Using Regional Upgrades

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  • The clock begins ticking on RUC expiration when you make your choice benefit selection, so it's possible to time your selection when there is a specific need to use them.
  • You can select your 2017 choice benefit as soon as DL recognizes your Plat status. Certificates expire 12 months from date of issue. 2019 choice benefits (earned based on how much one flew in 2018) must be selected by Jan 31, 2020.
  • If you select certificates as your choice benefit late in your Medallion tenure, it will still be valid after your status expires -- so for example if you earn Platinum Medallion in 2018, which is valid through Jan 31, 2020, but then only earn Silver Medallion in 2019, which becomes effective Feb 1, 2020 when your Platinum Medallion status expires, RUCs selected in January 2020 would be valid through January 2021 and could be used once you were only a Silver Medallion member, giving you a much higher upgrade list position on those flights where you attempt to use them.
  • If you request to use a RUC on a flight and do not receive the upgrade, it is returned to your account for future use, but check your account to make sure.
  • RUC may be redeemed for the named Medallion member and up to one travel companion traveling on the same flight (the companion officially no longer needs to be in the same reservation, though that rule was not actually enforced even when it was the official rule). The named member and the companion will each require a separate certificate.

While the RUC process is almost entirely opaque, there are a couple of "hints" of a correctly applied waitlist.

1a) When viewing a waitlisted segment on the DL.com web site (not the app), there may be two seat maps for the same flight. The first seat map shows the coach seat you are currently in, and the second seat map for the same flight says "you may not select seats for this flight" or something like that. This second seat map corresponds to a part of the waitlist process, and indicates that at least one step of the multi-step process to add an RUC waitlist was actually done. Unfortunately, this does NOT indicate that the other manual steps of the RUC waitlist process were successfully completed by the agent (i.e. even if you see the second seat map, there still could be something wrong. There is simply no way for the customer to tell.)

1b) The status for a waitlisted segment should say something like "Upgrade Waitlisted"

2) Assuming the waitlist does not clear prior to check-in, the second hint is the upgrade waitlist. If the RUC waitlist request was coded correctly, you should show up at or very near the top of the upgrade waitlist that you can see on DL.com or the app. If you find yourself at your "usual" spot on the upgrade waitlist, this is a clue that the RUC waitlist request was not coded correctly.

3) The RUC is a form of "payment". Until the RUC clears, it remains "unused" so a waitlisted RUC will still show in your wallet as "open".

You may also wish to peruse the wiki for the GUC success thread as some of the considerations/logistics are similar between RUCs and GUCs.
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Old Sep 29, 18, 11:14 pm
  #1216  
 
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Originally Posted by MarkP24 View Post
Anyone with experience on the likelihood of a JFK to LAS Regional upgrade (Platinum) clearing with 4 seats still available for sale on Delta One on a Tuesday morning a few weeks out, and if so when would they likely clear it?
I had an ATL-LAS clear at booking a couple months ago. But I had to book the 7am departure and the cabin was wide open at the time.

Return surprisingly cleared on its own about a month prior to departure. Again wide open cabin and it cleared right after the flight was upgauged to a 767.
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Old Sep 29, 18, 11:24 pm
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Originally Posted by gooselee View Post
I had an ATL-LAS clear at booking a couple months ago. But I had to book the 7am departure and the cabin was wide open at the time.

Return surprisingly cleared on its own about a month prior to departure. Again wide open cabin and it cleared right after the flight was upgauged to a 767.
Thanks so much! Based on current availability, it doesn't look like I will get so lucky, but at least I know that it is a possibility. For my return, I decided not to waitlist a Regional upgrade, as there were about 10 seats available, and as it's a Wednesday evening, I think I have a fair shot at it. In the past my flights on this route JFK- LAS and back have been prior to them calling it Delta One, and my upgrades have cleared about 65% of the time. Any reason to assume the change in seating will change my upgrade experience?
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Old Sep 30, 18, 4:58 am
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Originally Posted by MarkP24 View Post
Thanks so much! Based on current availability, it doesn't look like I will get so lucky, but at least I know that it is a possibility. For my return, I decided not to waitlist a Regional upgrade, as there were about 10 seats available, and as it's a Wednesday evening, I think I have a fair shot at it. In the past my flights on this route JFK- LAS and back have been prior to them calling it Delta One, and my upgrades have cleared about 65% of the time. Any reason to assume the change in seating will change my upgrade experience?
It depends how far out the trip is. Those same flights I had that were wide open only had 2-3 seats left 1 week prior to the flight. People will WFBF on these longer flights.

