A Delta Air Lines phone rep allegedly gave one of our readers some incorrect information the other day. We want to make sure you know what’s up in case you run into the same situation.
“Jane” (not her real name) sent me an email this week. She was very excited to book an award trip to Hawaii. Rightfully so! Trips to Hawaii are generally pretty fun — especially when miles and points pay the tab!
Jane is a Platinum Medallion. She wanted to use Regional Upgrade Certificates to get her traveling party into First Class. (Remember, Delta now allows Upgrade Certificates to be used on award bookings and on several passengers with whom you travel.)
She called the Platinum Medallion phone line to apply her RUC. Jane and her group instantly upgraded to First Class on a couple of flights; they’re waitlisted on the others.
But then something interesting came up during her conversation with the phone rep: the new Upgrade Cetficiate rules taking effect on February 1. The most notable new policy deals with one-cabin-higher upgrades.
For example, the days of purchasing a Main Cabin ticket and applying a Global Upgrade Certificate to score a confirmed Delta One seat will be gone. If you want a confirmed Delta One seat, you must buy Premium Select then apply your Global Upgrade Certificate.
We didn’t think that would apply to Regional Upgrade Certificates. (Like, you wouldn’t need to purchase a Comfort+ fare to get cleared into First Class. Buying a Main Cabin ticket would make you eligible.)
It even says so on Delta’s website:
Flights with First Class: If you purchase Main Cabin or Comfort+, when you apply your Upgrade Certificate, you will be upgraded to First Class upon request.
But the phone rep told Jane people will have to purchase Comfort+ fares to use Regional Upgrade Certificates for First Class upgrades. Main Cabin tickets won’t cut it.
There were a couple of reasons that made no sense.
- The rep’s statement contradicts what Delta says on its website. (There was a concern amongst a few of us that maybe the rep was spilling beans — and maybe Comfort+ purchases will eventually be required to apply Upgrade Certs to First Class. But I doubt it.)
- Diamonds and Platinums already receive complimentary upgrades to Comfort+ a few minutes after ticketing a reservation (inventory permitting). So would that perk be eliminated — and we’d have to use our Regional Upgrade Certificates instead to move up to Comfort+? I mean, Comfort+ is slightly better than most Main Cabin seats — but sure as heck not worth burning a Regional Upgrade Certificate.
I contacted a Delta corporate representative and asked for clarification. This rep told me:
“Customers can purchase Main Cabin or Delta Comfort+ to be eligible for an upgrade to First Class using an upgrade certificate – the language on delta.com is correct.”
There you have it.
So don’t go spending your miles or cash on Comfort+ unless you really want. (The best that could do is get you better fare class — and serve as an upgrade tie-breaker if inventory comes down to that. Which I don’t think is very likely, especially on most domestic flights.)
The rep also added this verbiage from the Delta website:
Global Upgrade Certificates will now have access to all First Class and Delta Premium Select seats upon request – that means any First Class and Delta Premium Select seats not sold will be available to be cleared immediately upon request. For Delta One upgrades, it is pending availability. For example: for flights with Delta One and Delta Premium Select, if you purchase Delta Premium Select and then apply your Global Upgrade Certificate, you will be upgraded to Delta One when you apply your certificate (pending availability).
If you have a Regional Upgrade Certificate and want to apply it toward a confirmed Delta First Class upgrade, you may buy a Main Cabin fare. The new one-cabin-higher rule made things a bit confusing. But Delta itself says Main Cabin to First Class is not affected.
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