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Delta Upgrade Certificates are now valid on companion certificates

March 05, 2021
4 min read
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This week, we shared the good news that Delta was extending Upgrade Certificate validity and adding an online availability tool. Yesterday, we confirmed that Upgrade Certificates could be applied to award tickets as well as Miles + Cash tickets on Delta-operated flights. It seems that Delta has further expanded Upgrade Certificate eligibility to Pay with Miles tickets a companion certificates.

This is great news if you have one of the cobranded Delta cards, which come with annual companion certificates upon renewal:

This offers an incentive for Delta Medallion members with rising SkyMiles balances to put them to use for future travel. Now those members don't have to choose between getting an upgrade and keeping out-of-pocket travel costs low. Delta's dynamic pricing has lead to some incredible deals on award tickets. Applying an upgrade to those awards is a great way to squeeze even more value out of them.

The inclusion of companion certificates makes both the Delta Upgrade Certificates and companion certificates more valuable.

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Summary of Delta upgrade award changes

The ability to use Upgrade Certificates for award tickets is just one of many positive changes Delta introduced recently. Here's a quick overview of changes Delta has recently announced:

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  • All active and expired Global Upgrade Certificates and Regional Upgrade Certificates selected between March 1, 2019 – Dec. 31, 2020 are valid for flights through Dec. 31, 2021.
  • Upgrade availability is now searchable online, though you still need to call to apply them.
  • Upgrades can be applied to award tickets as well as paid fares.
  • Upgrades can be applied to Delta companion certificates.

Related: Complete guide to airline elite status during the coronavirus outbreak

How this compares to other airlines

Delta is definitely leading the pack when it comes to making Upgrade Certificates easier to redeem. At the moment, neither American nor United allows members to apply Upgrade Certificates to award tickets. It certainly makes Delta SkyMiles more useful, especially if you can book a cheap award ticket on a flight with upgrade availability.

Delta has also extended Upgrade Certificate validity well beyond American Airlines' July 31, 2021 date, though it's lagging behind United's July 2022 extension. With travel expected to pick up this summer following widespread vaccination, redeeming upgrades before they expire likely won't be an issue for most Medallion members.

Hopefully, down the line, Delta will also allow members to apply upgrades online instead of having to call in. That's one advantage that United has over both Delta and American - PlusPoint upgrades can be redeemed online. This option is so much more convenient, especially when you're booking travel on-the-go or call wait times are inordinately long.

Related: United extends elite perks, makes it easier to earn status in 2021

Bottom line

Overall, this is great news for Delta Medallion members who have Upgrade and companion certficates saved up. It means that redeeming these upgrades will be much easier in the future since there's now a choice between applying them to paid or award travel, as well as companion tickets. It could also lead the way for American and United to follow Delta in allowing upgrades to be used on award tickets, since that's historically what has happened with major program changes Delta rolls out.

Featured image by (Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
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  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
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Best premium travel card for value
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

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • 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.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more