Let me start by saying that I am a BIG fan of Delta, but I am having a real difficult time understanding why they would advertise and manage Global Upgrade Certificates (GUCs) the way they do.
GUCs are one of the Choice Benefits which’s only available to Diamond Elites. I have used them in the past and will continue to use them…however they’re almost impossible on some routes which offer the D1 suites or even the 777 to/from Asia.
In a nutshell, I booked an Economy class ticket to Singapore and I tried to use GUCs on the longer legs. No seats were available, and I was waitlisted. When I checked in, I was high on the list, however during the last hour or so pre-departure, someone jumped ahead and replaced and got the last seat. During the months and weeks leading to the trip, I called the Diamond desks so many times, I ran so many searches to try to figure out how many actual seats are still there. The suspense was HIGH.
Why Should Delta Consider changing GUCs
Let’s get right into it:
- I called the Diamond desk probably about twice per week
- I ran many search queries for weeks before departure (think of DB searches, CPU/Mem/NW resources which could have been saved 😉 )
- Customer Experience:
- As a Diamond Elite I felt super frustrated with the lack of visibility and control
- You can’t (should not) keep your top customers on their toes until the last minute
- You should not allow changes on the upgrade waitlist in the last hour before departure. This happened to me twice. I would be # 1 on the list, and then somehow mysteriously, I get dropped to 2 or 3 and miss on getting the last D1 seat.
- Choice Benefits are EARNED:
- Choice Benefits are generally benefits that are fully granted once selected, think of the Sky Club access or the $200 Gift Card. Why are GUCs any different?
- GUC upgrades are NOT Complimentary Upgrades and hence they need to clear way before check-in (consider them revenue seats)
I understand that Delta wants to sell as many of these seats as possible but my argument is that GUCs are not really complimentary; one way or another, we’re paying for them. While I understand operational issues, I still can’t figure out why Delta would design a benefit like GUCs that’s difficult to use and keeps its top frequent travelers on their toes.
Bottomline, Delta has heard it all. Many bloggers and frequent travelers have complained about this and I have not seen any indication that this will change any time soon. If you’re a Diamond, GUCs are definitely a good choice as long as you plan to apply them to trips to/from Europe. I work for a company that does not allow me to book a full Y ticket, so I know that at least on my business trips, GUCs can’t be used.