Delta Introduces Global And Regional Upgrade Certificates, Complimentary West Coast To Hawaii Upgrades & Medallion Upgrades Gone From JFK-LAX/SFO/SEA Flights

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Delta made an announcement today about introducing Global and Regional upgrade instruments and changing routes where complimentary Medallion upgrades are valid.

These changes benefit most, although there are some losers as well.

delta-skymiles-upgrade-instruments

Here are the changes in a nutshell:

  • Diamond members can choose between four Global or eight Regional Upgrade instruments.
  • Platinum member can choose four Regional Upgrade instruments.
  • Flights between Hawaii and Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco & Salt Lake City will become eligible for complimentary Medallion upgrades (Atlanta is excluded).
  • Business Elite flights between New York and Los Angeles, San Francisco or Seattle are no longer eligible for complimentary Medallion upgrades (new Regional ones are excluded as well).

Note that both Global and Regional Upgrades are part of the Choice Elite benefits that you get for hitting the Platinum and/or Diamond status. You can choose between these upgrades, electronic travel voucher, bonus miles or gifting Silver/Gold status.

delta-skymiles-upgrade-instruments-table

You can access Delta’s web page for all these changes here.

Global Upgrades

Currently, Delta’s version of SWU’s (Systemwide Upgrade) have only been valid from expensive Y, B or M fare classes.

The new Global Upgrade instruments are valid from all other than E-class fares. Delta uses word “published” that may indicate that consolidator fares that are booked on the eligible fare classes of Y, B, M, S, H, Q, K, L, U, T, X or V may not be eligible.

Note that you need to use one of these new Global Upgrade’s to upgrade transcontinental flight between New York and Los Angeles/San Francisco/Seattle.

You need to call Delta to have Global Upgrade applied. If the upgrade space is not available, it can be waitlisted. If the waitlist doesn’t clear, you can be then put to the airport standby list for business class upgrade.

Unlike with United’s GPU’s (Global Premier Upgrades) and AA’s eVip’s, you cannot sponsor anybody else than someone traveling with you (need to be on the same reservation) using Delta’s Global Upgrades.

United Premier 1K’s earn 6 SWU’s yearly that have fare class restrictions and American Airlines Executive Platinum members earn 8 eVip’s that have no fare class restrictions.

You can use Global Upgrades on KLM to upgrade from Y, B or M to business class and on Air France from Y, B or M to premium economy or from premium economy fares of S and W to business class.

Regional Upgrades

You can only use these on the same flights that are eligible for complimentary Medallion upgrades, but they have higher clearing priority and can be confirmed in advance.

As is the case with the new Global Upgrades, these can be waitlisted and you can be put to airport standby list in case they don’t clear in advance.

You cannot use Regional Upgrades to upgrade transcontinental Business Elite equipped flights between New York and Los Angeles, San Francisco or Seattle.

United’s RPU’s (Regional Premier Upgrades) can be used to upgrade transcontinental PS flights and AA doesn’t have any exclusion for using upgrade instruments or complimentary upgrades on domestic flights.

Hawaii Upgrades (LAX, SFO, SEA & SLC eligible and ATL excluded)

Delta has not extended complimentary Medallion upgrades to Hawaii flights unlike United or American Airlines.

Starting on March 1, 2014, flights between Hawaii and Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Salt lake City will become eligible for Medallion upgrades. Flights between Hawaii and Atlanta are excluded from Medallion upgrades and at the same time from Regional Upgrades as well.

Flights Between New York and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle Excluded from Medallion upgrades

Those that have been enjoying their complimentary Medallion upgrades between transcontinental routes (JFK-LAX/SFO/SEA) equipped with Business Elite service will see their benefits gutted.

These are no longer eligible for upgrading using complimentary Medallion upgrades or new Regional Upgrades.

Conclusion

Delta Diamond members have been in competitive disadvantage compared to AA EXp’s & UA 1K’s for not being able to upgrade from most fares when traveling internationally. I would have preferred that Delta would have offered at least 6 or preferably 8 of these instruments to match AA & UA.

The extension of Medallion upgrades to include west coast to Hawaii flights has been long overdue as well. Delta is here mainly matching what competition has long done.

The exclusion of Business Elite equipped transcontinental flights from complimentary Medallion upgrades is understandable, but huge blow for those that have used Delta mainly due to this benefit. I can see Delta having to do more operational upgrades on these routes in the future in lieu of Medallion upgrades.

