Use Sky Miles to upgrade on VS

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Old Nov 4, 18, 1:57 am   -   Wikipost
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Last edit by: jdrtravel
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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.
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  • If looking to upgrade to Upper Class:
    • On delta.com: Search for Delta One award tickets (a ticket booked with miles) on a Virgin Atlantic operated flight.
    • On virginatlantic.com: Search for Upper Class award ticket(s) (a ticket booked with miles).
  • If there are seats available for miles (not cash, not cash + miles) on the flight in question in business class (Delta One/Upper Class) , it should also be available for upgrade.
  • Be sure to search for the number of seats you actually need to buy (i.e. if you hope to upgrade 3 seats, don't just search for one).
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  • If looking to upgrade to Premium Economy, follow the above instructions but search for Premium Economy award seats.
    • Note that on Delta.com seats will display under the Premium Select column, but the actual fare should still read as Premium Economy right under the mileage price.
X
  • You can also search for G inventory (upgrade to Upper Class) or P inventory (upgrade to Premium Economy) on Expert Flyer.
  • Note that upgrade space is often not available, and one needs to check regularly for new inventory to be added. If it becomes available, call Delta immediately to book as it likely won't last.
  • 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 PT 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 RDM/MQM/MQD 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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Old Jul 29, 17, 9:48 am
  #1  
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Use Sky Miles to upgrade on VS

Sorry if I missed this and it's already been posted, but I did not see it.

I wanted to share that, as of 7/17, you can now use SM to upgrade VS flights.

(https://www.delta.com/content/www/en...d-updates.html)

I called to try to upgrade my r/t booked in premium economy this fall. The first agent was not aware of the new rule, and insisted that it was not permitted.

HUCA. Good agent, she knew exactly what I was talking about but there was no space available.

However, learned that it would only be 20K miles each way from prem. economy, plus the UK luxury tax (agent said around $100). And, there are often GREAT PE fares available for advanced purchase. I purchased these VS A PE tickets for aprox. $900 a few months ago. This means that, if you found the right tickets and available space, you can fly VS UC for aprox. $1k and 40K miles r/t. That's a fantastic deal.

You can also upgrade from Y to PE, and Y to UC, but I did not get the numbers.

There is no waitlisting available. Fingers crossed that I will find open seats before the flight. I'd gladly spend 40K miles and $100 to upgrade SFO-LHR.
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Old Jul 29, 17, 1:00 pm
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Jdrtravel, thanks for posting this. I just called the PM line a couple of days ago to ask about a SkyMiles upgrade from PE to UC on a VS flight from MAN-BOS; I was told that it is not possible. I'll call again. On the same itinerary I had no trouble upgrading for 20,000 SM from PE to Business on MSP-CDG on AF.

Did you call DL to do the upgrade? VS referred me back to Delta. I called AF to get the AF upgrade.

I didn't do quite as well as you on the original fare; mine was $1200 in PE (on the TATL flights) for MSP-CDG-MAN-BOS-MSP, booked a month in advance for an August trip. Still pretty good, I think. It's a Delta ticket with the fare classes showing as W on the outbound and G on the return, including an F seat on the domestic US segment.

Last edited by CarmenOM; Jul 29, 17 at 1:06 pm
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Old Jul 29, 17, 2:34 pm
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Originally Posted by CarmenOM View Post

Did you call DL to do the upgrade? VS referred me back to Delta. I called AF to get the AF upgrade.
Yes, I called the medallion line. I don't think that VS can access your Sky Miles account, only DL can. The 2nd agent I spoke with knew exactly what I was asking to do and said she had already helped a few other pax get mileage upgrades on VS.

I plan to call regularly to try to get the upgrade. In the future, when they say it's not possible, I will probably ask them to double check and explain that it's a new thing. However, that also concerns me that they would do it wrong...
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Old Jul 31, 17, 4:41 am
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fyi it's got to be a delta marketed flight -- just tried to do it on my 992 stock and no dice
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Old Jul 31, 17, 6:18 am
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I struck out too.. My fare class on the "trips" page shows A which is upgradeable but the receipt shows W which isn't and the agent said it's not doable. Considering the great rate I got I am not real surprised (I paid $800 RT, over in PE and back in DL Comfort)
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Old Jul 31, 17, 8:42 am
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Originally Posted by Orange County Commuter View Post
I struck out too.. My fare class on the "trips" page shows A which is upgradeable but the receipt shows W which isn't and the agent said it's not doable. Considering the great rate I got I am not real surprised (I paid $800 RT, over in PE and back in DL Comfort)
I would try again. It sounds like you have an A fare on the outbound and a W fare on the return. Both should be upgradeable but with for different amounts.

