I’ve shared my thoughts on the idea of “complimentary” upgrades for elite flyers on more than one occasion. A lot of what one “likes” about a frequent flyer program is based upon habit as much as functionality, so I want to fully acknowledge a few things.

  • I”ve always preferred the way American AAdvantage does upgrades
  • All things being equal, I have a respectable upgrade percentage as a Delta Platinum Medallion
  • While we know what I prefer, I’m just one guy, and I’m admittedly biased

With that as background, let’s look at my Wednesday night flight from Washington, DC to Atlanta. Wednesday is not widely known as a peak travel day. That said, let’s face it that the day after an election in Washington, DC is probably a different kind of day than almost anywhere else in the country. But here’s the truth, I’m the second highest tier of elite at Delta but I’m nearly half-way down the upgrade list. Let me state that this way, I’m a Delta Platinum Medallion, the list is 55 names long, and I’m number 21. For sure, I’ll likely survive the 1.5 hour flight with my aisle seat in coach. But a 55 person upgrade list on a Wednesday night? Just one more data point on the folly of complimentary upgrades for all elites.

-MJ, November 5, 2014

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