Delta SkyMiles Extends Upgrade Certificates, Makes Them Easier To Use

Filed Under: Delta

Delta SkyMiles Platinum & Diamond Medallion members can select Global Upgrade Certificates (GUCs) and Regional Upgrade Certificates (RUCs) as part of the Choice Benefits program. There’s some fantastic news when it comes to these.

Delta SkyMiles upgrade certificates extended

Delta SkyMiles will be extending the expiration of all Global Upgrade Certificates and Regional Upgrade Certificates. All certificates selected between March 1, 2019, and December 31, 2020, will be extended to have an expiration of December 31, 2021.

All active upgrade certificates will be extended, and unused upgrade certificates that previously expired will be reissued by March 8, 2021, with a new expiration date. This will be done automatically, so no intervention is needed on the part of the member.

Delta upgrade availability now easier to search

In the past the only way to inquire about actual confirmable upgrade certificate availability was to call Delta. Fortunately that’s not the case anymore — Delta upgrade certificate availability for specific flights and cabin experiences can now be searched directly on

This way you can search upgrade availability online, and then once you’ve found the space you can call Delta to book. Ideally Delta would just allow these to be used online, but it’s probably by design that it’s more complicated than that.

Will other airlines extend upgrades as well?

We saw most major airlines extend both elite status and certificates/vouchers in 2020, and there have been lots of questions about whether we’ll see more of this in 2021. Personally I think we’ll see a lot more extensions of status and upgrades than we’ve seen up until now.

I commend Delta for this move, and I’d love to see American match. While American AAdvantage extended status by a year in 2020, systemwide upgrades were only extended through July 31, 2021. Those really should be further extended through the end of the year as well, in my opinion.

Bottom line

Delta SkyMiles has extended upgrade certificates issued as of March 1, 2019, through at least December 31, 2021. Not only that, but Delta is now also displaying upgrades using these certificates online, which is a fantastic development.

I’m sure we’ll see more extensions along these lines in the coming months.

What do you make of Delta SkyMiles extending upgrade certificates?

(Tip of the hat to Rene’s Points)

  1. Awesome news. Sitting on many of these and was worried I would not be able to use them before expiration.

  2. Ben, there’s even more good news in the detailed announcement on Delta’s page.

    – Upgrade Certificates can now be used on Award Travel tickets and Miles + Cash tickets on Delta-operated flights.
    – There is now no limit to the number of companions you can have. You can use your Upgrade Certificate(s) to upgrade more than one traveling companion.

    Does that make Delta the only US carrier that allows their upgrade certs to be used on award tickets?

  3. They can also now be used on award tickets, which is arguably the bigger news. And not as relatively exciting but you can now upgrade more than 1 companion traveling with you if you have enough certs — AA and UA already offered that though since their upgrades are transferrable while Delta’s are not.

  4. @Bgriff: what do you mean by “ you can now upgrade more than 1 companion traveling with you if you have enough certs”? I always bought international economy tickets to my wife and kids and uses my international certificates to move them to Delta One. That always happened immediately after I issued their tickets so not sure what is new here

  5. @Lucky

    Have you heard whether Delta or American will be extending their companion passes issued to credit cardholders past the previous announcement which for American is June 30, 2021?

    Also, really hope American follows Delta’s lead and extends expiring systemwide upgrades through at least December 31, 2021 if not later as I have 4 expiring on July 31, 2021 will no current plans as AA already cancelled my Europe flight in June that I had them applied too.

  6. Hi Ben, United 2 days ago extended all my certificates (actually PQP in United world) without telling me or making announcement, as far as I know. And apparently you did not know either. The certificates/PQP expiring in July 31, 2021 (they were the one earned in 2019) are extended until January 31, 2022. The certificates/PQP expiring in January 2022 (they were the ones earned in 2020) are extended until July 31, 2022. Excellent surprise as I had plenty expiring in July 2021, I will have much more chance now to use them, and surprisingly no announcement. But it seems that United this time led the way here, by one day or two, not bad.

  7. American, we are looking at you now to do the right thing.

    Quietly, American did NOT extend BusinessExtra certificates last year and I lost out on a business class return ticket to Asia worth thousands when it expired.

  8. Shame they haven’t addressed the elephant in the room that is the MQD problem for Diamonds. I find it hard to believe that Delta is willing to lose 90% of their top tier members.

  9. @Santastico — Michael provided the link above. As for your past experience with your wife & kids, I’m not sure if you’ve been getting lucky or what, but in theory the old official rules were that you couldn’t upgrade more than 1 other person (besides the owner of the certificates).

  10. Awww… poor OPM losing their elite status and certs.

    Interesting that the people who are complaining the most about not being able to meet the MQDs are people who never spend a penny of their own money to fly Delta

  11. How do you find out if you are eligible for the Regional Upgrades now? I search for the flights as Main Cabin and don’t see anything when selecting it. Is it live already or not till March 8? I have the 4 upgrades in my account from selecting it Jan 30, 2021.

  12. I’ve searched many different itineraries and have yet to see this displayed in any search results. Anyone else not seeing this despite having valid upgrade certificates in their account?

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