Delta SkyMiles Gold, Platinum and Diamond Medallion members who fly a minimum of 50,000 miles in a calendar year will now receive complimentary upgrades when flying on SkyMiles award tickets. We wrote of this in our July issue and the development was expected this fall, but it is available now. In the past, elite members had to redeem miles if they wanted to upgrade an award flight.
The award upgrades are automatically requested for qualified members and are available on Delta flights within or between the U.S. (excluding Hawaii), Canada, the Caribbean, Bermuda, Mexico and select destinations in Central and South America. The award upgrades are subject to availability and will be awarded at the corresponding Medallion upgrade window after upgrades for all revenue tickets within the tier have cleared.
In other news, complimentary upgrade requests for companions of elite members are now eligible to clear within 24 hours of departure and companion upgrades are now also available on L, U and T fares, which are discount coach fares that used to be excluded. Previously, companion upgrades only started to clear at the 12-hour window.
Jeff Robertson, Vice President of SkyMiles, recently posted about additional improvements to the program on Delta’s blog. One of the biggest complaints about SkyMiles is award availability and Jeff writes that the program has improved overall availability for 25,000-mile awards, a change that resulted in “double-digit increases in award booking this summer.” To help you find awards at the lowest level, the program has added a new “Current Award Seat Availability” chart at http://www.insideflyer.com/link/?2818
Choose your departure location and you will see which routes offer the best opportunities for awards during the next three weeks. Visit http://www.insideflyer.com/link/?2819 to read all of Jeff’s comments.
For more information about these changes and other changes coming from Delta, visit delta.com/whatsahead.
Bottom line: Delta SkyMiles no longer charges for booking an award at the last minute, so if you can wait and be flexible with your travel plans, check out the Current Award Seat Availability Chart before going to the award calendar. If you are an elite member and want to learn all the ins and outs of the award upgrade benefit, you can follow the FlyerTalk.com conversation here: http://www.insideflyer.com/link/?2859