The Delta Points blog wrote that Delta had eliminated the ‘extra award availability’ offered to its elite members and premium co-brand credit card holders.
Enhanced Availability for Award tickets has been discontinued for SkyMiles Medallion members and Platinum and Reserve Delta SkyMiles Credit Cardholders. The enhanced availability classes will continue to be displayed, but will always have the same availability as N class of service.
This was from an unattributed source, so I reached out to Delta who confirmed the information. According to their spokesman,
With the launch of the 2015 program and the improvements to redemption including more redemption options, we now offer the same Award availability to all SkyMiles members. Award availability for all members in 2015 is improved over the enhanced availability Medallion members and co-brand card holders had access to in 2014.
Indeed I’ve found anecdotally that award availability is better overall. And of course paying a premium over saver award levels may just be a modest premium (‘level 2’ rather than ‘level 1’ pricing in their new 5-tier chart).
The issue here is that elites no longer have access to more space than general members — something that both United and American offer in their own fashion. (United offers it to elites and co-brand cardholders, American to top tier elites).