What is Delta elite status worth?


Most airlines offer extra benefits to their most valuable customers. If you fly enough with an airline, you can become “elite”. Of course, not all elites are equal. Most airlines have multiple elite tiers to differentiate their valuable customers from their really valuable customers. And, of course, airlines offer the best perks to their highest tier elites.

Delta does the same. They offer elite status tiers ranging from Silver Medallion status to Diamond Medallion status. Silver status perks are slightly better than those you get from holding a Delta branded credit card. Diamond perks, though, are very nice.

Since this post was last published, I’ve increased the estimated value of Platinum Medallion status due to Choice Benefits enhancements. Arguably, I could have done the same for Diamond Medallion status, but I prefer to keep estimates on the conservative side.
Delta Elite Status
Delta’s top level Diamond Elites can choose global upgrade certificates as a choice benefit. These can be used to upgrade from discount economy to lie-flat business seats on international flights, but upgrades to Delta One business class are no longer confirmed in advance unless starting with a Premium Economy ticket.

What is Delta elite status worth?

Via subjective (very subjective) estimates, I came up with the following valuation for what Delta elite status is worth (e.g. if it was possible to pay in advance, how much would I pay to reach each status level?):
  • Delta Silver Status: $225
  • Delta Gold Status Value: $400 $225 (Silver) + $175 (incremental Gold benefits)
  • Delta Platinum Status Value: $1,000 $400 (Gold) + $600 (incremental Platinum benefits)
  • Delta Diamond Status Value: $2,700 $1,000 (Platinum) + $1,700 (incremental Diamond benefits)
Keep in mind that these estimates are determined by imagining a reasonable price to pay up-front for the status (if that were possible). The only reason to pay up front would be with the expectation of getting more value than you paid. So, frequent Delta flyers with similar biases to my own should get considerably more value from their status than the dollar amounts shown here.

Details of how I came up with each of the above valuations can be found later in this post.

Delta Elite Status Requirements

a comparison of different colors To reach each elite tier, Delta SkyMiles members must earn the stated number of MQDs shown above. MQDs reset each calendar year. MQDs = "Medallion Qualifying Dollars." Medallion Qualifying Dollars are the sum total of your base-fare spend (e.g. doesn't include taxes) on Delta-marketed flights. Additional Details:
  • Award Tickets: Flights booked with Delta SkyMiles for Delta's own flights earn MQDs. Award tickets earn MQDs at a rate of 1 MQD per 100 SkyMiles redeemed (e.g. 1 cent per SkyMile).
  • Partner Flights: Paid flights booked on Delta partners earn MQDs as long as the member's Delta SkyMiles number is attached to the ticket. MQDs are calculated as a percentage of miles flown rather than the amount paid. Details, by partner, can be found here.
  • Exception Fares: Flights booked as part of vacation packages, cruise packages, consolidator fares, etc. are considered "exception fares".  With these flights, you'll earn miles based on the distance flown. Details can be found here.