Not sure what change in seating you're referencing. If you're talking about an equipment change - IME the switch to a larger plane will sometimes result in a few more UGs happening, but also it's an indication that RM expects more people to be taking that flight so it will eventually book up as well. It's all really a crap shoot.

For your return, if you think you'll get the medallion UG you can always check in and see where you are on the UG list, and then call and apply the RUC if it appears it's not high enough. The only thing you lose is the time of request tiebreaker.
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Old Sep 30, 18, 5:01 am
  #1219  
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Originally Posted by MarkP24 View Post
Thanks so much! Based on current availability, it doesn't look like I will get so lucky, but at least I know that it is a possibility. For my return, I decided not to waitlist a Regional upgrade, as there were about 10 seats available, and as it's a Wednesday evening, I think I have a fair shot at it. In the past my flights on this route JFK- LAS and back have been prior to them calling it Delta One, and my upgrades have cleared about 65% of the time. Any reason to assume the change in seating will change my upgrade experience?
Only one of the flights is D1, rest are domestic F. LAS regardless of flight tends to have high paid F.
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Old Sep 30, 18, 7:22 am
  #1220  
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Originally Posted by MarkP24 View Post
Anyone with experience on the likelihood of a JFK to LAS Regional upgrade (Platinum) clearing with 4 seats still available for sale on Delta One on a Tuesday morning a few weeks out, and if so when would they likely clear it?
it will almost certainly go to the gate
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Old Sep 30, 18, 7:27 am
  #1221  
 
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Apologies if this been asked and answered before as this thread is super long but some questions as I’m about to get 4 RUCs for the first time.

Does anyone recommend using them months in advance? Ex: have a nonstop flight from HNL to JFK in December. Right now there’s 24 FC available. Debating if I should just lock it in to confirm or wait to see if there’s actually a chance I could get upgraded as a PM with companion.

If you decide to decide to confirm early with RUC and then maybe a couple days prior you still see there’s a ton of open FC seats can you pull the RUCs back?

if a flight has a layover and you use an RUC does 1 RUC apply to both legs of the trip or would you need to use 2?
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Old Sep 30, 18, 8:41 am
  #1222  
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The number of open seats doesn't matter. You can only "lock it in to confirm" if there is upgrade inventory available, and to find out you need to call. If there's not inventory you can waitlist.

You can apply an RUC to both flights if you're connecting, assuming you don't have a broken fare. If you can't confirm immediately on both flights it's generally a good idea to waitlist only for the longer of the two flights to avoid the disaster scenario where it clears in advance on the short segment and doesn't clear on the long segment.
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Old Sep 30, 18, 9:06 am
  #1223  
 
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Well you can make the case the number of open seats does matter. If two days before departure there’s a slew of open seats available couldn’t you take the risk of hoping to clear via upgrade vs burning an RUC?
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Old Sep 30, 18, 10:00 am
  #1224  
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Originally Posted by FlyinHawaiian320 View Post
Well you can make the case the number of open seats does matter. If two days before departure there’s a slew of open seats available couldn’t you take the risk of hoping to clear via upgrade vs burning an RUC?
Open seats means nothing. It can be sold out and no one assigned a seat.

JFK/HNL will most certainly not have any upgrades at all. In fact it usually sells out on J not days, but weeks before.
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Old Sep 30, 18, 11:10 am
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Originally Posted by pvn View Post
it will almost certainly go to the gate
Gotcha. So as a Delta Platinum with a Reserve card, is this considered a good use of a RUC or better spent elsewhere i.e. JFK-LAX or JFK-SFO? I'm based in NYC, and I can use them with a companion. I'm wary to burn them too easily...
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Old Sep 30, 18, 11:13 am
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Originally Posted by flyerCO View Post
Only one of the flights is D1, rest are domestic F. LAS regardless of flight tends to have high paid F.
Yes. That has been my experience as well. As I'm based in NYC, I'm flying JFK to LAS and returning LAS to JFK. My debate is whether to burn a RUC on the return with 10 seats in D1 open or hope for the upgrade to clear on its own.
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Old Sep 30, 18, 7:29 pm
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It's been my experience that I need a RUC to clear from C+ to D1 on JFK-SFO. I check in tonite and see I'm 16 of 57 for 15 seats. I'd say there are usually fewer seats available on this flight (it is a 767, often it's a 757 with many fewer D1 seats). It takes nearly half an hour to apply the RUC, and I move up to 5 of 57, which is great. But in the application, my C+ seats are lost and they can't get them back. I go from C+ 16E, the aisle, to 26D, a middle seat in Y on the outbound and from C+ 19E to 26C in the back, both aisles. CSR tells me other people have been moved into my seats and there's no way to get them back.

