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Definitive Thread: Use Sky Miles to upgrade on VS

Old May 27, 18, 12:36 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: audidudi
DRAFT WIKI: I've started this on May 27, 2018 as a first pass, but need to pull more info from the rest of the thread. Feel free to add!

What flights are eligible to be upgraded?
As relevant to this thread, original booking must be:
- DL ticketed (006 stock)
- DL marketed (DL flight #)
- VS operated

NOTE ON MIXED CABIN BOOKINGS: If you are booked in coach for a domestic portion on Delta and then connecting to a VS Premium Economy segment, and trying to upgrade only the VS PE segment with DL miles, the upgrade request may be rejected by Virgin when the DL agent attempt to process it. Ask to be transferred to the international reissue desk. Explain that they will need to remove the domestic coach portion of your flight, then process the upgrade, and then reattach the domestic Y portion. VS will accept the upgrade only when the coach segment has been removed, and this all needs to be done manually by Delta.

How do I know mileage upgrade space is available?
You can either call Delta and ask the agent to check or check online. If you are going to call, see note below about how to explain this to the phone agent. Or, follow instructions in the next section to check inventory online.

X
Checking online In advance:
- Upgrades on VS pull from the same inventory as award bookings. Upgrading to Upper Class requires G class inventory, upgrading to Premium Economy requires P class inventory. Note these are Virgin fare classes that will not display on delta.com. Delta's G and P fare classes are different and should not be considered for this purpose. Only a subset of G class inventory (and presumably also of P class inventory) is available for upgrades, so merely finding G availability via the Delta or Virgin websites, or via ExpertFlyer or other sources, does not necessarily mean an upgrade will be available. Unfortunately there is no public data source that can be used to double-check what Delta agents tell you about availability.
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  • Waitlisting is not available for mileage upgrades on Virgin Atlantic or any other partner flights.
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At the Airport Day of Depature:
  • VS regularly offers DOD upgrades at the airport.
  • Upgrades are available for cash (generally not the best value at ~$800 one way) or VS miles (same # miles as advance upgrades).
  • DOD upgrades using miles can only be done with VS miles, not Delta Sky Miles.
  • VS miles can be transferred from Amex MR. Transfer is usually instantaneous if you have linked your MR/VS accounts in advance, but as always Amex does not guarantee this so there is some risk involved in relying on the transfer while at the airport.

How do I request the upgrade?
  • You'll need to call Delta. Be prepared to spend some time and persistence, and HUCA if necessary. Know that agents are likely to be confused about this, so be patient and call when you have time for them to research this and possibly speak with a supervisor.
    • Consider saying something along these lines to the phone agent to help clue them in that this may be something they need to look up or get help with: "I am calling to upgrade, using Sky Miles, my Virgin Atlantic flight that I booked through Delta. I understand that this is a newer benefit that is now available through the Delta/Virgin Atlantic join-venture. I know from previously calling that this is not something all agents do regularly, so thanks so much for helping me figure this out."
    • Remind the agent to check the VS flight # (not DL #) for upgrade space. Many agents may tell you you are already in a premium cabin if you're booked in VS PE, without realizing that DL's G class is not the same as VS's G class. Some may also insist that it is not possible to upgrade a VS flight with Sky Miles (it was not possible before July 2017). Be polite, but ask for a supervisor.
    • Agents seem to find the correct instructions about all this when they look up the DL/VS joint venture notes in whatever system they use.
  • Waitlisting is not available for mileage upgrades on Virgin Atlantic or any other partner flights.

What should I see if/when my upgrade is correctly processed?
  • Your upgraded flight will now be a VS-marketed flight #.
  • You will be rebooked into the appropriate VS fare class.

Need more information on reticketing, seat selection, etc.

How much do upgrades cost?
Reports of upgrade costs are as follows (current as of May 2018):
- US<>UK, PE>UC = 25k RDM each way
- US<>UK, Y>UC = ???? each way
- US<>UK, Y>PE = ???? each way
When going from Y to PE/UC, you may need to pay the UK luxury tax (in USD or GBP) for flights exiting the UK.
When going from PE to UC, the luxury tax should not apply as it has already been charged on the PE fare.



A note about earning miles
Your upgraded ticket should still earn DL RDMs/MQMs/MQDs based on the originally purchased fare. However, the systems regularly get confused because the rebooked ticket will be identified as VS award inventory, ineligible for mileage earnings.
Keep your original (non-upgraded) receipt and monitor your miles earnings carefully. Calls or written requests via DL.com comments/complaints will result in proper mileage earnings being applied, but you may need to be persistent.
Need information about crediting flights to VS or other programs.



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Definitive Thread: Use Sky Miles to upgrade on VS

Old May 22, 18, 1:39 pm
  #76  
 
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Thanks for the heads up!
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Old May 26, 18, 10:17 am
  #77  
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Called again today. Still no room on the JFK-LHR I had booked, but I had just booked another trip the following month routing MCO-LGW on the VS 744. Found G space online via DL.com and called in to upgrade.