Elite Benefits

Delta’s descriptions of elite benefits can be found here. Here's a summarized chart:
Miles per dollar earned on paid flights 7 8 9 11
Free domestic upgrades to 1st Class Begins 24 hours before departure Begins 72 hours before departure Begins 120 hours before departure Begins 120 hours before departure
Free domestic upgrades to Comfort+ 24 hours before departure 72 hours before departure Shortly after ticketing Shortly after ticketing
CLEAR membership discount price $149 $149 $149 Free
Dedicated phone line Priority High Priority Higher Priority VIP Line
Free companion upgrades
Free preferred seat selection
Waived bag fees
Waived same day confirmed or standby change fees
Sky Priority boarding
Sky Priority expedited checked bags
Sky Team lounge access on international flights
Hertz elite status Five Star Five Star President's Circle President's Circle
Waived change & cancellation fees regardless of route
2024 Choice Benefits: Choose 1: Choose 3:
Upgrade certificates 4 Regional 4 Global (or 8 Regional or 2 Global & 4 Regional)
Statement Credits (for Delta Platinum and Reserve Cardholders) $200 $500
Starbucks® Rewards Stars 4,000 Stars 4,000 Stars
Delta Sky Club Executive Membership N/A Requires all 3 Choices
MQD Boost 500 MQDs 1,000 MQDs
Gift medallion status 2 Silver 2 Gold
Bonus miles 20K 25K
Delta Vacations Flight + Hotel Cert $400 $500
Sustainable Aviation Fuel Contribution $250 $250
Delta Travel Voucher $250 $250
2025 Choice Benefits Choose 1: Choose 3:
Upgrade certificates 4 Regional 4 Global (or 8 Regional or 2 Global & 4 Regional)
Statement Credits (for Delta Platinum and Reserve Cardholders) $400 $700
Starbucks® Rewards Stars 6,000 Stars 6,000 Stars
Delta Sky Club Individual Membership N/A Requires 2 Choices
Delta Sky Club Executive Membership N/A Requires 3 Choices
MQD Accelerator $1,000 MQDs $2,000 MQDs
Gift medallion status 2 Silver 2 Gold
Bonus miles 30K 35K
Delta Vacations Flight + Hotel Cert $400 $500
Sustainable Aviation Fuel Contribution $250 $250
Delta Travel Voucher $300 $350
Wheels up flight credit $1,500 $2,000
The elite benefits Greg has found to be most valuable are:
  • Unlimited complimentary upgrades (when available, upgrade from coach to first class on domestic flights). Higher status leads to better chance of upgrades.
  • Waived same-day confirmed fees and waived same-day standby fees (switch to different flight on same day as ticketed flight). Requires Gold or higher. Info about getting value from same day changes can be found here: Leveraging Delta’s Same Day Flight Changes.
  • Complementary Preferred seat selection (choose exit row seats with lots of legroom)
  • Complementary Comfort+ Seats (more leg room, free drinks, better snacks).
  • Regional upgrade certificates. While these rarely confirm before the flight, waitlisting a regional upgrade puts you to the front of the line for upgrading at the gate. This is great to use for flights where upgrades are most important to you. For example, I use these for flights of about 3 hours or longer. This is a choice benefit for Platinum and Diamond status. Upgrade certificates can be applied to both paid and award tickets.
  • Global upgrade certificates. Use these to upgrade from economy to Premium Select, or from Premium Select to business class on any flight when upgrade space is available. When you upgrade from economy to Premium Select, Delta will put you on the business class (Delta One) upgrade list 24 hours before your flight. This is a choice benefit for Diamond status only. Upgrade certificates can be applied to both paid and award tickets.
  • Free award changes and cancellations. This used to be huge, but now all awards originating in North America are free to change or cancel for all members. With Platinum and Diamond status, that benefit extends to flights originating elsewhere. Requires Platinum or higher for free changes on awards originating outside of North America.

Delta elite status value details

Reasonable purchase price for each benefit

The value you get from elite status is extremely subjective. If you get more legroom, what is that worth? To a very tall person, it’s probably worth a lot, but to a shorter frequent flyer, not as much. Elite status value is also extremely dependent upon how often you fly. The more you fly, the more you’ll benefit from elite perks.

My approach to estimating the value of each level of Delta elite status is to start with a valuation for bottom tier Silver status, and then add estimates for the incremental benefit that each higher level adds. In a previous post, I estimated that someone who flies enough to earn Silver status may value that status at $260. Most readers thought that I had drastically undervalued aspects of Silver status. My approach, though, is not to estimate the total value received, but rather, how much would you reasonably pay for these benefits if they were available through subscription. For example, you may get $600 in value from flights in which you were upgraded to first class, but you probably wouldn’t pay $600 per year just for the chance of being upgraded that often.

