Delta Announces Changes in Upgrade Priority, Improving Chances for SkyMiles Members with Status

By Paul Riegler on 30 April 2016
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Delta Air Lines announced what it termed an “improved” and “simplified” process for clearing complimentary upgrades.

The new method “better recognizes the loyalty of our Medallion members, SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express Card Members and Delta Corporate Travelers,” the company said in a statement and becomes effective Saturday.

The changes affect the upgrade window as well as where SkyMiles members with Medallion status will be placed on the upgrade list.

For upgrades to domestic first class seats and subject to availability, Diamond and Platinum Medallion members will clear five calendar days prior to departure. Gold Medallion members will clear in three days and Silver Medallion in one.

Medallion members will also receive upgrades to Comfort+ seats in the airline’s premium economy lite section. These will be immediately available to Diamond and Platinum members while Gold and Silver will clear in the same timeframe as for domestic first-class upgrades.

The Atlanta-based carrier is also changing the way it prioritizes upgrades. The first cut will be based on status, starting with Diamond, then Platinum, Gold, and Silver. When it comes to members who have the same status, those will be cleared based on fare class with higher fare classes holding higher priority.

Those with status from partner airlines as well as SPG Platinum Preferred members will be eligible for upgrades only on the day of departure, based on availability, and those booking tickets with Y-class fares will no longer receive an upgrade at the time of booking.

Those with a Delta Reserve American Express credit card will continue to have higher prioritization within their status level and business travelers whose companies have a contractual relationship with Delta will also receive higher prioritization.

Other tiebreakers, as Delta put it, will be whether a passenger has spent at least $25,000 on a Delta American Express card and the final deciding vote will be based on the date and time of the upgrade request.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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