In a move where little official advance notice was given — and in order to better recognize the loyalty of its frequent fliers — effective as of today, Saturday, April 30, 2016, passengers of Delta Air Lines traveling on full Y class economy airfares will no longer receive the priority pertaining to clearance for upgrades which they once enjoyed, as the level of Medallion elite status in the SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty program will receive priority instead.
Order of Upgrade Priority Modified on Delta Air Lines
This means that regardless of the airfare which was paid, qualified members of the SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty program who have earned Diamond Medallion elite level status will be upgraded first — followed by those members who have earned Platinum Medallion elite level status; then Gold Medallion members; and then Silver Medallion members.
While no official reasons have been announced, the change is most likely to increase the chances of frequent fliers with higher Medallion elite level status an increased chance to upgrade into a seat in a more premium class of cabin — but this also might discourage customers with lower Medallion elite level status from purchasing Y fare tickets in hopes for an upgrade.
Other upgrade factors include — but are not limited to — the following considerations:
- Members of the Delta Air Lines Reserve Credit Card will continue to enjoy a higher priority for upgrades over other Medallion elite members within the same status level
- Corporate partner customers will now enjoy a higher priority for upgrades over other Medallion elite members within the same status level
- Ceteris paribus — or all other criteria being considered equal — members of the Delta Air Lines SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express who have spent at least $25,000.00 within the current calendar year will enjoy a higher priority for upgrades over other Medallion elite members within the same status level
- The date and time of when upgrades were requested will be used as tie-breakers in the event that competing customers have already met all of the aforementioned criteria
Whether this change is good news or bad news is debatable, depending on your perspective — but does this change in policy in terms of priority for upgrades really improve the recognition of loyal Medallion elite level status members of the SkyMiles program?
More often than not during irregular operations, new tickets are issued in Y class, which then permits the holder of the ticket a higher priority for an upgraded seat — and deservedly so in the view of some people. Will this new policy adversely affect those passengers?
Only time will tell…
Photograph ©2013 by Brian Cohen.