Delta Silver Status Value: $225

  • Free Upgrades to First Class: $50
    Rationale: While Silver status first class upgrades aren’t common, they’re great when they come through.
  • Free Upgrades to Comfort+: $50
    Rationale: For some, the free alcoholic drinks in Comfort+ can be valuable. If you’re not a drinker, it’s probably worth less than $50.
  • Complementary Preferred Seats: $25
    Rationale: I punted on this and simply estimated half the Comfort+ value. Note that a number of readers in my previous post on this topic thought that I had far undervalued this benefit.
  • Waived bag fees: $50
    Rationale: This is the hardest one to estimate. If you already have a Delta Gold, Platinum, or Reserve credit card, then you already get a free checked bag. How much is a 2nd bag worth? Probably not much to most frequent flyers. But the value isn’t zero. Having Silver status means that you could optionally drop the Delta credit card and still get free checked bags. That’s worth something. On the other hand, this feature could be quite valuable for those who don’t have a Delta credit card. You could save a lot of money, especially when traveling with a group (everyone on the itinerary with you, up to 8 guests, gets a free bag). But it would be wrong to value it more than the annual fee on the Delta Gold credit card since that’s an alternative way to get the same benefit.
  • Hertz 5 Star Elite Status: $20
    Rationale: It’s nice to get free upgrades and access to Hertz’ 5 Star Aisle (pick your own car) when available.
  • Earn 7 miles per dollar on paid flights (2X more than no-status): $30
    Rationale: If you spend $1,500 per year on Delta flights, then this benefit is worth an extra 3,000 SkyMiles. If we very conservatively value each mile at 1 cent, then this works out to a $30 benefit.
  • Total: $225

Gut Check: If I had no status, but was about to fly often on Delta, would I pay $225 per year for Silver status? Yeah, I think that’s reasonable.

Delta Silver Status Value: $225

Delta Gold Status Value: $225 (Silver) + $175 (incremental Gold benefits) = $400

Looking only at the incremental advantages of Gold over Silver:

  • Free Upgrades to First Class Beginning 72 Hours Before Departure: $30
    Rationale: This is my subjective incremental valuation given that Gold elites are more likely to get upgraded than Silver elites.
  • Free Upgrades to Comfort+ Beginning 72 Hours Before Departure: $30
    Rationale: Gold elites are more likely to find Comfort+ seats available than Silver members (thanks to clearing 72 hours in advance), so this feature is worth a bit more at the Gold level.
  • Waived Same Day Confirmed or Standby Change Fees: $50
    Rationale: I love this feature, especially when I’m already booked into first class. First class same day changes have fewer restrictions and so it’s usually possible to pick your preferred flight of the day even if you paid for the cheapest flight of the day. See: Leveraging Delta’s Same Day Flight Changes (It’s good to be Gold)
  • SkyPriority Boarding: $10
    Rationale: If you have carry-on bags, this can be key to getting on the plane before luggage space fills up. I didn’t value this higher, though, because most of Delta’s newer retrofits include large luggage bins that reduce the chance of running out of space.
  • SkyTeam Lounge Access on International Flights: $25
    Rationale: I valued this pretty low only because many readers may not fly internationally very often. Additionally, there are many Delta fliers on international flights who would get access to the SkyTeam Lounge anyway: Business class (Delta One) fliers get automatic access. Delta Reserve (and Amex Platinum, but not Delta Platinum) cardholders get free access to the Delta SkyClub when flying Delta. If the exceptions don’t fit you or your flying patterns, then you may want to value this much higher yourself.
  • Earn 8 miles per dollar on paid flights (1X more than Silver): $30
    Rationale: I valued Silver at $30 based on Silver earning 2 miles per dollar more than non-elites, so that would argue for valuing this at only $15 (since the extra earnings are only 1X more). However, we can also assume that Gold elites fly more often than Silver and so it seems reasonable to assign $30 here.
  • Total: $175

Gut Check: If I had Silver status, would I pay $175 to jump to Gold status? Definitely. If anything, the valuation should be higher, but I prefer to keep my valuations conservative.

