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I am sick of “fake” Delta upgrade e-mails & no “real” upgrade e-mails. #Medallion Life Issues.

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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.

delta medallion sidegrade upgrage to comfort plus email

I know, from reader e-mails as well as comments, I am not the only one really upset over getting e-mails like the one you see above from Delta congratulating us for an upgrade to a coach seat that is just as wide as all the other coach seats on the jet. Not just that, but many times, you get this e-mail and it contains the exact same seats you were already in in C+. Yeah, maddening to say the very least. At least Delta has updated the wording to no longer state it is an upgrade to Premium Economy as CLEARLY C+ has nothing to do with a “PE” seat.

And it gets worse.

For the past few trips, while I have upgraded to 1st, I never received notice about the good news. Now I am not complaining about riding up front but here is the deal. There are few things in my travel life, over the past many years, that make me more giddy than getting the glorious e-mail from Delta that my “medallion upgrade has been confirmed”! That seems to have come to an end. And this really hurts.

Delta has made a ton of destructive changes to the elite program over the past few years and FCM or the cheap selling of 1st class upgrades has made scoring these upgrades harder and harder than ever. Now, rather than sending us great news about getting what we so long for, we get an e-mail about a “sidegrade” to another coach seat that we may or may not already be in.

Talk about the ultimate disappointment. Could Delta hurt us any worse?

Over the years I, as well as most other Delta flyers, have been really harsh on Delta IT and justifiably so. They have all but destroyed our ability to use the multi-leg tool on to find the flights we want quickly and simply. They all but HIDE schedule changes so when we have illegal connections or are bumped out of our carefully chosen seats it is up to us to sleuth out what is now facing us.

Now we have this latest betrayal of status. Brilliant job, Delta IT folks. Be very proud.

How about this Delta, change the e-mail notice. You and I both know C+ is no medallion upgrade. At best it is a Sidegrade. How about you alert us that we have been “cleared” to Comfort Plus. Then, rather than no notice, e-mail us as you did before when our real Medallion upgrade has been confirmed to 1st class. That, as it did before, would make our hearts leap for joy!

I really wish, for once in my life, Delta would not take 1 (or 2) steps back for every step forward they ever take when it comes to SkyMiles and the Medallion program! – 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. I totally agree. The only thing I really care about as a platinum is getting a complimentary first class upgrade because having more space is what matters.. C + seats are nothing.. I am short and a little wide.. It is annoying and disappointing to get those emails. I hope Delta understands at some point what is the real perk. When you fly a lot for work you really appreciate the upgrade. Takes away some of the stress.

  2. I agree! The emails sent are confusing at best, rather than informative. In addition, I’ve found that if you fail to click on the “upgrade request” box on the website, you are not automatically placed on the upgrade list. I lost an upgrade failing to do this. I’m a 2 million Diamond Elite, you would think Delta would do better.

  3. I have recently have Delta lie about upgrades. I was sidegraded to C+, then had flight delays and a new itinerary sent several times (multiple delays) saying my status was First. I tried to view my seat via a PC and the Delta App, they always showed C+, and the PC said locked to changes at the airport. When I got to the airport, I asked if I was in 1st or C+, they said C+. When I showed them the email from Delta they could not explain why it said 1st. In the end I was in C+.

  4. I think Delta will eventually move to a class system of upgrading. Silver would be allowed one class, Gold 2 and Plat and above 3 classes. (For flight with only 3 classes silver and golds would max out at Comfort+) For silvers the complimentary upgrade would be to C+ from economy, gold would get business and plat First class.

    Why else would a booked C+ get an congratulations email of an incremental upgrade?

  5. @jack Diamond/1M welcome and heading to Platinum as I move more to Southwest (new goal companion pass for my wife). I skip checking the “sidegrade” and only ask for ‘real upgrade” to first. So usually in an exit aisle or they upgrade me. I no longer opt for a sidegrade option to avoid the middle seat in C +. Not sure it is the best strategy but one of the reasons I am decreasing Delta usage this year.

  6. Great timing as I am just about 3 days out from my next flight and awaiting an upgrade at the GM window. I unchecked the C+ so I can manage myself.

  7. dotti cahill Reply

    i totally agree with the pseudo upgrades ,,,not good…Did a mileagaae run this weekend and met Mike and Xiao doing it with me … FUn but i got an awful head cold an hour after i got off the last leg!!!UGGGGGG

  8. @Scott you realize you are talking about Delta? Flights with ‘only’ 3 classes? 😉
    Of course you know that there is no such thing as business class AND first class on one single Delta flight. Okay, since you know it I now understand that you were joking.
    Anyway, when Delta makes the move to see C+ as a completely different class of service (not just a different fare like on domestic flights) then I guess the next step would be ‘one-class-upgrade’. So from coach you can only upgrade to premium economy, c+, or whatever the name will be then. And it doesn’t matter if you are silver or diamond. One class only. Any exception? Maybe with some certificates.

