Travel Related

Rookie Wednesday: Have you had the (ongoing) “FREE” Delta 1st Class bug bite you yet? Delta IT fail is still costing us Medallion Upgrades!

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr
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.

RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a regular feature on the Renés Points blog. This blog series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this featured topic.

(Delta screenshot credit to lonelygod on FlyerTalk)

Oh my. The bigger Delta IT gets, with the selling of what once was a simple Medallion upgrade perk, the more bugs are showing up. First a few reminders of what I am talking about.

  • Back in “the day” it was simple. Starting at 6 days (then 5, 3 and 1) elites could look forward to upgrades. It was like clockwork and it worked.
  • Delta changed this set upgrade clock to starting at 5 days (120 hours – an upgrade can then happen at any time) and will continue pretty much until the gate takes over the upgrade control (yes, with some wiggle room – I know).

But the one above really takes the cake. Way back in March user lonelygod on FlyerTalk was hit by the still ongoing Delta IT bug that prevents a medallion from getting what should be a free medallion upgrade to first class!

Here is why this really stinks (and hurts – a lot).

If you have been hit by this latest Delta IT bug you have met all the qualifications to get a “free” first class medallion upgrade but the system has not processed it. Calling Delta is all but pointless because reps don’t understand that there is a bug and can not get their heads around the fact that a 1st class upgrade can price out as “free” (because you should have cleared free but it shows you have to buy it as free).

Is there a fix for this bug? Many times yes but it is again up to us to be proactive and check and check a lot when the 5 day window opens up. One fix, if we see the “free” upgrade up-sell option is to do what FlyerTalk user “cpmp” did just last week and un-check the first class upgrade requested box and then recheck the box and – bingo – your upgrade will clear. What are other things to do?

As I have pointed out already in this post there is always a risk of a C+ upgrade costing you a first class upgrade. I tend to choose exit row seats and skip C+ “upgrades” to make sure I only get a shot at a real upgrade vs. a fake upgrade (because C+ seats are nothing to get all that excited about on domestic flights).

I also have a detailed post about steps you can do to increase your chance to step over most of your fellow medallions for an upgrade – but again all those points are dependent on Delta IT working and that is hit-and-miss in 2019 with all the bugs due to FCM (First Class Monetization) of the premium cabin.

You tell me. Have you been hit by this or any of the other endless number of Delta Medallion IT bugs this year? Are there other Delta IT bugs you have seen that I have not? Were you able to get Delta to fix any of them for you? Let us know. – 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. My buddy and I (both Medallions) were flying together on the same reservation when this happened. Long story short, I ended up calling and a rep manually corrected it by moving us into the paid first class Z fare bucket. 50% mqm bonus!

    • @Eric G – Interesting. So they forced the upgrade i.e. into a paid upgrade bucket. Wow.

  2. Dave Brown Reply

    In the most likely category of ‘crappy’ (lying?) gate agent or “any of the other endless number of Delta Medallion IT bugs”, yesterday on a SLC -> MSP segment of a Y fare, I was #1 on the real upgrade list counting down the 24 hours to departure, growing to ~46 people with 2 seats. About an hour and a half before departure I get the upgrade to 4D. I screenshot that update on my phone, should have done the usual of getting a new paper copy but didn’t at the SkyClub and when the moment of truth comes at the gate scanner I’m waiting for the endless second for the 4D paper to print. The gate agent is looking at me like ‘what are you waiting for, you’re holding up the line!’, and literally says ‘there’s no upgrade for you!’. I board and who ends up sitting in ‘my’ seat but a Delta pilot. Another Delta pilot is sitting in the other of the two upgrade seats that were up for grabs.

    Now that’s great that DL ‘loves their employees’ but they can sit in back, or sit in the 10A seat that I was leaving for the real upgrade seat. Really who pays the bulk of their salaries? All of us traveling sheep do so ‘go sit in back, and thank Ed for the continual spewing of lies and misdirection.’.

    Of course asking a FA isn’t going to do anything so I call the Diamond Desk and first the lady finds nothing and says the usual ‘well, you didn’t have an upgrade’ but then she looks more and says ‘that’s not right, you had the seat and it was taken away from you, I’m calling my manager about this right now!’. She doesn’t get me an answer before takeoff but vows to call me back today.

