The biggest change deals with upgrade limitations. Global Upgrade Certificates (GUC) are available only to Diamond Medallions — and one of the reasons people pursue that top-tier status. But GUC took a significant devaluation yesterday: starting February 1, 2022, GUC are valid only for one-cabin-higher upgrades on many international flights.
For example, you currently can purchase a Main Cabin ticket — and upgrade straight to Delta One (skipping over Premium Select — Delta’s premium economy offering) if inventory permits.
But next year, you can only confirm into Premium Select from Main Cabin. You’re then waitlisted for Delta One upgrades which may clear within 24 hours of a flight.
Want a confirmed Delta One upgrade? You’ll have to buy Premium Select — then hope there’s a Delta One upgrade available.
But Global Upgrade Certificates surely dimmed in luster during the past 24 hours. I wonder if fewer people will pursue Diamond Medallion status — and settle for something lower. Or even become airline free agents.
Does this change whether or not you pursue Diamond or Platinum Medallion status?
Diamond Medallion: Not as Shiny?
Some people reach Diamond Medallion fairly easily every year. They fly a lot — usually on their company’s dime.
Some others reach “only” Platinum — or even lower. But they have Diamonds in their eyes. So they take partner mileage runs to boost their MQD and MQM earnings.
Global Upgrade Certificates helped my wife and me upgrade from Main Cabin to Delta One for a weekend to/from Japan.
Next year, the best you can do is a Main Cabin to Premium Select jump — and maybe get upgraded to Delta One just prior to the flight. (I’m not holding my breath.)
Don’t get me wrong: Premium Select isn’t bad. (If you haven’t seen them, Premium Select seats are very similar to domestic first class.) I’d much prefer those over Main Cabin seats on international long hauls.
But confirmed Delta One upgrades going away is a major bummer.
Global Upgrade Certificates are a big perk of Diamond Medallion status. But both René and I found (and maybe you did, too) there’s still plenty of benefits to holding Diamond Medallion status.
I upgraded to First Class domestically far more often as a Diamond Medallion than Platinum.
Diamonds usually enjoy better customer service, as well.
Delta may send a Porsche to ferry you between concourses or terminals when you connect at a hub airport. Your chances of getting the gate-to-gate ride are higher as a Diamond than Platinum.
Plus, Delta reps generally bend rules or magically make things happen for people with upper tier.
But will I go out of my way — and pocket — to qualify for Diamond Medallion status in the future?
Honestly, I don’t know. For me, it depends on my travel habits — both personally and professionally. If I’m on Delta planes a bunch next year or see that I will be in 2023, then I’ll still pursue Diamond.
Other than that? Sure, Platinum isn’t as glittery as Diamond. But it still has some shine.
What Will You Do?
Are you sticking with Delta? How have your status goals been affected by the Upgrade Certificate changes?
Please share your thoughts in the below Comments section!
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