Dead – Cheap Delta One Cash or Cash+Miles Upgrades From Amsterdam and More (Plus why this is a Good Thing)!

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Cheap Upgrades to Delta One

For a very long time it has been possible to, either at the gate or preferably in the KLM Crown Lounge, for a fee buy up to Delta One from most fare classes for either cash or cash plus miles.

That is cheap!

The plus side of this is you are flying Delta One for a tiny fraction of what it would cost you to outright pay for a business class ticket last minute. But there have been issues with this practice as it has often meant those who wanted to use their valuable Diamond Medallion Choice Benefit Global Upgrade Certificates couldn’t because Air France or KLM had sold out any open seats (and from my understanding, keeping the proceeds).

Well, according to Hollandair on FlyerTalk that has changed as of the 1st of the year and that you can no longer buy-up for cheap as you could in the past. Now it seems you can only use your Global Upgrades on Delta flights but on KLM flights you can still use miles or your Global Upgrade certificates.

Just ask!

Why this change? My guess is twofold. First off, with the change to allow you to upgrade just about any ticket with SkyMiles as of 10DEC18, Delta wants to control the cost of the upgrade and to realize the gain from you spending SkyMiles to upgrade vs. giving the money to AF/KLM (remember, Delta views you spending SkyMiles the same as spending cash). Next, I am sure Delta is sick of endless complaints from Diamonds who have open seats gamed away from them by the Skyteam partner rather than processing their earned upgrade certs. As a Diamond I am endlessly frustrated with Delta releasing so few seats for Global Upgrade Certificate use. To at least have a realistic shot at using them day of departure is a nice change.

What do you think of this change? Have you purchased cheap AF/KLM Delta One upgrades from Europe to the US? Do you ever buy-up on AF or KLM flights from the US? – René




  1. @Rene – This always sounded too good to be true! Too bad it’s over. are these Delta metal flights, or KLM/AF metal, DL marketed flights? I’m pretty sure using a global cert on a KLM metal flight requires Y/B/M – ditto AF.

  2. Maybe the change is working because I used GUCs at booking to upgrade very cheap Delta flights from DFW to TXL via AMS roundtrip. The outbound also upgraded me to business class from AMS to TXL on a KLM 737-900.

    Last year I upgraded a cheap economy fare to business class on a KLM 747-400 AMS -IAH when the agent in the Crown Room said a seat on the upper deck was available for 400 euro and 25,000 skymiles/skypesos/stymiles. The upper deck is 2-2 so not as great as the delta/NW 747 upper deck but still quiet and secluded. The apple pie was amazing b/t/w.

    FYI Crown Lounge 52 is partially open and it looks great. Terribly overcrowded of course but the looks are much improved. It won’t open fully until March.

  3. I tried upgrade on KLM as there were seats in Biz open -2 hours from departure..but had the dreadedSSSSS on my BP so gate agent said when you are done with your XXTRA security come back.. Finally went back in line then told no more seats!!!

  4. What about flying back from AMS to MSP on a Delta jet, but using a KLM ticket? Is that upgradeable?

  5. @Steve – AFAIK that would be a Delta controlled flight so no even though KLM stock ticket. You should have no issue with a GU cert.

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