NW Platinum Upgrades on DL

 
Old Dec 22, 08, 11:14 pm
  #1  
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NW Platinum Upgrades on DL

Perhaps this question has been answered elsewhere in the forum - if so, my apologies for not catching it. I just also made a similar post in the DL SkyMiles Forum as well, since perhaps somebody there knows the answer.

Anyway...

I am a NW Platinum Elite member and have recently starting flying DL as the result of the merger. I am interested in finding out, from someone who really knows, how the DL upgrade priorities work as, circumstantially, they appear to be different than what I am used to on NW. I am also interested in finding out whether or not, at this stage, NW Platinum Elites are considered equivalent to DL Platinum Elites on DL when it comes to upgrades or to any other tier-related services or benefits.

The reason I ask is that I have run into a couple of situations when flying DL which can seemingly be explained only by either [a] there are significant differences between DL's upgrade program and NW's, and/or [b] NW Platinums are not, at this stage, being accorded status and privileges equivalent to DL Platinums.

For example, tonight I flew DL 1791 from ATL to Sarasota on a U-class (discounted) ticket. As of yesterday, there were 5 or 6 unclaimed seats in first class, and I was listed for an upgrade. The upgrade didn't clear, so when I arrived at the boarding gate in ATL immediately prior to boarding, I checked the posted upgrade waitlist. At that point, all the first class seats had been filled except for one, and there were still 9 people in queue awaiting upgrades. I was #9 of the 9.

At first blush, that would seem to suggest that there were no Golds or Silvers traveling on discount fares on the flight; otherwise, it would be reasonable to expect to see them on the upgrade list and also reasonable to see them at a lower priority. I do understand that DL places some weight on fare paid, although I don't know exactly how DL handles it. But since this particular MD-88 was nearly full, it seemed statistically impossible that I, as a Platinum, would be dead last on the upgrade list even though I was traveling on a discount fare. After all, with over 100+ passengers on the flight, certainly at least some of them had to be Gold or Silver Medallions flying on some sort of discount fare - and at least some, if not all of them, would have been standing by for an upgrade. I think that's pretty reasonable to assume.

On the few flights I've taken with DL, I seem to be averaging about 50% for upgrades. It's not a big deal in the cosmic scheme of things, since most of my flights on DL are relatively short, but as a person who spends a lot of time on airplanes, it would be nice to know how DL's policies work and to get a feel for why my success rate is so much higher on NW, where I am upgraded on just about every flight. (I'm also a top tier on American, and my success rate for upgrades is also considerably higher on them than on DL.)

The example of tonights ATL-SRQ flight is only one example. I have others that are similar, but one example should be enough to support my question regarding how DL's upgrade policies work and how the addition of NW Platinum Elites into the upgrade mix impacts them.

Interestingly enough - and this may or may not be at all relevant - I find that when I book DL travel thru NW's website (NW allows DL flights to be booked as DL flights, not as NW codeshares, but on NW ticket stock), that when it comes time to check in, I am usually unable to check in using web check-in. The reservation is flagged as 'ineligible.' Then, at the airport, when I enter the DL record locator (not the NW record locator) into the kiosk for check in, the kiosk says that it cannot find a matching e-ticket and sends me to an agent to issue the boarding pass. I spoke to the check-in agent today about this, and she said that she didn't see any problems with the ticket. Yet since I've run into this a number of times now, there seems to be some technical issue of sorts, at least with the ability to check in. Perhaps there is some sort of technical tie-in with the upgrade process for NW Platinums as well. (Improbable, sure, but I thought I'd mention it.)

Any specific info or insights would be most appreciated ... thanks!

Oh, I should mention, in fairness, that overall, I'm pretty pleased overall with DL thus far, and it is my hope that the process of integrating NW draws on the best of both carriers, since both appear to do a lot of things right, but each has its own unique strengths that, if cherry picked, could benefit the new Delta. In particular, I hope that DL takes a good look at NW's domestic first class meals.

Happy holidays all!
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Old Dec 23, 08, 2:10 am
  #2  
 
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While I don't know for sure, my guess is that maybe you were on a flight that was heavy with DL Plat Medallions and you stayed at the bottom of the waiting list because you were on such a low fare. DL's web site lists fare category as one of the factors they use in prioritizing upgrade priority.

So far this year I have been 4 for 4 on upgrades LAX-JFK. In each case, I was never upgraded in advance, only at the gate. I was always at the top of the upgrade priority list and in two of the cases seemed to snatch the last business class seat on this popular flight. My guess is that my 100% upgrade rate is because I was flying on a "B" class economy fare in each case. If I were flying on a U/T fare, I fear I might not have made a single upgrade on that route.

