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.
Delta Air Lines really only has two cabins. They have business and coach. Delta can confuse flyers as they say domestically there is 1st class. Even more confusing they call full flat planes BE or business elite and it, when it comes to award tickets on some routes, is priced higher than 1st class that has an older type seat. Confused yet? Just wait, there is more. Delta also has Economy Comfort. This is the same product as coach but with a little more leg room and a little more recline. On some routes you get free spirits, but that is about it.
The focus of this rookie post is for the basics. Upgrades can get very detailed. I will try to make this simple. I will call both business and 1st class business in this post since it is the same cabin. Delta will give a shot at a free upgrade, on a paid for ticket, to any level of medallion as well as SPG Platinum CrossoverRewards members domestically. Internationally and trips to Hawaii are not eligible for these free upgrades. However, Bermuda, Canada, Central and South America, The Caribbean & Mexico are eligible. If you have a companion on your reservation they also have a shot at an upgrade. There is more to it and you can read about the fine details here.
Now are there exceptions to the above official rules? You bet. If you are an elite with Delta, on a flight that is not upgrade eligible, say from Atlanta to Paris, where coach is oversold, that is more seats are sold than there are seats, then you will be given a free OP-UP or operational upgrade to business class. Delta, and partners, tends to start with Diamond Medallions first and work their way down the list until they have enough coach seats open.
What about the Economy Comfort product. Domestically it is free for those who are Gold medallion plus as soon as you make a reservation. Only free for Silvers medallions at check-in window. Internally there is a cost for both Silver and Gold medallion elites. There are some additional perks for some Skyteam and partner airlines, but too much to cover here and you can read the official link for more.
What about anyone using miles to upgrade. Yes that is possible but it is up to fare class. To keep it simple, think M class or higher for international and K class or higher for domestic. Then the miles also vary and you need to check Delta to find out the amounts each way.
There are also other types of items such as SWU or system wide upgrades that can be used by medallions. They have their own set of rules that, for today, we will just touch on to say they can be used, depending on fare class, to get an upgrade one way.
This is a very basic rookie breakdown of how Delta will upgrade a flyer. Delta tends to treat their elite flyers very well when it comes to seat choices. If you are not an elite, as they say, if you want first – buy first 😉 – René
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