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Getting a seat upgrade without having to pay extra dollars is a cool perk. With most airlines, this perk is reserved for the ultimate flyer who spends a lot on airfare. Luckily, there is another way to upgrade without emptying your wallet.
How can I get an upgrade?
With Delta Air Lines there are two ways to get an upgrade — either use your miles or become a Medallion member. Here is the difference between the two:
SkyMiles members can upgrade using miles to Delta One®, Delta Premium Select, First Class or Delta Comfort+® for eligible flights within the US.
Medallion members get complimentary upgrades to First Class and Delta Comfort+. Diamond and Platinum Medallion members get upgrade certificates, which have higher priority and give access to global and regional upgrades on Delta and select flights on partner airlines, including Virgin Atlantic, KLM and Korean Air.
Who gets upgraded?
When you decide to upgrade with Delta, know that there is a hierarchy. Starting from the highest priority, it goes like this:
Medallion Elite status. The higher your status, the higher upgrade priority you get.
Fare class. Higher-priced fares get priority over lower-priced.
Delta Reserve Credit Card members. Being a Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card or Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card cardmember gets you third on the priority list.
Delta corporate travelers. If you fall in this group, you must be a SkyMiles Medallion member traveling on a ticket that includes your employer’s Corporate Ticket Designator.
Delta SkyMiles® credit card owners. This applies to card owners who meet the Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQD) Waiver in the current calendar year.
Date and time of upgrade request. This is used as a tie-breaker in case two passengers fall in the same priority group.
Delta upgrade with miles
Delta offers two ways to upgrade with miles:
Go to delta.com and log in.
Select your ticket.
If eligible, the option to Upgrade with Miles will appear in your Trip Summary before you complete your purchase.
Use miles to upgrade.
Go to delta.com or use the Fly Delta app and find your reservation in My Trips.
If available, the option to Select Seats for money or miles will appear.
Pick an available seat and complete your purchase.
In case you can’t upgrade on delta.com, call Delta Reservations, share your trip information and ask to upgrade with miles. The representative will give you prices and availability. If you are eligible and have enough miles, you can confirm the upgrade.
How to use a credit card to get a Delta upgrade
The Delta SkyMiles program is designed to reward its loyal customers. By having a Delta credit card you can earn more miles on your purchases, which you can redeem for seat upgrades.
And if you reach a Medallion status, you get unlimited complimentary upgrades to First Class and Delta Comfort+.
Compare credit cards that can help earn an upgrade
How to use miles to upgrade on a Delta partner flight
To upgrade on Delta partner flights you need to earn Medallion status. Aeromexico allows all Medallion members to upgrade, while Diamond and Platinum members can upgrade on eligible flights from KLM, Air France, Virgin Atlantic and Korean Air.
If you want to get an upgrade on Delta, you have to use your miles or become a Medallion member. Medallion membership is usually harder to earn, but if you do, you get unlimited complimentary upgrades.
Yes, log in to your delta.com account and locate Flight preferences in your profile. Find Medallion complimentary upgrade requests and edit your preference to get automatic complimentary upgrades when eligible.
If you’re a Medallion member, one companion gets a complimentary upgrade. But they have to be a SkyMiles member.
You need to earn either 25,000 Medallion Qualification Miles or fly 30 Medallion Qualification Segments. Learn more in our Delta SkyMiles guide.
Kliment Dukovski is a credit cards writer. He's written over 600 articles to help readers find and compare the best credit cards. Kliment has also written on money transfers, home loans and more. Previously, he ghostwrote guides and articles on foreign exchange, stock market trading and cryptocurrencies.
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