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Upgrading w/companions, eligibility, timing, Sep 2020 onward (consolidated)

Upgrading w/companions, eligibility, timing, Sep 2020 onward (consolidated)

Old Sep 1, 20, 4:18 pm
  #1  
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Upgrading w/companions, eligibility, timing, Sep 2020 onward (consolidated)

Just saw on the Points Guy (and other sources), Delta is changing its policy for companion upgrades on separate tickets to now mirror the policy as if the two passengers were on the same PNR.

The Points Guy:

Effective immediately, Delta is improving the companion upgrade policy for those booked on separate reservations that have been linked.

Going forward, if a Medallion and non-status companion are booked on separate reservations, the non-status companion will clear domestic Delta One and first-class upgrades beginning at the Medallion member’s upgrade window. Delta confirmed the recent change that’s aimed to enhance the upgrade experience with TPG.

That means that a Diamond member and the member’s non-status companion will both be eligible for bumps to Delta One and first beginning 120 hours before departure. This is a massive improvement compared to the old policy since the non-status companion would have only become eligible the day before departure.

However, if a Diamond and Silver are traveling together on separate reservations that have been linked, the Diamond will clear at the Diamond window and the Silver will clear at the Silver window.

The companion upgrade policy for Comfort+ remains unchanged as part of today’s news.


https://thepointsguy.com/news/delta-...nion-upgrades/

The last part is quite interesting - if a higher priority traveler is traveling with a lower status passenger on separate tickets, the lower status passenger upgrades on their own window, even if linked, while if you have no status, you upgrade at the window of your companion's status window. That seems, odd to say the least - that it's better to travel with someone without status than someone with status, in some respects, if actually correct.
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Old Sep 1, 20, 4:49 pm
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Originally Posted by ATOBTTR View Post
The last part is quite interesting - if a higher priority traveler is traveling with a lower status passenger on separate tickets, the lower status passenger upgrades on their own window, even if linked, while if you have no status, you upgrade at the window of your companion's status window. That seems, odd to say the least - that it's better to travel with someone without status than someone with status, in some respects, if actually correct.
I guess if you are a lower level elite and are traveling with a DM (or PM) you just don't put your SM number in the record and instead apply for credit later.
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Old Sep 1, 20, 5:07 pm
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Agent told me today that for FC there is no difference if companion is on a separate or the same PNR. However, for Comfort+, companion is treated separately on his/her own if on a different PNR. YMMV.
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Old Sep 1, 20, 5:11 pm
  #4  
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IIRC eligibility for companion upgrades requires a SkyMiles number.

I wonder whether TPG misunderstood something.

Alternatively, the words are "clear at the elite's window" not "clear with the elite's priority." Maybe companions of DMs will rank below all other DMs on the upgrade list, but still have the rare possibility to clear at the time of the DM window.
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Old Sep 1, 20, 5:13 pm
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This new policy is terrible for almost everyone except the non-status passenger. It will result in upgrades being doled out to random colleagues or infrequent travelers associated with whomever is at the top of the upgrade list, while even many Diamonds will be passed over. If someone is a bona fide companion, they should be able to be booked on the same reservation - it was a reasonable requirement to share the same upgrade priority, IMHO.

The truly bizarre aspect is that the higher status only applies if the other passenger is non-status. It literally means that if you can't book on the same reservation, you're worse off gifting your spouse Gold status than you would be leaving them with no status.

I have no idea what they were thinking on this one, and I hope they reconsider. This is a change with significant downsides for almost every frequent traveler that very few people were asking for. In fact, I can't actually figure out the business justification for offering this, unless it's to expose more people to the Delta first class product in an attempt to convince them to pay for it on future trips?

Huge misfire from Delta.
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Old Sep 1, 20, 5:17 pm
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Originally Posted by BenA View Post
This new policy is terrible for almost everyone except the non-status passenger. It will result in upgrades being doled out to random colleagues or infrequent travelers associated with whomever is at the top of the upgrade list, while even many Diamonds will be passed over. If someone is a bona fide companion, they should be able to be booked on the same reservation - it was a reasonable requirement to share the same upgrade priority, IMHO.
If it's true that non-status passengers actually now bump up over status passengers in this, that is certainly a misfire. But there are plenty of legitimate reasons one companion may be a bona fide companion booked under each traveler is booked under a separate reservation.
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Old Sep 1, 20, 5:29 pm
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Originally Posted by ATOBTTR View Post
If it's true that non-status passengers actually now bump up over status passengers in this, that is certainly a misfire. But there are plenty of legitimate reasons one companion may be a bona fide companion booked under each traveler is booked under a separate reservation.
The primary reason would be a business traveler who doesn't want to deal with expense report paperwork for their spouse's ticket when bringing them along. I suspect many companies with corporate travel contracts would take a dim view of Delta enacting rules that encourage those sorts of bookings; many large companies have specific policies requiring accommodations to be split when a spouse accompanies you, and the primary reason to keep the second person off the air reservations would be to hide the need to share those costs with the company.

