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How to upgrade on Delta Air Lines

Enjoy a better seat without spending the extra dollars.

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 SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card or Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express 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 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 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, 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
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months, plus up to $50 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants in the same timeframe
2x miles on Delta purchases, restaurants and at US supermarkets and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)
With a welcome offer worth up to $560, up to 2x miles on select purchases, and assorted Delta perks, this is a strong choice for Delta fans. Terms apply, see rates & fees
Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card
10,000 miles after spending $500 in the first 3 months
2x miles at restaurants and on direct Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
Earn 2x miles on Delta purchases and dining with this simple, entry-level Delta card, and pay no annual fee. Terms apply, see rates & fees
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months plus up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants in the same timeframe
3x miles on Delta and direct hotel purchases, 2x miles at restaurants and US supermarkets and 1x miles for all other purchases
This card boasts a welcome offer worth up to $700, an annual companion certificate and valuable Delta perks. Terms apply, see 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.

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