Delta Airlines Upgrade Essentials You Need to Know


Choosing a seat on a Delta Airlines flight can be confusing when making a reservation. These are complicated by the different advantages that elite members receive and the strict restrictions that holders of essential economy tickets must adhere to. Because of this, it becomes necessary to know when and how to choose your Delta seat. The intricacies of Delta seat assignments, the operation of the airline seating arrangement, and the related expenses of obtaining a preferred seat will all be covered in detail in this guide. Regardless of your experience with traveling, learning about Delta Airlines upgrade details will help you make more educated decisions and improve your trip in general.

How Delta Seat Upgrade Works?

Delta's seat upgrade procedure allows travelers to enhance their in-flight experience. The airline presents several avenues for seat upgrades, each catering to various preferences and priorities. One standard method uses Delta SkyMiles, the airline's loyalty program currency. Depending on availability, travelers can use SkyMiles to bid on seat upgrades or purchase them directly.

Additionally, Delta presents complimentary upgrades to its elite status members based on their membership tier, with higher tiers enjoying greater priority. These upgrades are typically processed closer to the departure date, depending on seat availability in the desired class.

For non-elite members, upgrade options may also be available for purchase during the booking process or at the airport. The details and options for seat upgrades can vary, so travelers should check the upgrade Delta flight-authorized guidelines and policies for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Delta Airlines Complimentary Upgrades

If you're a particular Delta Medallion member, you can enjoy free upgrades to Delta One on the day you fly within the U.S., even to Hawaii. But there's a catch. Delta is selling more first-class tickets and offering fewer free upgrades than before. When you check your flight reservation, you might be offered a chance to buy an upgrade.


The free upgrades apply to Delta products like paid tickets, SkyMiles award tickets, Pay with Miles tickets, and SkyMiles Companion Certificates. You can get upgraded to Delta Comfort+ on all Delta flights, first class on domestic flights, and Delta One on domestic flights, including those to Hawaii and Alaska.

If you’re a top-tier Medallion (Diamond), you get priority, and the timing matters. Diamond and Platinum Medallion members can snag a Comfort+ seat right after booking, while Gold members must wait 72 hours before departure, and Silver members must wait until 24 hours before takeoff. Therefore, you can easily check your Delta platinum or Gold and diamond upgrades to enjoy luxurious travel. 

Delta Airlines Upgrade Complimentary Hierarchy

Discovering your place on Delta's upgrade list involves several factors, ensuring a fair and efficient process:

  1. Medallion Status: Your Medallion status is crucial. Higher-tier Medallions, such as Diamond and Platinum members, receive priority.
  2. Fare Class Groupings: Different fare classes are ranked, with higher-priced fares taking precedence. The order is B, M, H, Q, K, L, U, T, X, V. SkyMiles award tickets and Pay with Miles follow.
  3. Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card: Cardholders of the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card enjoy special consideration.
  4. Delta Corporate Travelers: Those traveling on corporate tickets with the employer’s designation receive priority.
  5. Co-Branded Credit Cardmembers: Credit cardholders with the Medallion Qualification Dollars waiver in the current calendar year gain recognition.
  6. Million Miler Status: Passengers with Million Miler status are accorded specific consideration.
  7. Date and Time of Upgrade Request: The timing of your upgrade request plays a role in determining your position on the list.

All Medallion members with Y-class tickets are eligible for instant upgrades, taking precedence over other complimentary upgrade requests. However, Y-class tickets are usually last-minute or for high-demand situations, like the last seat on a flight to a significant event.

Factors like Delta Reserve credit card possession can break it into a tie. Diamond and Platinum Medallion members get a head start on first-class upgrades, beginning 120 hours before departure, followed by Gold members at 72 hours and Silver members at 24 hours, depending on availability. It’s important to note that upgrade certificates and miles-based upgrades hold priority over Delta complimentary upgrades, ensuring a comprehensive and fair system for all passengers.