As you may imagine, I am grateful for the application of the RUC, but it's no guarantee, and I could be going TCON in the dreaded middle in the rear, after having a perfectly acceptable Comfort plus seat both ways. We spend the next hour going around the block with help desks and the gist of it is they can't get my seat back, and offer me a $200 voucher or 5K miles. I very quietly and respectfully lose my ****, we escalate to a supervisor who approves moving me into D1 tonite, rather than just hoping it works out. This is the right outcome, but it took a total of over an hour and half of "no" to get there.

I was stunned by the offer of 5K miles for the downgrade from C+ to Y, it's just insulting. This only highlights the horrible IT DL has, not to mention the problems with calling in to apply an upgrade certificate. It should be a simple thing, not 90+ minutes of bad news. They did get my return C+ seat back after only two trips around the block.
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Old Oct 1, 18, 5:08 am
  #1228  
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Originally Posted by MarkP24 View Post
Gotcha. So as a Delta Platinum with a Reserve card, is this considered a good use of a RUC or better spent elsewhere i.e. JFK-LAX or JFK-SFO? I'm based in NYC, and I can use them with a companion. I'm wary to burn them too easily...
well, first question, are you planning on traveling to LAX or SFO in the next year or before the certs expire? There's certainly nothing wrong with using them on a domestic D1 flight. Using them on something is better than letting them expire.
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Old Oct 1, 18, 11:52 am
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Originally Posted by pvn View Post
well, first question, are you planning on traveling to LAX or SFO in the next year or before the certs expire? There's certainly nothing wrong with using them on a domestic D1 flight. Using them on something is better than letting them expire.
This. Nobody here can really give you a definitive answer. But if you can confirm the UG right away or if the using the RUC is the difference between an UG or not on a flight that matters to you, then it's a cert well-used. In the past I used to play the "maybe I'll get a free UG" game and always ended the year with 1 or 2 unused RUCs that I had to burn on random <2 hr flights. Now I just earn 'em and burn 'em.
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Old Oct 1, 18, 2:14 pm
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Originally Posted by MarkP24 View Post
Yes. That has been my experience as well. As I'm based in NYC, I'm flying JFK to LAS and returning LAS to JFK. My debate is whether to burn a RUC on the return with 10 seats in D1 open or hope for the upgrade to clear on its own.
I flew JFK-LAS D1 recently and it had 10 seats open a few days out. At about 3 days out, companion and I both cleared into D1 (OU class).

Originally Posted by daloosh View Post
It's been my experience that I need a RUC to clear from C+ to D1 on JFK-SFO. I check in tonite and see I'm 16 of 57 for 15 seats. I'd say there are usually fewer seats available on this flight (it is a 767, often it's a 757 with many fewer D1 seats). It takes nearly half an hour to apply the RUC, and I move up to 5 of 57, which is great. But in the application, my C+ seats are lost and they can't get them back. I go from C+ 16E, the aisle, to 26D, a middle seat in Y on the outbound and from C+ 19E to 26C in the back, both aisles. CSR tells me other people have been moved into my seats and there's no way to get them back.

As you may imagine, I am grateful for the application of the RUC, but it's no guarantee, and I could be going TCON in the dreaded middle in the rear, after having a perfectly acceptable Comfort plus seat both ways. We spend the next hour going around the block with help desks and the gist of it is they can't get my seat back, and offer me a $200 voucher or 5K miles. I very quietly and respectfully lose my ****, we escalate to a supervisor who approves moving me into D1 tonite, rather than just hoping it works out. This is the right outcome, but it took a total of over an hour and half of "no" to get there.

I was stunned by the offer of 5K miles for the downgrade from C+ to Y, it's just insulting. This only highlights the horrible IT DL has, not to mention the problems with calling in to apply an upgrade certificate. It should be a simple thing, not 90+ minutes of bad news. They did get my return C+ seat back after only two trips around the block.
The only right thing is for them to move you up, if they lost your C+ seats and cannot get them back. I am glad that worked out for you on the outbound.

How did they get your C+ seat back on the return? Did they remove the person upgraded into your seat, put you into a blocked C+ seat, what?
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