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 17, 19, 4:42 pm
  #181  
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
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For the rexord, as a DM who usually gets free upgrades on connecting nonglamourous flights...a sweet deal on a MSP connection doesn't do much for me. It was the D1 flat fee upgrades where the value was tremendous.

Of course, tremendous value for me probably means a terrible value in DL's view. ::sigh ::

I wonder if, perversely, this new price hikes for domestic upgrades will leave them unsold and increase the availability of comp upgrades. 🤔

Wishful thinking....
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Old Feb 17, 19, 8:49 pm
  #182  
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I’m not sure exactly how much of a loss this is either. I guess it’s similar to the abolition of the fixed price award tickets, and now closer to a fixed value per mile. i posted about at least some of this upthread, but I paid 18k for “upgrade with miles” on SLC-RDU (instead of ~$199 cash) and 25k for a mileage award upgrade in JFK-SLC (upgrade with miles on that leg was 38k or ~$400 cash).
I guess it’s a YMMV thing. But I also suppose the valuation of the mileage for UWM is on the poor side, at about 1.1¢/mi which is understandable to complain about.
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Old Feb 17, 19, 10:55 pm
  #183  
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It will be just be the FCM offer paid with miles. It could be worse or better than the awards were. Had a $250/25K miles offer for SFO-DTW prior to getting upgraded. It was on a V fare, so it wouldn't have even been eligible for a mileage upgrade award.
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Old Feb 18, 19, 11:53 am
  #184  
 
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Just to add a data point: this morning I was quoted a price of 354K miles to upgrade my wife and myself to Delta One on an ATL-LIM itinerary. The agent cited the Feb 15 policy change. I'll scrap the trip.
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Old Feb 18, 19, 12:06 pm
  #185  
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Originally Posted by SamGRJ View Post
Just to add a data point: this morning I was quoted a price of 354K miles to upgrade my wife and myself to Delta One on an ATL-LIM itinerary. The agent cited the Feb 15 policy change. I'll scrap the trip.
How much would a premium cabin award ticket be for the same route?
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Old Feb 18, 19, 12:28 pm
  #186  
 
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Originally Posted by SamGRJ View Post
Just to add a data point: this morning I was quoted a price of 354K miles to upgrade my wife and myself to Delta One on an ATL-LIM itinerary. The agent cited the Feb 15 policy change. I'll scrap the trip.
You're going scrap a trip because the upgrade cost for the trip went up?
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Old Feb 18, 19, 3:46 pm
  #187  
 
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If you are buying up in this new method, is that considered a paid class change? Are MQDs and MQMs commensurate with the upsold fare or the original fare?
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Old Feb 18, 19, 5:15 pm
  #188  
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Originally Posted by marcworld View Post
If you are buying up in this new method, is that considered a paid class change? Are MQDs and MQMs commensurate with the upsold fare or the original fare?
Yes and you get bonus MQMs. You only earn MQDs on the cash portion of the fare or upfare, not for anything paid with miles.
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Old Feb 20, 19, 10:14 am
  #189  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
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Absolutely, yeah. Just a fun trip for my wife and myself. Went to Santiago in the fall (which was awesome) and thought it would be cool to continue to explore that region, but there are a lot of fun places to go. We'll find something that's a better value, maybe on Delta, maybe on another carrier.
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Old Feb 20, 19, 10:23 am
  #190  
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Originally Posted by SamGRJ View Post
Absolutely, yeah. Just a fun trip for my wife and myself. Went to Santiago in the fall (which was awesome) and thought it would be cool to continue to explore that region, but there are a lot of fun places to go. We'll find something that's a better value, maybe on Delta, maybe on another carrier.
What if there had been no upgrade award inventory on the flights? Would you have just bought a K fare and hope that it opened up? K fares on ORD-LIM are around $1400, while Z fares can be found for $2400, so mileage upgrade award route would probably not have been that great of a deal for your miles (especially on a K fare). Business fares on AM are around $1400. While you won't get lie-flat's, you can do quite well on MQD/mileage earn on these.

Last edited by LBJ; Feb 20, 19 at 10:31 am
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Old Feb 20, 19, 10:44 am
  #191  
 
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Originally Posted by LBJ View Post
What if there had been no upgrade award inventory on the flights? Would you have just bought a K fare and hope that it opened up? K fares on ORD-LIM are around $1400, while Z fares can be found for $2400, so mileage upgrade award route would probably not have been that great of a deal for your miles (especially on a K fare). Business fares on AM are around $1400. While you won't get lie-flat's, you can do quite well on MQD/mileage earn on these.
For vacation trips I just prefer to confirm the upgrade at time of booking, because I don't like to start a trip with the disappointment of not getting the seat I wanted. On business trips I can deal with anything, but fun should be fun.:-) Love the AM suggestion, though. Thanks!
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Old Feb 21, 19, 12:02 pm
  #192  
 
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Can someone help me understand why my purchased Comfort+ ticket isn't upgradeable? I purchased through my employer, LAX-PVG and HND-LAX, the outbound in Premium Select (P) and the return in Comfort+ (W). I called Delta and they said the return isn't upgradeable with points, because the Fare Code basis is "X". I'm trying to understand how a flight booked directly in Comfort+, a seemingly higher class is seen as deep discount economy and not eligible for upgrade. Then, I inquired about upgrading with cash on the return leg and they wanted to charge me a change fee. I asked why is an upgrade request being charged a change fee. Doesn't make sense. Plus I'm Delta Gold too... no luck with that rep. Any recommendations on the upgrade and change fee? Or am I SOL?

Last edited by Mighty_Bluff; Feb 21, 19 at 12:15 pm
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Old Feb 21, 19, 12:38 pm
  #193  
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Comfort+ fares have an underlying class (in the fare basis code). The fare basis code must start with a K or higher in order to be mileage upgrade eligible. Fare basis code can be found in DL email receipt (or fare rules link prior to purchase when pricing out an itin).
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Old Feb 21, 19, 1:38 pm
  #194  
 
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Definitely HUCA if you are being charged a change fee for a cabin upgrade; those are always waived for changeable tickets (i.e. not bc=E). I was able to upgrade a PS-only fare with a fare class of X (booking into G), haven't tried C+ though.
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Old Feb 21, 19, 2:16 pm
  #195  
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Originally Posted by dlflyer00 View Post
Definitely HUCA if you are being charged a change fee for a cabin upgrade; those are always waived for changeable tickets (i.e. not bc=E). I was able to upgrade a PS-only fare with a fare class of X (booking into G), haven't tried C+ though.
Poster already has a C+ fare, so there would be no cabin change when just upfaring to a higher C+ fare that would be mileage upgrade eligible.
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