Delta now offers complimentary domestic upgrades to Silvers on award tickets, a benefit they already provided to higher-tier elites.
These are upgrades to domestic first class, and exclude routes operated by international business class “Delta One”-configured aircraft.
Like other elites, upgrades clear starting 24 hours prior to departure, and priority is based on status — with paid tickets ahead of awards. Delta’s upgrade priority is:
- Elite status
- Fare class
- Whether the member holds a Delta Reserve co-brand credit card
- Whether the member is traveling as part of a corporate agreement
- Whether the member has spent $25,000 on a Delta co-brand credit card in a year
- Time of upgrade request
Historically at Delta Silvers haven’t been considered ‘real elites’. With the introduction of ‘Sky Priority’ in 2010 Silvers lost priority check-in for instance.
This move doesn’t cost Delta anything substantive. Domestic first class seats rarely go out empty. This might help a Delta Silver using their miles domestically on a Saturday regional jet flight in a market where the airline is overscheduled like Seattle.
What this does, though, is shuffle who gets upgrades. Silvers are eligible for upgrades on award tickets 24 hours in advance. Alaska MVP Golds are eligible only at the gate.
Starwood Platinum elites are eligible for upgrades at the gate as well, behind KLM, Air France, and Alaska elites.
Upgrading Delta Silvers on awards when the check-in window opens puts them ahead of Alaska and Starwood elites, so those are the losers out of this change.