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Delta will restart automatic elite upgrades to first class and Comfort+

June 04, 2020
3 min read
Delta will restart automatic elite upgrades to first class and Comfort+
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Every airline is approaching social distancing differently. While most U.S. carriers are blocking middle seat assignments, few are going so far as the cap the number of tickets they'll sell on each flight.

Of the major U.S. airlines, only four — Alaska, Delta, JetBlue and Southwest — are capping ticket sales. On Wednesday, Delta became the first carrier to extend its social distancing policy through the summer.

And in that announcement, the Atlanta-based carrier also confirmed that it's restarting automatic upgrades beginning on Wednesday, June 10.

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When Delta first introduced its social distancing policy, the airline temporarily stopped processing upgrades in advance. This way, gate agents could ensure that they didn't go over the seat cap for the forward cabins. The caps have now been automated, so upgrades will once again be processed in advance.

Delta Airbus A220 (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

This is great news for those who've restarted traveling. A bump to first class will ensure that there's no one sitting on your side of a narrowbody plane, since first class is capped at 50% capacity. In addition to first-class upgrades, Delta is also restarting Comfort+ upgrades, as well as those to Delta One on lie-flat equipped jets on domestic segments.

While first-class upgrades are subject to availability with the 50% cap, Diamond and Platinum Medallion Members will clear beginning 120 hours (5 days) prior to departure, Gold Medallion Members will clear beginning 72 hours (3 days) prior to departure and Silver Medallion Members will clear beginning 24 hours (1 day) prior to departure.

Coach and Comfort+ is capped at 60% of available seating. For Comfort+ upgrades, Diamond and Platinum Medallion Members will be confirmed shortly after ticketing, if there are seats available. Gold Medallion Members will clear beginning 72 hours (3 days) prior to departure and Silver Medallion Members will clear beginning 24 hours (1 day) prior to departure. Again, all subject to seat availability within the caps.

Related: The ultimate guide to getting upgraded on Delta

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Of the U.S. "big three" carriers, United has also paused automatic elite upgrades in advance. Like Delta, UA is manually processing them at the gate before departure. The Chicago-based carrier hasn't announced when it plans to restart automatically clearing upgrades. American Airlines, on the other hand, has continued to process elite upgrades in advance throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Delta Airbus A220 (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

As travel slowly begins to restart, Delta loyalists will certainly appreciate knowing whether or not they've been upgraded well before departure. Though you're promised an empty middle seat in coach, most flyers would likely appreciate the extra space up front. Plus, if you didn't score the upgrade on your desired flight, you'll also have the opportunity to make a same-day change to a flight with better odds.

Nonetheless, even if you do indeed score the upgrade, note that the inflight service will likely look a lot different than before.

Featured image by Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees