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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 Nov 13, 18, 10:38 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 Sep 6, 18, 9:42 am
  #3046  
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
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Booked mid-July, V fare

Aug 28 SFO-JFK 75S red-eye, ended up 2/30+ for only 1 seat at the gate, did not clear

Aug 29 JFK-ATL-EZE cleared at booking

Sep 3 EZE-ATL cleared at booking

Sep 4 ATL-SFO I was shocked when this cleared at T-3d, had expected it to go to the gate
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Old Sep 6, 18, 10:34 am
  #3047  
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Originally Posted by Zorak View Post
Booked mid-July, V fare

Aug 28 SFO-JFK 75S red-eye, ended up 2/30+ for only 1 seat at the gate, did not clear

Aug 29 JFK-ATL-EZE cleared at booking

Sep 3 EZE-ATL cleared at booking

Sep 4 ATL-SFO I was shocked when this cleared at T-3d, had expected it to go to the gate
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Old Sep 12, 18, 1:54 pm
  #3048  
 
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Just cleared for LAX-SYD for tomorrow, 9/13. 8 seats left at time of clearing; most in the rear cabin. Waitlisted but as of this morning, I was getting the 'seat map is view only' note with an additional leg showing so gave it a couple hours thinking it was processing. Being nervous, I called and super friendly, knowledgable agent said yes but let me get ticket reissued. Shocking it's not seamless. Curious what would have happened if I didn't call in. Given I'm still +24H before departure, will I get the pre-select meal email? Fingers crossed to clear on the return but SYD-LAX for me has always gone to gate.
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Old Sep 14, 18, 3:28 am
  #3049  
 
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EX-AMS, Delta metal

I called Delta 2 days prior to check-in to apply my GUC. Upon check-in, and also at KLM lounge, the staff could not see me on the wait list. They said it probably meant it was full.

At the gate I asked the staff there and they could see my GUC but currently flight was full. Anecdotal, but Delta app said 3 D1 available so I'm guessing that's not correct. 5 minutes after I asked gate they called my name and put me in 3C. 😎
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Old Sep 14, 18, 7:37 am
  #3050  
 
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Originally Posted by pulpfiction78 View Post
I called Delta 2 days prior to check-in to apply my GUC. Upon check-in, and also at KLM lounge, the staff could not see me on the wait list. They said it probably meant it was full.

At the gate I asked the staff there and they could see my GUC but currently flight was full. Anecdotal, but Delta app said 3 D1 available so I'm guessing that's not correct. 5 minutes after I asked gate they called my name and put me in 3C. 😎
For what it's worth, KLM agents in Amsterdam are notorious for selling upgrades on Delta flights. I wouldn't be surprised if KLM, which handles the ground operations for Delta, was trying to sell the seat before processing upgrades via certificate.

I always ask about upgrades just because there seems to be no rules in Amsterdam. I've used both miles and certificates and also been upgraded complimentary just for asking. That happened a year ago. The KLM agent in the lounge said she could use my certificate and clear me, but the main cabin was overbooked and she would just put me in business-class as an operational upgrade for free. Who knows. Maybe I would have received that upgrade at the gatehouse with a different KLM agent, but you never know.

I suppose you also have to determine if it makes more sense to use miles for an upgrade or one of four global upgrade certificates. Personally, I'd rather save my global upgrade certificates for longer flights to/from Asia than relatively short flights between Western Europe and the East Coast.
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Old Sep 14, 18, 10:26 am
  #3051  
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Per the GUC terms and conditions, waitlist does not transfer to the airport at certain stations including AMS. So if you don't clear ahead of departure day, you have to go to the ticket counter, transfer desk, or skyclub at AMS to upgrade with a GUC. And yes out of AMS they are also selling upgrades for cash+miles if somebody inquires as well. They do have rules on how many miles and cash for an upgrade based on your fare bucket, and are able to process GUCs on request but they don't have an tracked upgrade list.

The thing with AMS and a upgrade cert is if you don't clear the Delta waitlist in advance before KLM takes control of the ticket (about T-24), you want to get there a few hours early to get it processed.
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Old Sep 14, 18, 11:33 am
  #3052  
 
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Originally Posted by rylan View Post
Per the GUC terms and conditions, waitlist does not transfer to the airport at certain stations including AMS. So if you don't clear ahead of departure day, you have to go to the ticket counter, transfer desk, or skyclub at AMS to upgrade with a GUC. And yes out of AMS they are also selling upgrades for cash+miles if somebody inquires as well. They do have rules on how many miles and cash for an upgrade based on your fare bucket, and are able to process GUCs on request but they don't have an tracked upgrade list.

The thing with AMS and a upgrade cert is if you don't clear the Delta waitlist in advance before KLM takes control of the ticket (about T-24), you want to get there a few hours early to get it processed.
Do you, or anyone, know whether you could go to the ticket office the night before to try to purchase an upgrade? I did show up about 180 mins before departure and asked check-in agent if any seats were available for purchase.

This is a 10hr flight AMS-SEA. I would rather use my certs when I can for fear of missing out and having them expire. 😀
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Old Sep 14, 18, 3:46 pm
  #3053  
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Originally Posted by pulpfiction78 View Post
Do you, or anyone, know whether you could go to the ticket office the night before to try to purchase an upgrade? I did show up about 180 mins before departure and asked check-in agent if any seats were available for purchase.

This is a 10hr flight AMS-SEA. I would rather use my certs when I can for fear of missing out and having them expire. 😀
It can only be done at airport. A ticket office would need correct availability to process it.
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Old Sep 14, 18, 4:02 pm
  #3054  
 
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Originally Posted by hockeyinsider View Post
I always ask about upgrades just because there seems to be no rules in Amsterdam. I've used both miles and certificates and also been upgraded complimentary just for asking. That happened a year ago. The KLM agent in the lounge said she could use my certificate and clear me, but the main cabin was overbooked and she would just put me in business-class as an operational upgrade for free. Who knows. Maybe I would have received that upgrade at the gatehouse with a different KLM agent, but you never know.

Maybe 8 years or so ago, before SEA-AMS had Delta One, and I had no status whatsoever; there was a period where I had repeated success in upgrading EX-AMS just by simply asking at the gate, even if it was me +1. I always wondered what the heck was going on in AMS. Finally after joining FlyerTalk did I find the answers.
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Old Sep 14, 18, 10:19 pm
  #3055  
 
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Booked the following (departure Thurs-Fri in June, return Sat-Sun in July) $1,200 each including taxes for two

LGA-ATL waitlisted (go figure)

ATL-EZE cleared at booking

GIG-ATL cleared at booking

ATL-JFK cleared at booking (am happy about this as pricing was great only for long layover for this flight - now I should be able to SDC to a good connection)
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Old Sep 15, 18, 2:19 pm
  #3056  
 
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Originally Posted by hockeyinsider View Post

I always ask about upgrades just because there seems to be no rules in Amsterdam. I've used both miles and certificates and also been upgraded complimentary just for asking. That happened a year ago. The KLM agent in the lounge said she could use my certificate and clear me, but the main cabin was overbooked and she would just put me in business-class as an operational upgrade for free. Who knows. Maybe I would have received that upgrade at the gatehouse with a different KLM agent, but you never know.
Had something similar a few years back at an AF lounge at CDG. Asked about using miles or cash to upgrade from PE to business on CDG to Asia. Agent looked at the record and said ‘you’re already upgraded.’
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Old Sep 20, 18, 3:35 pm
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Checked in for our flight today ATL-SIN 9/21, I am #3 on the list and the Mrs is #2 . Just curious how this works, I am the DM and the Certs are mine, not sure how my wife who is PL is #2 . Anyway fingers crossed.
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Old Sep 20, 18, 4:48 pm
  #3058  
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Originally Posted by estedman View Post
Checked in for our flight today ATL-SIN 9/21, I am #3 on the list and the Mrs is #2 . Just curious how this works, I am the DM and the Certs are mine, not sure how my wife who is PL is #2 . Anyway fingers crossed.
If you're on the same PNR, both passengers get treated as the status of the higher-ranking passenger (for the purposes of upgrades) regardless of who paid or who has higher status etc.

There's some other undocumented tiebreaker (perhaps alphabetical name, or which passenger had the GUC applied first, etc) that causes the companion to sometimes show up ahead of the "primary" passenger.
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Old Sep 20, 18, 5:39 pm
  #3059  
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Originally Posted by estedman View Post
Checked in for our flight today ATL-SIN 9/21, I am #3 on the list and the Mrs is #2 . Just curious how this works, I am the DM and the Certs are mine, not sure how my wife who is PL is #2 . Anyway fingers crossed.
Even if on one PNR, one passenger had their ticket issued seconds before the other. Thus the request time for one is just before the other.
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Old Sep 22, 18, 9:26 am
  #3060  
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OCT5 DTW-ATL-EZE
OCT10 EZE-ATL-DTW

Upgrade cleared for both right away.
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