Delta Gold Status Value: $225 (Silver) + $175 (incremental Gold benefits) = $400

Delta Platinum Status Value: $400 (Gold) + $600 (incremental Platinum benefits) = $1,000

Looking only at the incremental advantages of Platinum over Gold:

  • Free Upgrades to First Class Beginning 120 Hours Before Departure: $50
    Rationale: This is my subjective valuation of the incremental chance of getting upgraded as a Platinum elite rather than a Gold elite.
  • Free Upgrades to Comfort+ Shortly After Ticketing: $50
    Rationale: Getting the upgrade to Comfort+ immediately after ticketing is a big benefit since it’s then possible to pick your flight based on which one has the best Comfort+ seats available. Additionally, Comfort+ often gets filled up, so you’ll have much better luck getting into Comfort+ as a Platinum elite than Gold.
  • Dedicated Higher Priority Phone Line: $25
    Rationale: I don’t have any way of knowing how much better the Platinum “higher priority” phone line is than the Gold “high priority”. But I guess I’d throw in at least $25 for the promise of better phone service.
  • Hertz President’s Circle Elite Status: $25
    Rationale: I have no good way of knowing how much better President’s Circle status is compared to 5 Star status, so this estimate is a complete guess.
  • Earn 9 miles per dollar on paid flights (1X more than Gold): $30
    Rationale: Same reasoning as Gold, above.
  • Waived award change/cancel fees: $20
    Delta offers free award changes and cancellations to everyone for flights from North America. Platinum elites, though, get free award changes and cancellations for all awards regardless of the flight departure point. Those who often book award flights that originate outside of North America may see a lot of value in this benefit. I wouldn’t be willing to pay much, in advance, for this extra capability, but I’d throw in $20.
  • Choice Benefits: $400
    Rationale: My favorite Platinum Choice Benefit is the 4 regional upgrade certificates. I don’t know why, but lately I’ve had better luck than ever before having these upgrades clear well in advance (here’s just one example). If you don’t value these upgrade certificates this high, other high value options include a $400 statement credit for Delta Platinum or Reserve cardholders; gift Silver status to two people; 30,000 redeemable miles; and a $400 Delta Vacations voucher.
  • Total: $600

Gut Check: If I had Gold status, would I pay $600 to jump to Platinum status? Yes, that seems reasonable to me.

Delta Platinum Status Value: $400 (Gold) + $600 (incremental Platinum benefits) = $1,000.

Delta Diamond Status Value: $1,000 (Platinum) + $1,700 (incremental Diamond benefits) = $2,700.

Looking only at the incremental advantages of Diamond over Platinum:

  • Free Upgrades to First Class Beginning 120 Hours Before Departure: $50
    Rationale: This is my subjective valuation of the incremental chance of getting upgraded as a Diamond elite rather than a Platinum elite.
  • Free CLEAR Membership: $50
    Rationale: I like having CLEAR since it speeds me through security even when TSA pre-check’s ID verification lines are very long. I don’t value this higher because CLEAR is available for free for those with an Amex Platinum or Green card.
  • Dedicated VIP Phone Line: $40
    Rationale: It’s great to have the phone answered right away when you call. Plus, they’re often willing to bend the rules for Diamond elites.
  • Earn 11 miles per dollar on paid flights (2X more than Platinum): $60
    Rationale: Since the difference between Platinum and Diamond is twice the difference between Gold and Platinum, I valued the incremental value at twice as much.
  • Choice Benefits: $1,500
    Rationale: When you reach Diamond status, you can choose three Choice Benefits. In my opinion, the most valuable choice is the 4 global upgrade certificates that can be applied to any paid fare (when flying Delta or certain partners) or award ticket (when flying Delta marketed flights). Other valuable choices include: $700 statement credit for those with a Delta Platinum or Reserve card; Gift Gold status to two people, $500 Delta Vacations voucher; and 35,000 SkyMiles. I would be willing to pay up to $600 per year for the 4 global upgrade certificates (Due to no longer being able to advance confirm upgrades from economy to Delta One, $150 each is way down from a previous valuation of $400 each), and up to $500 to gift Gold status to two people (even though I valued Gold status at $425 above, I didn’t value this at $850 because I’m assuming that there’s less value to gifting Gold to others who may not fly as much as you). The $700 statement credit is worth face value for anyone with a Delta Platinum or Reserve card. Those three add up to $1,800. My gut tells me that $1,800 is just a bit high, so lets bring it down to $1,500 with the idea that it’s worth paying an average of $500 per Diamond Choice Benefit selection.
  • Total: $1,700

