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Delta has added some useful functionality on Delta.com as the airline seeks to offer passengers easier ways to spend their SkyMiles balances (whether or not those way are a good use of miles is a whole other debate).
With immediate effect SkyMiles members can upgrade their existing bookings using cash or miles on Delta.com (subject to availability).
As well as having options to upgrade to a higher cabin of service flyers can also use miles to select Comfort Plus seating within the Economy Class cabin.
Here’s how Delta says the process works:
- Find your reservation in MyTrips at delta.com
- If an upgrade with miles is available for your flight, you’ll see a banner above your flight information showing the price to upgrade
- Select the button next to the price in miles
- Click ‘Select Seats’ to be taken to the seat map and confirm your upgrade
Flyers can upgrade bookings regardless of how they were made (e.g. via Delta.com, through an OTA, via a company booking engine etc…) and the upgrade can be for a single segment, multiple segments or the whole journey.
Note: Only flight segments operated by Delta are eligible to be upgraded.
There’s good and bad here and I suspect it will be Delta elites who will be most concerned about this development.
The good news is that this makes it a lot easier for travelers who are unaccustomed to flying with Delta and who aren’t familiar with how the airline’s systems work to upgrade their flights.
The bad news is that this is probably going to make complimentary upgrades even harder to get for Delta elites.
Delta has made it very clear that they want to ensure that as many premium seats as possible are monetized rather than given over for complimentary upgrades and I suspect that this is just another stepping stone on that path.
By making it easy for travelers to upgrade their existing bookings it’s probably going to be less likely that domestic premium cabin seats will be left unfilled and so it will be harder to score a complimentary upgrade.
There may be a similar effect on international flights.
Now that a flyer will be offered the opportunity to upgrade online each time he/she accesses a booking it’s more likely that seats (ones that would have otherwise remained open for elite upgrade instruments) will be snapped up by flyers who are prepared to pay (either in cash or in miles).
Good news for Delta’s bottom line, less good news for Delta Elites.