The race to the bottom is in full throttle at Delta Air Lines by devaluing a choice benefit for their top-tier frequent flyers. Global Upgrade Certificates (GUCs) allowed a Diamond Medallion to book any main cabin (fare classes V, X, T, U, L, K, Q, H, M, B, Y) or Delta Comfort+ (fare class S) and apply use a GUC to move them up to First Class or Delta One.
Savvy Diamond Medallion members could book deeply discounted tickets for a few hundred dollars and use these certificates to upgrade to the Delta One cabin for free – a well deserved and earned perk for frequent flyers spending a minimum of $15,000 in flights with Delta Air Lines.
Effective February 1, 20022 Delta Air Lines changed the rules for redemption of GUCs requiring that both a Premium Select cabin (fare classes G, A, P, F) be purchased and there must be fare class Z available in order to clear into Delta One.
There’s isn’t much here, except that if fare class Z is available you can immedaitely confirm into Delta One at the time of booking.
How to use the system to your advantage
The following recommendations have been heard/seen in the wild – YMMV.
If you see a flight with both Premium Select and Delta One fare class Z availability, buy main cabin and hope for an upgrade offer to Premium Select. If you take the upgrade to Premium Select, you’ll be in a fare class that is eligible to apply a GUC to Delta One. Again, assuming fare class Z is still available, call reservations and have them apply and clear the GUC.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What fare class must be purchased to immediately clear into Delta One?
You must book and pay for Delta Premium Select (fare classes G, A, P, F) and Delta One fare class Z must be available.
What if I don’t purchase Delta Premium Select, can I still upgrade to Delta One?
If you book Main Cabin or Delta Comfort+ you can use a GUC to Delta Premium Select. You may be eligable for day-of-departure upgrade to Delta One based on availability.
Why did Delta make the changes to the GUC program?
Delta Air Lines is a for-profit company and under the leadership of Ed Bastian (aka Fast Eddy) he has been strategically devaluing and pissing off their highest-value customers to encourage more paid seats in premium cabins.
What aircraft do these GUC changes this apply to?
If you see Delta Premium Select as a cabin of service, the new rules apply to that aircraft. Older widebody aircraft without Premium Select will allow a main cabin purchase to be upgraded to Delta One directly. NOTE: Delta is actively retrofeiting older all aircraft with the Delta Premium Select cabin.
How do they calculate how many Z fare class seats are available for sale?
Delta’s revenue management department assigns fare class availability based on numerous factors such as route popularity, seasonality, probability of paid bookings and much more. If a flight isn’t meeting their booking forecast, they’ll open lower fare classes for sale to encourage bookings. Unsold seats will end up as upgrade space at day-of-departure to passengers who have applied a GUC and were waitlisted to Delta One.