Agent didn't seem to know what she was looking for, but seemed like she wanted to figure it out so I told her about looking up the VS flight number and JV notes. She called a supervisor and they sorted through it. I'm now confirmed on the VS flight # in G class, showing Upper Class. All for 25k RDM and no added cash. Kudos to the agent for staying with it.

Only thing is it appears that the trip hasn't been reticketed yet, so I can't go in and select a seat. I'll give it a day or two before calling back. Moral of the story, be sure to tell the agents to check their JV notes and the VS flight #, and be persistent (or HUCA). It can be done as soon as the agent figures out what they're looking for.
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Old May 26, 18, 11:45 am
  #78  
 
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Watch that fare class!

Originally Posted by bgriff
Keep an eye on your miles earning when you get back. GUC upgrades into Upper Class, and I think also mileage upgrades, clear into G on Virgin, which is the same as the fare class for award seats, so if your flight is now showing as G on a VS flight number by default DL will give you no miles and you'll have to fight to get the miles you deserve according to your original coach fare.
This is so true, and what a fight it can be. I was surprised at how even with original, purchased fare class clearly in the record, it took several phone calls to sort over several weeks. You'll get there in the end, but keep your original receipt of your ticket in terms of what the fare class was that you purchased. Be ready to make several phone calls.
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Old May 26, 18, 12:13 pm
  #79  
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Can someone make a wiki for this topic? Something like a chart where if you have a ticket from X, marketed by X, operated by VS, with fare class Y, you need Z amount of skymiles to go to cabin X.
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Old May 26, 18, 4:23 pm
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Originally Posted by skye1
This is so true, and what a fight it can be. I was surprised at how even with original, purchased fare class clearly in the record, it took several phone calls to sort over several weeks. You'll get there in the end, but keep your original receipt of your ticket in terms of what the fare class was that you purchased. Be ready to make several phone calls.
I made two phone calls, to no avail. Then I sent an email through the Comments/Complaints option on delta.com and received the miles within a day.
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Old May 27, 18, 12:30 pm
  #81  
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This seems like an obvious question to me, but I called DL again to make sure my upgraded booking had in fact been reticketed. The agent was insistent that everything was in order. At first she seemed confused and said I didn't need a separate ticket for the VS flight. I clarified that I had upgraded with miles and received no receipt, and she just confirmed that everything looked good on her end and no action was necessary.

Online, my reservation does show the VS flight #, a G booking class, and an "Upper Class" notation on both the DL and VS websites. However my ticket number has not changed, no new receipt appears in my DL.com Wallet, and no RDM have been deducted from my account as far as I can tell. I was able to select a seat on the VS website, but that selection does not show up on the Delta website.

This can't possible be correct, right? I'd love to have received the UG and not had any RDM deducted, but I'd rather fork over 25k RDM than show up at the airport with an invalid ticket and get shuffled back into a middle PE seat.

Current plan is to call back on Tuesday when the better agents are back from the long weekend. In the meantime, I figured I'd ask my FT friends to make sure the experience I'm expecting (call in to request upgrade > itin gets rebooked > rebooked itin gets reticketed > new ticket # & receipt) is how these VS upgrades actually work. Any help or data points, or suggestions for magic words to use the next time I call, are welcome!
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Old May 27, 18, 12:37 pm
  #82  
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Originally Posted by pvn
Can someone make a wiki for this topic? Something like a chart where if you have a ticket from X, marketed by X, operated by VS, with fare class Y, you need Z amount of skymiles to go to cabin X.
I got one started. It's very rough, and I haven't yet gone through all the posts to pull up relevant information. Others feel free to add, edit, reformat, whatever!
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Old May 27, 18, 1:00 pm
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Originally Posted by gooselee
This seems like an obvious question to me, but I called DL again to make sure my upgraded booking had in fact been reticketed. The agent was insistent that everything was in order. At first she seemed confused and said I didn't need a separate ticket for the VS flight. I clarified that I had upgraded with miles and received no receipt, and she just confirmed that everything looked good on her end and no action was necessary.

Online, my reservation does show the VS flight #, a G booking class, and an "Upper Class" notation on both the DL and VS websites. However my ticket number has not changed, no new receipt appears in my DL.com Wallet, and no RDM have been deducted from my account as far as I can tell. I was able to select a seat on the VS website, but that selection does not show up on the Delta website.

This can't possible be correct, right? I'd love to have received the UG and not had any RDM deducted, but I'd rather fork over 25k RDM than show up at the airport with an invalid ticket and get shuffled back into a middle PE seat.

