How to get an upgrade on Delta? - Frequent Flyer Miles FAQ


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Credit Card Applications » Questions » FAQs » Frequent Flyer Miles » How to get an upgrade on Delta?

How to get an upgrade on Delta?

Answered on | Updated on May 29th, 2017
The content is accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change.

Being a frequent traveler provides a lot of perks and ways to save on your trips. Booking a flight solely with your award miles is one way, and beneficial enough for our taste, but if you are willing to pay the fare, there are other methods of making your flight enjoyable. An upgrade to business or first class is surely the one.

There are several ways of getting an upgrade, more and less legitimate:

  1. You can guilt an airline into giving you an upgrade. If something goes wrong on their side, airlines sometimes offer an upgrade as a compensation.
  2. Get a lucky overbooking. Sometimes, if a flight is overbooked, you might just be moved into the business section if there are free seats.
  3. Pay for it. Airlines are always happy to give you a posh seat for some extra payment.
  4. Use miles. It’s high time your loyalty to this particular airline got justified.

If you ask me, throwing tantrums isn’t worth it, as is the risk of not making it to your destination due to the busy flight. But using miles for an upgrade is a safe way of making your life just a tad more comfortable, and you don’t have to worry about blackouts and the overall availability of the award flights.

Unfortunately, since the new 2015 system coming into effect, Delta has made viewing the award chart difficult to do and obscured the process of award booking to the fullest. The info on their page presents the very basic rules you could have surmised on your own. Despite that you can still find a way around and find the award chart in the web archive of the site, if you dig far enough.

An upgrade from full economy fare costs from 5,000 miles within the continental U.S., Alaska and Canada. An upgrade from selected fare costs from 12,000 miles. When it comes to long-haul flights, the prices are higher. An upgrade to Europe can cost you 15,000 miles while an upgrade to India starts from 20,000.

The process of making an upgrade is basically the same as booking. You can do it online, in a local Delta office or call them to have an assistant do it for you.

However, the first thing to do is to make sure you are a member of Skymiles and you have enough miles earned. Sign up if you aren’t a member, and if you are but don’t have enough miles, earn some via traveling with Delta or making purchases with a travel credit card, the Discover it® Miles is one example.

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All rates and fees, and other terms and conditions of the products mentioned in this article/post are actual as of the last update date but are subject to change. See the current products' Terms & Conditions on the issuing banks' websites.
  • Rob

    Delta is by far my favorite airline, I’ve tried Alaska, United and American. United sucks and American has recently lost in customer service. Delta’s more expensive now, true, but it’s worth it, especially if you get a status.
    I’ve tried an upgrade too, but don’t really need it since I fly business and it’s fine as it is.

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