Delta Medallion First Class Upgrades Clearing Before the Official Window Opens? #KeepClimbing!

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I love these real upgrade emails

Here’s a pleasant trend I experienced in recent months: several of my Delta Medallion first class upgrades cleared before their tier windows officially opened!

Many Medallions know the tier upgrade windows (120 hours, 72 hours, 24 hours) function more as guidelines than hard-and-fast rules. (Those unfamiliar with when Delta Medallion status tier upgrade windows open can learn more here.) It isn’t uncommon for Delta to wait — sometimes, no matter how many first class seats are open — to delay upgrading Medallions. Obviously, they want to sell as many first class seats they think reasonably possible (either through cash or Delta’s favorite “other currency”).

A man banging his head against the wall in frustration.

“But the Fly Delta app shows plenty of seats available for upgrades!”
(Photo credit: ©

Nice Surprises

There are several instances of when the “guidelines” worked in my favor earlier than I expected!

As a Platinum Medallion, my upgrade window opens 120 hours (five days) prior to a flight’s scheduled departure time.

Two of my flights on a Fargo trip this February were upgraded several minutes before my Medallion tier window opened. I chalked it up to flukes. (When has Delta IT ever done anything suspect?)

But it happened again — a couple of weeks ago for a Kona mileage run itinerary!

Our Seattle to Kona flight departed on a Wednesday at 3:55 PM. Naturally, my wife and I were excited at the possibility of riding up front for the six-plus hour flight. I logged on to the Fly Delta app around 3:45 PM on Friday — five days before the trip — to see how many first class seats remained open in the “Upgrade / Standby List” tab.

That number stood at 10 for several weeks — and dropped to 8. I tapped back to our itinerary and noticed that we were apparently those two passengers and already upgraded to first class!

The next morning, I checked the Fly Delta app for our Seattle to Los Angeles return. Our flight was five days away at 7:40 AM. I logged on at 7:35 AM — and saw Delta upgraded our seat assignments to 4A and 4B!

Image of a Delta first class seat map as seen on the iPhone version of the Fly Delta app.

Much Ado About Nothing?

Are upgrades clearing five or ten minutes before the official Medallion tier window opening that big of a deal? Given Delta’s reputation for upgrade shenanigans (sometimes with families) and the virtual crickets we often hear come upgrade eligibility time, it’s certainly #KeepClimbing worthy.

Fly Delta notifications alerting a passenger to first class upgrades, as seen on an iPhone home screen.

Please keep sending ’em early and often, Delta!

Have You Received “Early” Upgrades?

Have any of your upgrades cleared before your designated Medallion tier window opened? Tell us in the comment section below! – Chris



  1. Nothing to get too excited about. I believe it has to do with the one hour spring forward time change and IT stays on the old time. Things should go back to normal in October.

  2. I too miss the old 6-day window because when available, all flights for one’s itinerary cleared at the same.

  3. @Wayne Yes I noticed that additional change also. I remember that the six day window ended at the same time they rolled out an improvement although I can’t remember which improvement that was and whether it actually ended up being an improvement in the end!

  4. Wow, a fluke that favors passengers… Am I reading this correctly? Did my coffee kick in yet? 🙂

  5. As a diamond I have been noticing that mine are not clearing ahead off time, but at the gate over the last 8 or so legs. Seems unusual as I used to be lucky!

  6. Never early upgrades as the routes I take are Diamond hubs!! Rare upgrades at all

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