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Confusing Rules For Skybonus Upgrade From Comfort+

Confusing Rules For Skybonus Upgrade From Comfort+

Old Jan 13, 20, 9:01 am
  #1  
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Confusing Rules For Skybonus Upgrade From Comfort+

For reference I'm new to DL and the Skybonus program and everything else, after switching the whole company over recently. So it's possible I'm missing some basic or obvious context, even though I've tried to read through all the relevant threads.

Here's a situation I just encountered:

1) Booked a reservation for a bunch of travelers for a business trip, including a colleague we'll call Susan. Susan was booked in a paid Comfort+ seat.

2) Some time after the booking, learned that Susan will be recovering from a minor medical issue, so I wanted to try to upgrade her to First/D1. We have a bunch of Skybonus miles now so wanted to try to use them.

3) Got confused, because there doesn't appear to be any way to upgrade from a paid Comfort+ ticket this way, at all. You can get a 50,000 point upgrade cert from most main cabin fares, but Comfort+ isn't listed.

4) I figured that since I was already on a higher paid ticket, there should be a way to use this cert anyways. Called the Skybonus desk and apparently now. If I had bought a cheaper ticket, the cert could be used to upgrade. Instead, I'm out of luck, unless I want to pay $200 change fee to *downgrade* the existing ticket, and then use the cert to upgrade it. Which seems insane.

Is this really how the program works? Besides knowing I want to try to upgrade at the time of booking, is there any other workaround for this kind of problem? It seems like a mistake in the program design if this is really how it works.
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Old Jan 13, 20, 9:12 am
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It can likely be used on C+ fares if the underlying coach class is high enough (all C+ fares have an underlying coach class). It's the first letter of the Fare Basis code for the fare which can be found in the "Fare Details:" line of the email receipt. This is how Mileage Upgrade Awards work on C+ fares. The 50K point Select Fare upgrades require a K or higher fare class. I wouldn't really call this "most" main cabin fares as it excludes LUTXV fares (you need a YBMHQK fare to apply it). The 25K point "Full Fare" upgrades require YBM fares to apply.

Last edited by xliioper; Jan 13, 20 at 9:18 am
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Old Jan 13, 20, 9:22 am
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As explained above C+ gates work a bit, well different. Agent most likely either didn't know how or didn't want to do the work. HUCA is in order. BTW who did you call at DL to apply?
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Old Jan 13, 20, 9:47 am
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Originally Posted by xliioper View Post
It can likely be used on C+ fares if the underlying coach class is high enough (all C+ fares have an underlying coach class). It's the first letter of the Fare Basis code for the fare which can be found in the "Fare Details:" line of the email receipt. This is how Mileage Upgrade Awards work on C+ fares. The 50K point Select Fare upgrades require a K or higher fare class. I wouldn't really call this "most" main cabin fares as it excludes LUTXV fares (you need a YBMHQK fare to apply it). The 25K point "Full Fare" upgrades require YBM fares to apply.
Interesting. And very helpful, thanks. So for example if I'm seeing this:

Fare Details: NYC DL SEA222.33VAVSA0C1 USD222.33END ZP JFK XF JFK4.5

What fare class I'm I looking at here? I tried an Expertflyer search for the days in question and eyeballed the results but didn't see any obvious matches.
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Old Jan 13, 20, 10:01 am
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Originally Posted by edwin_p_morales View Post
Interesting. And very helpful, thanks. So for example if I'm seeing this:

Fare Details: NYC DL SEA222.33VAVSA0C1 USD222.33END ZP JFK XF JFK4.5

What fare class I'm I looking at here? I tried an Expertflyer search for the days in question and eyeballed the results but didn't see any obvious matches.
The fare basis code for the fare is VAVSA0C1 (it's the 8 letter code after the base fare price). The underlying coach fare class is 'V' as that is the first letter of the fare basis code. Thus it would not be eligible for the Sky Bonus upgrade. The main cabin fare that goes with this C+ fare would be VAVSA0M1 (the second to last letter indicates the cabin and can be a C or I for C+ fares) and would not be eligible either as a V fare. V fares are the lowest priced DL main cabin/C+ fares and you would have likely had to have paid significantly more for a K fare that would have been eligible for the Sky Bonus upgrade. Although probably not too much more if purchased as a main cabin K fare vs. C+ with underlying K fare (main cabin K fares look to be in the $320 range on this route vs. $460 for C+ with underlying K).

Last edited by xliioper; Jan 13, 20 at 10:25 am
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Old Jan 13, 20, 10:30 am
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Another thing to consider is calling DL reservations. Explain that she really needs to be in F due to injury or not travel. Ask what they can do. They have more options than Skybonus agents would even know about. They also can waive change fees, etc that SB agents can't.

Lastly, have you pulled up the reservation online or in app to see what the upgrade offer is? Depending on route/day this can be very cheap and less than upgrading to what a current F fare is.
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Old Jan 13, 20, 10:36 am
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For what itís worth, I have never been charged a change fee either by a SkyBonus or reservations rep to upfare a main cabin fare to a higher fare class (i.e. to K). Make sure theyíre not charging you a fee, only the fare difference.
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Old Jan 13, 20, 12:08 pm
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Originally Posted by flyerCO View Post
Another thing to consider is calling DL reservations. Explain that she really needs to be in F due to injury or not travel. Ask what they can do. They have more options than Skybonus agents would even know about. They also can waive change fees, etc that SB agents can't.

Lastly, have you pulled up the reservation online or in app to see what the upgrade offer is? Depending on route/day this can be very cheap and less than upgrading to what a current F fare is.
The buy-up to first is about $960 one way, which is a little more than I can justify business-wise. We're accumulating Skybonus points at a blistering pace so that was the one that interested me.

I might try that approach with the res agent, I always get scared of doing stuff like that, you never know if someone is going to do something like cancel the reservation since she's "unable to fly".

It's also possible I just have PTSD from interacting with AA front line staff for the past few years.
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Old Jan 13, 20, 12:24 pm
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Originally Posted by dlflyer00 View Post
For what itís worth, I have never been charged a change fee either by a SkyBonus or reservations rep to upfare a main cabin fare to a higher fare class (i.e. to K). Make sure theyíre not charging you a fee, only the fare difference.
That also makes sense here. It's a combination of downfare and upfare, but knowing that fundamentally I'm upfaring this, by going from V to K or whatever, makes the internal process a little clearer.
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Old Jan 13, 20, 1:04 pm
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DL policy only provides for fee waivers when upfaring to a higher cabin (main to C+, or C+ to FC, etc), not simply a higher fare class. Yes, they have some discretion, but don't be too surprised if they refuse to waive it.
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Old Jan 13, 20, 1:40 pm
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Originally Posted by xliioper View Post
DL policy only provides for fee waivers when upfaring to a higher cabin (main to C+, or C+ to FC, etc), not simply a higher fare class. Yes, they have some discretion, but don't be too surprised if they refuse to waive it.
Donít be surprised, just HUCA
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Old Jan 13, 20, 1:45 pm
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The other thing to keep in mind is that to use the SkyBonus upgrade certificates, you also need to have upgrade inventory available. This is not a 1:1 match with for-sale inventory or seat availability and is not guaranteed on any given flight, so you should call to confirm this before redeeming points for the upgrade certificate.

FWIW I find the straight-up free main-cabin tickets to be the easiest to redeem and best value from SkyBonus. You just need a certain fare to be for sale (IIRC, a T fare) and then you can redeem the SkyBonus cert on it. Plus it's round-trip.
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