Delta Mileage Upgrade Awards

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Old Mar 4, 19, 4:00 am   -   Wikipost
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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:
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  • 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.
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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

US-Europe:
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 Feb 16, 19, 12:04 pm
  #166  
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By using dynamic mileage pricing for upgrades I think Delta continues to move towards their (unstated) redemption goal of 1 Skymile = $.01
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Old Feb 16, 19, 12:06 pm
  #167  
 
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Originally Posted by LostInAmerica View Post
By using dynamic mileage pricing for upgrades I think Delta continues to move towards their (unstated) redemption goal of 1 Skymile = $.01
Yeah. I'm excited if I get 1.6CPM on domestic tickets these days.
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Old Feb 16, 19, 12:20 pm
  #168  
 
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Delta still lists all three options for upgrade on their website, including the legacy program known as Mileage Upgrade Awards. (https://www.delta.com/content/www/en...d-more.html/#a)

They refer to these three programs as:
  1. upgrading with miles during booking:
  2. upgrading with miles after booking on delta.com:
  3. upgrading through Reservations (Mileage Upgrade Awards)
The third option is the traditional program. Options 1 and 2 are, I think, both pay with miles programs. From language on the website, there are certainly discouraging it, but it still seems to be an option, though it's very possible the website has just not been updated.

Also, option 3 (mileage upgrade awards) remains the only option that can be used with partner airlines, so that alone leads me to think that the View From the Wing article is incorrect.
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Old Feb 16, 19, 1:05 pm
  #169  
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Originally Posted by demkr View Post
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.
Charts have been gone for like two years. This is not exactly news. The mileage upgrade awards are still based on regions (they don't vary based on individual routes/flights). Sounds like the blog post is confusing the recent ability to use miles to pay for FCM offers (in addition to cash) with mileage upgrade awards which are still available. DL has provided no indication they are going away.
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Old Feb 17, 19, 1:34 pm
  #170  
 
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I just tried to use a "Mileage Upgrade award" on a domestic flight and was informed by DM line that all Mileage Upgrade Awards have been discontinued for domestic flights. You can still "upgrade with miles" over the phone - same as online - but with the DRASTIC increase in price.

For example, I used to be able to upgrade a JFK-LAX ticket for a flat fee of 20k or 25k miles, from an M fare. (It had been gradually creeping up from older pricing.) . But today, same upgrade from M fare is costing 70k+ miles.

HUGE change. For me, this is probably the most disadvantageous change Delta has ever made to its program. EVER.

I'm really irked at their sneaky announcement where they pretended my new ability to upgrade in the app was some kind of joyful new benefit when they were hiding the lead, which is the flat-rate upgrade awards were being discontinued.

I've gotten this same answer or similar -- "hmm I don't see domestic mileage awards on this chart anymore...." -- from multiple operators so I'm pretty sure this bad news is accurate.
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Old Feb 17, 19, 1:49 pm
  #171  
 
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I sent Delta an angry letter about it. I'm sure they'll reverse course immediately. (ha)

But I just found this new item in the Program Rules. Per the Wayback Machine, this change was posted on Friday February 15.

Applicable Routes: Mileage Upgrade Awards are not valid for Delta-operated flights in North american or South America. For all other markets: Valid for use on one-way travel on published fares and routings. Valid only for travel on routings with a published upgradeable fare.
Look in the Mileage Upgrade Awards section, rule number 5.

Their typo on "american", btw.
Until Feb 15, the OLD rule used to read:
Applicable Routes: North America: Valid for use on one-way travel on published fares and routings within or between the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. Northern South America: Valid for use on one-way travel on published fares and routing between North America and Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela. International: Valid for use on one-way travel on published fares and routings worldwide. Valid only for travel on routings with a published upgradeable fare.
https://www.delta.com/content/www/en...rules.html/#um

Last edited by marcworld; Feb 17, 19 at 2:05 pm
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Old Feb 17, 19, 2:17 pm
  #172  
 
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This is terrible and we should all write letters. Seriously. I'm going to post a new thread about it get some attention and encourage others to do so.
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Old Feb 17, 19, 2:28 pm
  #173  
 
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Thumbs down Major Sky Miles Program Devaluation for Mileage Upgrade Awards

I am starting a new thread to draw everyone's attention to what may be the biggest program devaluation in recent time for Sky Miles. Apparently on Friday Feb 15th, a new rule was posted that makes Mileage Upgrade Awards no longer valid on flights in North America and South America. As a reminder, Mileage Upgrade Awards is the traditional way that one could upgrade with miles, using an amount that was set by route and fare class and did not fluctuate with price.

