Skip to content

Delta significantly improves Global Upgrade Certificates on partners

Oct. 28, 2020
4 min read
Delta significantly improves Global Upgrade Certificates on partners
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Each year, top-tier Diamond Medallions get a pick from an exclusive collection of Choice Benefits.

The options range from 25,000 bonus SkyMiles to a Sky Club membership to a $200 travel voucher and more. Here at TPG, one of our favorite Choice Benefits are Global Upgrade Certificates (GUCs). These upgrade vouchers are valid on Delta and select partner flights for a one-way bump into business class.

Well, Delta's Global Upgrade Certificates just got even more valuable.

Specifically, the Atlanta-based carrier has sweetened the deal for those looking to upgrade flights operated by Air France or KLM, as confirmed by a Delta spokesperson to TPG.

Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter for more airline-specific news!

Let's start with the best news — you can now use a Global Upgrade Certificate to upgrade from coach to business on Air France.

Previously, redeeming GUCs on Air France was one of the poorest redemption opportunities. That's because you could only confirm an upgrade from coach into premium economy or from premium economy to biz. But you could never bump two cabins (like you can on Delta-operated flights).

But that's not all.

Upgrades to Air France business class are now cleared into the "Z" class of service. (Previously, it was the "O" class of service.) This is also great news since the "Z" class of service is much more readily available than the "O" class. The former is used for discounted revenue business-class fares, while the latter is reserved for business-class award tickets.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

And again, that's not all.

Upgrading to biz on Air France is about to get a lot easier (Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)

Delta is also expanding the eligible fare classes that qualify for a GUC. Previously, you needed to purchase a really expensive, flexible coach fare class (Y, B or M) to be eligible for a bump to Air France's premium economy.

Going forward, you can book discounted coach tickets and still qualify for an upgrade to business class. The exact eligible fare classes differ based on which carrier issued your ticket. For Air France-operated flights sold by Delta, the following coach fare classes are eligible for an upgrade to biz: Y, B, M, H, Q, K, L, U, T, X or V. Additionally, all Air France premium economy fares booked on either Air France or Delta can now be upgraded into business class with a GUC. For the exact fare classes eligible for an upgrade, check out Delta's site.

Related: Everything you need to know about airline fare classes

Finally, the carrier is also lifting the restrictions on which AF flights are eligible for a GUC.

Diamonds can now apply a GUC on any Air France long-haul route with a distance of at least 1,750 miles. That means that you can upgrade a one-way itinerary from New York to Istanbul via Paris using a single GUC.

Additionally, you can now upgrade tickets on Air France or KLM that were sold by Air France, Delta or KLM.

If a call center agent hasn't yet heard of these updates, refer them to Delta's Global Upgrade Certificate terms at the bottom of the Medallion Upgrade webpage.

While long-haul international travel is still largely off-limits, these improvements come at the perfect time for many newly minted Diamond Medallions. Through the end of October, Delta is offering a targeted status match challenge up to Diamond status. If you fly six qualifying round-trips or 12 one-ways during the promotional period, you'll receive Diamond status through Jan. 31, 2022 — and get a pick from the Choice Benefits.

Of the Big 3, Delta and United let top-tier elites use confirmed upgrade certificates on select partner flights. You can use United's PlusPoints to upgrade flights operated by ANA, COPA or Lufthansa. American Airlines, on the other hand, doesn't let Executive Platinum elites redeem systemwide upgrades for partner flights.

It's not only good news from Delta on Wednesday. The carrier recently increased the cost of many partner award tickets. Additionally, the carrier is now charging more miles for flights booked between 21 and 59 days before departure and even more miles for those booked within 21 days.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 5X points
5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.

Intro offer

Earn 150,000 points120,000 points
The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$695

Recommended Credit

670-850
Good, Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Apply for The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

    Earn 150,000 points
    120,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Good, Excellent

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.