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The Official - GLOBAL UPGRADE CERT success thread - Yay! I got it!

The Official - GLOBAL UPGRADE CERT success thread - Yay! I got it!

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Old Mar 16, 19, 9:13 pm   -   Wikipost
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Using Delta Global Upgrades


Delta offers Diamond Medallion members the benefit of up to 4 Global Upgrade Certificates (GUCs) per year, which each allow a one-way upgrade to business class/Delta One for one person on any route in the Delta network, as well as a limited number of partner flights under specific restricted circumstances described below. 4 GUCs is enough to upgrade the Diamond Medallion member on 2 round trips or 4 one-way trips, or the Diamond Medallion member plus one companion on 1 round trip or 2 one-way trips.

Choosing upgrades as a choice benefit
  • Upgrades are valid one year from the date of issue, usually the day of or day after they are selected in Choice Benefits -- so best to wait as long as possible to select them unless you have a specific use planned for them
  • All Diamond Medallions also receive a Platinum Medallion choice benefit, even if just renewing existing Diamond status in a year, so DMs could for example select 4 RUCs as their Platinum choice benefit and 4 GUCs as one of their Diamond choice benefit, or 4 RUCs as their Platinum choice benefit and 8 more RUCs as one of their Diamond choice benefits
  • However, it is not possible to select 8 RUCs as one Diamond choice benefit and 4 GUCs as another, nor select 4 GUCs more than once for a single year's Diamond choice benefits -- so the most GUCs anyone can currently earn in a single year is 4
  • You may select your DM benefits at different times, so it is best to select fixed-expiration-date benefits (like gifting status or SkyClub memberships) as soon as possible, but wait until you have a specific use in mind to select upgrades, so that the expiration date is as far into the future as possible. This is especially important if you are waitlisting upgrades for a particular trip, since if the waitlist doesn't clear, a later expiration date will maximize the amount of time you have to try again to use them on a different trip.
  • For status earned based on flying in 2017, upgrades can be selected until the last day that status is valid, January 31, 2019, so they could possibly expire as late as January ~30, 2020 if they are selected as late as possible.
  • Upgrades can be used after you are no longer a Diamond Medallion as long as the upgrades are still valid, though non-DM-line phone agents will be less familiar with them, so they may be harder to use or run a higher risk of being processed incorrectly, so it may be worth booking your GUC flights before your DM status expires if possible.
  • All flights to be upgraded must be flown, not just requested, by the expiration date of the upgrade certificates, though there have been some examples of short extensions offered by phone agents (for example, to the end of the month of the expiration date) as long as the upgrade is able to be confirmed before the certificates expire. In this case it is important to push the agent to make sure the ticket is reissued right away, since it will not be possible to reissue the ticket after the GUC expires. You can tell if the ticket has been reissued because the ticket number on the booking will change from what it was when you originally booked in coach, and the GUC will be marked as "closed" in your wallet on Delta.com.

Finding upgrade space
  • Delta phone agents and the @Delta Twitter account can check for available upgrade space
  • There is no general way to check for available upgrade space online
  • However there is one exception where some flights appear to be able to be checked online: for Delta flights carrying a KLM code -- for example, most flights between the US and Europe -- ExpertFlyer.com (paid membership required) shows KLM upgrade space, and will show upgrade space for those KL-coded, DL-operated flights, which based on anecdotal evidence seems to often (but not always) correspond to upgrade space made available by Delta. This can be a way to check many dates and flights easily, but confirm with Delta that the upgrade space does in fact exist before making firm plans.
  • Upgrade space is not necessarily correlated with award space
  • If upgrade space is not available on your desired flight, you can waitlist, and it is possible the upgrade may clear before departure. If not your name should appear on the upgrade list at the gate. See next section for details.
  • Upgrade space is rarely seen in advance on busy, high-upgrade-demand routes like ATL-JNB and LAX-SYD.

