Minor Changes to Delta Medallion +1 Companion Upgrade Rules & Just When Will It Roll Out?

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old wording from delta for plus one upgrades

Let’s go back in time Delta!

Notice the screen shot above from the Internet Way Back Machine on the Delta news and updates site? It contains the wording regarding the outstandingly good news that I blogged about back in May that soon your +1 will all but have your elite level “lite” when flying with you. But there has been a minor change (i.e. an addition) to this page. Notice what it says now on Delta.com:

new wording plus one delta upgrades

These words are NEW Delta.

Delta has added the wording that “as long as the companion is a SkyMiles member traveling in the same reservation” that they did NOT have on the site before.

What does this mean for us? That depends, and there is still so much we do not know yet. First some background, and it is good if you did not read the post to  review the cursed and horrid  SNAPP  technology  that is on the way for us to suffer with. Now that you understand the technology I can talk about what I think this specific wording change could mean for us.

Right now let’s say you have two people traveling on the same flights but on two reservations or PNRs and you have taken the steps to LINK them. Then, you want to use a regional upgrade certificate on each person. You can, in fact, do this as long as ALL the flights are the same (and space is open, that is). I have done this a number of times with regional as well as global upgrade certificates.

But with this wording change Delta is telling us you must be on the same PNR for the new coming companion upgrade at the highest level elite to work. Does this mean reps cannot link your reservations and then manually add someone at your higher elite level? Maybe but we just do not know as the new system is NOT yet in place and up and running. Also, as mentioned, likely the upgrade system will be automated as SNAPP is taking over more and more and Delta is trying to take power away from reps to do things that are helpful.

Many readers are asking about just when this new upgrade policy will kick in? Delta says “Coming This Fall” and since we are just past midsummer to me we are not yet to fall. So, for now, we wait. Considering what a HUGE deal this will be I would think Delta will let us know when it is in fact live. – René


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  1. This is interesting… Overall I see the value here that you do Renè. I look forward to my spouse and I finally being able to travel in the same cabin together.

    My only concern is how to separate spousal or a special guest vs. just upgrading anyone. I see people I know all the time on my flights to DC. I was wondering what’s to stop me from making any of them “diamond for a day” and joining me up front?

  2. @Phil – Sure but how many CORP systems will let you book for two on the same expense report. I am sure there will be exceptions but not the rule.

  3. This is a game changer for my company.

    My wife is a PM and we purposefully book separate tickets to avoid me as a DM getting dragged down to the PM level for upgrades. Now, we’ll focus on my DM account and maxing out the MQMs in order to keep my status. Considering 90% of the time, she flies with me on 60% of my trips, there’s no reason to work on her status anymore.

  4. agree with Dr John’s point above. I’m DM and wife SM currently, was thinking about how to get her up to GM for 2017 elite status year, but now thinking i’ll just focus on accumulating the MQM for my own account, since 75% of the time she flies with me

    Rene, for Delta fliers you’re by far the best in the biz at what you do – thank you

  5. If this program goes through, then I no longer need to gift my wife “gold” status and instead take the $100 credit certificate.

  6. I would guess that this restriction is to avoid people gaming the upgrade list — for example a DM on a top fare requesting a companion upgrade for their co-worker on a different PNR. This restriction will help limit companion upgrades to “true” companions, which will be better for more medallions getting upgraded (DMs on lower fares and PMs … unfortunately GMs and FOs don’t seem to get upgraded much any more).

    It will certainly also mean some cases where medallions who for whatever reason are on a different PNR from their SO will have trouble both getting upgraded, but overall I think it is a reasonable restriction.

    Companions on a separate PNR will probably continue to be upgraded at their own priority level, which is the same treatment as companions on a separate PNR today.

  7. @Bgriff – A good assessment and I agree with you. Will be interesting to see it play out in real life soon.

  8. Am a DM, booked two separate flights (flights in early October) for my husband and I since we each had a voucher. Called to link them and ask if my husband could be put on the upgrade list at my status level given this ‘new rule I heard about.’ The call occurred before this change in verbiage, but the phone rep did put my husband on the upgrade list at my DM level…so, separate PNRs here but not sure what would have happened if I had called today…

  9. So if I use 2 global upgrades to fly to/from Europe first/ business class…will my husband be able to move up as well without a global upgrade?

  10. Personally, as a PM this makes me even more happy I’m jumping to United.

    For Economy Comfort “Upgrades” this is the right choice. And if I were still a DM I’d love this. But as a PM I just see this as more upgrades disappearing before I get a chance to be upgraded.

  11. I just called DL Medallion Line to secure EC upgrade for me and my Skymiles companion and was advised that for our flights (in November), that our EC upgrades would clear AFTER all solo Silver Medallions cleared. The only way to clear/secure EC seat now was to separate tickets, and companion was to purchase. Is this correct? This is for an INTL trip to NRT.

    While I would like to fly into HND, DL hassle may just require me to jump on JAL flight for SkySeat/Service as I also have OneWorld Sapphire status…

  12. @Jordan – The companion “same status” match during flight with +1 will not start till this fall. For now, what Delta said, is the only way to do it yes.

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