    After I got to MSP it was still business hours so I called the usually dependable and ‘caring’ Corp Customer Care, who in this case could ‘care less’ as they tried to spin this story of ‘well, someone must have bought the seat’. Like hell. If I (and the #2 on the list that should have been assigned the remaining upgrade seat) was assigned the seat there’s nothing to sell! And then she goes on with ‘well, employees buy seats all the time’. How damn stupid does she think I am? I highly doubt ’employees but seats all the time’ as that’s one of the reason they work for an airline, free travel.

    The only logical reason I see here is the gate agent and their ‘bog head of power’ took the seats away and gave them to their employees. That’s really about the last straw for me and this scum of an airline. I”ll travel at least a couple months into 2020, get my ‘free’ 2M suitcase (that what, probably cost $150K+ in flights) and tell DL to [go pound sand]. I know American is as bad or worse though so is the ‘new United’ after the Dr Dou and other incidents any better these days?


    • @Dave – Ouch! I feel your pain. I too have been on a flight where “SHENA” cost a pal an upgrade!

  3. Steve sulligan Reply

    Last week in Atlanta boarding a flight to Boston. I am a diamond medallion . I am next on list for a FC upgrade . I’m in the sky lounge prior to boarding and arrive at my gate before the boarding process is begun. I ask the gate agent if I’ve cleared yet . He’s all bubbly saying sir I’ve called your name a few times and you weren’t present so the it was given away . I argued but didn’t want to raise a problem in the public area but keep in mind I’m already checked in , should have done it automatically and the agent wouldn’t budge either . I called Delta and was told that’s a issue to be dealt with within the Atlanta gate policies . I always felt I got screwed over here maybe I should have crates a fuss but don’t want to be that kind of person in the gate area . Was I wronged as I feel I was .

  4. I got an upgrade to Comfort + 2 days before my flight and my husband didn’t. He is Gold, I’m Silver. He got his about 10 minutes before we boarded but it was fun enjoying the glitch for a couple days. We carry expensive cameras on board so unfortunately we do like the C+ upgrades so we can get on earlier and get our camera gear stowed

  5. Dave Brown Reply

    Heck yeah you were wronged Steve! This increasing level of DL crap of ‘giving and then taking away’ is really getting tiring.

  6. Yep, the glitch has cost me some upgrades. I am Diamond and do not ever go for the so called middle seat upgrades. I choose an exit aisle before the Faux upgrade which could put you in a middle seat. I am letting Diamond go this year and since I wind up in coach all the time I am migrating to Southwest for 2020. Dumping the Amex/Delta cards as well due to the changes there. They have simply lost me as a customer due to the glitches, changes, lost value etc.

  7. Dave Brown Reply

    I called back into the Diamond Desk a few minutes ago about the SHENA (thanks for enlightening me on the acronym) pulled on me yesterday and said ‘the Lady helping me yesterday said she would call me back today with further explanation as to what went wrong’ yesterday, she hadn’t and I want to know. Now get this, the story (LIE) gets even bigger and bolder. The Diamond Desk Supervisor said ‘those seats were sold to the passengers at $1000 each so that’s why you didn’t get the upgrade.’ I go back to ‘well, if they were ‘sold’ I would have never gotten the seat in the first place!’

    But it gets better. I tell the Supervisor ‘those weren’t regular passengers, they were Delta pilots!’. She responds with ‘how are you so sure of that?’. Oh, I don’t know, maybe because I’m sitting in seat 10A and I’m less than 10′ from the guy that took my 4D seat and I can see is uniform plain as day and his lanyard with Delta logo on it!’. The only thing I couldn’t see clearly was his name tag bag holding still long enough to read the name off it. Same for the guy that took seat 1A (the other seat open), a Delta pilot. Shen then says ‘there’s no way a Pilot is going to pay $1000 for a seat upgrade!’. My point exactly.

    So, has anyone experienced this level out out and out lying to the point that clearly some record was doctored to state a person paid $1000 (twice) to garner their seat?

    I’m really getting to the last straw with these lying [redacted].

  8. I am platinum, and was flying from MCO to LAX on a Sunday night. First on the upgrade list and one seat left. Silly me for not taking a screen shot of the upgrade list. Next thing I know, my name is gone from the list. I speak to the gate agent, and they claim it’s a glitch. 10 minutes later I am back at the top of the list, but that first class seat is gone.

    I did remember what seat was available, and noticed who was sitting in it when I passed by FC. Turns out, it was a friend of the gate agent. How do I know this, because I was sitting by the gate and am very observant. I was watching the agents visit with a friend and I overheard them say, don’t worry we will take care of you.

    I wrote Delta, and they said ‘sorry, nothing we can do about it’.

Write A Comment