Requesting an upgrade
  • You must call or Tweet at Delta to request an upgrade, they cannot be requested on the website
  • If upgrade space is available, the agent will process the upgrade immediately and you will be able to select business class seats
  • If the upgrade is confirmed in advance, your ticket will be reissued in business class at some point before the flight and you will receive a new itinerary email when this happens; occasionally the ticket does not get reissued and you will not be able to check in, but a quick call to Delta usually fixes this easily
  • Occasionally an email is sent to alert you if a waitlisted upgrade has cleared, but often the best indication is if a segment of your itinerary disappears entirely from Delta.com, which usually means the upgrade has cleared on that segment. Call Delta to have them process it so that it reappears in your itinerary, and you will be able to select business class seats.
  • There have been reports of upgrades coded incorrectly by agents -- unfortunately there is no way to know for sure if your upgrade is coded correctly, and requested upgrades seem to show up a few different ways on Delta.com, sometimes with an "upgrade requested" designation on the flight, and/or with a "phantom" duplicate flight in the seat maps which will not let you select seats
  • If an upgrade has not cleared by check-in time and you do not appear on the upgrade list on the Delta app or Delta.com, call to have an agent correct the upgrade
  • In certain airports where other airlines handle Delta's flights (particularly AMS), it is not officially possible to clear at the gate; KLM does process upgrades at the gate in AMS for certificates waitlisted 24 hours in advance of departure, but this is not an officially guaranteed benefit. To be safe make sure you have your GUC certificate numbers and redemption codes written down in case the KLM agents need this information.
  • If you are connecting, for example flying MCO-ATL-LHR, and upgrade space is not available on ATL-LHR, best practice is to waitlist on the ATL-LHR leg only, so as not to waste a global upgrade on the short MCO-ATL flight, and then add the upgrade request to MCO-ATL when/if ATL-LHR clears; most agents will understand this approach and may even proactively suggest it
  • If you have selected your choice benefits very recently (within the last 24-48 hours), the phone agent may not yet be able to see your upgrade codes, but you can read the codes to the agent from the My Wallet page on Delta.com
  • The priority order of GUCs, RUCs, mileage upgrades, and complimentary upgrades is not 100% clear, but it is known that GUCs and RUCs have higher priority than complimentary upgrades, and that GUCs and RUCs appear to have equal priority. It is listed on Delta.com that GUCs and RUCs clear first by medallion level and then by time of request, which is different from the upgrade priority used for complimentary upgrades (which is also listed on the website)

Other upgrade rules
  • Upgrades are valid on Delta flights on all economy fares except Basic Economy (E)
  • It is possible to request upgrades in one direction of a roundtrip only, for example if you had 4 US-Europe trips planned and only 4 GUCs, you might decide to upgrade the eastbound flights only as they are overnight flights and remain in economy for the westbound flights.
  • On flights operated with a Premium Select cabin, Delta has indicated that it will still be possible to use a GUC to upgrade directly from economy to Premium Select or to Delta One using the same number of GUCs. However, if an upgrade is cleared from economy to Premium Select, the GUC will be considered used, and another GUC would be required to upgrade again to Delta One. The best strategy is probably to waitlist only for Delta One upgrades, and perhaps if the GUC is close to expiring or you don't expect to have another use for it, to add a request for a Premium Select upgrade close to departure if the Delta One upgrade hasn't yet cleared and/or the Delta One seat map looks very full.
  • Upgrades may be used for the SkyMiles member and up to one companion; The companion need not be in the same PNR, but must be traveling on the exact same flight as the GUC holder.
  • Unlike AA and UA upgrades, DL upgrades cannot be gifted to someone whom the SkyMiles member is not traveling with
  • As of January 22, 2018, it is now officially possible to use a certificate for a companion but not for yourself, as long as you are traveling on the same flight as the companion -- for example if you are eligible to buy a business class ticket for business travel and want to bring your spouse by buying an economy ticket and upgrading them. It is not clear if you could upgrade your companion but not yourself. In the past the question has been raised of waiting for a complimentary medallion upgrade for the main member and then using a certificate for the companion, but now that companions for complimentary medallion upgrades are processed at the same priority as the main member, this is no longer a likely concern.

