How to Get a Free Upgrade on Delta

Passengers can get a free upgrade on Delta Airlines if they have a Medallion membership. You must be a member with a Main Cabin reservation to enjoy free and unlimited upgrades on Delta. The Basic Economy fares are not eligible for the upgrades. Priority is given to the members with Skymiles with Reserve American Express or Business Card. 

Delta Airlines offers various provisions to its loyal flyers or Medallion to enjoy free upgrades to comfort plus, and first class. Even more, on the day of departure, enjoy unlimited and free upgrades to Delta One and premium select for flights operating within the 50 states of the U.S. Add your Skymiles number while booking the flight to apply for the complimentary upgrades. 

Silver, Gold, Diamond, and Platinum are the four status or tiers of Medallion members. The last two higher levels are designated with Upgrade Certificates Choice Benefits. There is a priority list that is used to decide who will receive the upgrade first. Calculate your chances of desired upgrades according to the several other terms and conditions that are assigned for different Medallion status and fares. 

Delta Airlines Free Upgrades Policy And Eligibility Criteria 

Delta Airlines offers free and unlimited upgrades to first, comfort plus, One, and premium selects to its Medallion members. However, each tier of the membership is subject to a different set of benefits and upgrades. Even certain seats are available on specific routes and destinations. 

Delta Airlines Seat Upgrade Policy is very detailed and lengthy. There are multiple sections or categories for specific types of seat upgrades. Additional terms and conditions are also formed in order to restrict or offer flexibility to different Medallion member status. As we move further in search of how to get a free upgrade on Delta, let’s read the various provisions applicable according to your ticket type, destination and status of the membership.

All Medallion Upgrades for Destinations and Flight Type

All Medallion Upgrades for Destinations and Flight Type

As already discussed, all Medallion members are eligible for free and unlimited seat upgrades on Delta flights. However, the cabin and seat available for upgrade is different according to the destination and flight type. 

Delta Airlines offers upgrades to First, Comfort+, Delta One, Premium select. Not only this, Medallion members also enjoy free Delta flight changes. Coming back to the main topic,You need to be seated in the Main Cabin or above seat to accept a chance of upgrade on your reservation. This is because the basic fares are not eligible for the same. So,only those in the other cabins will be allowed an upgrade. Now, review the rules which define what class of seats are offered as upgrades according to your destination and route. 

Seat Type Available for upgrades on Route or Destinations 
Delta Comfort PlusDomestic and specific international flights 
First Class North America and other nearby locations like the Caribbean and Central America. 
Delta OneLong Haul International flights and a few cross-country domestic  flights. 
Delta Premium SelectFlights within the 50 states of the United States, including Hawaii. 

Moving further, there are other subdivisions for the Medallion members free upgrade bookings. For instance, companions traveling with the passengers designated with respective benefits are also eligible for the same. Also, other categories like the Platinum and Diamond members or those who also hold a business or credit card along with the Skymiles and Medallion membership. Read the benefits and provisions for each of the subcategories. 

Delta Free Upgrade Policy for Medallion and Travel Companion 

Medallion members along with companions are also eligible for free upgrades, given it is requested during or after the booking of the ticket. Also, the travel companion must be a Skymiles, Medallion, or elite class member of the partner airline and the reservation should be on the same flight. 

Depending on the number of passengers or companions traveling with the member, there are additional terms and conditions. Read what is applicable to you. 

  • One Companion

For bookings on the same ticket bookings, the standard priority list will be used to decide who will be awarded the seat first. Also, it also depends on availability.

Reservations under different paid tickets that are later linked via Delta App, the upgrade policy for Delta First and One ticket of the U.S. 50 flights is slightly varied.

  •  Individual passenger status is used as an eligibility criterion to offer upgraded seats to Delta First and One Class tickets.
  • General Skymiles members on Delta Comfort+ are not eligible for any free upgrades, while the co-flyer or the medallion member can be upgraded to another higher seat.
  • Two or More Companions

Passengers who are traveling in a group of two or more people must be Meadellion or partner airline elite class members in order to enjoy the benefits of free upgrades. Each ticket holder or passenger should check in separately to qualify for the above-described provision. 