Here are the terms and conditions of the Global Upgrades:

1.       Upgrade Offer: This certificate is valid for upgraded one-way travel on flights operated by Delta Air Lines, including eligible connecting flights, between the origin and destination of a ticketed fare for the named SkyMiles member or a travel companion pursuant to the terms and conditions of this offer. This upgrade offer may also be available on certain Delta Connection carrier flights, Air France and KLM as set forth in “Applicable Routes” below. Only one companion per SkyMiles member may be upgraded on each flight segment. Any stopovers are governed by the fare rules, and an additional certificate will be required for broken fares. All rules of the fare purchased will apply except as changed by this offer. SkyMiles mileage credit based upon purchased fare class. Space is limited and subject to availability. Seats may not be available on all flights or in all markets.

2.       Expiration Date: Certificate expires twelve months from date of issue; all travel must be complete prior to certificate expiration date. Certificate may not be extended, reissued or returned for credit under any circumstances.

3.       Refunds & Cash Value: This certificate is non-refundable and has no cash value. Certificate will be deemed fully used upon surrender and will not be honored retroactively or in connection with the exchange of any wholly or partially unused ticket. Ticket refunds are permitted only pursuant to the rules of the fare purchased. Any full or partial refund of the underlying Economy fare ticket after upgrade will render this certificate void.

4.       Not Combinable: This certificate may not be combined with any other promotional or discount offers or SkyMiles program awards. Valid only with a published qualifying fare.

5.       Valid Carrier: Valid only on Delta Air Lines, Air France, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and certain Delta Connection carrier operated flights. If a non-permitted carrier accepts this certificate, such carrier agrees to pay Delta, within 45 days of certificate acceptance, the sum of $1000USD per certificate accepted, and Delta shall not be liable to such carrier for any reason whatsoever.

6.       Applicable Routes: Valid only for travel on routings with a published upgradeable Economy class fare. Valid for use on one-way travel on published fares and routings systemwide for flights operated by Delta Air Lines or Delta Connection carriers. For travel on KLM: valid for use on one-way travel systemwide. For travel on Air France: valid for one-way one cabin upgrade travel between US and Paris (CDG) operated by Air France flights equipped with Premium Voyageur cabin. Air France flights operated by 747 equipment are not eligible.

7.       Applicable Fare Classes: Certificate may be used to upgrade on Delta Air Lines or certain Delta Connection operated flights on published Economy fares booked in Y, B, M, S, H, Q, K, L, U, T, X or V class and upgrade into RP/OP class. Certificate may not be used to upgrade other published fares including those booked in E class, Award Tickets or Pay with Miles tickets. For travel on KLM this certificate may be used to upgrade only on published fares in Y, B or M class, all fare classes upgrade into Z class. For travel on AF this certificate may be used to upgrade only on published fares in Y, B, M, W or S class. Y, B, M fares upgrade into A class (Premium Voyageur class) and W or S fares upgrade to O class (Affaires or Business Class).

8.       Upgrade Reservations and Ticketing: Upgradeable Economy Class ticket must be purchased according to the applicable fare rules. After booking Economy Class tickets eligible for upgrade, the SkyMiles member whose name appears on the certificate must contact Delta to book the upgrade reservation for the member and, if applicable, his or her travel companion. Delta representatives must book in “RP/OP” class and travel agencies must book in “R/O” class; reservations must be booked in “Z” class on KL, and reservations on AF Premium Voyageur must be booked in “A” class and Affaires Class must be booked in “O” class. Seats are subject to limited availability and may not be available on all flights or in all markets. Once confirmed, boarding pass can only be issued by the operating carrier on day of departure. Tickets must be validated for travel on Delta. Travel on carriers other than Delta, when permitted, must be ticketed separately. Upgrade reservations on Air France or KLM operated flights must be booked by Delta a minimum of one day before the departure.

9.       Reservation Waitlist: If the upgrade is not available at the time of request, a SkyMiles member and travel companion holding confirmed Economy Class reservations on a flight may request to be placed on the upgrade waitlist. Passengers on waitlist will be accommodated according to Delta’s priority rules, which Delta reserves the right to change at any time. Waitlist is not available on Air France or KLM operated flights.

10.    Airport Standby: If an upgrade for the SkyMiles member and companion (if applicable) is not confirmed from the reservation waitlist at least three hours prior to departure, then the SkyMiles member and companion may request to be placed on the Airport Standby List, provided that request is made no less than 60 minutes prior to flight departure. Passengers on the Airport Standby List will be accommodated according to Delta’s priority rules, which Delta reserves the right to change at any time. Airport standby is not available on Air France or KLM operated flights as well as  Delta operated flights originating from AMS, BOM and CDG.

