For a very long time now Delta flyers have been less and less impressed with System Wide Upgrade (SWU) certificates. This was because, if you wanted to use them internationally, you would have to just about pay the price of a business class ticket to use them (and thus what was the point).
As of 01MARCH2014 that all will change with the creation of Global Upgrade certificates. All but Delta UBER cheap “E” class, that is not available everywhere, qualifies for these new certificates. This is news Delta elites have been waiting for for a long time.
These will ONLY be an option for Delta’s top elites, Diamond Medallions, and they will offer 4 of these as your Choice Benefit. Platinum Medallion will not have access to these Global certs.
Some thoughts. Nice change. But think about this, since they are good one way, for a husband and wife with a trip to Europe or Asia you are burning 2 one way and 2 on the return so all 4 would go on one trip. Still, a nice deal for a coach price ticket when the upgrade space via certs is open. Before you ask, flying on say AF or KLM, the old rules still apply. Connecting to an AF or KLM flight, this is still not clear to me as the FAQs page says: “Seats are subject to availability and may not be available on all flights or in all markets.”
The other change is Regional Upgrade certificates. These are open to Diamond and Platinums so a Diamond could pick these as their Platinum choice and then Global ones as one of the two Diamond choices (since a Diamond cannot pick the same choice twice). But if a Diamond does not want the Global they could get 8 as a DM and 4 more as the PM choice thus ending up with 12 Regional certs plus still one more DM choice!
Overall this is a nice improvement for Diamonds and rewarding those who make it to the top level with Delta. When looking at the value of all the choices this clearly becomes one of the best in dollar value. I see this and Gold medallion “gift” choice being the two best choices going forward.
For Platinums, yes you are losing out on the chance to use the old SWUs for international upgrades but as talked about they were practically worthless for that anyway so no great loss.
On to other good changes to the Skymiles program. Hawaii from the west coast (including Salt Lake) will also as of 01MARCH2014 be open to free medallion upgrades. This is, in my mind, a HUGE upgrade to the program and a direct response to Alaska air that also offers upgrades to Hawaii. The Hawaii flights from Atlanta will require a Global upgrade cert to get that free.
Now the downgrades. The first is that JFK to LAX, SFO and SEA that truly is now an international “light” flight will no longer qualify for free medallion upgrades. This is really too bad and to many as significant a DOWNGRADE as Hawaii is an upgrade. Not just no more free upgrades, but it will require a Global cert to upgrade this flight as well (not just a Regional one)!
Lastly, if you have already redeemed your 2014 choice benefit, at this point, too bad, you cannot exchange them back in for these new great SWUs. I would love to see Delta allow a one time exception and let you trade back in your choice if you have not say used the Skymiles or old SWUs or ETV choice (that is just sitting in your account unused).
Oh, and I should say Delta is also, as of 2016, changing when Skymiles begins and ends. We need to get used to 31JAN each year becoming the END of the program year and 01FEB then being the new start date to keep track of.
So far so good on this change Delta flyers and a some truly good “enhancements” for a change. What do you think. Happy with the adjustments? – shout out and let us know! – René