Good News! Delta Upgrade Priority To Change

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Delta is not an airline I write about a lot because it doesn’t come up in my travels very much and, to be frank, I really don’t know enough about it to make too many useful or insightful comments. But I do know just how badly the airline has been squeezing its frequent flyers over the years (my commiserations if you’re one of them) and I do know that the way Delta has peen prioritising upgrades  for those flying with companions has been a big issue for Delta flyers. But things are about to change.

Since the introduction of Comfort + Delta has been using a frequent-flyer-unfriendly method of prioritising upgrades for Delta elites flying with their partners and families. As things stand Delta prioritizes upgrades based on the lowest elite status in the reservation.

This has meant that a 200,000-mile-a-year Delta flyer with top-tier status and flying on vacation on the same booking as his/her non-status family suddenly has absolutely no priority when it comes to upgrades – his/her elite status doesn’t count, what counts is the lowest status in the group.

That’s a terrible way of doing things but the good news is that Delta appears to have listened to the roars of disapproval coming from its regular flyers and is changing the rules….a bit.

Delta Upgrade Changes

The Renés points blog has pointed out an announcement on the Skymiles News & Updates page that will please some if not all of Delta’s elites (emphasis is mine):

Coming This Fall: Complimentary Upgrade Improvements for Medallion Members Traveling with a Companion

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 levels.

So, we’re investing in making things better. Starting this fall, 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. Diamond and Silver traveling together? Your upgrade will clear at the Diamond level, when available.

It’s one of the many ways we’re striving to offer the best elite travel experience for our most loyal members. Be on the lookout for more details and the official start date for these changes that will be announced this summer.

Ok, so if you’re traveling as a family and not as a couple this doesn’t really do much for you…but it’s still a big improvement over the status quo and should make a lot of people’s travels decidedly more comfortable.


Just like with a lot of things in the miles & points game this rule change will involve families having to be a little bit more careful when making reservations.

If there is more than one person in a traveling party with Delta Medallion status it would appear prudent to keep them on different bookings (PNRs) and to pair them up with those with low/no Medallion Status to maximise the changes of upgrades.

Delta Upgrade ChangesDelta’s Comfort + Seating

Bottom Line

This is excellent news for Medallion members (congratulations) but also a very good reminder to all frequent flyers everywhere.

Delta implemented a rule that a large section of their flyers didn’t like and they heard back from them in no uncertain terms. As a result the airline appears to have taken onboard just how unfriendly they were being (is this a first for Delta?!) and, to a degree, rolled back the changes.

When a loyalty program (it doesn’t just have to be airlines) does something that a lot of us don’t like we don’t just have to sit there and take it each and every time. This proves that, every now and again, if we keep badgering those hell-bent on eroding benefits we can get them to listen. Will it happen every time? Of course not, but a small victory every once in a while is still better than no victory at all.


  1. […] 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. […]

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