11.    Flight Irregularities: In the event of flight cancellation or itinerary change, previously confirmed upgrades are subject to cancellation.

12.    SkyMiles: Mileage accrued based on fare purchased.

13.    Transferability: Certificate may be used only to upgrade tickets for travel by the SkyMiles member or one companion in the same reservation and confirmed in the same cabin as that member. Each person in the reservation requires a certificate for a one-way upgrade. Certificate may not be transferred for cash or any other consideration.

14.    Changes: Voluntary changes in reservations on ticketed itineraries are permitted only pursuant to the rules of the fare purchased, but upgrade is not guaranteed and will depend on availability and these terms and conditions. Where permitted, changes may require payment of a change fee and/or any difference in the applicable fare. Any refund or cancellation will result in the loss of the upgrade certificate. All reissues must be completed by Delta reservations. If you are re-accommodated on another carrier you will be seated in Economy Class.

15.    Travel Companion Changes: Companions no longer traveling with the SkyMiles member after changing their itinerary are no longer eligible for upgrade pursuant to this certificate. The travel companion’s reservation will be changed to reflect original Economy Class of service for the new itinerary.

16.    Sale/Barter Prohibited: This certificate may not be sold or bartered. Delta reserves the right to terminate the SkyMiles account and/or deduct mileage from the account of any SkyMiles member who sells or barters this certificate, or who sells or barters mileage credit, vouchers, Award certificates or Award Tickets. Improperly obtained certificates/tickets are void and will be confiscated. Persons trying to use such tickets must pay the applicable fare to Delta to travel. Purchased or auctioned certificates are subject to confiscation and travel will not be permitted.

17.    Other Terms & Conditions Apply: This certificate and transportation pursuant to it are subject to all terms and conditions of Delta’s contract of carriage, fare rules, rules and regulations and the SkyMiles Membership Guide and Program Rules. Any tax liability or government-imposed fees are the responsibility of the user. For certain destinations, additional taxes may apply for travel in Business Class. Copies of Delta’s current contract of carriage and the SkyMiles Membership Guide and Program Rules are available at delta.com.

18.    Rule Changes: Delta reserves the right to change its contract of carriage, fare rules, rules and regulations and the SkyMiles Membership Guide and Program Rules at any time and without notice. Without limitation, Delta reserves the right to modify or eliminate the Global Upgrade Certificate program or change the rules for certificate usage. This certificate is the property of Delta Air Lines and must be surrendered or returned upon request.

19.    No Replacement: Lost, stolen or otherwise destroyed certificates are void and will not be replaced.

Here are terms and conditions of the Regional Upgrades:

1.       Upgrade Offer: This certificate is valid for upgraded one-way travel on Delta Air Lines and certain Delta Connection® operated flights in markets where Medallion Complimentary Upgrades are available including eligible Delta or Delta Connection connecting flights, between the origin and destination of a ticketed fare for the named SkyMiles member or a travel companion pursuant to the terms and conditions of this offer. Only one companion per SkyMiles member may be upgraded on each flight segment. Any stopovers are governed by the fare rules, and an additional certificate will be required for broken fares. All rules of the fare purchased will apply except as changed by this offer. SkyMiles mileage credit based upon purchased fare class. Space is limited and subject to availability. Seats may not be available on all flights or in all markets. Markets eligible for Medallion Complimentary Upgrades are subject to change without notice.  See delta.com/Medallionterms for the most up-to-date list of markets where Medallion Complimentary Upgrades are available.

2.       Expiration Date: Certificate expires twelve months from date of issue; all travel must be complete prior to certificate expiration date. Certificate may not be extended, reissued or returned for credit under any circumstances.

3.       Refunds & Cash Value: This certificate is non-refundable and has no cash value. Certificate will be deemed fully used upon surrender and will not be honored retroactively or in connection with the exchange of any wholly or partially unused ticket. Ticket refunds are permitted only pursuant to the rules of the fare purchased. Any full or partial refund of the underlying Economy fare ticket after upgrade will render this certificate void.

4.       Not Combinable: This certificate may not be combined with any other promotional or discount offers or SkyMiles program awards. Valid only with a published qualifying fare.

5.       Valid Carrier: Valid only on Delta Air Lines and certain Delta Connection carrier operated flights. [If a non-permitted carrier accepts this certificate, such carrier agrees to pay Delta, within 45 days of certificate acceptance, the sum of $1000USD per certificate accepted, and Delta shall not be liable to such carrier for any reason whatsoever.]

