Rookie Wednesday: Update – I missed a MINOR factor about your Medallion upgrades chances

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr
Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.

I had a very detailed rookie post about what will have the biggest impact on if you ultimately will score a Delta upgrade or not. Unfortunately I missed a major minor component in that post and will update it after this goes live. What is that item?


✈  CHECK-IN  ✈
for your flight!


This, confirmed on with your “time of request“, is the final tie break that can mean the difference between you getting the upgrade and someone else sitting in your seat! You can check-in for an itinerary up to 24hrs before the first flight and thus, depending on how many legs you have and the time between them, you may end up well ahead of the rest of the pack on a trip.

I always try to check-in ASAP on and try not to wait for the e-mail from Delta reminding me that it is time to do so. Next, I print my boarding pass to a PDF to get my digital HOOU coupon sent to my phone and then also confirm the check-in on my phone so I have my digital boarding pass as well. I really have no idea if “re-checking-in” will reset your upgrade clock so from now on I will leave that alone to be safe! – René

EDIT: If you look at the comments in this post many have either gate agents as friends etc. and have challenged the accuracy of this post. I have again today confirmed that “time of check-in”  IS  a component of upgrades. I chose poorly in using the word MAJOR factor as this truly is a MINOR factor (I updated the title of the post also to reflect this). The ONLY time this would have an impact is, when all things being EXACTLY equal (and from the last post you know it is a LONG list), then the time of check-in will be yet another factor as to who gets the upgrade.


Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
from American Express®
Click here for more information



Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but isn’t the time of request usually the same time that the ticket was booked? That’s when the medallion upgrade is usually requested, unless something gets screwed up or you SDC.

    • @Piotr G – no. I have 100% confirmed this with Delta that the time of check-in is the “time of request” and it does play a roll in upgrades!

  2. MSPDeltaDude Reply

    What I don’t like about this is you the miss the “do you want to VDB today screen” since it’s rare they are proactive and seeking 24hrs out.

    • @MSPDeltaDude – I know. Thought about that. But, most times as we know the GA has the final call so still good to be on the paper list!

  3. Texasyankee Reply

    I have used the “time you check in” as a rule for years. Although it is a weak tie breaker – but anything helps now that there are so many diamonds to compete with.

    • @ryan – I can tell you that the post is correct and confirmed with Delta. Also keep in mind, this is one of the final factors and a very small one compared to all the rest!

  4. Maybe you are right.

    After rereading the Delta page, it seems to me that the time of request is the time/date you booked the ticket in most circumstances.

    For example, you book a ticket in February to fly in May. Your time of request is February.

    In April, you meet a hottie with no status in the skyclub.

    It turns out you are both on the same flight in May on separate PNR’s of course.

    You offer to get her on the list, so you call in to Delta and on your fourth try, an agent knows how to add her to the list as a companion UG request.

    Her time of request is April.

    I guess the big question is if the “AIRPORT STANDBY LIST” for upgrades prioritizes as you say:

    Y fare? / status / fare class / got amexreserve? / checkintime.

    (or are you implying that checkintime may even trump amex reserve or fare class status?)

    I would hope it would still be

    Y fare?/status/fare class/amex reserve?/time&date ticketed.

  5. @Gene – That was my understanding, but Delta says it is time of check-in that also matters (time of booking additionally clearly is a part as well)!

  6. I have just confirmed with Delta that it is time of booking. Hmm…

    • @emrdoc – with who, a phone rep? Please give source. I am btw working on a “printable” quote from corp to get this crystal clear everyone!

  7. I always check in 24 hrs out. I am Silver, so I need all the help I can get, and there are always tons of folks behind me on the upgrade list.

  8. I’m going to add to the chorus saying its time of booking. I do believe DL gave you the wrong answer on this one.

    Two reasons:

    1. On the airport computer monitors, it shows your UPXX code next to the traveler with a time stamp that matches the ticket issued time/date
    2. Your UG requested that you see on says it all

  9. @Rene

    I rarely distrust the information you provide but I believe if you spoke with a different agent you would get a different answer. As we all know with agent roulette, different agents give different answers to varying degrees of accuracy.

    DL web site clearly states time of request is the 4th tiebreaker. And under most circumstances time of request is when you are ticketed or when request is made after ticketing. Check in time does NOT affect your placement on the UG list.

    Look forward to reading your quote from DL when you’are able to share.

  10. Sounds like lots of confusion here. Your post says “I missed a MAJOR factor”, yet your comment above says “a very small one compared to all the rest”. Looks like you and someone else confirmed with Delta but received different responses. I say it probably BOTH things count and it probably couldn’t hurt to confirm ASAP, so why not? For all we know the criterial could change on Delta’s whim/experimentation/bad IT day anyhow.

    But there’s one other factor. I’m wondering about those HOOU coupons. I find I almost never get them when I check in right at the 24 hour mark. But if I check in closer to flight time I almost always receive one. Is this anyone else’s experience too?

    Thanks, Rene, for giving us all this to think about!

    • @Bill G – On my last run, some strange things REG: HOOU’s happened. On one non-upgrade, i got a “blank” HOOU. That is the wording was there but no code. I did get two others however. We all know, even with today’s post, Delta “IT” is what it is and a GA can play games when it comes to the final clearing of the upgrade list. Thankfully most of us will clear at the 5+, 5, 3 & 1 day window! 🙂

  11. If check in time is a factor in the order of the list, then how do UG’s start clearing 5 days out? I too believe it is time of purchase that is the time of request.

  12. @Rene – other people have “confirmed with Delta” and gotten the exact opposite response. Your claim also controverts what was commonly known about the upgrade process at Delta – which would put the onus on you to “prove” you’re correct. Perhaps get an official statement to back you up? Or at least something in writing…

    • @Sam – I have two confirmations from my Delta corp contact confirming the post is correct. That is all I need. Readers can do what they want but I know the facts direct from the company. There are only so many ways to say the same thing over and over and over again. (PS even if I do request and get an official statement from the company, do you really think those who “know” otherwise will change their tune?)

  13. How do you know the info from your Delta corp contact is correct? Have you been able to obtain any sort of written confirmation? And MO brings up a good point…if check-in time is a consideration then how do upgrades start clearing five days out?

  14. @emrdoc – I have direct e-mail and voice contact from Delta corp spokes people. Two things, if this were factually incorrect they could comment on the blog. This post is factually correct. Next, other are certainly free to disagree, email me I am an idiot, that I know nothing about Delta and start other discussions elsewhere (as has happened) but to me this matter is closed as well as any more comments on this post as they serve no purpose in helping readers. The post, as written, is confirmed factually correct by my direct and official contact at Delta Air Lines. I will use this information to my advantage!

Write A Comment