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BREAKING NEWS: Delta to Change Upgrade Priority with a Companion. Highest Medallion Level Counts!

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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.

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HUGE news for Delta elites!

This is a game changer for so many. Delta, with the introduction of Comfort Plus upgrades, had made just about every elite crazy. To not be able to bring even a spouse / + 1 into a C+ seat is not OK. It seems Delta has got the message. Take a look at what is on the way:

“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.” –

This is truly great news and one that is #KeepClimbing worthy. While we clearly do not have all the details yet about these changes it has farther reaching implications than just to sit together in a C+ seat but also in 1st class as well.

Is this a perfect fix? No, but it will make it even more important for two traveling together to be on the same PNR or reservation to be able to take advantage of this new medallion change on the way soon. If you are more than two, you will want to consider, it seems, splitting two off for the best shot at upgrades either instant to C+ (for Diamonds and Platinums plus one companion) as well as the 6/5/3/1 day window for 1st class upgrade.

I am shocked Delta has announced this change. It is great news and shows if we complain and push back hard enough over punishing changes – Delta will respond. Well done readers! – René

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. Wow. WOW. Awesome start but keep pushing. Sidegrade needs to be resolved as well. No middle seats for me. Ever.

    Thanks for the news Rene!

  2. This would be good news, and really not much of an impact on DL. After all, one companion really equals a middle seat next to either window or aisle seat….. I cant believe they think they can “sell” middle seats.

    • @Noah – The times most elites travel with +1 are not as much as an elite on their own. NOah this is amazing news and IMO Delta is ONLY to be praised for this outstanding change. I am thrilled! This is fantastic news.

  3. Rene,
    Noah is correct. As a Platinum who is single, you’re telling me a Diamond with a “gifted” Silver status companion will TRUMP the Platinum on a Y, B, M, or W fare? This is SAD for me. What about the single Diamond versus the Diamond with a fare class one class higher? Is that fair for the other Diamond? Noah is correct, Delta devalues Platinums and below.

  4. So let’s consdier this scenario… 2 seats left in FC.

    I’m a DM traveling solo on a T fare.

    Another DM and no status companion are both on U fares. These two get the upgrade over me.

    You consider that “truly great news”?

    • @MG – How many times do most Delta elites travel with +1? When this DOES happen, yes, Delta is rewarding loyalty and I am THRILLED! Best news in 3 years. I am so happy Richard Anderson is GONE! I am starting to really like ED a bunch!

  5. Let me take this time to thank (and praise) René and his efforts in raising the level of awareness with all Medallion members regarding what was (obviously) a fools’ gambit when it cam to this changed upgrade policy.

    The fact that it raised such a furor is a testament to the fact that so many ‘road warriors’ (who log a lot more miles than the average flying public and more than their companions) can now relax in a small, but sweet victory; knowing that their few trips with an important companion will be at the comparable level of benefits they would experience alone.

    After all, did it really make sense to penalize any Medallion who displayed loyalty to Delta for wanting to share their experience with that person? Common sense tells you it did not. And that knowledge, along with the voices of the most loyal of Delta’s flyers and the investment community has triumphed.

    Tonight is a sweet victory for us all. And I toast René and his informative blog and tweets that helped this come about.

    René pertinacia fideles defendit

    • @laptoptravel – Thank you and for all you do on the blog and for us Delta flyers. You said it better than I ever could! #KeepClimbing Delta! Well done.

  6. @Rene – Yes, it’s a holdover from the CO days which now applies to UA.

    CO always let companions of elites clear upgrades with the same priority as the highest tier in the reservation.

    The implementation is buggy, especially when waitlists go to the airport, but that’s the intended policy.

  7. I don’t know. This is obviously a benefit for DMs like Rene, and on balance makes sense. And for those of us questioning the value of PM and DM, if we frequently travel with companions, it clearly reinforces the value of that status. But for GMs like myself, already laboring under an abysmal upgrade percentage, my guess is I will see the short end of this policy far more often than I am the beneficiary.