Using upgrades on KLM
  • Upgrades are possible on all coach fares for Delta-marketed (DL flight number), KLM-operated flights
  • In the course of processing the upgrade, Delta reissues the KLM flights on KLM flight numbers when they issue the upgrade, but the flights must be bought on DL flight numbers initially (unless buying expensive Y, B, or M fares with KLM)
  • As of now upgrades are processed into the Z fare bucket, which earns 150% MQMs
  • It is not possible to waitlist for upgrade on KLM flights, nor to go to the airport upgrade list, so space must be available in advance in order for the upgrade to clear. Many agents will offer to put you on the waitlist, but putting you on the upgrade waitlist for a KLM flight will simply never clear so you're better off monitoring it yourself (see next bullets).
  • KLM upgrade space can be checked on ExpertFlyer.com (requires a paid membership). ExpertFlyer also allows users to set alerts for particular fare classes becoming available, which could be useful in lieu of being able to waitlist -- you can set an ExpertFlyer alert for "Z" availability and then call Delta to grab the upgrade if you receive an ExpertFlyer alert that it becomes available.
  • KLM upgrade space on a single segment is different if you search that segment alone vs. if you search a connecting itinerary involving that segment. So if you are looking for KLM upgrades ORD-AMS-JNB, you need to search ORD-JNB in ExpertFlyer to see the true availability; even if there is space on ORD-AMS and AMS-JNB, if it Z space doesn't show up for ORD-JNB you won't be able to upgrade. Unfortunately this means that ExpertFlyer availability alerts, which can only be set on a segment-by-segment basis, are not useful for monitoring KLM upgrade availability on connecting flights.
  • In some cases, adding a DL domestic connecting flight can change KLM upgrade availability. For example ATL-AMS on KLM may show availability but MCO-ATL-AMS may not. Example. Unfortunately some more complex routings, such as forcing an extra connection to find KLM upgrade space (flying JFK-ORD-AMS-CPT instead of JFK-AMS-CPT), do not show up on ExpertFlyer so you are at the mercy of hopefully finding Delta agents who know what they're doing.
  • Bookings with KLM ticket numbers (starting in 074) can be upgraded using the same rules as bookings with Delta ticket numbers (starting in 006). Delta-operated, KLM-coded flights can be upgraded under the same rules as any other KLM-coded flight, meaning a booking in a Y, B or M fare class is required. Delta-coded, Delta-operated flights booked on a KLM ticket number can be upgraded the same as if they were booked on a Delta ticket number, so in any fare class other than E.
  • There have been numerous challenges with KLM upgrades, so be careful, be persistent, and make sure you request the upgrade within the no-risk cancellation window of the ticket so you can cancel if it doesn't work as expected.
  • More KLM upgrade reading: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Using upgrades on Virgin Atlantic --
  • Valid on Delta-marketed (DL flight number), Virgin Atlantic-operated flights for use globally on published Economy Cabin fares booked in W, Y, B, M, S, H, Q, K, L, U, T, X or V class to Upper Class. Upgrading on Virgin-marketed (VS flight number) flights using GUCs is not possible.
  • Global Upgrades on Virgin Atlantic flights must be confirmed 24 hours prior to departure.
  • Global Upgrade Certificates may not be used to waitlist for a Virgin Atlantic-operated flight. Many agents will offer to put you on the waitlist, but putting you on the upgrade waitlist for a Virgin Atlantic flight will simply never clear so you're better off monitoring it yourself (see next bullets).
  • DL flight numbers are not available for most Virgin Atlantic flights to regions other than the US (for example LHR-JNB), so it is not possible to use GUCs on those flights.
  • Virgin Atlantic upgrade space appears to use the same availability as awards, so if a business class award is available for a Virgin Atlantic flight on Delta.com, it should be available for an upgrade (as long as that flight is booked on a DL flight number). If an award is not available, an upgrade is probably not available -- but if you notice any exceptions to this rule please share in the thread. You can also monitor G space using ExpertFlyer (see KLM section above).
  • Because G is the same code as Virgin Atlantic uses for award tickets, after you fly the tickets will register with Delta as having been awards and will not earn any miles. Watch your mileage earning carefully and you will likely have to call Delta and explain that it wasn't an award ticket but an upgrade from a paid coach ticket, and they will correct the mileage earning to be equivalent to what you would have earned on your original coach ticket.
Using upgrades on Air France (restricted to certain fare classes only)

