playing the upgrade roulette game at checkin. But with this change Delta is forcing their top-tier elites into upgrade roulette rather than being able to select flights that can be confirmed into Delta One in advance.
It’s worth noting that this only applies to flights that have a premium economy cabin, but that includes the A330neo, A350, and 767-400ER. If you’re on a plane without a premium economy cabin, you can still upgrade to Delta One in advance based on upgrade availability.
If you’re on a plane with a premium economy cabin, you’ll have to purchase a pricier Premium Select fare in order to upgrade to Delta One in advance based on upgrade availability.
The same rules will apply for using upgrades on Delta partners.
Delta flies the A330neo from JFK to Tel Aviv. A flight from July 5-15 is $819 in economy, $1,617 in Premium Select or $3,513 in Delta One. While currently the $819 economy ticket can be confirmed in advance to Delta One, as of 2/1/22 you would need to spend $1,617 to be confirmed in advance to Delta One.
As the new rules will apply to existing certificates as of 2/1/22, Delta is offering a measly 8,000 miles for each Global Upgrade Certificate or 4,000 miles for each Regional Upgrade Certificate that you want to convert into Skypesos. Those certificates had to have been issued by 11/15/21 and you must convert them by 7/31/22.
You can still upgrade future flights with the current rules, as long as you do so by 1/31/22.
For now, American and United elites both have the ability confirm upgrades from economy to business in advance.
Will these changes make you rethink your loyalty to Delta?