Lowest tire Medallion membership criteria will be applicable for passengers or companions who all are Medallion members and check in together. 

On the other hand, companion reservations with any one or more members with the general membership and who check in together are not eligible for upgrades

Medallion+Skymiles with Reserve American Express Cards for free Upgrades 

Delta SkyMiles members with Reserve miles or the American Express card are eligible for a free upgrade to first and comfort seats. Moreover, it also qualifies for unlimited updates to Delta One seat on the departure day for flights originating within the United States and Hawaii. 

Medallion members who also have the SkyMiles Reserve cards are offered higher or upgraded seats in priority. The seat allotment is based on a hierarchy list which is described later in the content. The passengers with both qualifications are kept at the top of the list. 

The Reserve card members will be offered the upgraded seats 24 hours prior to the departure. While the process for getting these are similar to the standard which is applicable for the Medallion members. The steps for the same are discussed in the next series of the content. As a gentle reminder, it is reminded that there might be some other terms and conditions that you can review from the official website.

Delta Upgrade Certificates for Higher Priority 

As discussed, there is a priority system used to offer the preferred seats based on the hierarchical rankings. Upgrade certificates stand the highest chance to receive the desired seat on the upgraded cabin. These are offered to the Medallion Platinum and Diamond members. There are two types of these certificates, namely, Global and Regional. The passengers who are eligible to use these can collect a defined number of these. The benefits assigned to each of the following are as follows: 

The Global Upgrades certificates are offered specifically to the Platinum members and are applicable for bookings and seat selection on international and domestic flights. While the Delta Regional upgrade certificates are for Diamond and Platinum members, both. Enjoy the benefits of the Regional certificates with upgrades eligible on the same routes as the Medallion complimentary. Although, additionally, they can be upgraded to Delta One and Premium Select seats. 

Terms and Conditions for Medallion Seat Upgrades 

Terms and Conditions for Medallion Seat Upgrades 

These are the following terms and conditions for free upgrades or promotions to Medallion members of different status and category. 

  • The availability of seats is not fixed and changes according to the present operations. 
  • The Basic tickets are not eligible for upgrades. 
  • The Platinum and Diamond status Medallion members are offered additional Upgrade Certificates Choice Benefits. 
  • The upgrades for companion tickets must be requested 3 hours prior to the flight departure. 
  • In case of a ticket change, then the rules for the original ticket or cabin will be applicable. It might cost an additional sum of money to get a few changes, only if permitted. 
  • Ticket changes causing the companion and the medallion member to fly separately will not be valid for upgrade. If the promoted cabin class is already confirmed, then the General Skymiles will no longer be able to fly on the new allotted seats. While the Medallion passenger will be reversed to the original fare and will rejoin the expected upgrade list. 
  • Cancellations due to weather and other operational issues nullify the upgrades on the tickets and the original fare is rebooked on the new timing and date. 
  • Apart from the tickets Award Travel and miles tickets, no other ticket that does not earn miles is not eligible for upgrades. However, the Mileage accrual does not affect the upgrades. 

Steps to Apply for Free Upgrade on Delta Airlines 

Steps to Apply for Free Upgrade on Delta Airlines 

Enter the Skymiles number while booking the flight to update the airline that you are interested in getting upgrades on Delta airlines. This can be done via the website, app or travel agent. You can opt in or out for automatic updates as per your needs. Read the following conditions to decide what is the more preferable option for you. 

  • Opt for Automatic Updates 

Opting-in is a good option for those Delta passengers who are comfortable in automatic updates and selecting their own seats which will allow them to be amongst the top list of priority upgrades.

  • Opt-out from Automatic Updates 

The second option of pausing automatic updates gives a passenger to choose their preferred while being in the lowest hierarchy of priority list. In this you have the your own upgrades and further the seat.

