My Experience Using Delta Systemwide Upgrades on Air France
In October I wrote about the ability to use your Delta miles or systemwide upgrades to upgrade Air France Premium Economy to Business class. This is a great value because Air France Premium Economy can be purchased for as low as $1,200 roundtrip from the US (offpeak) and around $2,000 (peak). Alternatively, if you wanted to upgrade Delta economy to business class, you'd need to spend $2,500+ for fares all year long. Needless to say, the Air France option can save you a ton of money.
A VIP client used my services to book an upgradeable trip to Europe this summer. Earning MQMs was paramount because this person needs this trip to maintain Platinum elite status. In answer to her situation I pulled up Delta and Air France upgrade availability using Expertflyer and found none for either.
For this ATL-CDG-ATL trip, the choice was to either book a Delta M fare at $2,700 or an Air France Premium Economy W fare for $2,000. I highly recommended the latter because even in a worst case scenario, my client would be left with Air France's Premium Voyager product, which is roomier and a separate cabin from coach.
On Delta, she'd be in a regular coach seat (this was before they announced their Economy Comfort cabin) and be paying $700 more.
Both fares earn a 50% MQM bonus, so Air France was the easy option. My client purchased the fare on airfrance.us and sent me her confirmation number. I immediately set Expertflyer alerts for O class availability on her flights.
A couple weeks passed and today I got the alert that Air France released O class availability on her return flight.
I called Delta's Platinum line and told them I wanted to upgrade an Air France Premium Economy ticket to business class using a system-wide upgrade. Without hesitation, the agent acknowledged the request and put me on hold for 10 minutes. She came back and had pulled the SWU and upgraded the reservation and re-ticketed it on Delta so it now showed under the "My Itineraries." There was a $45 additional charge for French luxury tax on business class which my client happily paid for the upgrade.
Overall it was a pretty smooth process. Now I just need Air France to release some O award space on the outbound!