Delta Mileage Upgrade Awards

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Old Mar 4, 19, 4:00 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
Last edit by: 21A
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Note: This thread is about Mileage Upgrade Awards, which are Sky Miles upgrades that upgrade your coach seat to First Class, Delta One or Premium Select.

Important Details:
  • Your underlying fare class remains Economy, and you are technically still booked as an economy passenger.
  • You are granted all inflight & airport benefits of having that upgraded seat (i.e. Premium security line, Sky Club access on international flights, etc).
  • You earn miles based on your original Main Cabin fare.
  • Mileage Upgrade Award prices are set by route and do not fluctuate based on the cash price of the upgrade.
  • Delta no longer publishes the miles required by route to upgrade, and the numbers below is a FT best attempt to collect this data; it may not be accurate.
  • Mileage Upgrade Awards are confirmed after your coach ticket is booked (though could be in the same phone call with an agent who has checked for upgrade space before booking)
  • The only way to use Mileage Upgrade Awards is by calling Delta--there is no online option.
  • This Wiki contains only minimal information about upgrading to and from Premium Select; please share information as you gather it, either by updating the wiki or posting in the thread.
  • You must be booked in an upgradeable fare class to upgrade. It is possible to buy up to an upgradeable coach fare class and then upgrade with miles.

How to Upgrade with Delta Sky Miles
  • You can Either:
    • Call Delta and ask to book a flight that has Mileage Upgrade Awards available and then purchase and upgrade the flight at the same time with that agent. Inventory is highly limited.
    • OR, call Delta to upgrade a flight you have already booked. When you call they will either process the upgrade or tell you that there are no upgrades available.
      • If an upgrade is not available, it is possible to waitlist.
        • Mileage Upgrade Awards that are waitlisted do not transfer to the Airport Upgrade List (for gate upgrade) and cannot be cleared at the gate.
        • There have been rare exceptions reported to this rule. If you want to attempt to clear your upgrade at the airport on day of departure, speak with a red coat. This is against policy and will not usually work, but some have reported success.
  • If you want to upgrade a flight that you have already booked the change fee should be waived for this upgrade. Ask for a supervisor if this is challenged.
  • The Delta agent may offer you either Delta Upgrade Awards or Upgrade with Miles (see details below). Confirm you are getting the lowest mile option.
NOTE: Delta offers an additional upgrade option which is called Upgrade with Miles. These upgrades are available on US Domestic flights only and are a pay with miles type of upgrade. (meaning that, unlike Mileage Upgrade Awards, the amount of miles needed fluctuates based on the cash price of an upgrade). When you use Upgrade with Miles you will earn miles for your flight based on the cabin flown, as you have now paid (with miles) to change your ticket to a premium cabin ticket (vs an upgraded coach ticket). The mileage amounts listed in this thread are not for this program. To use Upgrade with Miles you need to log into your reservation and check for an upgrade offer or call Delta and ask. Upgrade with Miles typically requires more miles to upgrade than Mileage Upgrade Awards.
In order to use Mileage Upgrade Awards from Main Cabin or Comfort+ to First Class or Delta One, you need to be booked in the correct fare class:
  • Within North America and northern South America you can upgrade when booked in: Y/B/M/H/Q/K/L/U/T
  • For all other markets you can upgrade when booked in: Y/B/M//H/Q/K
    • You can see your booking class by logging into your reservation. Directly under your seat assignment it will say your cabin and your booking class. For example: MAIN CABIN (Q)
The wiki needs to be updated to include information about upgrading to and from Delta Premium Select.

Prices for the following markets as quoted by multiple reservations agents.

Other thread of potential interest:

Pricing is one-way

US/Canada/Mexico/Caribbean First Class (Most North America routes except for flights that offer Delta One)
Y/B/M: 15,000 miles
H/Q/K: 20,000 miles
L/U/T: 30,000 miles

Domestic Delta One Routes (domestic transcon & Hawaii routes that offer Delta One service such as JFK-LAX, LAX-DCA, ATL-HNL, etc)
Y/B/M: 23,000 miles
H/Q/K: 28,000 miles
L/U/T: 40,000 miles

US-Hawaii (Except for Delta One routes MSP/ATL/JFK/DTW-HNL. For these routes, see Domestic Transcontinental Premium Routes )
Y/B/M: 15,000 miles
H/Q/K: 20,000 miles
L/U/T: 30,000 miles

US-Northern South America
Y/B/M: 30,000 miles
H/Q/K: 45,000 miles
L/U/T: 55,000 miles

US-Southern South America
Y/B/M: 40,000 miles
H/Q/K: 60,000 miles

Main Cabin to Delta One:
Y/B/M: 35,000 miles
H/Q/K: 65,000 miles

Main Cabin to Premium Select:
Y/B/M: 25,000 miles
H/Q/K: 35,000 miles

Premium Select to Delta One:
P/A/G: 40,000 miles

US-Northern Asia (Japan/Korea/China):
Main Cabin to Delta One:
Y/B/M: 45,000 miles
H/Q/K: 70,000 miles

Premium Select to Delta One
P/A/G: 45,000 miles

US-Southeast/Southwest Asia, Micronesia, Southwest Pacific:
Y/B/M: 35,000 miles
H/Q/K: 80,000 miles

US-Africa (incl. South Africa)
Y/B/M: 35,000 miles
H/Q/K: 80,000 miles

US-Middle East
Y/B/M: 35,000 miles
H/Q/K: 80,000 miles
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Old Jan 25, 19, 7:29 am
Join Date: Mar 2016
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Posted in this thread before looking over there for responses... Not sure why I decided to post in both threads at that was redundant... Sorry!
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Old Jan 30, 19, 12:30 pm
Join Date: Jan 2016
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Interesting that my Delta app does not show anything that would indicate that I am waitlisted for my ATL - PVG flight next month (Feb 15). However, the Delta website shows "Upgrade Status: Upgrade Waitlisted" on that segment and the Twitter team has confirmed that I am appropriately waitlisted. However, as noted many times in this thread, that confirmation from Delta doesn't exactly give me confidence.

Does anyone have any experience with getting a Mileage Upgrade to clear w/o any dummy itinerary ("OY") or anything at all showing up in the Delta app? I am always concerned that there is enough misunderstanding within the Delta reservations team about these upgrades that they do not get processed appropriately.
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Old Feb 8, 19, 7:52 pm
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Originally Posted by ijgordon View Post
I think I just got ripped off.
JFK-SLC Skymiles award upgrade for 35k one-way, originally booked in K (and re-booked into "OY" class post-upgrade).
Per the chart in the wiki it should be 20k, but I didn't think to look here until right after the agent processed it.
The "pay with miles" option online was ~$400 or ~38k+ miles, so I did save a few (although would I have earned first class EQMs doing that as it books into Z???).

I asked her to double-check, and while she did confirm that a route like JFK-LAX would be the 28k as quoted in the Wiki, she double-checked and said SLC was 35k.

I may write in to customer service anyway, complaining. But of course I didn't have to accept the offer, so I'll live with the outcome.

Perhaps its best to wait to update the Wiki on this one?
Back with some resolution here.

I wrote in a complaint shortly before my travel, but didnít hear back until the other day, about 2 weeks later. They claimed that everything was processed properly.

I reached out on Twitter to ask the mileage requirement for JFK-SLC in K and was told 25k, but then they couldnít directly assist with my issue. So I called the elite line, blindly asked the mileage requirement and was again told 25k. So then I bought up my case file issue. She took a look and apparently discovered it was processed as the award level for Hawaii. . So she got Skymiles on the phone, and they have credited me the 10k back.

Really annoyed for the runaround on this of course, but glad it worked out.

That said, I think the other lesson here is that the mileage chart in the wiki is already outdated. Maybe we need a few more data points to corroborate though. (That said, JFK-LAX in K to DeltaOne still is 28k miles.
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Old Feb 8, 19, 8:31 pm
Join Date: Jul 2017
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Probably a dumb question but....

if a flight does not have RUC availability, it means they also donít have Mileage Upgrade Availability either, since they pull from the same inventory, right?
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Old Feb 8, 19, 8:38 pm
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Originally Posted by Pianoman109876 View Post
if a flight does not have RUC availability, it means they also donít have Mileage Upgrade Availability either, since they pull from the same inventory, right?
Yep, both clear into OY.
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Old Feb 9, 19, 1:17 am
Join Date: Feb 2019
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Hello guys,

First of all, let me apologize if this is not the correct thread. I did not want to open a new one for such a noobish question which I am sure has already been asked plenty of times!

