Delta/Northwest reciprocal upgrades are coming!

Based on this FlyerTalk thread, it seems like we’ll see reciprocal elite upgrades for DL/NW elites as soon as this coming Tuesday, October 28! All the details can be found in that thread, but it seems pretty straightforward. It seems like Platinum members will be treated as Platinum members on the other airline as far as upgrades go, or at least very close to the equivalent status.

There are two things that really surprise me with the arguments people are making. First of all, some are arguing that a NW Plat should only be upgraded after a DL Silver, for example. That makes zero sense to me. These airlines are about to operate as one, and as far as the new airline is concerned, a Plat is a Plat, regardless of whether they haven’t given a dollar to Delta in the past, or on the NW side of things whether they qualified using the DL double EQM promo. It’s time to treat elites equal, and I think it makes perfect sense to prioritize a NW top elite over a DL mid-tier elite, for example, and vice versa.

Second of all, there are plenty of people acting as if they’ll never see an upgrade again. Now, I’m not the brightest guy in the world, but I simply can’t rationalize that argument. We have the same number of elites and the same two airlines, so on average everyone should come out even. Sure, maybe it’ll adversely affect upgrade chances for people with certain travel patterns, but for the most part everyone should come out even. As a NW Gold maybe you’ll be beat out by a DL Plat one day, but the next time you fly DL you might beat a DL Silver. It goes both ways.

Lastly, you really can’t beat the position NW Plats are in right now. They’ll get upgrades on CO, DL, and NW, along with a few upgrades for Alaska Airlines. That’s what I call options!

For those that haven’t status matched to NW yet, are you sure you don’t want to jump in on the fun? 😉

Filed Under: Delta, Northwest
  1. sounds great, got a codeshare flight on delta in a few days, can’t wait to try it out.
    one thing i’m surprised is the two airlines still haven’t combined their reservation system. i still can’t change my seat on delta’s website.

  2. Lucky —

    My SE status on NW was my first status on any airline — and as such, I’ve followed the news of this merger for a while. From the NW elite side of the house, I think many of us are fairly concerned / upset about how DL has been practically giving away EQM’s while NW has done nothing of the sort. DL ran a double EQM promo this past spring (along with AA/UA), while NW did not. This would obviously have had the effect of inflating the ranks of DL elites and / or artificially raising the status of a given DL elite, as compared to a NW elite. By my understanding, this isn’t the first time that DL has done these sort of promos, and there might be others within the last qualification year.

    There are some tangible differences between how NW and DL have run their FFPs. I’ve talked with high level DL elites (in Y) on DL flights, and they’ve said they almost NEVER sit up-front (due to the swelled ranks of DL elites). OTOH, I’ve been a SE on NW for several years, and probably have hit a 20-25% upgrade percentage — not great, but certain not NEVER!

    So I have to disagree with you on this one issue. From what I’ve read, the NW/DL merger isn’t so much a merger as it is DL taking over NW. NewGlobalAirline is going to feel a lot more Delta than Northwest, I’m afraid, an I don’t think that’s a good thing.

  3. Thanks for your insight, hobo13. You definitely raise several great points I hadn’t considered. I didn’t realize DL elites had such a hard time clearing upgrades. The ones I’ve spoken to have had much better upgrade stats; some I’ve spoken to have yet to miss an upgrade.

    I guess the basis of my argument was that some on both sides are somewhat pissed about the new reciprocal upgrades. NW elites felt it would hurt their upgrade chances, and the same goes for DL elites (in addition to them feeling like they should have priority over NW elites). I always try to take a moderate approach and look at things from an outsider’s perspective, and in this case it strikes me as a case of flyers on both sides exaggerating.

    At the end of the day I doubt we’ll see a huge flock of DL flyers flying NW, at least for the time being, since it seems to be a popular view (which I don’t agree with) that NW just sucks *that* bad. At the same time I don’t think DL will get swamped with NW flyers, at least too much, since elites will fear not clearing upgrades.

    Anyway, I guess we’ll have to wait and see. 🙂

  4. With all of the free upgrades on partner airlines, it makes low tier and sometime gold status worthless as Plats from three airlines will get the upgrades before them. That is what makes UA so good is because not everyone will upgrade meaning a Premier or Premier Exec could have a chance to get upgraded on a good amount of flights.

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