How to upgrade on Delta Air Lines

Enjoy a better seat without spending the extra dollars.

Last updated:

We value our editorial independence, basing our comparison results, content and reviews on objective analysis without bias. But we may receive compensation when you click links on our site. Learn more about how we make money from our partners.

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:

  1. Medallion Elite status. The higher your status, the higher upgrade priority you get.
  2. Fare class. Higher-priced fares get priority over lower-priced.
  3. Delta Reserve Credit Card members. Being a Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express or Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card cardmember gets you third on the priority list.
  4. 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.
  5. Delta SkyMiles® credit card owners. This applies to card owners who meet the Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQD) Waiver in the current calendar year.
  6. 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:

During booking

  1. Go to delta.com and log in.
  2. Select your ticket.
  3. If eligible, the option to Upgrade with Miles will appear in your Trip Summary before you complete your purchase.
  4. Use miles to upgrade.

After booking

  1. Go to delta.com or use the Fly Delta app and find your reservation in My Trips.
  2. If available, the option to Select Seats for money or miles will appear.
  3. 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

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months, plus $50 when you make a Delta purchase in the same timeframe
2x miles on Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months, plus $50 when you make a direct Delta purchase in the same timeframe. Rates & fees
10,000 miles after spending $500 in the first 3 months
2x miles at US restaurants and on direct Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0
Earn 10,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & fees
30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months plus $50 after making a direct Delta purchase in the same timeframe
2x miles on Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months plus $50 after making a direct Delta purchase in the same timeframe. Rates & fees
35,000 miles and 5,000 MQMs after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months plus $100 after making a direct Delta purchase in the same timeframe
2x miles on direct Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$195
Earn 35,000 miles and 5,000 MQMs after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months plus $100 after making a direct Delta purchase in the same timeframe. Rates & fees
40,000 miles and 10,000 MQMs after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
2x miles on direct Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$450
Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months. Rates & fees

Compare up to 4 providers

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.

Bottom line

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.

However, if getting a Delta upgrade seems like a hassle, consider other airline credit cards that may get you the benefits and perks you need.

Frequently asked questions

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site