First time Flying Delta as I am based in Europe. I am Flying ORD-DWT-AMS-MXP in April and I was interested in trying out new Delta Premium Select service on the A350 for the DTW-AMS segment.

From what I could understand from the Wiki:

For all other markets you can upgrade when booked in: Y/B/M//H/Q/K

I can only upgrade with miles if my original booking class is one of these. What about upgrading with cash? Does the same rule still apply? I guess it does but I could not find this info on DL website My booking class is V if that matters.

Thanks for your help and have a wonderful weekend!
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Old Feb 9, 19, 1:27 am
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: San Francisco
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Premium select datapoint: upgraded from a G PS fare (which was apparently an economy Y-up to PS) to Delta One suites. 45k miles per way. Had to HUCA as first agent didnít like the fact it was a Y-up but second one processed it successfully.

This was LAX-PVG.
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Old Feb 12, 19, 8:59 am
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Originally Posted by ElPippo View Post
What about upgrading with cash? Does the same rule still apply?

No, the same rules do not apply for cash. In short, you can use cash to buy-up from any fare class except for E, basic economy, (which cannot be changed).

Using cash to "upgrade" is not really an upgrade, rather, it is buying up to a new class of service, and they will issue a new ticket and cancel your old one. However, unlike when you change your ticket to a different flight, they will waive the change fee because you are buying up to a higher class of service on the same flight. They will apply the value of your V ticket to the PS ticket and you will pay the difference.

One other option: If you prefer to use miles, you can ask about buying up to an eligible fare and then use miles (but it may be a better value to just use cash).
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Old Feb 12, 19, 12:56 pm
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PS datapoint
HND to LAX. G fare (premium select) to D1 Suites. 45,000 miles. Fare now reads as OY. But still should get 50% MQM bonus from G fare, from my understanding.
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Old Feb 12, 19, 1:19 pm
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Originally Posted by Pianoman109876 View Post
Probably a dumb question but....

if a flight does not have RUC availability, it means they also donít have Mileage Upgrade Availability either, since they pull from the same inventory, right?
Correct for DL domestic flights (where RUCs would be used) but it can be more complicated for partner upgrades, for instance if you're comparing GUC versus miles upgrades on flights operated by KLM depending on your fare class.
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Old Feb 16, 19, 10:47 am
Join Date: Nov 2014
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just upgraded an M fare AMS-BOS for 35,000 skymiles (+ ~$50 in taxes) -- very pleasantly surprised that no waitlist was needed (the rep accidentally checked CDG-BOS on DL initially and told me i'd have to waitlist so we both were pleased with the alternative)

i also tried to upgrade my return BOS-CDG on AF but no upgrades currently available and can't waitlist, so i'll probably call back once or twice but then attempt an AF buy-up w/ cash if possible...
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Old Feb 16, 19, 11:30 am
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Question End of Mileage Upgrades?

According to Gary on VFW (https://viewfromthewing.boardingarea...m=BoardingArea), DL has quietly eliminated the ability for pax to use miles to UG purchased tix based on a fixed amount (depending on fare class, of course). In other words, whereas it used to cost XXX miles to upgrade LUTK fares on a particular route, for example, that option has completely been eliminated. Instead, we're left with upgrading using miles after purchase--and this is all dynamic.

In my experience, I've been able to UG my ticket with a fixed number of miles on past tickets, but they were not always successful. When they were successful, they were a fairly good use of miles, IMO.

Two questions:

1) Can anyone else confirm this to be true?
2) If we're not asked to use miles (dynamic pricing) to UG a ticket after purchasing it, will we get the class bonus in terms of MQMs and/or RDMs?
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Old Feb 16, 19, 11:53 am
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There are several recent posts on Mileage upgrade award thread which contradicts this assertion. K is higher than LUT by the way. K+ is required for international upgrades and T+ for domestic.
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Old Feb 16, 19, 11:57 am
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I think it's more end of award charts if I'm understanding it correctly? In other words, the amount of miles required to upgrade will vary based on origin and destination, etc.

Not sure how I feel about this.
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Old Feb 16, 19, 12:03 pm
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I might be pessimistic, but the program has basically been dead for a while IMO. With the inflated mileage requirements and the inability for upgrades to go to the gate list.
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