Delta Improves Complimentary Upgrades With Immediate Effect

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Back in May of this year Delta announced that, from this fall, Medallion members traveling with one companion would clear for Complimentary Upgrades to both First Class and Delta Comfort+ based on the status of the higher-tiered member. Well, we’re half-way through the second month of fall and Delta has finally made good on that announcement.

Per Delta’s Skymiles News & Updates page (emphasis is mine):

We recently surveyed our Medallion Members about our companion policy for Complimentary Upgrades, and a majority of you voted that Medallion Members traveling with a companion should clear for Complimentary Upgrades based on the higher of the two Status Tiers.

So, we’ve invested in making things better.

Starting October 13, 2016, Medallion Members traveling with one companion will clear for Complimentary Upgrades to both First Class and Delta Comfort+™ based on the status of the higher-tiered Member, as long as the companion is a SkyMiles Member, Medallion Member or partner airline elite member, traveling in the same reservation. Diamond and General Member traveling together? Your upgrade will clear at the Diamond Tier, when available.

It’s one of the many ways we’re striving to offer the best elite travel experience for our most loyal Members.

So the benefit is already live an should be helping couples flying Delta already.

Delta’s Complimentary Upgrades

From 10 October 2016 Silver Medallion Members are eligible for Complimentary Upgrades to First Class on Award Travel, 24 hours prior to departure.

Medallion Members are eligible for Complimentary Upgrades to Delta Comfort+ on:

  • All flights within North America
  • Flights “within select Asia-Pacific markets and select Latin America / Caribbean regions”

Upgrade priority:

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Per Delta:

  • Medallion level is the most important factor in upgrade clearance priority, starting with Diamond Medallion members, then Platinum, Gold and Silver.
  • Members at the same Medallion level will be cleared in order of fare class groupings for revenue tickets, Award Tickets and Pay with Miles1 tickets, with higher fare classes among all ticket types holding higher priority.
  • Partner airline elite members and SPG® Platinum Preferred members2 will be eligible for day-of-departure upgrades only.
  • Y class fares are no longer upgraded at booking.

When do upgrades clear?

First Class upgrades (subject to availability):

  • Diamond and Platinum Medallion members clear 5 calendar days prior to departure
  • Gold Medallion member clear 3 calendar days prior to departure
  • Silver Medallion members will clear 1 calendar day prior to departure.

Delta Comfort+ upgrades (subject to availability):

  • Diamond and Platinum Medallion members will be upgraded to Delta Comfort+ immediately after booking, if available.
  • Gold Medallion members clear 3 calendar days prior to departure
  • Silver Medallion members will clear 1 calendar day prior to departure

Bottom Line

It’s good to see Delta making good on their promise.

Since the introduction of Comfort + Delta had been prioritising upgrades based on the lowest elite status in the reservation and that resulted in some of Delta’s most frequent fliers (with top-tier status) having absolutely no upgrade priority when flying on vacation with a status-less companion. And that’s just wrong.

Fortunately Delta flyers made their voices heard and, somewhat surprisingly, Delta listened.

This may not be a solution for all Delta elites (e.g. those flying with more than one companion) but at least it’s a big improvement on what had been put in place….now if only the airline would walk back a few more of the unfriendly policies it has introduced over the years we’d all be a lot happier!