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How We Scored Complimentary Delta One Upgrades for Four Family Members and Myself — All on the Same Flight

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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.


My wife, daughter, in-laws, and I are trekking from cross-country for a wedding. We’re all on the same flights — and were upgraded free to Delta One.

Here’s how.

Booking the Trip

For reference, here’s how our trip was purchased.

Our fearsome family fivesome is traveling roundtrip from LAX to JFK. We’re booked across three separate reservations:

Both my wife and I are Platinum Medallions (we’ve found it’s easier to have the same status, considering we usually travel with our daughter. But we plan for Diamond again soon!). Mrs. C and our kid’s PNR cleared for a complimentary C+ upgrade shortly after booking, as did my PNR.

My in-laws, meanwhile, hold no airline status. They were going to use my Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card‘s Companion Certificate to buy a Delta One roundtrip. And that’s when we learned that Companion Certificates are no longer eligible for Delta One bookings. They bought Comfort+ for the extra legroom and so we can all sit together. (I pity the passengers sitting near us. Goodness gracious.)

Getting All of Us Upgraded to Delta One

We were deciding between two flights for the return to LAX: the last flight of the night or one earlier. Before purchasing the tickets, I checked Regional Upgrade Certificate availability on Delta.com (a how-to process I outline here.). The last flight of the night showed Delta One upgrade availability for RUC!

I’ve flown between LAX and JFK countless times — and never have I been upgraded. Even as a Diamond using a RUC. So I was shocked to see upgrade availability.

Keep in mind Delta no longer limits how many passengers can be upgraded with Upgrade Certificates — and that extends to linked reservations!

Bingo!

My wife and I decided that my mother-in-law would take the Delta One seat. (We operated under the plan that only one would be available.) If we could upgrade more people, we’d go from there. (Though my mother-in-law and I are the first class divas of the family, so…)

At this point, I purchased the itineraries.

Then I called the Medallion line and asked about availability. Wanna guess how many Delta One seats were available for upgrade?

Six.

Yes, six.

Even the Medallion rep sounded shocked.

So how’s that for a unicorn of a flight? Confirmed Delta One upgrades from JFK to LAX — and for everyone in our crazy party! (I’ve told this story to several friends very familiar with Delta and the Medallion program. They gave nearly identical responses: “What?! How the [expletive] was that available?!”)

My wife would have four Regional Upgrade certs, as would I. So that would cover all of us — and leave three RUC to use later.

Mrs. Carley and I generally wait to order our Choice Benefits until we absolutely need them (or the expiration date draws near). So I didn’t yet have the certs. While the Medallion rep linked our reservations, I logged on to the Choice Benefits selection page. I ordered RUs for my wife and then repeated the process for mine.

And then the sweating began.

Upgrade Certificates aren’t necessarily issued right away. So I waited a few (long) hours.

Then the certs showed up in my Fly Delta app’s Wallet.

I called Delta — and there were still six seats available. Because the first rep with whom I spoke linked our PNRs, this agent got us confirmed in Delta One in a few minutes.

All-in-all, we’re sitting in Delta One for a fraction of the retail cost.

Final Approach

I appreciate that Delta not only allows people to search confirmed upgrade availability but also lets folks use several Upgrade Certificates across multiple itineraries. It’s a great perk for families, scoring favor with your boss, etc. 😉

We’re truly looking forward to this family trip and can’t wait for the experience.

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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6 Comments

  1. BookGirl305 Reply

    . “How we got complimentary upgrades to Delta One” is not the same as “ we are Diamond and got to use our Diamond upgrade certificates” or “well known travel blogger who is a Diamond uses the Medallion line to get upgraded” not even close. A complimentary upgrade is when the guy in 28E got a complimentary upgrade to Delta One. This is some TPG stuff. (Smile)

  2. Barry Graham Reply

    Nice job! I might have used miles to upgrade myself, so I could get the bonus MQD.

  3. I had a ATL-SLC flight recently that showed 26 First Class available for upgrade (767-400). They were the Delta One ‘pods’, though wasn’t marketed as Delta One. It was a Saturday Afternoon. Needless to say, even this lowly Gold got to upgrade on that flight. I’m guessing that won’t happen much more as people are starting to travel more. Nice work Chris!

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