  9. @Rene, I partially agree with you. Just because the seats in c+ are physically the same seats as in the rest of the main cabin I don’t think that the term ‘upgrade’ is totally wrong. It is still an upgrade because of more legroom, priority boarding, slightly better service (well, not service maybe, but in theory better snacks, drinks, etc.).
    Of course it is absolutely true, that it really is not a fantastic upgrade. And if you are gold or above you get priority boarding anyway. And as a diamond you even get premium boarding, so a seat in c+ doesn’t get you a better priority.
    I thought a bit about those discussions regarding middle seat dilemma. I used to say that I don’t mind middle seats because I always travel as a couple. So a middle seat is kinda unavoidable. But then I thought about what would be if I were traveling alone. Well, I guess, there is something I would consider even worse than a middle seat on a narrowbody plane. And that is a window seat. Why? There would be two people I would need to ask and disturb if I wanted to get up.
    I don’t mind being asked when I am in the aisle seat, but the other way around? It’s a bit different.
    Anyway, I prefer C+ over regular main cabin, so I consider it an upgrade.
    So I don’t really agree with the term ‘sidegrade’. BUT what I would agree with is your suggestion to call it ‘Cleared to Comfort+’.
    That sounds better than sidegraded, and it avoids the word ‘upgrade’.
    And where I totally understand you when you are bugged by getting an e-mail about c+ upgrade (if you like the word upgrade or not) but not an e-mail when you are upgraded to first class. Weird.
    And when I understand you correctly, you even get an e-mail about being ‘placed’ into a C+ seat when you already had a C+ seat?
    Then you are absolutely correct to call that stupid.

  10. I totally agree with your rant, Rene! And same data points on short domestic flights last week–sidegrade email to C+ but no first class email as a PM, even though I got upgraded to first class on a CRJ SIX days before departure.

  11. @Ben, so indeed understood it correctly what Rene mentioned. An e-mail confirming upgrade/sidegrade/change to C+ but no e-mail confirming first class upgrade. Wow, that is indeed weird.
    Though, maybe it’s the same logic as with those one-time notifications about schedule changes?
    I don’t travel that much, just two or three trips to the US per year. All leisure trips (obviously I am no business traveler), so I book them several months out. Usually, I get notified per e-mail that a flight number has changed (no equipment change, no schedule change, no seat change, just the flight number). Then that was it. Other changes (of equipment and/or schedule) I find out by checking my itineraries on a more or less daily basis.
    So first upgrade (or whatever you call it) leads to one-time upgrade notification … no further e-mail when another upgrade occurs …
    I know it does not make really sense, but maybe it makes some weird sense for Delta?

  12. Adam Wenger Reply

    C+ “upgrade” was even more of a joke for me yesterday MSP-LGA as they said they were not catered with C+ premium snacks, so we got our one drink and one biscoff. With the uncertainty of service, this experience makes me never want to pay for those seats.

  13. FNT Delta Diamond Reply

    I don’t mind Delta selling empty first-class seats before giving a courtesy elite-level upgrade but the process should be semi-transparent. All of us diamond and platinum elites know that no-status passengers get unbelievably low priced first-class offers because these folks are more likely to buy into Delta’s marketing that domestic first-class is a truly premium experience. I used to work in government and not-for-profit sector. We were never able to buy paid first-class tickets, but the chance at an upgrade made Delta loyalty important Now I’m in a position where I can buy paid domestic first-class if the airfare works within my budget. But instead of being loyal to Delta, I buy the cheapest domestic first-class (or international business-class) ticket I can find.

  14. Tachyon_OGG-SBA-IAD Reply


    I get that Delta is your beat, so you are stuck with their continual “over-promise, under-deliver” schtick…

    But you do understand that, like the loss of a mileage award chart and the switch to the new Customer-Abuse system, all changes are for the worse on Delta, right? C+ is a bad joke. People will pay for it, just like they will run up balances on their credit cards to “earn” Diamond– but at the end of the day every change on DL is meant to earn them more money while making the life of the business traveler incrementally worse.

    Delta never practices Win-Win. It’s either Win-Lose or Lose-Lose (like today… everybody lost because they can’t manage their fleaking infrastructure. Much like the ancient DC9s and the ancient, cramped terminals, DL leads the race to the bottom.)

    • @Tachyon – Anyone who runs up a balance on any card and does not pay it off in full is a fool and I have stated that over and over. Anyone who does it and DOES pay it off to earn status is brilliant. Delta Diamond is well worth the effort – Sorry that is a fact (at least for now)!

  15. Richard Wiid Reply

    I agree with Rene! If you think C+ is an upgrade, your most likely living in a legal marijuana state or your a Delta employee that is forced to pass out this BS… Being a diamond and flying 45+ weeks a year, I don’t consider C+ an upgrade. Enhanced snacks? Free drinks? Yippee!

    Only thing that matters is first class and the club.

  16. Barry Graham Reply

    I agree also, I have complained to them about it. Mind you, I have noticed recently that I am sometimes not getting notified at all when I am upgraded.

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