Delta Adds Complimentary Award Ticket Upgrades For Silver Members

Filed Under: Delta

As much as Delta SkyMiles is the frequent flyer program leading the race to the bottom among U.S. legacy airlines, they also occasionally make improvements that other carriers end up following. Delta has just announced their latest improvement to SkyMiles.

As of yesterday (Monday, October 10, 2016), Delta is offering Silver Medallion members on eligible award tickets complimentary upgrades to first class up to 24 hours before departure. This is the same benefit those members previously received on revenue tickets.

Silver Medallion members now receive complimentary upgrades on award tickets

Prior to this change, only SkyMiles Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Medallion members received complimentary upgrades to first class. As before, these upgrades are available on flights where the forward cabin is marketed as First Class, rather than markets with Delta One service (which include select transcon flights, as well as most international flights).

Delta-One-London - 3
Delta One markets aren’t eligible for complimentary upgrades

Ultimately this is a very nice new perk Delta is offering Silver members. In practice this isn’t really costing Delta much (if anything), and in most cases I doubt Silver members will clear their upgrades. Still, it’s nice for them to extend this benefit to Silver members.

As before, upgrade priority is based on elite tier, though within each elite tier revenue passengers get cleared ahead of award passengers (meaning Silver Medallion members on award tickets would clear after all Silver Medallion members on revenue tickets).

A few months ago American announced that they’d also introduce elite upgrades on award tickets, though for American the perk is limited to Executive Platinum members. Delta is way ahead in that regard.

Bottom line

This is a smart move on Delta’s part. Ultimately SkyMiles is very well run and Delta knows exactly what they’re doing, even if we don’t like it at times. The airline does a good job of streamlining elite benefits and making improvements where there’s limited downside, while big picture SkyMiles is certainly leading the race to the bottom.

What do you make of Delta adding complimentary upgrades for Silver Medallion members on award tickets?

  1. As a silver with 100,000 miles (I know, so much..) I think yay, a longer upgrade list but still no upgrades!

  2. As a Diamond Medallion my upgrade percentage has gone to hell this year. I have even had a hard time getting Regional Upgrade Certificates to clear. That said…I have flown about a dozen domestic segments using miles when Delta offers them at a low price. My upgrade percentage on those is 100%. Almost makes my Diamond status worth keeping!

  3. I think this is a great idea, for the silver members, as myself and family being, Diamond(soon again) Platinum, Gold,and Silver(as MM member) Its nice to know , that if we are on the same record locator, they now have a change of an upgrade,Well done Delta,

  4. Hi Lucky Ben, I have Platinum Delta Card, but have this year, used/had all my MQM points, therefore is it worth getting the Am Ex Platinum card , that give 5 times miles, I know there is a fee,Thx craig, ps anyone can advise, my daughter is studying at UNi, Northern Michigan, with US adress, so maybe one in her name?

  5. It’s interesting however not very useful. Especially when you figure that a platinum and a silver traveling on the same confirmation number only get the benefit of the silver – how is that for recognition :-/

  6. Mathematically, the odds of contracting the Zika virus are far greater than the odds of a silver getting a free upgrade.

  7. “Mathematically, the odds of a monkey finding a cure for the Zika virus are far greater than the odds of a silver getting a free upgrade.”

    Fixed it.

  8. This is great especially on routes that aren’t business heavy. I’ve gotten upgrades as a gold from JFK on routes that don’t go to another Delta hub.
    I’m not sure if it matters but Delta does make it affordable to just pay for the upgrade to First class on certain regional flights and they may lose some money out of that but regardless, it’s still a nice gesture.

  9. I was flying to see my brother saturday morning and had a 935 AM flight from ATL-MDT and got upgraded as a silver on my award, I thought weird but AWESOME, now I realize i probably got one of the first ever silver award upgrades ever!

  10. I’m with markj above. Upgrades are very tough for Diamonds, even with regional upgrade certificates. I frequently see my name as number one on the upgrade waitlist the morning of the flight with 3-5 seats available, only to have them all gone by the time I get through security. I also tried to use a RUC on SAN-ATL on a flight with ten(!) empty first class seats and was only waitlisted. Diamond status is a hollow shell of what it used to be.

  11. Just wondering if I need to request this or if it’s automatic based on my status? The upgrade. Not the monkey discovery cure for Zika. Thanks.

  12. Comments here always show that upgrades are heavily route dependent. Had upgrades clear more often than not as a silver.

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