Delta Global Upgrades Can Now Be Used On Virgin Atlantic

Filed Under: Delta, Virgin Atlantic

Wow, Delta SkyMiles has just made a very nice further improvement to their Diamond Global Upgrades. As of a couple of years ago, Delta lifted the fare restrictions on their systemwide upgrades, which can now be used on even discounted fares (previously you needed to book a high fare to use them).

Delta Diamond members receive their choice of the following:

  • 4 Global Upgrades
  • 8 Regional Upgrades
  • 2 Global Upgrades + 4 Regional Upgrades (new as of 2017)


While Global Upgrades were previously valid on Delta flights as well as select Air France flights, as of April these upgrades are also valid on KLM flights, under select circumstances.

Now it looks like the eligibility of those upgrades is being expanded even further. Delta Global Upgrades can now be used on Delta’s transatlantic joint venture partner, Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin-Atlantic-Upper-Class - 1
Virgin Atlantic Upper Class

This seems to have been introduced very quietly, and is listed under the upgrade certificate terms & conditions:

  • Valid on Delta-marketed, Virgin Atlantic-operated flights for use globally on published Economy Cabin fares booked in W, Y, B, M, S, H, Q, K, L, U, T, X or V class to Upper Class.
  • Global Upgrades on Virgin Atlantic flights must be confirmed 24 hours prior to departure.
  • Global Upgrade Certificates may not be used to waitlist for a Virgin Atlantic-operated flight.

Virgin-Atlantic-Clubhouse-London - 72
Virgin Atlantic 747

The eligibility requirements are the same as they are for upgrades on KLM, and it’s worth noting that the flight has to be marketed by Delta in order to be eligible for an upgrade.

You also can’t waitlist upgrades, so there needs to be upgrade space in order to confirm the upgrade. While this is brand new, I suspect that there needs to be award availability in order to confirm an upgrade, so you can check the websites of Delta or Virgin Atlantic to see what availability looks like. In order to apply an upgrade you’ll have to phone up Delta.

I love Virgin Atlantic Upper Class, especially their Clubhouse lounges. I’d also note that it’s fantastic that Global Upgrades are valid for upgrades from economy to Upper Class, even though Virgin Atlantic has a premium economy. So you can basically skip that when upgrading.

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse London Heathrow

Bottom line

As much as we can debate the direction SkyMiles is headed when it comes to mileage redemption values, it’s nice to see them put some effort into their elite program. Delta Global Upgrades can now be used on Delta, Air France, KLM, and Virgin Atlantic.

It’s about time American catches up, as American systemwide upgrades can be used on… American.

To Delta Diamond Medallions, are you excited at the prospect of using Global Upgrades on Virgin Atlantic?

(Tip of the hat to MJ On Travel)

  1. Worth noting that allowing upgrades direct from economy to Upper Class is better than I would have expected — I would have expected economy to premium economy and PE to Upper Class. Hopefully economy directly to business remains the precedent when Delta introduces a real premium economy class.

  2. Great news indeed. Must be very new. I spent quite a bit of time on the phone with Delta agents this week looking for flights next week that had confirmable upgrade space and this never came up. No Virgin flights ever came up in their searches, though to be fair I never asked about them specifically, since I was under the impression that it was not allowable with a GUC. Found a flight to LHR on DL metal with confirmable space, but had to waitlist for flights coming back.

  3. Quite off topic but today Chicago has introduced an expansion plan. New gates are added to t5 and t2 might be reconstructed along with adding new concourses. Also emriates is operating a a380 to Chicago.

  4. This is fantastic news! Can’t wait to try this out! I’m hoping, at some point, DL will also allow milage upgrades for Virgin Atlantic. Is it my imagination, or did Diamond members used to get both Global and Regional Upgrade Certs?

  5. I am a Diamond and have no desire to fly Virgin Atlantic Upper class. The seats are very narrow, and I am not.

  6. Nice improvement. 2017 will be my final year as a Delta elite and then I’ll change to a different plan after that time. I will go out as a diamond and I’ll specifically want to use the GUCs as a last hurrah. Would enjoy ATL-JNB or LAX-SYD on DL or LAX-LHR on VS. What I would REALLY love is availability on VA for upgrades … One can wish.

  7. Debate!! Seriously? I thought after AA’s devaluation, it is now the worst of the B3 (Big 3). I am super close to getting exec Plat and will get it in a month or two, but this would be my last year of loyalty to AA.

    I am flying to Sydney later this year on United because the tickets were super cheap and next year I am flying SkyTeam business class to Europe — again cheapest fare. In the past, I have paid as much 30 cents a mile on AA or 100% premium to United or Delta to fly coach on AA — those days are gone.

    Delta is now much better than AA and even United. I think the best is probably Alaska but their SWUs are not worth much because of lack of transatlatic flights.

  8. Delta Platinum is fantastic. It will be a good way to start on the way to earning Diamond. They treat you better than AA

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *