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In August, Delta officially announced that award and Pay-with-miles tickets would be eligible for Medallion upgrades. And instead of upgrading all award tickets after paid tickets like most people expected, they made the decision to upgrade award tickets at the Medallion window- which means as a Platinum, I’d get upgraded after all paid Platinums, but before paid Gold and Silver medallions. Pretty good for top tier elites, but not great news for lower tier elites, who already find it difficult enough to snag an upgrade.
Fast forward a couple months and I decided to attend the new Frequent Traveler Awards that are being held in Houston this Thursday. As a last minute ticket from JFK-IAH one night Thursday stay, the fare was pricing at $850- a little more than I’d like to pay for a domestic trip, especially since I’ve already re-qualified for my Medallion status. So I pulled up the award calendar and plenty of options at the low 25,000 coach level showed, so I decided to take a gamble and see if the award ticket upgrades would actually come through at my 5 day window.
And to my delight, they did. At my window (which actually processes 6 days out) I got email confirmations for my outbound and return that I had been upgraded on all legs.
Not too shabby for a 25,000, $5 award ticket. While SkyMiles may be hard to use in some instances, I couldn’ t be happier with this experience. No other major carrier upgrades elites on awards this generously and no other carrier has Elite Qualifying Miles rollover like Delta does. While there may be limited business class international rewards available compared to competitors, at least Delta is leading in other areas.