Delta Upgrade Exclusions & Fine Print Terms

Not all tickets qualify for complimentary upgrades. Here are the exclusions:

  • Basic economy (E) fares are ineligible for paid or Medallion complimentary upgrades, regardless of elite status.
  • Delta Premium Select doesn’t qualify for complimentary Medallion upgrades.
  • Delta One seats on international flights don’t qualify for complimentary Medallion upgrades.
  • Complimentary upgrades can only be offered if passenger status and fare class are present and can’t be selected onboard.
  • Both passengers must be ticketed for companion upgrades, and requests must be made at least three hours before departure.
  • Complimentary upgrades are unavailable for fares that don’t earn miles, except for eligible Pay with Miles and award tickets.
  • Depending on the circumstances, Companions changing itineraries may lose eligibility for complimentary upgrades, and Delta Comfort+ seating may be affected.

Enhance Your Journey With Delta Upgrade Certificates

Global Upgrade Certificates (GUCs) and Regional Upgrade Certificates (RUCs) are two new upgrade certificates offered by Delta that can only be obtained by achieving Platinum or Diamond Medallion status and choosing them with your Choice Benefits.

Regarding priority, these upgrade certificates are higher than free upgrades. When you book, you can request them and, if available, secure your upgrade, which makes them a compelling and exclusive way to guarantee a premium seat.

Diamond Medallion members gain access to GUCs, facilitating upgrades on international and domestic flights and select flights with partner airlines like KLM, Air France, Virgin Atlantic, Korean Air, and Aeromexico. Meanwhile, RUCs are available to both Diamond and Platinum Medallion members, offering upgrades on the same routes as Delta complimentary upgrades, covering all first-class flights and the domestic Delta One experience.

When making a Choice Benefit selection, Diamond Medallion members can opt for:

  • Four global upgrades
  • Eight regional upgrades
  • Two global upgrades and four regional upgrades

Platinum Medallion members, on the other hand, can choose four regional upgrades as their single Choice Benefit. To secure coveted GUCs, achieving Diamond status, Delta’s highest published Medallion tier, is a prerequisite.

Essential Information Of Delta Airlines Upgrade Certificates

Understanding the fundamental information of Delta's upgrade certificates involves significant key details listed below:

  • Confirmed Upgrades: These certificates secure upgrades one cabin higher than the original purchase. For instance, Main Cabin tickets can upgrade to Premium Select, followed by a Delta One waitlist 24 hours before departure.
  • Last-Seat Availability: Premium Delta Airlines seat selection on international flights and Delta One upgrades on domestic flights offer last-seat availability.
  • One-Way Travel: Each Regional Upgrade Certificate (RUC) or Global Upgrade Certificate (GUC) covers one-way travel, requiring four for a round-trip itinerary.
  • Application Flexibility: RUCs and GUCs can be applied to various ticket types, including paid SkyMiles awards, pay with miles, and companion tickets. Notably, primary economy tickets need to be more eligible.
  • Limited Transferability: While not fully transferable, you can apply RUCs or GUCs to a guest’s ticket on the same flight, even with separate reservations.
  • Expiration: Each certificate expires one year from the issue date, with upgrades valid through the end of the subsequent elite year.
  • Applicable Fare Classes: Certificates work on flights with specific fare classes and apply to SkyMiles awards, Pay with Miles tickets, and companion certificates operated by Delta Air Lines or Delta Connection.

Delta Certificates for Partner Flight Upgrades

GUCs extend beyond Delta-operated flights and can be applied to select partner flights. However, there are specific rules and limitations to keep in mind:

1) Air France and Virgin Atlantic

GUCs on these flights move you from economy to premium economy unless you’ve booked a ticket outright. Confirmation for partner upgrades is required 24 hours before departure.

2) Upgrading KLM Flights

  • Delta-marketed, KLM-operated flights: Upgrade Main Cabin seats (Y, B, M, H, Q, K, L, U, T, X, or V) to Z class (business class).
  • KLM-marketed, KLM-operated flights: Upgrade Economy seats (Y, B, M, K, H, L, Q, T, N, R, or V) to Z class (business class).
  • Air France-marketed, KLM-operated flights: Upgrade Economy seats (Y, B, M, K, H, L, Q, T, N, R, or V) to Z class (business class). For Amsterdam Airport departures, apply GUCs before check-in with a KLM agent or at a KLM Crown Lounge.

