Over the weekend, Delta implemented a new set of rules for the way it will clear requests for complimentary upgrades, with a priority downgrade for customers who buy full Y fares.
The airline outlined the changes on its website. “This new upgrade process better recognizes the loyalty of our Medallion members, SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express Card Members and Delta Corporate Travelers,” Delta said.
A customer’s SkyMiles elite status level is “the most important factor” in upgrade clearance priority, Delta said. The advance time for clearing Medallion-level members’ first class upgrade requests is five days before departure for Diamonds and Platinums, three for Golds and one for Silvers. Delta Comfort+ upgrades will go to Diamonds and Platinums right after booking; Golds will clear three days in advance and Silvers one day.
“Y class fares will no longer be upgraded at booking,” Delta noted.
The airline noted that members will still be able to get free upgrades to Delta Comfort+ in the U.S. and Canada for flights after May 16 – although there may well be fewer seats available for upgrades, because that’s the date when Delta will start selling Comfort+ seats as a new fare class in its inventory, instead of using that extra-legroom section as a dumping ground for automatic upgrades.
As we reported a few months back, Delta is also taking steps to make sure that a higher percentage of first class seats are occupied by paying customers in the months ahead, leaving fewer available for free upgrades.
How will Delta clear complimentary upgrade requests from passengers who are at the same Medallion level? As a general rule, the higher the customer’s fare class, the higher the clearance priority.
Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum Preferred members and elites from partner airlines will only be eligible for day-of-departure upgrades, Delta said.
Holders of Delta Reserve credit cards will continue to have higher priority within their Medallion level. Meanwhile, a higher priority will now go to Medallions who are Delta Corporate Travelers traveling on a ticket so designated.
“If all else is equal, Card Members who earned the Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) Waiver by spending at least $25,000 in the current calendar year on their Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express will enjoy higher priority,” Delta said.
Readers: How are you likely to be affected by these changes? Post comments below.
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