Gut Check: If I had Platinum status, would I pay $1,700 to jump to Diamond status? Yep. Now that one of the Choice Benefits is a cool $700 back (for Delta Platinum or Reserve cardholders), I think that Diamond is well worth the extra $1,000 for the extra Diamond benefits plus two more Diamond Choice Benefits such as global upgrade certs, gifting Gold status to two, 35K miles, or the $500 Delta Vacations voucher.

Delta Diamond Status Value: $1,000 (Platinum) + $1,700 (incremental Diamond benefits) = $2,700.

What is Delta elite status worth: Conclusion

High level Delta elite status can be extremely valuable, but any dollar estimate of the value is highly subjective. The value you get will depend upon how much the perks are worth to you, how much you could have paid for the benefit outright, and how often you fly Delta. The more you fly, the more valuable your status will be.

See also: How to earn Delta elite status through credit card spend.

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This article was way too long. Only needs one word. NOTHING


Let’s say Greg’s value estimates are fair and reasonable. Diamond is worth $2700. If someone earned Diamond organically, fine. But, consider how much some people unnecessarily spent on mileage runs to get to Diamond. Or, the net cost to complete the cash cycle when MSing. Keep that unnecessary expense and buy your upgrade to first class.


Platinum is definitely the sweet spot. Cheap Delta fare sales and RUCs are a great combo and being able to select C+ on ticket purchase makes Y to Europe pretty decent for those fare sales.


Ooo look at me posing at Delta One that I got using MS!! Lmao


I had some Air France Miles expire 12/31/22. Delta tells me that I can recover those expired miles if I take a Delta flight by 6/30/23 and designate the miles earned to Air France. But if I take a cheap basic economy flight Delta will not award me any miles. Do you know if Air France would give me miles for that same Basic Economy flight?


@Greg- I assume you are no longer spending on Delta cards to earn Diamond or any status with Delta? Thanks!


Thanks. Do I have to actually take the Delta flight to earn the Air France miles or can I just not show up?


It is always interesting to see how others value elite status. Having been Diamond Medallion since 2016, a few reasons I value it more:

Earnings: Adding up the values in each section, it looks like you value 11x earnings at $150. Since I earn a minimum of 15k MQD per year, and I get 6x extra Skymiles per dollar than a general member, I earn an extra 90k Skymiles per year. Even if you value Skymiles at 1 cent/mile, that is $900.

Comfort/First upgrades: Adding up values in each section, it looks like this is $335. As a tall person, I value this way way higher. Even taking a short regional flight on a LCC in Europe, I always pay more for extra legroom seats. While first class upgrades have gotten rarer over the years, the ability to lock in a comfort seat at booking is huge for me.

Bags: For me, the main reason to have an Amex Delta Gold card is for bags. I would value this benefit at least at $99. Plus with status you can get more bags, heavier bags and (supposedly) priority bag handling.

Upgrade certs: Always hard to judge these. This year I used my RUC to lock in lie flat suites (A330-900neo) to Hawaii, and my GUC to get business class seats on KLM from the US to Cape Town, South Africa. So I probably value the Choice benefits a little more, even though the certs are more restrictive than before.

