Should we fear the newest Delta.com “enhancement” of selling upgrades online?

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changes to delta-com trips display on delta-com plus selling upgrades

If you have not peeked recently, Delta.com has been upgrading the font they use and now are rolling out some graphics changes to your trip details (just go look at some booked trips and see – must be logged in).

Also, they have added another way to add $$$ to the Delta bottom line, that is the offer to sell you an upgrade to EC or business class.

delta reminds me i can upgrade free to EC as a DM

It also reminds me I can do it free as a Diamond medallion but in this case I don’t want a middle seat EC I would rather stick with the exit row aisle seats I have picked on my flight down to Atlanta to have dinner with readers & MJ (only a few seats remaining btw)!

So should we be afraid of this latest marketing effort by Delta? I’m not. First off, Delta can sell a business class seat for any price. I have got in on some very good mileage runs in 1st class and it is a nice way to do a run! If Delta can sell a business class seat, good for them. If someone wants to pay the extra price, even a low price for a short hop, good for them too. Does this mean the end of free medallion upgrades? No! Why not?!?

Go back to my opening screen shot where it shows my flight from Grand Rapids to Los Angeles to position for my mileage run to Sweden that starts at LAX (thanks again to NAI). I got a sub-$400 US Bank paid for ticket with 20,000 FlexPerks points so I can earn Skymiles and MQMs on the positioning flight. I had NO interest in paying $1,000 for a business class ticket when I booked it nor do I have any interest now of paying almost $700 to upgrade. If I do upgrade for free, great, if not, so be it. You see my point I hope; I think few will want to pay a bunch more for the upgrade Delta is trying to sell.

What do you think? First off, do you like the new graphics and info on Delta.com and next do you think there will be less seats for free medallion upgrades with this latest push to sell upgrades by Delta? – René
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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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14 comments

  1. As soon as I saw this post I went and checked my next flight. It’s LAX-SFO-LAX next month or something. I paid $138. They’re offering the upgrade on a 1 hour flight for $351.98. That’s actually more than if I just booked the first class ticket. As a PM 7 of my 8 flights in and out of SFO this year have been upgraded (the 1 that didn’t was during some tech thing with lots of 25 year old millionaires…so…).

    You’ve gotta be pretty dense to fall for this one, though I’m sure some will.

  2. @Garrett – txs for data (and fact 😉 point)! agree. and you know, if Delta can get money from those types, hey just great for them.

  3. I won’t worry at all. They’re copying what UA has been doing for a half a year, and mostly they quote just the fare gap between your ticket and the cheapest discounted F (and rarely a TOD upgrade)

  4. I think the non-frequent travelers are almost afraid of business/first class. I’ve tried to upgrade family members with my miles just so they can experience the joys of it and they all got a panicked look and said “NO! We don’t belong up there, just put us in coach with the regular people.” So with that I think there may be a few takers (splurging for a honeymoon, etc…) but I agree that it’s no biggie.

  5. @FB – sigh. i have trained my wife too well that if we both don’t upgrade, she gets the big seat. then again happy wife = happy life!

  6. I like the fact that you can now see all of the info about a trip without having to click on View Details. I still get inaccurate information on fares and flight availability occasionally on d.com. I would expect that the new upgrade option will have little impact on the availability of complimentary upgrades.

  7. Being married to a Delta pilot, I would hope Delta would make as much $ as it can vs. giving away seats for free to those that just happened to be lucky enough that their jobs provide them enough travel to get past Gold to a meaningful level.

    But I’ll just enjoy flying for free regardless of where they put me… Then there are those first class seats international that I get if I schedule things right. Way more rewarding even if I don’t board first.

  8. @JD – that is one perspective. however, since there are still other airline choices, those who get free upgrades do tend to be loyal to Delta could be loyal to another airline who appreciates their elites. Just say’in. And yes non-rev is a nice way to fly (not that it add’s anything to the DL bottom line or share price)!

  9. I was offered this (OP) class on a flight from JFK to LHR over this last Christmas. I took it and tried to have my fiancé take advantage of the same offer but it wasn’t avail . They said they were testing it out and it ended up being a hassle to get a refund since they said they simply weren’t able to offer her same promo. Were both silvers with similar fare class ticket etc. anyway that was for 495 one way. Will be curious if that continues on international BE legs.

  10. For Delta regulars, this will have little impact. However, for casual flyers, many of whom don’t even understand the difference between ticket classes (as I once did not), this will be attractive. I recently heard a coach flyer comment that he always paid to upgrade on AirTran (as I did) because it was such a steal. In other words, while hefty, a small number of people will be willing to buy the upgrade who wouldn’t have otherwise simply because the offer is available after booking.

  11. Got an email from Delta this morning saying you can now pay with miles to upgrade this way.

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