3) Upgrading Air France Flights

  • Air France-marketed, Air France-operated flights: Upgrade Economy seats (Y, B, M, K, H, L, Q, T, N, R, or V) to A class (premium economy) or W, S, or A class to Z class (business class).
  • KLM-marketed, Air France-operated flights: Upgrade Economy seats (Y, B, M, K, H, L, Q, T, N, R, or V) to A class (premium economy) or W, S, or A class to Z class (business class).
  • Delta-marketed, Air France-operated flights: Upgrade Economy seats (Y, B, M, H, Q, K, L, U, T, X, or V) to A class (premium economy) or W, S, or A class to Z class (business class), or P, A, or G class to Z class (business class).

4) Upgrading Virgin Atlantic Flights

Delta-marketed, Virgin Atlantic-operated flights: Upgrade Economy seats (W, S, Y, B, M, H, Q, K, L, U, T, X, or V) to P class (premium economy) or P, A, or G class to Virgin Atlantic’s G class (business class).

5) Upgrading Aeromexico Flights

Delta-marketed, Aeromexico-operated flights: Upgrade Economy seats (W, S, Y, B, M, H, Q, K, L, U, T, X, or V) to O class (business class).

6) Upgrading Korean Air Flights

Delta-marketed, Korean-operated flights: Upgrade Economy seats (Y, B, or M class) to J class (business class).

Delta Upgrade Certificate for New Bookings

New reservations can be upgraded online but not through the Fly Delta app. On the checkout page, you can upgrade using a GUC or an RUC while making a reservation.

Locate the “Upgrade Certificate Request” box, choose the desired type of Delta Airlines upgrade certificate, and select the desired flight. The upgrade certificate will be applied instantly after your booking is complete.

Delta Upgrade Certificate for Existing Bookings

It is essential to contact Delta regarding current reservations. Call customer care services, the general helpline, or the number linked to your Medallion tier to request your upgrade. Give yourself at least three hours' notice to make this call, but ideally, give yourself 24 hours' notice.

Visit the Delta website to check your flight and get an instant upgrade confirmation. When you sign into your Delta account, you can see upgrade availability—exclusively available to elite accounts—beneath the flight schedules.

Indicate to the Delta representative which of the central parts of itineraries, including connections, is most important for your upgrade. Without this clarity, you can be placed in a queue for the more crucial details while upgrades clear on the less critical ones. Use your upgrade certificate wisely since there’s no turning back once you use it.

While some waitlist requests might be approved before arriving at the gate, most will be verified there before departure. If your certificate is not cleared, it will be automatically reissued for use on a later flight.

How To Upgrade On Delta International Flights?

Upgrading Delta Flight improves your travel experience and is a seamless process on international flights operated by Delta. Based on its passengers' preferences and loyalty status, Delta offers various ways for them to get upgrades.

Elite members with Delta Medallion rank are eligible for particular advantages, such as free upgrades. Members who want a more comfortable seat in premium cabins are given priority with these improvements. Furthermore, for international flights, Delta permits using Global Upgrade Certificates (GUCs) for a guaranteed upgrade to Delta One.

Eligible travelers can use the Delta website to manage their reservations or request an upgrade when booking to start the upgrade process. It is crucial to consider elements including fare class, availability, and loyalty status to increase the likelihood of a successful upgrade. The airline is dedicated to ensuring that its customers are satisfied, so it offers an easy-to-use upgrade procedure for foreign travel.

How Do You Get On the Delta Upgrade List?

Joining the Delta flight upgrade list benefits those looking for a better in-flight experience. It's essential to comprehend the elements that affect eligibility and priority if you want to be included on this coveted list.

First and foremost, Delta’s Medallion status offers elite members exceptional benefits, including free upgrades. On the upgrade list, your priority increases with your Medallion tier. Fare class also matters, with some courses being more critical than others.

Passengers can request upgrades during the booking process or manage their preferences through the Delta website. Timing is vital, as upgrades are often processed closer to the departure date. For elite members, these upgrades may include access to Delta Comfort+ or even higher cabin classes. 