  8. I don’t profit from this change since I always travel together with my +1, so we do have the same status anyway. But nevertheless I agree with Rene, that this is a great change.
    Though due to this change, we as mighty Silvers now get trumped by some Diamond traveling with a ‘nobody’? Oh my 😉
    Somehow Noah and Co may have a point, now a Platinum can get trumped by a Silver who travels with a Diamond.
    But how was it handled before (and is right now, until the change kicks in)? A Diamond gets trumped by a Gold, just because he travels with a Silver.

  9. Rene I understand how you are happy about this, and as a Platinum who almost always gets the upgrade far in advance, I would love to travel in F with my companion.

  10. Pingback: Delta Has Plans to Change Companion Upgrade Policy - Travel Codex

  11. Still not as great as being able to put 8 others into C+ with you at the time of booking.. Baby steps, I guess.

  12. Deltaflyer Reply


    While this is a good change for DM traveling with companions, I don’t think it’s fair that a DM with companion (with lower status) should take a first class seat over a DM flying solo.

    I would say that after all elites in the same tier level clear then the upgrades start opening for the lower level companion based on tier.

    So in our example, the priority would work like this:

    1) All DMs
    2) DM companions (even if companion has no status)
    3) PM
    4) PM companions

  13. Rene,
    First of all, this is potentially very big for me/us. I may keep my Delta Reserve card after all and go back to preferring DL over AA due to this. Something isn’t clear to me from the statement, though. The language says medallion and a companion. The example lists two medallions. Does the companion have to have medallion status for the higher status upgrade to apply?

    • @Barry – We do not know yet. Much speculation but my guess is that only ONE must be medallion and +1 just must be SkyMiles member. We shall see.

  14. Pingback: Delta Repairs an Upgrade Problem - MJ on Travel

  15. MaineBigDaddy Reply

    This is BIG news, as I try and convince my wife to fly Delta with me at times, it has been a struggle as she has status with UA, although at a lower level. So when we have gone together on Delta her status has killed any upgrade chance we had as a PM soon to be DM this year.
    This is awesome!!

  16. This definitely impacts my strategy to push for DM this year. I often travel with +1 and split PNR for this (prior) reason so we have a chance at one upgrade as PM. Given that this change clearly devalues PM (and GM and SM) my mind is made up to focus spending on a 3rd Reserve card and hit the bonuses. DM it is!

  17. The question now arises as to whether gifting gold status to the +1 is now smart/worthwhile/beneficial or is it now effectively a waste, assuming that most +1 travel is with the DM. Also, the gain here is extremely positive and important as far as comfort+ is concerned, but it is negative as far as business/1st upgrades are concerned. At the end of the day, my DM status is devalued because some other DM who paid a class higher gets his +1 up front and that should have been my seat. It will result in upgrades to 1st lost to companions for every DM and it will hurt when that happens to me. Life was just fine upgrading one seat to business and the keeping other one in comfort+, however it was divided (in my case, I always give my wife the business seat, it is a small way that I say thanks for putting up with all of this). Easily done by booking separately and connecting the reservations, not booking them on one PNR. Worked just fine all the time.

    Make no mistake – the cause of this, and much other heartache and disappointment and upset and irritation for DMs is the introduction of the W fares and treating comfort+ as an upgrade.

    BTW, is anyone else irritated to get that stupid “congratulations, you’ve been upgraded!” email and then to open it up and find that the “upgrade” it refers to is the comfort+ seat you chose when you booked? Really upsetting! Annoying! Yo, Delta – would you please stop calling that comfort+ thing an “upgrade”!!!!

    • I absolutely HATE the “upgrade” to Comfort + emails! They could at least differentiate them from the REAL upgrade emails.

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  20. @Rene,

    What happens when you are +3 instead of +1?

    Can I at least pick out which 2 can get C+, or are we just excluded entirely?


    • @Vicente – Split PNR with 2 on one and 1 on 1 if you want the perk. Then link / cross reference the two reservations.

  21. Hopefully they will do what one poster suggested and clear solo diamonds first and then those with companions. That’s how American does it with EP upgrades. Would be fair for everyone. Only issue I have is that I travel solo a lot as a DM and so does my wife is who is PM and we use SDC a lot and have bought FCM fares for the SDC flexibility. That is going to stink if we have a paid FCM fare and can’t SDC because the seats up front are occupied by lower tiers and their non status companion who cleared at the window. May a way around this would be for Delta to only clear DM’s at the window (and maybe PM’s) and clear other tiers at the gate??

