The airlines basically made it impossible for flyers who need to depend on the spending on the American Express co-branded cards in order to reach the Diamond status. Delta is upping the spending requirement from $25,000 to $250,000.
Those who can spend $250K on the cards most likely don't really care for the occasional and lottery-jackpot-winning-opportunity types of the complementary upgrades, or the free lounge access because they probably pay for the discounted first class tickets when they fly, and they have the Amex Platinum Card or the Delta Reserve Card, which give them the free lounge access anyway. They may not be exactly the ones fussing about global upgrade certificates.
Let's look at this in terms of values for being a Diamond.
Beginning in 2018, a Diamond elite can pick 3 choice benefits. Let's pick these 3...
- 4 global upgrade certificates, which are really 2 round trip upgraded tickets
- $200 travel voucher = $200
- 25,000 SkyMiles = Somewhere between $250 to $650.