Air France requires the purchase of high fare classes (much more expensive than most advance-purchase tickets) and only allows one-cabin upgrade from Y/B/M economy to W premium economy or W premium economy to O business, so use of GUCs on Air France is rare and data points are limited. If you are looking to upgrade economically to destinations in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent not served by Delta directly, finding flights with KLM is likely a better option if possible.
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Old Mar 30, 16, 6:50 am
  #1561  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Originally Posted by yohanson View Post
I just got the email now for NRT-DTW. It seems the first agent I talked to had it right and the subsequent two agents had it wrong.
Good to know that DL continues to have ill-trained agents assisting DMs with what is one of their most valuable benefits. Inexcusable.
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Old Mar 30, 16, 8:04 am
  #1562  
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Originally Posted by TrojanTraveler View Post
Good to know that DL continues to have ill-trained agents assisting DMs with what is one of their most valuable benefits. Inexcusable.
Same thing happened when I tweeted @DLAssist.. Said only one leg was available and to call in to get it reissued. Asked again because seat maps were showing differently (2 legs had cleared)... Denied it both times, but when I called I was indeed cleared on 2 out of 4 legs.
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Old Mar 30, 16, 8:50 am
  #1563  
 
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Just cleared ORF-ATL-LIM (L/U class). Although only 6.5 flight from ATL, nice to be aboard 777.
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Old Mar 30, 16, 9:40 am
  #1564  
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Originally Posted by DeltaFirst View Post
Just cleared ORF-ATL-LIM (L/U class). Although only 6.5 flight from ATL, nice to be aboard 777.
Wow! There'z'a B777 from ORF/ATL?!?

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Old Mar 30, 16, 9:50 am
  #1565  
 
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Originally Posted by TrojanTraveler View Post
Good to know that DL continues to have ill-trained agents assisting DMs with what is one of their most valuable benefits. Inexcusable.
When it comes to using certs, I hang up if I don't hear a Minnesota accent.
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Old Mar 31, 16, 1:34 am
  #1566  
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Originally Posted by UVAhoo06 View Post
Honestly, I have no idea how this happened! I wasn't expecting there to be any OP space for any segments -- in the past, I've only had one GUC clear ahead of time. Needless to say, I'm pleasantly surprised and happy that it all worked out. (Even the DM agent was surprised and chuckled, saying that it's not often that a GUC for a long-haul segment clears this early on.)

And to be fair, my ticket was super cheap and I am a very low spender compared to most FTers.
Lucky you, congrats. The only person I've seen to clear LAX-SYD ahead of time. Someone in RM must have been napping.

Originally Posted by yohanson View Post
Does calling help? I haven't been calling about mine and am wondering if I should start. My trip is the beginning of May and I booked it about a month ago.
Yes, just remember if there is no OP calling won't help. But if you find it and you haven't cleared, congrats.
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Old Mar 31, 16, 6:49 am
  #1567  
 
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Originally Posted by WWads View Post
When it comes to using certs, I hang up if I don't hear a Minnesota accent.
I had another recent experience highlighting how this is broken. After so many errors with these certs, Mrs. TrojanTraveler (who is DM and has her own certs) started tracking these. Especially with the limited expiration dates, it's also important that they pull the right ones. Several times they have not done so, e.g. pulled one expiring many months from now rather than one expiring in a month.

On this recent reservation, I called ahead of time, told them there had been issues, and asked them to read me the cert numbers attached to each of our RT tickets. They did this (discovering another error), and I wrote down which cert was attached to which segment.