I think the primary intent of the companion policy should be for occasional vacation travel, and in that scenario it's almost never a burden to book under the same reservation. For the limited times when that isn't possible, there's always the option of applying an RUC or gifting Gold status.
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Old Sep 1, 20, 5:36 pm
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Another case can be colleagues or acquaintances that discover after purchasing tickets separately that they're on the same flight, perhaps to travel to the same meeting.
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Old Sep 1, 20, 5:57 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Another case can be colleagues or acquaintances that discover after purchasing tickets separately that they're on the same flight, perhaps to travel to the same meeting.
And I'd argue that in this case, neither Delta's interests nor the overall Medallion population's interests are served by prioritizing an unplanned companion's upgrade over the next person on the upgrade list. The upgrade benefit wasn't a factor in driving anyone's purchasing intent. And the non-status passenger loses part of their incentive to pursue status of their own, as well as any incentive to buy an FCM upgrade, so it isn't even good for Delta.
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Old Sep 1, 20, 6:01 pm
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Originally Posted by BenA View Post
And I'd argue that in this case, neither Delta's interests nor the overall Medallion population's interests are served by prioritizing an unplanned companion's upgrade over the next person on the upgrade list. The upgrade benefit wasn't a factor in driving anyone's purchasing intent. And the non-status passenger loses part of their incentive to pursue status of their own, as well as any incentive to buy an FCM upgrade, so it isn't even good for Delta.
NO, you're giving the person a sample of FC and keeping the elite happy. Some people might prefer to sit with a colleague from work but not a spouse when traveling.

Personally, I've always felt that *ALL* companion upgrades should be prioritized below all elite upgrades, including elites on award tickets. There should also be an option for the elite to decline an upgrade unless the companion is upgraded also that doesn't require one to simply decline the upgrade.

High priority spouse upgrades provide an incentive for one spouse to pursue status on one carrier and the other to try to get status on a different carrier/alliance.
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Old Sep 1, 20, 7:07 pm
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Originally Posted by BenA View Post
The primary reason would be a business traveler who doesn't want to deal with expense report paperwork for their spouse's ticket when bringing them along.
With some companies/organizations it’s not possible to do that. I work for the DOD. There’s no way I can book a flight for my spouse if I book through our travel system, which I’m (usually) required to do.

Another completely valid reason is splitting payment options between tickets. For example, using Pay with Miles. If I want to use PWM miles or miles in general for one ticket and use full cash payment for another, I have to book separate tickets. If I use PWM on tickets booked together, it applies the requested PWM miles amount to both tickets. Other reasons might be booking from different tools. Say I book a DL with Skymiles for me and use Flying Blue miles to book a ticket for my spouse on the same flight. Again, not possible to book the flights on the same reservation in this case.
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Old Sep 1, 20, 7:18 pm
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My non-statused husband who travels with me 30 times a year likes this policy!
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Old Sep 1, 20, 7:30 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
There should also be an option for the elite to decline an upgrade unless the companion is upgraded also that doesn't require one to simply decline the upgrade.
Isn't this how things currently work if you're on the same reservation?
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Old Sep 1, 20, 7:34 pm
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Originally Posted by ATOBTTR View Post
Another completely valid reason is splitting payment options between tickets. For example, using Pay with Miles. If I want to use PWM miles or miles in general for one ticket and use full cash payment for another, I have to book separate tickets. If I use PWM on tickets booked together, it applies the requested PWM miles amount to both tickets. Other reasons might be booking from different tools. Say I book a DL with Skymiles for me and use Flying Blue miles to book a ticket for my spouse on the same flight. Again, not possible to book the flights on the same reservation in this case.
The payment method bit may be part of their thinking here; this could be planning ahead to mitigate future customer service fiascos when the technical limitations of rebooking with COVID-19 vouchers result in passengers being on separate reservations. I still think it's an awful idea, but it at least would be a moderately rational explanation for why they're doing this now.
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Old Sep 1, 20, 7:43 pm
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I think it’s geared to the business traveler on a revenue ticket and infrequent spouse on an award ticket traveling together. Impossible to be on the same PNR.
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