6.       Applicable Routes: Valid for use on one-way travel on published fares and routings where Medallion Complimentary Upgrades are available. Flights must be operated by Delta Air Lines or Delta Connection carriers. Valid only for travel on routings with a published upgradeable Economy Class fare.

7.       Applicable Fare Classes: Certificate may be used to upgrade on Delta Air Lines or Delta Connection operated flights on published Economy fares booked in Y, B, M, S, H, Q, K, L, U, T, X or V class. Certificate may not be used to upgrade other published fares booked in E class, Award Tickets or Pay with Miles tickets.

8.       Upgrade Reservations and Ticketing: Upgradeable Economy Class ticket must be purchased according to the applicable fare rules. After booking Economy Class tickets eligible for upgrade, the SkyMiles member whose name appears on the certificate must contact Delta to book the upgrade reservation for the member and, if applicable, his or her travel companion. Delta representatives must book in “RP/OP” class and travel agencies must book in “R/O” class. Seats are subject to limited availability and may not be available on all flights or in all markets. Once confirmed, boarding pass can only be issued by the operating carrier on day of departure. Tickets must be validated for travel on Delta. Travel on carriers other than Delta, when permitted, must be ticketed separately.

9.       Reservation Waitlist: If the upgrade is not available at the time of request, a SkyMiles member and travel companion holding confirmed Economy Class reservations on a flight may request to be placed on the upgrade waitlist. Passengers on waitlist will be accommodated according to Delta’s priority rules, which Delta reserves the right to change at any time.

10.    Airport Standby: If an upgrade for the SkyMiles member and companion (if applicable) is not confirmed from the reservation waitlist at least three hours prior to departure, then the SkyMiles member and companion may request to be placed on the Airport Standby List, provided that request is made no less than 60 minutes prior to flight departure. Passengers on the Airport Standby List will be accommodated according to Delta’s priority rules, which Delta reserves the right to change at any time.

11.    Flight Irregularities: In the event of flight cancellation or itinerary change, previously confirmed upgrades are subject to cancellation.

12.    SkyMiles: Mileage accrued based on fare purchased.

13.    Transferability: Certificate may be used only to upgrade tickets for travel by the SkyMiles member or one companion in the same reservation and confirmed in the same cabin as that member. Each person in the reservation requires a certificate for a one-way upgrade. Certificate may not be transferred for cash or any other consideration.

14.    Changes: Voluntary changes in reservations on ticketed itineraries are permitted only pursuant to the rules of the fare purchased, but upgrade is not guaranteed and will depend on availability and these terms and conditions. Where permitted, changes may require payment of a change fee and/or any difference in the applicable fare. Any refund or cancellation will result in the loss of the upgrade certificate. All reissues must be completed by Delta reservations. If you are re-accommodated on another carrier you will be seated in Economy Class.

15.    Travel Companion Changes: Companions no longer traveling with the SkyMiles member after changing their itinerary are no longer eligible for upgrade pursuant to this certificate. The travel companion’s reservation will be changed to reflect original Economy Class of service for the new itinerary.

16.    Sale/Barter Prohibited: This certificate may not be sold or bartered. Delta reserves the right to terminate the SkyMiles account and/or deduct mileage from the account of any SkyMiles member who sells or barters this certificate, or who sells or barters mileage credit, vouchers, Award certificates or Award Tickets. Improperly obtained certificates/tickets are void and will be confiscated. Persons trying to use such tickets must pay the applicable fare to Delta to travel. Purchased or auctioned certificates are subject to confiscation and travel will not be permitted.

17.    Other Terms & Conditions Apply: This certificate and transportation pursuant to it are subject to all terms and conditions of Delta’s contract of carriage, fare rules, rules and regulations and the SkyMiles Membership Guide and Program Rules. Any tax liability or government-imposed fees are the responsibility of the user. For certain destinations, additional taxes may apply for travel in Business Class. Copies of Delta’s current contract of carriage and the SkyMiles Membership Guide and Program Rules are available at delta.com.

18.    Rule Changes: Delta reserves the right to change its contract of carriage, fare rules, rules and regulations and the SkyMiles Membership Guide and Program Rules at any time and without notice. Without limitation, Delta reserves the right to modify or eliminate the Regional Upgrade Certificate program or change the rules for certificate usage. This certificate is the property of Delta Air Lines and must be surrendered or returned upon request.

19.    No Replacement: Lost, stolen or otherwise destroyed certificates are void and will not be replaced.

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