Important Guidelines Of Delta One Upgrade

Securing a Delta One upgrade is an enticing prospect for travelers seeking a premium in-flight experience. To navigate this process effectively, it's crucial to adhere to essential guidelines set by Delta:

  • Medallion Status: Delta One is often prioritized for elite members with higher Medallion status. Diamond and Platinum Medallion members enjoy greater priority.
  • Booking Class: The fare class of your ticket plays a significant role. Certain fare classes, typically higher-priced, are given priority over others for Delta One upgrades.
  • Upgrade Certificates: Global Upgrade Certificates (GUCs) can be utilized to confirm the upgrades on eligible international flights. These certificates are available to Diamond Medallion members.
  • Timing: Submit upgrade requests well in advance. Diamond and Platinum Medallion members may request upgrades 120 hours before departure, Gold members 72 hours before, and Silver members 24 hours before.
  • Availability: Upgrades are subject to seat availability in the Delta One cabin. Checking for open seats on the Delta website or with a Delta representative is essential.
  • Routes: Delta One upgrades are typically available on long-haul international flights, providing an elevated experience with lie-flat seats, premium amenities, and enhanced service.

By understanding and following these guidelines, passengers can maximize their chances of securing a Delta One upgrade and indulging in a luxurious travel experience.

Delta One Upgrade Fee

The best way to find out how much it will cost to upgrade to Delta One is to go into your account on the homepage ( and start booking flights (without paying for them yet). The cash cost of upgrading to Delta One and other premium seats will be shown after choosing a Main Cabin ticket and completing the required information.

The procedure for people who need a Delta account is to book a flight via the website ( but not to complete the payment. After choosing a Main Cabin ticket and entering your travel information, you will see possibilities for higher-class seats and the cash price for upgrading to Delta One.

Delta One Upgrade Perks

Enjoy the benefits of flying with Delta, including the enticing opportunity for complimentary upgrades to Delta One – the airline's premium cabin service on international and long-haul domestic flights. Complimentary upgrades on domestic routes are extended to all elite-status Medallion members, subject to availability. If you're fortunate enough to secure one, you'll relish premium amenities such as lie-flat seats, gourmet meals, dedicated flight attendant service, and streamlined Delta Airlines check in, boarding, and baggage handling. Elevate your travel experience by upgrading to Delta One luxurious offering.

Delta Airlines Mileage Upgrades

Delta mileage upgrade provides a valuable option for infrequent travelers, even if our standard recommendation is to store SkyMiles for conventional award tickets. With Delta's Upgrade with Miles option, you can improve your reservation regardless of your status. Upgrades to Delta One, Delta Premium Select, first class, or Delta Comfort+ are available on qualifying trips.

Check for the upgrade option in your trip summary if your reservation qualifies. Delta values SkyMiles at around 1.07 cents each for mileage upgrades. For instance, a $60 seat upgrade could cost approximately 5,600 SkyMiles. Booking an award ticket might offer slightly better value.

When you spend money or SkyMiles to gain Medallion Qualification Dollars, you can advance to the next status tier through buy-up upgrades, which benefit individuals aiming for elite status. With 1,000 SkyMiles, equivalent to 10 MQDs, SkyMiles used for upgrades also count toward MQDs on award tickets. With this technique, you may deliberately improve your status and have better cabin experiences.

Bottom Line

Get more free upgrades by reaching higher Delta Medallion tiers and having a Delta SkyMiles Reserve card. Pick flights during non-busy times and avoid big hubs like Atlanta and New York for better upgrade chances. When using SkyMiles for upgrades, be mindful of their value—the airline values each SkyMiles at around 1.07 cents for an Upgrade with Miles.

Upgrade certificates, earned with Platinum or Diamond status, are an exciting option. If you have them, plan a dream trip, buy an average seat with cash, and savor the journey in a premium seat. Thus, contact the Airlines Help Desk for further details about Delta Airlines Upgrade. The Helpdesk experts will be available 24/7 to assist you with any concerns. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Upgrade To A Delta Premium Select For Free?

Delta does not offer free upgrades to Premium Select. Upgrades to Premium Select typically involve the use of SkyMiles, monetary payment, or eligibility for complimentary upgrades based on Delta Medallion status.


The cost of a Delta Comfort+ upgrade varies depending on factors such as the route, demand, and ticket type. To determine the specific price for your flight, you can check during the booking process or contact Delta customer service for assistance.

Delta does allow upgrades from Premium Select to Delta One, typically using Global Upgrade Certificates (GUCs) for eligible flights. However, these upgrades are not complementary and are subject to availability. The use of SkyMiles or other eligible upgrade methods may also be applicable.


The number of miles required for a Delta First Class upgrade varies depending on factors such as your original ticket price, route, and membership status with Delta's loyalty program, SkyMiles.

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