All totaled, I have always said I would pay $4000 to have Diamond Medallion status, and I think that is still true. I think it is good to have a semi-quantitative estimate, because after years of being Diamond, there is an odd emotional component. The “surprise and delight” factor has hooked me in over the years, with better compensation when things go wrong, having local airport staff know you, the rare airside Porsche transfers, etc.


Thanks for the insight! So, what you are saying is you would spend $4,000 somehow to maintain your Diamond status each year? Thanks again!


More or less, yes, I would pay $4000.

I am super geeky about it, but I calculate a “relative return” on every ticket. This includes the miles earned from the airline and credit card, but also the progress towards status. Since I value status at $4000, I say I can spend an extra $2000 to get the MQDs (125K) and $2000 to get the MQMs ($15k). So for example, if I paid $1500 for ticket which earned me 12500 MQMs, it would get me 10% of the MQDs ($200) and 10% of the MQMs ($200) needed for status for that year. So if the Delta flight was $1500 and a similar United flight was $1100, the Delta flight has $400 more in relative value to me.

I usually make a vacation or two out of a “mileage run” each year to maintain Diamond status (I would not hit it organically), so I use these calculations to justify to myself if a particular trip is worth it or not.


Would appreciate some assistance. I am Delta Gold solely through credit card and would have been Platinum but for the five international Delta flights I have cancelled during the past two years. How exactly do upgrades work on Delta? If I have an aisle seat in coach, would Delta auto-upgrade me to a window or middle seat in Comfort + 72 hours before departure? If I decline the upgrade on the app in advance, can I then choose a Comfort + seat within 72 hours of departure or do I need to wait until check in 24 hours before departure or do I need to wait until I get to the airport? Keeping my aisle seat is more important to me than the extra three inches of legroom, but would prefer to get both if possible. Also, how does their auto-upgrade process work when travelling with a spouse (who is sitting next to me in coach)?


For at least just you, you can select seat preferences for Comfort+ and only accept the upgrade if an aisle is available. In the app or online, there’s a box you check/uncheck for that.

Not sure on traveling with a companion but would have to imagine it might split you and then have to play the musical chairs game to get reseated next to each other.


First I’m retired. Second I’m quite sure I’ve been flying Delta (born north Georgia) much longer than most going back to props and walking straight through the small ATL terminal to the tarmac up the steps to a DC prop. Third, I’m a million miler so lowly silver for life. However, earning more MQMs start at zero, not 25K as I think it should so why do it? Fourth, in my past remark to Greg over 1st upgrades, my experience has been what you pay for a ticket is almost up to Diamond for priority. Lastly, currently flying international on points is crazy, so I guess I have to “waste them” domestically. Again I’m retired and usually fly 1st, definitely when using points. Give me any of the international carrier’s FF program over our big three for points value. Oh, I get these sexy bag tags with a big 1 M on them…whoopee!


Youngster! Started flying into Atlanta to see family around 1960 and remember when the new terminal opened 42 years ago and those long escalators didn’t work and the robot voice told you to “Please Move to the Center of the Vehicle and Away from the Doors”. Lived in Atlanta for a decade in the 1980s. Key problem with Delta to me is that they trashed their frequent flyer program, which used to be excellent (still have my Delta Gold Medallion brag tags). Just difficult to get the same value out of it compared with American and United, which I have found very useful through the years, particularly international.

Reno Joe

If a person only books domestic first or Delta One and only books with points, given the perks in those cabins, is it safe to say that elite status is not worth pursuing? Assume lounge access is otherwise covered.


For the most part 100% agree. However, domestic first is almost worthless except for getting on and off the plane quicker. That’s about it for me but do love a good bourbon/water, but about one is all that’s offered these days and on the ground almost never. Delta One, if Delta does not get off this 495,000 points to Europe, I guess I’ll have to burn my many miles domestically which in the past I hardly ever. Lounge, yes Amex Platinum.


Are you still going to pursue Delta Diamond status Greg?


