Big news from Delta SkyMiles today. First, the good news. Effective July 21, 2015, you can use Regional Upgrade Certificates (RUCs) to upgrade eligible transcontinental flights from JFK to LAX and SFO. This is an actual enhancement for Platinum Medallion members who can only earn RUCs. Currently, only Global Upgrade Certificates, available only to Diamond Medallion members, can be used. This is a good thing. There’s another good thing – Effective July 21, 2015, you can now earn Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) when purchasing preferred seats, Delta Comfort+, and paid upgrades to the premium cabin.
Delta also reiterated that it is now offering someone-way award flights for as few as 7,500 miles now through February 2016, and seems to indicate that we will now find the best deals at least 21 days in advance, which is a great lead into some less than good news.
The likely bad, but not surprising news – for travel on our after June 1, 2016, the number of miles needed for award travel will change based on destination, demand, and other dynamics. According to Delta, most award prices will remain unchanged. Take it for what you will. I predicted this was coming a few weeks ago based on a mostly unnoticed snippit from my post on the mixed award kerfuffle. That, of course, was just one little indication that this has been where we are headed all along, with the disappearance of an official award chart being a big indicator.
Finally, the miles needed for upgrades will also increase, but Delta is expanding the eligible types of fares that can be upgraded with miles (The K fare and higher upgrade restriction has actually always been one of my top 5 annoyances with Delta). This is still developing, but news has just hit Delta.com. Go to “General Program Updates.”