Delta SkyMiles has made some significant changes to their upgrade certificates and policies, effective March 1, 2014. Delta will be replacing their Systemwide Upgrade Certificates (SWU) with Global and Regional Upgrade certificates. Delta Diamond Medallion members will be able to choose four Global Upgrades as one of their Choice Benefits and an improvement is that Global Upgrades can be used on all routes in all fare classes (excluding E class). The SWUs previously offered to Medallion members could only be used on international flights booked in the most expensive economy fare classes: Y, B and M. Mileage upgrades on international itineraries will continue to be available only on flights booked in these three fare classes.
Diamond Medallion members can also select eight Regional Upgrades, and Platinum Medallion will have the option to choose four Regional Upgrades as a Choice Benefit. Regional Upgrades can be used on economy flights within the U.S. 48, Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean and Bermuda booked in any fare class (excluding E). They are also valid on flights between Hawaii and Las Vegas, Seattle, San Francisco and Salt Lake City, new routes that are eligible for complimentary Medallion upgrades as well. Members redeeming Regional Upgrades can request an upgrade in advance and are higher on the upgrade list than complimentary upgrades. While Medallion members can now receive free upgrades on flights to Hawaii, complimentary upgrades between New York JFK and Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco are no longer offered. Only mileage upgrades from restricted fare classes and Diamond members redeeming global upgrades will be able to upgrade on these transcontinental flights.
Two new Choice Benefits available beginning March 1 will be Global Entry application vouchers and two Tiffany & Co. Diamond Medallion premium luggage tags.
Bottom line: The new Global and Regional Upgrades are more flexible and useful now that they can be used on nearly every fare class. Elite members who fly to Hawaii will be happy to be offered free upgrades from the West Coast but complimentary upgrades will no longer be offered on transcontinental flights.