I have Delta Platinum status as well as the AE Delta Reserve credit card. Both of these should give me priority for seat assignments & upgrades. My recent experiences with Delta having these 2 ‘status’ elements has been less than satisfying. I paid for 2 tickets in main cabin & did get upgraded to comfort+ outbound. However, on the return flight (same plane type) my seat was changed to main cabin & I was separated from my traveling companion. Another benefit of a ‘dedicated’ help line took over an hour to sort out the seats.
On these same flights, a passenger had PAID for 1st class but was bumped to main cabin & separated from his travel partner. He complained enough that a uniformed airline employee voluntarily moved to main cabin (non-rev psngr takes a seat from a revenue psngr?).
My opinion – I’m considering closing my Delta reserve card for 2 reasons: the promised benefits are not uniformly applied and I feel like I can have a greater than 1X earnings rate from other cards on non-airline spend.

Captain Ron

I first qualified for Platinum status last year (was Silver for several years) so now have RUC’s in my SkyMiles account. I have found them very difficult to use. There is good availability on short 1-2 hour flights. However, I’m on the East coast and have family in Seattle; there is almost no availability to use RUC’s (unless one flies overnight and has 2 stops). Any advice on getting good use from RUCs? Very disappointing.

Reno Joe

Cap, the same is the case with system wide upgrade (SWU) certificates on AA.

At AA, Revenue Management has two sides to a given booking code: cash and award. On routes with F, one can always book F for cash and F for points (at the F points rate).

At a point in time, RM releases a certain number of seats to A. BUT, it only releases those seats to A revenue and not to A award / upgrade. And, on certain premium routes RM might never release seats to A award / upgrade (which would be at lower points rates).

In the end, for practical purposes, SWU certificates are unusable on juicy routes. And, practical use of SWUs are relegated to mediocre routes.

If I had to guess, the same thing is happening at Delta . . . and other airlines.

Stefan Krasowski (@rapidtravelchai)

Yesterday, two Delta experiences (am a Diamond): (1) first time that I can remember that a SDC went through from a low price award ticket and (2) a SEA-ATL leg was not available for RUC, only GUC due to only that fare code available. I did not realize this nuance on RUC-eligible flights that they can only be available for GUC depending on upgrade fare code availability. The agent said, “You wouldn’t want to waste your GUC on that flight.” No, and also not to pay double to triple the typical ticket price to book into premium select (which looks barely indistinguishable from regular economy) just to use a GUC. I have way devalued Diamond for my purposes. Also, not related to the status, the broken partner award pricing engine and partner availability across the board abysmal compared to OneWorld and Star Alliance the past two years.


The inability to see RUC availability on the website is a major backtrack for DL for both Platinums and Diamonds. The requirement for GUC availability on domestic flights is so broad that they shouldn’t even bother to show it on the website, meanwhile RUC availability is extremely limited and it’s now impossible to find the needles in the haystack. It’s not helpful to see every flight available for upgrade when the vast majority of customers will never want to use their certs in this manner.


I think your valuation of GUC’s is way too high. I get it IF you actually get an upgrade… but the issue is the “if”. Delta doesn’t make a single seat available on many flights for the use of GUC’s, even on the day that the ticks are first released 331 days out. I called for months on using GUC’s from ATL-NRT using a +/- 1 week in February, and the only route consistently available was thru HNL. There was some spotty availability eventually thru MSP… but that was it. Nothing on any other routing ever. Being waitlisted for the upgrade is worthless. Who wants to waitlist a 15 hr flight in the “hope” of an upgrade.


You’re valuation is way too low. If you fly frequently, you are likely on an expense account. Couldn’t care less about free drink or even the meal in first. Buy what you want. However, the ability to choose exit row seat is hugely valuable. Not all employer will pay for seat assignments. And to be guaranteed not to have 4 year old kid next to you – priceless. More legroom than first class. On most although not all configuration you can still keep bag under seat in front of you. Easily worth $20+ per flight. Even low level elite that alone is 2x your valuation of status.