I know this is sort of old news by now, but I would be remiss if I did not offer a few words on Delta’s announcement that it is enhancing upgrades for its Platinum and Diamond Medallion members. In short, Delta will now offer real upgrade certificates, confirmable on any fare except E class. This is one of those things I’ve thought Delta should do for a long time, and I’m happy to see it finally happen. Here’s the scoop straight from Delta.com.

“With the help of valuable feedback from our Diamond and Platinum Medallion members, we are pleased to introduce new and more convenient Upgrade Certificates for 2014.

Beginning March 1, 2014, Systemwide Upgrades will be replaced by Global and Regional Upgrades as a Choice Benefits selection. Global Upgrades are available on all routes and Regional Upgrades are available on the same routes as Medallion Complimentary Upgrades, but have a higher priority. Both can be used on all Economy Class fares except for E, allowing you more redemption options and convenience.

  • Diamond Medallion members may choose either four (4) Global Upgrades or eight (8) Regional Upgrades.
  • Platinum Medallion members may choose four (4) Regional Upgrades.
  • You may continue to select Systemwide Upgrades as a Choice Benefit through February 28, 2014.

Also, we are pleased to announce new Choice Benefits options to select from beginning March 1, 2014. Complimentary Global Entry will be added as an option for members who wish to save time re-entering the U.S. or going through security. Diamond Medallion members can select two Global Entry application vouchers as a Choice Benefits selection and Platinum Medallion members can select one.

Diamond Medallion members may also select two Tiffany & Co. premium luggage tags as a Choice Benefits selection beginning March 1, 2014.

For more information about Global and Regional Upgrades, click here.”

Delta is also adding its flights to Hawaii from Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Seattle to the list of Medallion Complimentary upgrade markets. The downside of these changes is the removal of the Business Elite transcon services between New York JFK and Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle from complimentary upgrade eligibility. If you want to fly Business Elite in these markets, you will either have to buy it (gasp), use a mileage upgrade, or use a Global Upgrade Certificate. Same thing in the Central and northern South American markets as well. These changes are effective March 1, 2014.

My take – I like these new upgrade certificates. While I suppose I’d like it if I received a couple of Global Upgrade Certificates as a Platinum Medallion, from a marketing perspective I get that Delta needs to really differentiate between the Platinum and Diamond level, and I will frankly get the most use from the regional upgrades. Admittedly, I might feel a little differently about this if I lived in one of the transcon markets, but this is an enhancement for many Platinum (including this one) and Diamond Medallions, really. The only negative in this for me is that I might have rethought my decision to stop short of Diamond Medallion if this had been announced a little earlier. Life goes on. 🙂

-MJ, December 16, 2013