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Two of the Delta SkyMiles credit cards – the $195 per year Platinum Delta SkyMiles card and $450 per year Delta Reserve Card – offer an annual companion certificate that lets you buy one ticket, and get a second one free for most domestic travel.
If you’re flexible with your travel plans, you can save hundreds of dollars with your certificate.
And if you’re a Delta Medallion, until recently you had access to Comfort Plus extra legroom seats for free, with your window of access depending on your Medallion level. You could also extend the benefit to someone else in your reservation at the same time.
Delta Comfort Plus offers several extra inches of legroom along with complimentary snacks and alcoholic beverages.
But recently Delta carved out Comfort Plus as its own distinct classification of fares.
And in the process of doing that Comfort Plus changed from being a premium seat assignment to an entirely separate cabin for the purposes of Delta’s computer and fare systems.
That makes it possible for Delta to display Comfort Plus fares upfront when you are shopping for a flight as a ‘Premium Economy’ fare. Before, it was impossible to compare the full price including a seat upgrade among flights without going through the motions of making a booking.
But if you’re buying a regular Economy ticket and want to sit in Comfort Plus, the computer systems now treat it as an upgrade from one cabin to another.
That has several consequences.
One relates to the fact that Delta Amex Companion Certificates have long prohibited any upgrade from Economy to First Class, even when your Medallion status allows it. The terms say:
“Tickets are not eligible for mileage upgrades, Systemwide Upgrade Certificates, or Medallion Complimentary upgrades”
Before this change, the only thing you could upgrade to from Economy Class was First Class. Comfort Plus was just a premium seat assignment.
Now, changing from Economy Class to Comfort Plus is an actual fare upgrade. And that means even a Medallion member moving from Economy to a Comfort Plus seat is getting a ‘Medallion Complimentary Upgrade,’ which the certificates don’t allow.
Some fliers have figured this out and they’re not happy.
This Comfort Plus change takes effect for flights departing May 16, 2016 or later.
If you have a Delta Reserve Companion Certificate, you can still use it to buy a First Class fare outright if you find availability in the ‘A’ or ‘I’ classes of service.
And you can still transfer the Companion Certificate to anyone you’d like. So you don’t have to be the one flying – anyone you give your Certificate number to can book a flight with a companion of their choice.
But losing access to Comfort Plus seats as a Medallion is yet another sting. One that already hurt because Delta stopped letting companions get access to Comfort Plus seats at the time of booking, even when traveling with a top Medallion on fully paid tickets.
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