    This is one way delta is helping to award their highest tier

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  23. Pingback: Delta Improving Upgrade Priority for Companion Travel

  24. We have a flight booked for Christmas with a PM and +3 on miles. If I split the PNR with 2 on each do we lose the ability to change the flights on the PNR without the PM?

    • @Mary – Should not be an issue just cross link reservations. The miles are from a PM account.

  25. This will be needed, as we are required to request complimentary upgrades to C+ for INTL flights now.

  26. Now if only they would let us bring our companion into the SkyClub…

  27. What happens to companion on award ticket? Now could they also get upgrade based on the primary flyer’s status (Only Gold and above gets upgrade on award ticket)?

  28. Pingback: Delta Upgrade Priority and Splitting the PNR with those Comfort+ Non-Upgrades - Rapid Travel Chai

  29. @Crystal – As has been talked to death, the few times this matters, will be weekends etc when most business flyers are not flying and will be only a few times a year when someone will be flying with their +1 (wife etc). This is a BRILLIANT move by Delta to keep big spenders.

  30. David Hartman Reply

    Have you heard anything more specific than “this fall”? It is now September and I would hope that a firm implementation date would be forthcoming. Thanks for all of the great Delta information.

    • No. Delta’s official line still states the following:


  31. Big spenders would not be Desperate for their companion to get a free first class upgrade, they would pay for first class, use miles, upgrade certificates ,etc not rely on the Delta Companion Charity to give their companion a free first class upgrade.
    One Diamond gets 2 free upgrades , the other Diamond gets the middle C- seat because the other Diamond may have paid a little more for his ticket.
    Delta is sending out the message that Delta does not want or appreciate Platinum. Gold , & Silver Medallions as customers.
    I believe it is a foolish move for Delta to give PRIORITY to non-status companions over other Diamonds and ALL Platinum Medallions.
    Anyone who flies frequently on popular routes knows how long the upgrade lists can be. Now Delta’s majority of most loyal customers will be replaced by non-status companions traveling with Diamonds who believe it is of most importance to sit with their companion & be upgraded but are too cheap to pay for their companion.

  32. caig saunders Reply

    I feel Delta has listened, about the companion upgrade to EC, I,m a Platinum member, going to diamond, my wife is Gold, via 2 million miler,I have booked flights, Internationally, It allows me to pick a seat in some for myself, to upgrade, but not others, so I have to wait for 5 days clearance,?If I read this correct, myself and spouse, will be able to go to EC. Now I see some saying that they may be diamond, or Gold single travelers and the Diamond, with say Silver member will get priority, yes well you do want to travel together,I don,t understand the Diamond guy saying he may not get a seat, as the gold, or silver traveling with Diamond, Platinum member has taken the seat, as it will be at time of travel, you get the seat. In the past , if fare was cheap, I,ve paid the extra .

  33. Any updates on the start date? Delta’s site still shows the policy change but no dates given.

  34. For the Platinum customers who were fooled & asked for this change you will see first class upgrade chances down to the bottom of the list where silver usually gets upgraded. I have already witnessed this, if you do not believe me just wait until next time you fly. So If you are platinum , good luck because a diamond with a friend, aunt, uncle , whoever the Diamond is flying with who shows no loyalty to Delta will get an upgrade over you. Also be on the lookout for the C- game of two travelers who must sit together at all times, be upgraded, but refuse to pay for an upgrade taking the aisle & window seat in C- leaving the C- middle seat open hoping if the flight isn’t full that they will get the whole row. This is exactly the kind of customer that Delta is catering to & giving priority to. So if you are Platinum, Gold , or Silver, Delta really don’t care if you go elsewhere because you are not a valued customer & expendable , IMO

  35. What if we booked separately before the change? Can Delta Reservations combine the separate resevations into one so companion is UG eligible?

    • @Larry – No, sorry. If the price is the same for both you can beg to have them cancel both, apply credits for both, and rebook as one. That is a tall ask but you can check and ask.

  36. Pingback: Delta Is Changing Their Companion Upgrade Policy | One Mile at a Time

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