This means that the only way to upgrade with miles on all domestic flights plus South America flights is by using "Upgrade With Miles" which is a pay with miles upgrade, which is often drastically more miles. (for example, one poster reports that upgrading from an M fare on JFK-LAX was 70K miles ONE WAY, and it used to be 25K).

I would like to encourage everyone to write to Delta and complain about this major change that removes a very valuable benefit that they've tried to pass off as an improvement (with the addition of more online upgrades available).

For more details please see:

Posts #170 and #171 here: Delta Mileage Upgrade Awards

The actual program rules (Rule 5 & 6 under Mileage Upgrade Awards): https://www.delta.com/content/www/en...rules.html/#um

This blog post, which is not fully correct in that it claims that this change is systemwide, but for now it does not appear to impact partner flights or TATL/TPAC DL flights.
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Old Feb 17, 19, 2:38 pm
  #174  
 
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This may put me in the minority opinion on here, but given the mileage upgrade award redemption rates, which could be as much as what an outright premium cabin redemption could go far, and frequent lack of availability (and the upgrades wouldn't even go to the gate if they didn't clear in advance) this may as well be a non-factor. I tried to get mileage-upgrade awards a few times and never succeeded with it. While the rate may not be the best ($0.01/mile or so), the ability to now use miles to buy-up to FC is an okay tradeoff to me as I at least know there's "space" I can upgrade to.
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Last edited by ATOBTTR; Feb 17, 19 at 2:46 pm
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Old Feb 17, 19, 2:56 pm
  #175  
 
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Originally Posted by ATOBTTR View Post
This may put me in the minority opinion on here, but given the mileage upgrade award redemption rates, which could be as much as what an outright premium cabin redemption could go far, and frequent lack of availability (and the upgrades wouldn't even go to the gate if they didn't clear in advance) this may as well be a non-factor. I tried to get mileage-upgrade awards a few times and never succeeded with it. While the rate may not be the best ($0.01/mile or so), the ability to now use miles to buy-up to FC is an okay tradeoff to me as I at least know there's "space" I can upgrade to.
+1. Not sure what the big deal is. These always seemed like useless avenues for mileage redemption whenever I tried (both domestic and international). Either quoted rate was sky high or there was no availability despite lots of seats.

In some cases the direct mileage/cash redemption they are now allowing for domestic is a better deal.
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Old Feb 17, 19, 2:56 pm
  #176  
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Originally Posted by ATOBTTR View Post
This may put me in the minority opinion on here, but given the mileage redemption rates, which could be as much as what an outright premium cabin redemption could go far, and frequent lack of availability (and the upgrades wouldn't even go to the gate if they didn't clear in advance) this may as well be a non-factor. I tried to get mileage-upgrade awards a few times and never succeeded with it. While the rate may not be the best ($0.01/mile or so), the ability to now use miles to buy-up to FC is an okay tradeoff to me as I at least know there's "space" I can upgrade to.
I'm pretty much with ATOBTTR on this ... I've used a few of these in the past, but it always required calling in with a pair of questions: (1) is UG space available on the desired flight(s)? (2) if so, how much to upfare to K? ... lately, once MQD is no longer an issue (i.e., I hit the AmEx waiver or the PM spend threshold), I occasionally use PWM to cover a portion of the FCM upfare, which for my typical TCONs has ranged from ~$160 (in the early days of FCM) to ~$250 today
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Old Feb 17, 19, 3:08 pm
  #177  
 
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If this is a sign of things to come, this is really bad, and I'm surprised that others don't see it that way. For example, the 25K mile upgrades from PE to UC on Virgin are a fantastic use of this program. Right now partner award upgrades are not effected, but if that goes this way, that upgrade option is going to soar in price.

And while I know that inventory for these upgrades was very limited, there WAS some inventory and there were some good deals to be had.
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Old Feb 17, 19, 3:55 pm
  #178  
 
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I've not had much luck getting the old school mileage upgrades, but have been regularly offered F on domestics over 2.5 hours for around 15,000 skm routinely since the push to use miles to upgrade when changing seats post booking. For me, I've been able to buy up for less and more frequently than before.

One example was MSP-MCO (the unhappiest flight on earth). I was offered a one way upgrade for 17,300 with a price of around $200. Seemed like a good deal to me!

That said, I just redeemed miles for $0.061/mi to TYO... which is a WAY better value
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Old Feb 17, 19, 3:59 pm
  #179  
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Thread merged. Update the wiki with verified info as you will.

3Cforme - Delta Forum Moderator
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Old Feb 17, 19, 4:39 pm
  #180  
 
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delted.

Last edited by jdrtravel; Feb 18, 19 at 6:02 pm
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