I am in Las Vegas today about to fly to Brussels Belgium. For dinner. Yep, I am, for the first time in many many years, pushing my re-qualification as a Delta Diamond Medallion until the very last days of the year. Normally I button up my status by May or June but 2019 was a crazy year for me and I ended up burning more points on tickets than paying for tickets (smart financially but bad for my status).
Since I do not live in Las Vegas I had to get here. That meant a “positioning flight” that is, a flight to the start city where I found this sweet discounted business class mileage run. It also meant flying on one of the busiest travel days of the year and I wanted an upgrade to Delta domestic first class.
I followed all of my advice on how to score more upgrades, that is, I purchased a “K” fare that is a discounted coach fare but one much higher up the fare class order. I have the Delta Reserve card (the Business Delta Reserve card in my case but for upgrades the personal and business are the same) and I have, for 2019, spent more than $25,000 on the card for improved upgrade chances. But when the 5-day window opened up there were 5 seats for medallion upgrade and I did not clear (4 seats did disappear, however – more on that in another post). As we got hours away from the flight, there was only 1 seat open. I was number one on the upgrade list as I had been since check-in.
One of the ways I ensured this was applying (waitlisting) for an upgrade with a Delta Regional Upgrade cert or RU (or RUC).
When we hit the 5-day medallion upgrade window and I did not clear it was time for action. I was not offered a cheap $2 upgrade option (actually no offer was ever presented at all) so I went to my 2019 Choice Benefits and redeemed a pack of RU certs as one of my 3 choices.
Now I want you to take note of a number of things in the shots above. As a Diamond, I get BOTH Platinum AND Diamond Choice Benefits each year. I previously selected my Platinum ones and used them (RU certs).
When we make our choices we can pick them one by one when we want (once qualified). You can also see I have already earned (but can not yet use) my 2020 Platinum Choice Benefit. Look very closely at that one and the date, please!
I could have waited until the end of January 2020 to choose my 2019 Choices Benefits.
In other words, you do NOT have to pick them by the end of the year – but you do have to pick them by the end of January or they go away – for 2019.
Now when it comes to my upcoming 2020 Medallion status I have until the last day of January 2021 to choose those as you can again see in the screenshot from Delta.com.
How did it all work out for me? I did clear my upgrade to 1st class in the number 1 position. There was more to this and I will save that for another post.
Lastly, many ask how long it takes for your RU certs to post to your “My Delta” for use. In the past, it took 1-3 days for them to show up. I want to really commend Delta IT on this front as they now show up in hours and are ready for use. They show up so fast that reps may even clear or wait-list you before you have them and just ask you to call back later and have the number of the cert applied to the reservation. Sweet!
I will be live-ish blogging my year-end mileage run and it is already off to an interesting start. I hope you follow along here on the blog! – René
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