Last edited by LAXRuss; Dec 23, 08 at 2:16 am
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Old Dec 23, 08, 7:51 am
  #3  
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Covered at length here.

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/north...g-10-28-a.html
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Old Dec 23, 08, 8:03 am
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Originally Posted by globaldude View Post
Interestingly enough - and this may or may not be at all relevant - I find that when I book DL travel thru NW's website (NW allows DL flights to be booked as DL flights, not as NW codeshares, but on NW ticket stock), that when it comes time to check in, I am usually unable to check in using web check-in. The reservation is flagged as 'ineligible.' Then, at the airport, when I enter the DL record locator (not the NW record locator) into the kiosk for check in, the kiosk says that it cannot find a matching e-ticket and sends me to an agent to issue the boarding pass. I spoke to the check-in agent today about this, and she said that she didn't see any problems with the ticket. Yet since I've run into this a number of times now, there seems to be some technical issue of sorts, at least with the ability to check in. Perhaps there is some sort of technical tie-in with the upgrade process for NW Platinums as well. (Improbable, sure, but I thought I'd mention it.)
I have this problem too, of being unable to do OLCI for my nwa.com purchased DL flight. Agents for both NW and DL state there is nothing wrong with my reservation and can not see why I get the "ineligible" for OLCI when I try. I spent >25 minutes on the phone yesterday trying to get them to fix it, with the IT tech guy saying he knows of the problem, and that there is nothing that he could do about it. So much for "seamless integration" where we can't even do OLCI.
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Old Dec 23, 08, 10:12 am
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I've been a Plat on both NW and DL for several years. I always buy the cheapest tickets and I almost always get upgraded on NW and not so often on DL. It is not unusual to be way down on the upgrade monitor board even though a Plat with DL; evidently there are tons of them. My DL flights are usually between SFO and ATL and time of day and day of the week make a big difference in upgrade chances.
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Old Dec 23, 08, 1:20 pm
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For example, tonight I flew DL 1791 from ATL to Sarasota on a U-class (discounted) ticket. As of yesterday, there were 5 or 6 unclaimed seats in first class, and I was listed for an upgrade. The upgrade didn't clear, so when I arrived at the boarding gate in ATL immediately prior to boarding, I checked the posted upgrade waitlist. At that point, all the first class seats had been filled except for one, and there were still 9 people in queue awaiting upgrades. I was #9 of the 9.
I too just had a similar experience that was hard to understand....

I am both DL GM and NW Plat. So after the recipricol upgrades were announced, I started to use mt NW Plat on my reservations, thereby being recognized as at the same level as DL PM for upgrades... or so I thought.

After making this switch, I have been upgraded on all of my last 5 flights, on the PM-heavy ATL-FLL or ATL-PBI Thursday night route. As a Gold I had not been upgraded since flying this route (started in September 2008) every week, except for the Wed. before Thanksgiving.

But this past Monday, I had not been upgraded up until flight time, although there were 5 F seats 1-hour before. I did OLCI on my way to the airport and printed my BP at the kiosk. I made my way to the gate and saw I was #9 out of 9 on the upgrade list. I probably should have quizzed the GA, but I was too tired and at the moment indifferent the upgrade. Also, once you check-in, it is impossible to change your FF # on the entire reservation.

As globaldude points out, there is no way there could not have been other GM, SM, etc. on that flight. I know for a fact that were several GM who fly with me every Monday morning, and were ahead of me on the upgrade list.

My conclusion is that Delta's upgrade system is properly allocating upgrades to NW Plats at the upgrade windows, but once control is handed over to airport and gate, for whatever reason you are dropped behind others.
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Old Dec 23, 08, 2:27 pm
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Funny experience, I was flying MCO-ATL a couple of weeks ago and there were 36 names on the upgrade list. I got the last seat. Previously, I've always flown NW from MCO and it was one of the easiest upgrades to get.

A somewhat related question - what is DL policy when a NW Platinum travels on the same record as a NW Gold (Mrs. Yogimax). I know Continental looks at the lowest elite level and it pays to split the reservation. How about DL?
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Old Dec 23, 08, 9:37 pm
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Originally Posted by yogimax View Post
Funny experience, I was flying MCO-ATL a couple of weeks ago and there were 36 names on the upgrade list. I got the last seat. Previously, I've always flown NW from MCO and it was one of the easiest upgrades to get.