Less than 24 hours before departure, as usual I could not check in. I called to get the tickets reissued (which should have been done), but was told that, among other issues, they had attached one of my certs to two segments (outbound for myself and Mrs. TrojanTraveler). How could this happen? Aside from the fact that I literally had them read the cert numbers attached to a specific segment, how does DL have a system that permits this. And, if there was a problem, why didn't DL already try to reissue the ticket and contact me that there was a problem? This took me 30 min on the phone for them to fix. I often don't have that much time at the airport if the problem was discovered there.

I shouldn't be surprised but I'm amazed that DL has such a poor customer experience for a benefit only available to their DM fliers.
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Old Mar 31, 16, 8:49 am
  #1568  
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Its because the upgrade system is antiquated... it relies on manually entered coding and the cert number for each segment in a text field in the PNR. Then it gets sent/processed by the system but there isn't anything that says 'oops you entered something wrong'.

Having it work properly doesn't add any value/profit to DL so they don't bother fixing it or making it work better... and instead do things like make an entirely new fare structure, booking process, and 'upgrade' request list for Comfort+
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Old Mar 31, 16, 1:44 pm
  #1569  
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I'm back on my toes for my last two GUCs.
0 space available for DL200 on 5/4 as well as DL201 on 5/10. I am wait-listed on both. This period feels like vacuum/black hole. Thanks DL.
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Old Mar 31, 16, 2:25 pm
  #1570  
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Originally Posted by rylan View Post
Cleared NRT-DTW for late April. Been on waitlist for about a month. Interesting thing is, my itin still showed waitlisted, however when I tweeted they said it is available. When looking at the 'ghost' seatmap for that segment, the "Currently, you may only view seats for this flight." is no longer there and it lets me select a seat, but it returns an error when trying to save it.

So apparently I cleared, but there is no indication from looking at the itinerary, and only very vague from the extra seatmap... glad I decided to tweet to check, as I wonder if I would miss it since the system says I'm still waitlisted.
Sounds like it cleared but the ticket hasn't been re-issued yet.
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Old Mar 31, 16, 2:26 pm
  #1571  
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Originally Posted by yohanson View Post
I called and the agent said the NRT-DTW upgrade is processing but the DTW-NRT flight was still waitlisted. He said it's unfortunate that my fare class was so low because everyone waitlisted on a higher fare class is ahead of me. This was news to me.

I checked delta.com and my NRT-DTW is still showing as being waitlisted and I can't pick seats in J. Does it take a long time to process the upgrades? That doesn't make any sense to me.
It shouldn't take long to re-issue the ticket, but they have to do it. 5 minutes on hold if they call to get it done, up to a week or so if it just goes in the queue and you wait for a computer to get around to it.
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Old Mar 31, 16, 2:27 pm
  #1572  
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Originally Posted by davetravels View Post
This lingo, I don't understand. If it's available, they should be able to process it while you're on the phone, and you should be able to choose seats shortly thereafter. Maybe others have had a different experience. I would consider calling back and see what another agent says.

As to the fare class thing, what's not to understand? Surely, you would expect a Q class coach ticket to clear before a V class, wouldn't you?
I'd expect V+GUC to clear before B. (Not sure about medallion full-Y upgrade priority.)
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Old Mar 31, 16, 2:32 pm
  #1573  
 
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Is OP space generally available on NRT flights almost a year out?
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Old Apr 1, 16, 1:30 pm
  #1574  
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Originally Posted by KingBraden View Post
Is OP space generally available on NRT flights almost a year out?
I haven't ever checked for a full year out, but NRT routes are definitely some of the best for finding space in advance, say 3-6 months out. DTW-NRT on the 744 is particularly often available.
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Old Apr 3, 16, 12:29 pm
  #1575  
 
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GU Success

I booked 2 tickets DTW-PEK , with return PVG-DTW for SEPTEMBER 2016 ,
Ticketed in Dec. 2015 . The outbound UGs cleared within a week .
Called 5 times checking on the return , always told to wait.
Last week return GUs cleared for the PVG-DTW flight in 747 after talking to
DM line. They did not clear automatically like stated many times by CS.
Very happy With the final outcome !
Also able to use GU at last minute for flight DTW-DUB in JAN. 2016
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