Delta just announced today that they will be making some changes to the Choice Benefits program which offers flyers their choice of 1 gift for achieving Platinum status and then 2 more gifts for reaching Diamond status. The current choices include systemwide upgrades, Skyclub passes, bonus miles, gift card, or the ability to gift status to someone else.
Systemwide upgrades are going away but they will be replaced by Regional Upgrade and Global Upgrade certificates effective March 1, 2014.
- Platinum Medallion members may choose four (4) Regional Upgrades.
- Diamond Medallion members may choose either four (4) Global Upgrades or eight (8) Regional Upgrades
- If you reach Platinum or Diamond between now and then you will still have the choice of system wide upgrades.
- The other choices appear to be unchanged as of now.
The Big News
The great thing with this change is what fares will be eligible. With systemwide upgrades you could use your certificate on fares booked in Y, B, M, H, Q, or K class only which could easily result in you spending hundreds more for your ticket just to be able to have a shot at upgrading. However, the new Regional & Global Upgrades certificates may be used on fares booked in Y, B, M, S, H, Q, K, L, U, T, X or V class making them far more valuable!
Other positive changes
In addition to the changes to the Choice Benefits, Delta will also be making changes to the Medallion complimentary upgrades benefit offered to all Medallions. Previously complementary upgrades were not an option for flights to Hawaii.
Effective March 1, complimentary upgrades will be available on flights to Hawaii from LAX, SEA, SLC, & SFO. This is great news as the flight to Hawaii can get a little long.
As with any “enhancement” that Delta makes, there is always a downside. Along with the improvements Delta has eliminated the ability to upgrade via Medallion Complimentary upgrades or Regional upgrades on flights between JFK and LAX, SEA, or SFO. Those routes are still upgrade-able via miles and with Global upgrades, although that doesn’t seem to be the best use of a Global upgrade.
Those who fly frequently between JFK and LAX, SEA, or SFO may want to consider switching to American Airlines which still offers complimentary upgrades on those transcontinental flights and also offers 8 system wide upgrades to their top-tier elites which are redeemable on any American Airlines flights.
Overall this is a very positive change for Delta’s top-tier fliers who have access to the Choice Benefits program with the new Regional and Global upgrade certificates. Delta has made these upgrade certificates a much better value with the inclusion of almost all fares rather than the previously more restrictive fare class requirements.
Those with status planning to fly Delta to Hawaii should also feel good knowing they now have the potential for upgrades on most Hawaii routes as well.
What are your thoughts on the changes?