Your receipt may show a W fare for the outbound because VS PE was being sold as W until a recent change. You fare is now probably an A fare and should be treated as such. There are no W fares on VS for DL tickets. W is DL C+.
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Old Jul 31, 17, 9:05 am
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Originally Posted by jdrtravel View Post
I would try again. It sounds like you have an A fare on the outbound and a W fare on the return. Both should be upgradeable but with for different amounts.

Your receipt may show a W fare for the outbound because VS PE was being sold as W until a recent change. You fare is now probably an A fare and should be treated as such. There are no W fares on VS for DL tickets. W is DL C+.
Well I did do the HUCB and got an agent who was totally confused. She finally figured out it could be done, but the flight I am on shows no upgrades eligible which agrees with what I see on Expert Flyer. I will keep watching just in case.

Update 8/2. This process still has some issues. I called this morning and they have available upgrades but my poor agent can't convince the upgrade department that my "w" on DL os really PE A on Virgin. She's waiting on a supervisor. So far it's taken 30 minutes. No idea if this will be successful

Last edited by Orange County Commuter; Aug 2, 17 at 3:54 am
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Old Aug 2, 17, 4:14 am
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Thank you,,,

45 minutes later it's done. I am in business to London. 20k miles, no fee.

The original ticket was about $700 (PE over, Economy on Delta home) so this was a great deal overall
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Old Aug 2, 17, 6:30 am
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So does this mean that they also fixed being able to upgrade on VS with GUCs?
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Old Aug 2, 17, 8:04 am
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Originally Posted by Orange County Commuter View Post
Thank you,,,

45 minutes later it's done. I am in business to London. 20k miles, no fee.

The original ticket was about $700 (PE over, Economy on Delta home) so this was a great deal overall
Nice! I think they should have charged you the luxury tax. I hope that does not cause any issues.

Also, When is your VS flight? Trying to figure out when they release upgrade inventory.

Last edited by jdrtravel; Aug 2, 17 at 8:11 am
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Old Aug 2, 17, 8:20 am
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Be aware that upgrades on Virgin book into the same fare classes as award tickets used for upgrades. If a mileage upgrade works the same as a GUC theoretically does and the upgraded ticket is rebooked on a VS flight number using the award/upgrade fare bucket, Delta will give you zero mileage credit for the ticket after flying because it will read in their system as an award.

So keep an eye on your mileage earning and get ready to fight for the credit you deserve (which in this case would be the miles and MQMs that you would have been entitled to based on the original coach ticket booked).

See: The Official - GLOBAL UPGRADE CERT success thread - Yay! I got it!
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Old Aug 2, 17, 8:21 am
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Originally Posted by jdrtravel View Post
Nice! I think they should have charged you the luxury tax. I hope that does not cause any issues.

Also, When is your VS flight? Trying to figure out when they release upgrade inventory.
VS upgrade and award inventory are usually the same so if you see awards available there should also be upgrades. VS does generally do some near-in (2-6 weeks before departure) releasing of additional award seats, but not guaranteed of course.
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Old Aug 2, 17, 8:23 am
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Originally Posted by bgriff View Post
VS upgrade and award inventory are usually the same so if you see awards available there should also be upgrades. VS does generally do some near-in (2-6 weeks before departure) releasing of additional award seats, but not guaranteed of course.
Thanks, that's helpful. So no need to pay for EF, I can just do a delta.com search for mileage UC inventory?
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Old Aug 2, 17, 8:25 am
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Originally Posted by jdrtravel View Post
Thanks, that's helpful. So no need to pay for EF, I can just do a delta.com search for mileage UC inventory?
In theory yes, though as with all things DL it's not guaranteed the systems will all be talking to each other correctly (nor that the agents will know how to do everything correctly). Could be worth checking VS's website award search for a second free data point. Good luck.
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Old Aug 2, 17, 9:03 am
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Originally Posted by jdrtravel View Post
Nice! I think they should have charged you the luxury tax. I hope that does not cause any issues.

Also, When is your VS flight? Trying to figure out when they release upgrade inventory.

i asked about the tax. Agent says it's only on departure from U.K.

my flight is 10/7. I did use Expert Flyer. Got an alert yesterday but by the time I called it was gone. Woke up early today and saw another alter so I tried again. (The alerts both came around 3 am eastern)
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