Does Delta give free upgrades?

  • Jul 10, 2024
Does Delta give free upgrades?

What Are the Facts about Free Upgrades in Delta?

When setting foot on a Delta flight, most passengers every woman and man switches their crossed fingers and pray to hear the words… ‘we have some complimentary upgrades available’. Is it a common occurrence that Delta offers complimentary upgrades or is this nearly impossible to get? In this post, I will be breaking down Delta’s upgrade rules and how you can get an upgrade to the next cabin: for free.

What Are Delta Upgrades?

Upgrades on Delta are available for purchase to get from the main cabin to either Comfort + or first class. The other ‘upgrades’ offered by Comfort+ are just more leg space, priority boarding, and free beverages. Converting a coach class for long-haul flights to the first class, passengers are provided with lie-flat seats and additional services such as multiple course meals, alcoholic beverages, and better service.

Through the Medallion elite status program, Delta also provides upgrade certificates to its most loyal Flying Frequent Flyers. However, upgrades for regular passengers predominantly occur at the gate as a result of availability of empty seats in higher classes. Some airlines use gate agents to make announcements informing fliers of free upgrade offers and ask interested persons to proceed to the podium in a bid to ascertain whether they have been successful in their upgrade or not.

Why Does Delta Choose to Offer Free Upgrade to Certain Passengers?

When gate agents have open seats to fill in Comfort+ or first class at departure time, they follow internal guidelines on the order to select passengers for free upgrades:When gate agents have open seats to fill in Comfort+ or first class at departure time, they follow internal guidelines on the order to select passengers for free upgrades:

- It will be aimed at Diamond Medallion members that is Delta Airline’s highest status level for frequent flyers.
- Field of membership: Platinum and Gold Medallion members
- Silver Medallion members
- If you are an American Express card member using any of the Delta-branded credit cards
- The passengers in those sections who pay full fare for a main cabin ticket.
- You get access to passengers in the main cabins at discounted rates.

It can clearly be understood that having a higher ranking in Delta’s SkyMiles frequent flyer program is the determining factor for getting a free upgrade. But if you don’t have it, then, besides your root, the amount for which you bought your ticket plays a great role. If you want a higher chance to be enjoyed as opposed to the basic economy ticket, it is better to pay more.

Delta Air Lines is one of the leading airlines across the world with over 190 domestic and international destinations and millions of passengers every year. The following are some of the tips for getting a free Delta upgrade.

1. Book a Full-Fare Ticket

If you are willing to fly on off-peak hours, the probability of getting a free upgrade if you booked a dirt-cheap economy ticket is practically impossible. Delta agents prioritize those passengers who got main cabin tickets and did not use any of the travel perks to get a cheap fare. Use the K flexible fare again during check in to show Delta that you are willing to pay more.

2. Obtain Delta Elite Status

Gaining Medallion status simply unlocks the possibility to upgrade freely. Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallions gets confirmed upgrades on paid tickets – and have the first chance at standbys when using points. Still, for the average consumer, gaining one more upgrade option is still useful for Silver Medallion. Status is achieved through attaining a certain amount of Medallion Qualification Miles, flying between 25,000 and 125,000 miles with Delta.

3. Use a Delta Credit Card

Just to illustrate, if you are among passengers who are eligible for an upgrade, having a Delta SkyMiles credit card card will place you in a better position compared to someone who doesn’t have it. This is not to say that Delta upgrades cardholders but being on the standby list is a plus as far as this airline is concerned. The Delta Reserve card provides the most benefits, for instance, having priority in upgrading before all the other Delta credit cards.

4. For former guests, this question can be asked when they check in or arrive at the hotel.

Nicely enquiring from the receptionist or the attendant on duty at the gate whether there is a possibility of offering an upgrade for free often does the trick. First and Comfort+ seats may be occasionally open at the gate and gate agents may offer to upgrade nice passengers who express interest. However, if they are told no upgrades are available, do not be rude and continue the search in other offices.

5. Book Connecting Flights

It is easy to upgrade when there are more one-stop routings booked instead of non-stops. Misconnect risk enables the agents to select passengers who should be upgraded to the first flight to ensure that they connect tightly with their next flight. If one’s not so bothered about a layover, indirect flights offer even more opportunities to be upgraded.

6. I should fly at times when there are no business meetings, conferences, or other events to attend because it is a waste of resources.

Upgrade chances increase significantly when cabins are less occupied – typically, it is with low traffic airlines. Settle for midday and midweek red-eye flights instead of morning and evening business traffic. Based on this, avoid school holidays and high holiday seasons. Look at seat maps to identify more open over flights with over/in premium cabins.

7. Be Loyal to Delta

Future purchase intent to upgrade also depends on preference to loyalty. Even just 25000 miles on Delta will help you to be placed higher on the upgrade list. Delta balances your upgrade entitlements based on frequency due to the fact that you choose it over the other airlines. Fly on Delta more frequently in a year so as to be promoted to the first position of the standby list.

Is There Any Benefits for Elite Status Partnership with Partner Airline?

Some of the airlines that have codeshare relations with Delta includes Air france, KLM, Virgin Atlantic, Aeromexico, and Korean air. Some KLM partner airlines also award top tier elite flyers the ability to request Delta upgrades at the time of check-in. Current published upgrade policies show that Delta has different upgrade benefit policies with its partners. Some of them include specific transoceanic flights on Delta where they offer upgrade opportunities while others provide no clear defined free upgrade privileges. Policies for upgrades are elaborate; thus, check with specific partner program for current provisions or better yet, with the operating carrier to know your probabilities.

In Summary

Thus, despite Delta establishing a tradition of giving occasional free upgrade shocks to its passengers, such instances are quite limited for leisure travelers at present. Thus, attempting all those mentioned in this article increases your extremely low probability of actually getting that seat up front but luck still plays a part. This means that if an upgrade is important to you, either, using your points to lock in an upgrade or buying an upgraded fare will always be the surest way. But there are always the adventurous ones who enjoy their chances by flying standby with your fingers crossed you get lucky now and then and fly first class!