Current plan is to call back on Tuesday when the better agents are back from the long weekend. In the meantime, I figured I'd ask my FT friends to make sure the experience I'm expecting (call in to request upgrade > itin gets rebooked > rebooked itin gets reticketed > new ticket # & receipt) is how these VS upgrades actually work. Any help or data points, or suggestions for magic words to use the next time I call, are welcome!
Ticket reissue can take a week or more. If it hasnt processed after a week, call and tell them you want to pick seats and can they please push the reissue through. Just one of the pleasures of this partnership.

And, incidentally, it took me an email and two phone calls to get my mileage credit. What had to be done after travel is the ticket reissued back into the Delta flight number and fare class. Took multiple agents to figure that out.
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Old May 27, 18, 1:21 pm
  #84  
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Originally Posted by gooselee
I got one started. It's very rough, and I haven't yet gone through all the posts to pull up relevant information. Others feel free to add, edit, reformat, whatever!

Excellent, I just added some clarifications that I thought could be helpful.
We need to figure out the cost of the other mileage upgrades. My suspicion is that, much like the rest of the Delta's mileage upgrades, the upgrades from Y to either PE or UC are not a good value and that the upgrade from PE to UC is a special sweet spot.
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Old May 27, 18, 1:40 pm
  #85  
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Originally Posted by gooselee
This seems like an obvious question to me, but I called DL again to make sure my upgraded booking had in fact been reticketed. The agent was insistent that everything was in order. At first she seemed confused and said I didn't need a separate ticket for the VS flight. I clarified that I had upgraded with miles and received no receipt, and she just confirmed that everything looked good on her end and no action was necessary.

Online, my reservation does show the VS flight #, a G booking class, and an "Upper Class" notation on both the DL and VS websites. However my ticket number has not changed, no new receipt appears in my DL.com Wallet, and no RDM have been deducted from my account as far as I can tell. I was able to select a seat on the VS website, but that selection does not show up on the Delta website.

This can't possible be correct, right? I'd love to have received the UG and not had any RDM deducted, but I'd rather fork over 25k RDM than show up at the airport with an invalid ticket and get shuffled back into a middle PE seat.

Current plan is to call back on Tuesday when the better agents are back from the long weekend. In the meantime, I figured I'd ask my FT friends to make sure the experience I'm expecting (call in to request upgrade > itin gets rebooked > rebooked itin gets reticketed > new ticket # & receipt) is how these VS upgrades actually work. Any help or data points, or suggestions for magic words to use the next time I call, are welcome!
Seat selection not showing up on DL website is normal for the DL-VS partnership these days, as far as I can tell (which is weird since VS is now on DL's reservation system so you would think they should be better connected, but who knows). So I wouldn't worry too much about that piece. What seats you've chosen on VS.com is the most important and should stick through your flight, barring an aircraft type change or other oddity.

But yeah it's normal for upgrade cert & mileage upgrades to not reticket immediately and sometimes it can take a while. Your RDMs won't be deducted until that happens. So most likely you haven't gotten a freebie, sorry

Also my advice in the post above would also apply to you, keep an eye out.
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Old May 27, 18, 2:00 pm
  #86  
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Originally Posted by jrkmsp


Ticket reissue can take a week or more. If it hasnt processed after a week, call and tell them you want to pick seats and can they please push the reissue through. Just one of the pleasures of this partnership.

And, incidentally, it took me an email and two phone calls to get my mileage credit. What had to be done after travel is the ticket reissued back into the Delta flight number and fare class. Took multiple agents to figure that out.
Originally Posted by bgriff
Seat selection not showing up on DL website is normal for the DL-VS partnership these days, as far as I can tell (which is weird since VS is now on DL's reservation system so you would think they should be better connected, but who knows). So I wouldn't worry too much about that piece. What seats you've chosen on VS.com is the most important and should stick through your flight, barring an aircraft type change or other oddity.

But yeah it's normal for upgrade cert & mileage upgrades to not reticket immediately and sometimes it can take a while. Your RDMs won't be deducted until that happens. So most likely you haven't gotten a freebie, sorry

Also my advice in the post above would also apply to you, keep an eye out.
Thank you both! Glad to know I'm not crazy... But also that this timing is somewhat normal.
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Old Jun 3, 18, 6:15 pm
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I just checked for a LHR-IAD flight in late November and upgrade space was available for the three of us! Spending 75k miles to upgrade from PE to UC for the whole family is pretty awesome.
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Old Jun 21, 18, 7:34 am
  #88  
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Ive got a PE booking on a flight upcoming that now has inventory for 2 J awards. The DL rep tells me no upgrades with sky miles are available. Is award inventory no longer a sign of upgrade availability?
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Old Jun 21, 18, 7:45 am
  #89  
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Never mind, this is about VS.
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Old Jun 21, 18, 7:56 am
  #90  
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Originally Posted by PV_Premier
Ive got a PE booking on a flight upcoming that now has inventory for 2 J awards. The DL rep tells me no upgrades with sky miles are available. Is award inventory no longer a sign of upgrade availability?
Call back they're probably not looking for G, but rather O.
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