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Using a Delta Global Upgrade Certificate on Korean Air — and Certain Delta Aircraft

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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.


Ben/Lucky over at One Mile at a Time wrote a great post this afternoon about using Delta Diamond Medallion Global Upgrade Certificates for Korean Air first class.

This is a great opportunity to discuss some possibilities — as well as a few reminders about using GUCs, as the process differs a bit between the two carriers.

Using GUCs with Korean

To take advantage of this perk with Korean, you must first buy Prestige Class — KAL’s business class product — through Delta. It must be a Delta marketed and sold ticket. From there, call up your Medallion Desk and ask if there’s upgrade inventory available from business to first.

This isn’t like redeeming GUCs on Delta — where you can jump from Main Cabin/coach to Delta One. (And more on that, too, in a minute.)

How much is an upgrade from business to first “worth” on KAL?

First, you’ll have to buy — from Delta — that Prestige fare. As you can see on this ATL-ICN one way trip I selected for February 20 (a date I chose at random). Prestige runs about $4701.

A Korean Air flight marketed by Delta Air Lines, one way from ATL to ICN.
Notations indicate the flight is operated by Korean.

Applying a GUC — and actually getting the upgrade to clear — puts you into a seat that retails for…

 

Korean Air Prestige first class price marketed on Delta Air Lines for a flight from ATL to ICN.

Just north of ten grand (at least, on this itinerary). So that’s a nice use of a GUC.

Remember, upgrade certificates are valid one-way. So if you don’t clear on one segment, you may have to slum it and sit with the unwashed in business class. (#FirstWorldProblems.)

“This could come in handy if you happen to be flying paid business class on Korean Air and can book it as a Delta codeshare,” Ben added, “but that’s about it, in my opinion.”

Many of us can attest that finding GUC upgrade inventory on Delta may be frustrating. I can’t imagine it will be any easier or more pleasant on KAL — especially after forking over thousands of dollars before applying GUCs.

Using GUCs for Delta One Upgrades — on Aircraft with Premium Select

When it comes to redeeming GUCs on Delta, you can skip the whole “buying a premium fare” thing.

You can apply an upgrade certificate — and go from coach to Delta One without having to purchase a Premium Select fare on aircraft outfitted with Premium Select. (Read Rene’s reviews of the A350’s Premium Select and Delta One Suites.)

Delta Premium Select on an Airbus A350.

We’ve heard horror stories of people burning two UCs — one from coach to Premium Select, and then another Premium Select to Delta One. Don’t do that.

Delta One Suites 5B on an Airbus A350.

Use the GUC for another flight — and great experience.

–Chris

Cover image: ©iStock.com/Teka77

 

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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