Delta Air Lines Adds Cash Upgrade Option To Mobile Application

Delta Air Lines Airbus A330-300 Enhanced

Delta Air Lines regularly updates its mobile application on the iOS and Android platforms with new functionalities, bug fixes and enhancement based on customer feedback. Version 4.7 was introduced online November 29, 2018 that added new cash upgrade option that was only above previously at online check in and at airport kiosks.


Delta Air Lines

What’s New in Version 4.7:
• Need to adjust your flights before checking in? You can now delay auto check-in until the next time you open the app.
• Customers can now enroll in the Delta SkyMiles® program from My Trips or the Today arrival screen to automatically earn miles when the trip is complete
• We’ve made it easier to check-in for flights that are operated by our partner airlines
• The Fly Delta app is now fully optimized for iPhone X
• Bug fixes

Fly Delta Application Screen

Fly Delta Application Screen

Of note, the first bullet point important for customers who would like to standby for a same day earlier/later flight. In version 4.6, automatic check-in was introduced to ease convenience by it created a new obstacle for those who wanted to make same day changes. In this case, customers would have to call into the support desk to uncheck in, change flights and re check-in. This increased more work for both the Delta Air Lines agent and the passenger. Version 4.7 alleviates this problem and provide control back to the customers. Those who do not need to make any changes to the itinerary will continue to enjoy automatic check-in on Delta and selective partner’s operated flights.  As usual, the airline will take these customers off the flight if they don’t show up at the gate between 5-15 minutes before departure time, depending on the route.


New Functions

In addition to the changes included in the implementation note, the airline also added a new function that allows customers to upgrade the return flight with a cash option during check-in of the outbound flight. This allows customers a new opportunity to buy up into the next class of service instead of waiting for a complimentary upgrade should they believe that the latter chances are slim.   This new buy-up option will further impact those who are seeking complimentary upgrades on any Delta operated routes with a Delta First or Delta One cabin. The airline recently announced that it will re-introduce complimentary upgrades on the day of departure for Delta One flights starting on April 1, 2018.

For flights through March 31, 2018:
Medallion Members are eligible for and rewarded with Complimentary Upgrades to First Class and to Delta Comfort+®:

  • Delta Comfort+ is typically offered on domestic and select international flights
  • First Class is typically offered in North America and nearby destinations like the Caribbean and Central America

There are just a few exceptions. Complimentary Upgrades to First Class are not available on:

  • Non-stop flights between HNL (Honolulu) and MSP (Minneapolis/St. Paul); HNL and JFK (New York), or HNL and ATL (Atlanta)
  • Non-stop flights between NRT (Tokyo-Narita) and ROR (Palau-Koror), GUM (Guam) and SPN (Saipan)

Complimentary Upgrades are not permitted to Delta Premium Select or Delta One®:

  • Delta Premium Select is available on select international flights
  • Delta One is generally available on long-haul international flights and certain cross-country domestic flights such as between JFK (New York) and LAX (Los Angeles), JFK and SFO (San Francisco), DCA (Washington DC) and LAX and BOS (Boston) and SFO

On April 1, 2018:

Medallion Members are eligible for and rewarded with Complimentary Upgrades to Delta One, First Class and to Delta Comfort+® with exception to NRT to ROR/GUM/SPN flights and on all flights outside of the US 50.  Additionally, Delta One service will also extend from:

  • New York JFK to Seattle (SEA) and San Diego (SAN) on this date with Las Vegas stated to start a month later
  • One daily Atlanta (ATL) and Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP) to Honolulu (HNL) on April 1, 2018


Upgrade Priority

Delta has not announced any changes to the priority order for complimentary upgrades ahead of the April 1, 2018:

Medallion Upgrade Priority Structure

Medallion Upgrade Priority Structure (Information provided by the Delta Air Lines)

Customers should note that complimentary upgrades will be processed at different times based on status and at the day of departure for flights with the Delta One cabin. Additionally, customers who paid for upgrades at check-in or are waitlisted to use global & regional upgrade certificates or miles to upgrade will place ahead of the those waiting for a complimentary upgrades.



Delta continues to balance between providing its loyal Medallion members with additional benefits and maximizing margins for its premium products. While members will be able to enjoy unlimited complimentary upgrades within the US 50, the probability may decrease by adding more alternative upgrade methods (i.e. cash upgrade offers at check-in on mobile application).

This practice will continue as Diamond (top tier) credit card waiver is set at US$250,000. The potential reduction of Diamond members by 2019 will allow the airline to tweak its benefits more catered to those who are spending money with the airline directly. In a future insight, Experience The Skies will examine how airlines are transforming themselves from a transportation to a lifestyle brand.