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Delta Devalues Global Upgrade Certificates for Diamond Elites

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Jarrod West
Jarrod West's image

Jarrod West

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Boasting a portfolio of over 20 cards, Jarrod has been an expert in the points and miles space for over 6 years. He earns and redeems over 1 million points per year and his work has been featured in o...

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One of the best benefits of Delta SkyMiles Diamond Medallion status is the ability to choose Global Upgrade Certificates (GUCs) as one of your choice benefits upon qualifying for the status. For the uninitiated, Global Upgrade Certificates allow you to book an economy ticket and be upgraded to business class, free of charge. So as you can imagine, these certificates are extremely valuable to Delta flyers.

But coming soon, these certificates won’t be quite as valuable anymore.

Delta Devalues Upgrade Certificates

Delta has announced that starting February 1, 2022, Global Upgrade Certificates and Regional Upgrade Certificates (RUCs) will only be valid for a 1-cabin upgrade.

This means that if you purchase a Main Cabin ticket and apply an upgrade certificate, you’ll only be upgraded to Delta Premium Select, instead of Delta One business class.

Here is a quick look at what you’ll be upgraded to based on the aircraft you’re flying:

Delta Upgrade Chart
Image Credit: Delta

You’ll notice on the far left of the chart that 3-cabin aircraft will still allow you to be waitlisted for Delta One after upgrading to Premium Select, with the opportunity for that to clear 24 hours before departure, though these upgrades are sure to be very unlikely.

Moving forward, if you want to make certain that you’ll be upgraded to Delta One, you’ll need to purchase a Premium Select ticket.

Hot Tip: Learn more about earning Delta Elite status in our dedicated guide to help you determine if it’s worth it for you! 

Exchange Global Upgrade Certificates for Delta SkyMiles

If you’re not happy with these changes, Delta will allow you to exchange any existing GUCs for 8,000 Delta SkyMiles per upgrade — worth $80 based on our valuations. For RUCs you’ll get just 4,000 SkyMiles. You can make these changes online through July 31, 2022.

Final Thoughts

In summary, this change means that if you want to make certain that you’ll be upgraded to Delta One using your GUC, you will have to shell out significantly more cash to book a Premium Select ticket.

This deals a massive blow to the overall value of GUCs, and the fact that it’s being done to Delta’s most loyal flyers, especially when no other major airline handles their upgrade certificates this way, is quite shocking, to say the least.

Of course, the changes don’t take effect until February 1, 2022, so if you have a stash of GUCs burning a hole in your pocket, you’d be wise to start using them before then.

Jarrod West's image

About Jarrod West

Boasting a portfolio of over 20 cards, Jarrod has been an expert in the points and miles space for over 6 years. He earns and redeems over 1 million points per year and his work has been featured in outlets like The New York Times.

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