A somewhat related question - what is DL policy when a NW Platinum travels on the same record as a NW Gold (Mrs. Yogimax). I know Continental looks at the lowest elite level and it pays to split the reservation. How about DL?
UPG out of FL on DL are tough. TPA/ MCO is one of the tougher ones around.
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Old Dec 23, 08, 10:59 pm
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Originally Posted by CVCONDE View Post
My conclusion is that Delta's upgrade system is properly allocating upgrades to NW Plats at the upgrade windows, but once control is handed over to airport and gate, for whatever reason you are dropped behind others.
Perhaps that's what's happening.

Too bad DL's website doesn't provide upgrade position information like NW's does. In the rare event that I'm not upgraded on NW early in the upgrade window, I can periodically check my position in the queue by logging into nwa.com and pulling up my reservation.
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Old Dec 23, 08, 11:38 pm
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Originally Posted by yogimax View Post
Funny experience, I was flying MCO-ATL a couple of weeks ago and there were 36 names on the upgrade list. I got the last seat. Previously, I've always flown NW from MCO and it was one of the easiest upgrades to get.

A somewhat related question - what is DL policy when a NW Platinum travels on the same record as a NW Gold (Mrs. Yogimax). I know Continental looks at the lowest elite level and it pays to split the reservation. How about DL?
Yep, split it. Then you will both have a chance to clear at your respective windows. Leave them together and you only have a chance to clear at the lower of the two medallion windows.
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Old Dec 24, 08, 12:01 am
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I have been a delta PM for years and I still can't make any sense out of their upgrade process.....such a complicated system; no wonder these airlines go into bankruptcy at the same rate that the rest of us go to the bathroom. That said, I can tell you that I never give much thought to upgrades when flying into or out of ATL....just too much competition. However, everywhere else, I am about 90%. Oddly, I am 100% on the 8 NW flights that I have taken in the past two months.
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Old Dec 24, 08, 2:41 am
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Originally Posted by spsguy View Post
Oddly, I am 100% on the 8 NW flights that I have taken in the past two months.
Doesn't seem odd to me. NW puts a determined focus on taking care of its Platinum Elites, even to the degree of offering its "upgrade guarantee" whereby we get 1,000 bonus miles for each upgradeable segment that fails to clear. Don't know if that guarantee applies to Delta Platinums flying on NW however.
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Old Jan 5, 09, 4:35 am
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More evidence that there is something wrong with upgrades at the gate.

Monday morning flight today (granted it is a heavy travel day). Did not clear before airport (no suprise there). Got to airport and as a NWA Plat I am 47 of 47 on the upgrade list!

I ask the GA and she confirms I am after everyone else, those being DL PM, GM, and FOs. Therefore it is unequivocal that as a NWA elite, you are at the bottom of the pecking order for airport upgrades.

Worse part is that as a DL GM I would be better off for "battlefield" upgrades. But once you check-in, you FF# is locked into the reservation and impossible to change..
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Old Jan 5, 09, 8:24 am
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Thumbs down

Originally Posted by CVCONDE View Post
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More evidence that there is something wrong with upgrades at the gate.

Monday morning flight today (granted it is a heavy travel day). Did not clear before airport (no suprise there). Got to airport and as a NWA Plat I am 47 of 47 on the upgrade list!

I ask the GA and she confirms I am after everyone else, those being DL PM, GM, and FOs. Therefore it is unequivocal that as a NWA elite, you are at the bottom of the pecking order for airport upgrades.

Worse part is that as a DL GM I would be better off for "battlefield" upgrades. But once you check-in, you FF# is locked into the reservation and impossible to change..
As I mentioned in the other thread, I've had the same experience...#27 out of 28 on the upgrade list, as a NW platinum on a SFO-ATL flight.
Yes, I realize that that is a difficult route, and I realize that it is entirely possible that there MAY have been 26 platinums ahead of me on higher fares.

BUT...For there to be 26 platinums and only 1 gold/silver seems very unlikely to me. I would guess that I was placed behind DL GM/FO, as was done in the above post.

If this is in fact what happened... to DL! Fix this now!!!
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Old Jan 5, 09, 10:24 am
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Originally Posted by troyintn View Post
UPG out of FL on DL are tough. TPA/ MCO is one of the tougher ones around.
Actually, as someone who lived in MCO for more than four years, my experience is completely different.

In all that time, I don't think I failed to get an upgrade even ONCE. It's certainly more difficult to upgrade on flights to/from ATL than any other hub... but if you route yourself through JFK, CVG or SLC, you shouldn't have a problem at all, especially as a PM.
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