Setting Other Types of Preferences

Other than the above two, there are two additional options for seat upgrades. Default for passengers opting upgrades for the first time  and the next is to set preferences for  Delta Comfort on Individual flights.

  • Default Preferences 
  1. Navigate and log in to Delta account via its website or mobile application
  2. Find and open flight preferences from My Profile page.
  3. On the same page, you will find Medallion Complimentary Upgrades. 
  4. Click on Edit option to choose your preferences
  5. This will update your current and upcoming flights with the same preference.
  • Personalize Seats For Individual Flights

This is an ideal option for those passengers who are looking for a change and are interested in setting different preferences for each flight. This is applicable for Delta Comfort Plus and the steps are as follows.

  1. Locate My Trips option on the website or the mobile application.
  2. Afterwards, apply or request for Delta Comfort+  and check the new updates in the “Upgrade Preferences” section.
  3. In this step, select Request Upgrade and Only upgrade options if your preferred seat is available. 
  4. Now, you will be able to choose your desired row from any of the seats.
  5. Passengers with reservations in multiple segments must tick “Apply to All Segments of the Trip” to enjoy the same seat throughout the journey

Finally, your request or preferences will be considered for upgrades. However, there are other factors that will influence the final results. Switch to the next section to learn about it more. 

Clearance Hierarchy Delta Airlines Complimentary 

Clearance Hierarchy Delta Airlines Complimentary 

As there are several passengers who apply for complimentary seat upgrades, it is hard to choose who should be allotted the preferred seat. Delta Airlines uses a Priority Clearance list which has sequenced or ranked the various eligible categories from highest to lowest. Depending on where your Medallion status or tier lies in the following chart, your chances of receiving the exact desired seat increases or decreases. 

RankingComplimentary Upgrade Hierarchy for Medallion Members
Medallion Status 
2Fare Class Groupings: higher-priced fares are ranked above lower-priced fares
Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card
Delta Corporate Travelers
5Card Members who earned the Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQD) Waiver in the current calendar year
6Million Miler Status**
7Date and time of upgrade request

Clearance Timings

The clearance timings define when the seat will be finally confirmed days before the departure is also defined. The earlier you get clearance and the seat is allotted, the chances rise of flying on the preferred seat for that specific category. 

  1. The Diamond and Platinum class members of the Medallion start clearing 5 days or 120 hours prior to the departure time. 
  2. The Silver and Gold members begin clearing for first-class upgrades at 24 and 72 hours, respectively, before the scheduled departure. 
  3. The Delta Comfort seats are eligible for upgrade clearance immediately after confirmed tickets. The seats are not instantly allotted but you get the advantage to choose it first, before all other passengers. This rule is applicable for the Platinum and Diamond members. Whereas, the criteria or timings of 24 hours and 72 hours shall stay the same. 
  4. The flights within the  50 destinations of the United States that qualify for the upgrades are allotted seats on the exact same day of departure, using the priority list indexed in the above section. 


Delta Airline free upgrades are offered to all its Medallion members. The eligibility criteria for the preferred seat include a set of more terms and conditions. There is a priority list that enables the airline to decide who qualifies for the chance to receive the preferred seat first. Follow the steps on how to get a free upgrade on Delta and plan for a much more convenient journey ahead. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to get a free seat upgrade on Delta?

Be a part of the Medallion status to receive free and unlimited upgrades on Delta Airlines. 

Who can get a free upgrade on Delta Airlines?

Medallion members can enjoy free upgrades on Delta Airlines. 

What is Delta upgrade list?

Delta Airlines upgrade list is finalized using the hierarchy model in which different status are set in a highest to lowest format to ensure priority and benefits to its most loyal passengers. 

Does Delta allow you to upgrade?

Yes, Delta Airlines allow upgrades. There are free and unlimited seat upgrades for Medallion members. 

How many upgrades do you get with Delta?

There are unlimited free upgrades for Delta Airlines Medallion members. 

How to Get a Free Upgrade on Delta?

Passengers must add the Skymiles number while booking the flight or afterwards to enjoy free upgrades on Delta Airlines.
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