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Delta SkyMiles just became a little more useful, as Delta has announced that you’ll now be able to use miles to upgrade your seat on Virgin Atlantic flights.

Delta and Virgin Atlantic formed a transatlantic joint venture in 2014,so there have been some benefits when travelers with status travel on the airlines, as Diamond Medallion members have been able to use Global upgrades on Virgin Atlantic.

Now SkyMiles members will be able to use miles to upgrade from a paid on ticket on Delta-marketed, Virgin Atlantic operated flights between the US and UK.  There are two upgrade options for flyers according to Delta:

  • Upgrade from a purchased Virgin Atlantic Economy ticket to Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy or Virgin Atlantic Upper Class
  • Upgrade from a purchased Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy ticket to Virgin Atlantic Upper Class

Delta also said that upgrades are only available on purchased economy tickets with the Y, B, M, H, Q, or K fare class while premium economy tickets must have the P, A, or G fare class.

Now this might not be the best deal or way to use your SkyMiles. Unfortunately Delta doesn’t publish an award chart or upgrade costs. According to a 2015 report from TPG, upgrading on US to Europe routes will cost you 60,000 SkyMiles on Y/B/M fares and 80,000 miles on S/H/Q/K fares one-way.

If these are the correct numbers (we’ve reached out to Delta for comment) then it’s a pretty terrible deal to upgrade, since premium economy runs 55,000 SkyMiles +$5.60 one-way and Virgin Upper Class is 85,000 miles +$5.60 one-way. Basically, you’re only saving 5,000 miles by upgrading vs. booking an award outright, but you’ve already paid for a full-fare ticket — however, it’s possible that this move is targeted at business travelers whose employers purchase full-fare tickets, and then they can use their own miles to upgrade if they so choose.

Upgrades must be completed 24 hours before departure and you’ll have to call in to a SkyMiles representative to find out the actual pricing and if there’s availability (at 1-800-323-2323 for SkyMiles members or Medallion members can call through their dedicated phone line).

Know before you go.

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