Major Changes to the Delta SkyMiles Program: Systemwide, Hawaii, and Transcon Upgrade Changes

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As posted on this Flyertalk post there are some MAJOR changes that were just announced to the Delta SkyMiles program.

delta 737-900

Changes to Systemwide Upgrades (SWUs):
We are always looking for opportunities to fine-tune the Medallion program and we’ve received a lot of valuable feedback about the SWUs component of our Medallion benefits.

On March 1, 2014, we’re replacing SWUs with two new certificate types: Global Upgrades and Regional Upgrades. Global Upgrades will be available on all routes and Regional Upgrades will be available on the same routes as Medallion Complimentary Upgrades, but have a higher priority.

Both Global and Regional Upgrades will be valid on Delta flights for all paid Economy class fares except for E, providing you even more options and convenience.

  • Diamond Medallion members can choose either four Global Upgrades or eight Regional Upgrades as one of their Choice Benefits selections
  • Platinum Medallion members can choose four Regional Upgrades

The current SWUs will still be available as Choice Benefits selections through February 28, 2014 and all the terms and conditions of the existing certificates continue to apply.

Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 4.11.19 PM

Added Choice Benefits:
There will also be two new Choice Benefits options available for selection beginning March 1, 2014:

• Global Entry application vouchers – Diamond Medallion members can select 2 and Platinum Medallion members can select one

• Tiffany & Co. Diamond Medallion premium luggage tags (2 for Diamond Medallions only)

Unlimited Complimentary Upgrades:

Starting with the new Medallion program year on March 1, 2014, Medallion members will enjoy Complimentary Upgrades on flights between Hawaii and Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, or Seattle. However, in light of significant investments in our coast-to-coast BusinessElite experience – including premium amenities like fully flat-bed seats, Westin Heavenly In-Flight Bedding, on-demand entertainment, and premium dining – we will no longer offer Medallion Complimentary Upgrades on flights between New York-JFK and Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Seattle beginning March 1, 2014.

More information about the program changes for the 2014 Medallion year are available on the SkyMiles News and Updates section of We’ll be following your comments here and look forward to reading your feedback.

Bottom Line 

First, Delta is making Systemwide Upgrades for Diamonds available on almost every fare class. That means Diamonds can use their Global Upgrades on L,U,T, X, and V fares to Europe, Asia, Australia etc! This is a great enhancement and makes going for Diamond now worth it.

Platinums will be able to use their Regional upgrades on almost every fare as well but only for domestic routes.

However, losing complimentary upgrades on Delta’s transcontinental routes between New York- Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle comes as a big loss. It’s a nice addition that they will add complimentary upgrades to Hawaii, however I still feel this to be a loss.

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  1. I guess here’s just another reason I really might not try to keep up platinum next year. To be honest, the only thing keeping me with Delta is their above average service on board (much better than the other options), and the SkyTeam affiliation with KLM. I value SkyTeam Elite Plus much higher than Delta Platinum. Maybe I’ll just drop down to Gold and then put the rest of the flying on someone else.

    What a shit move, Delta.

  2. What has been your success rate on upgrades using Delta SWU? Is the success rate similar to AA?

    On a sidenote:
    We’ve got 3 Google Glass invites which we will be giving away on our food/restaurant blog, let me know if you or anyone else is interested, please.

  3. So… If I have qualified for DM in 2013, which gives me status in 2014, can I choose the new Global Upgrades as a choice benefit, or does this start with qualifications earned in the 2014 program year?

  4. For the occasional elite (Gold) this is truly not a hard felt loss. I rarely get upgraded transcon. That being said, I am not sure I love the idea of no complimentary; I wish they had just lowered the priority. Those cabins should fly full given how packed those planes can be.

  5. As a Diamond I am pretty enthused with the Global Upgrades providing there is availability of seats. It certainly helps to close the gap with the American program. I also like to ability to upgrade to Hawaii. I seldom fly the direct transcons so it is not a big deal to me although I think you can still get free upgrades if you fly with connections.

    Finally a decent day for Delta flyers 🙂

  6. This is a real devaluation of the Diamond Choice Benefits. In the past years, we were given 4 Platinum Systemwide upgrades and 6 Diamond, or 10 total, usable on YBM fares. So we had 5 round-trip upgrades, now it’s two. Finding upgrade seats 2-3 weeks out was a real treasure hunt, you had to be flexible on dates and routes. To answer a few more questions, if you have already qualified for DM in 2013, you can select the OLD Systemwide upgrades for 2014 up to 28Feb14…after that date the Systemwide upgrade options disappear…then you can only select the new options. Lastly, if you want to upgrade to Business on Air France, you have to have your core booking in Premium Voyager! Otherwise you are blowing an upgrade to get into what is Economy Comfort…not a good use of upgrades or miles.

  7. Please don’t use MAJOR (just use ‘major’) until they start offering one-way awards at half the price of returns. That’s what I was looking for when I saw MAJOR.

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