A waitlisted Delta Regional Upgrade actually cleared


Wow. I just had a waitlisted Delta Regional Upgrade actually clear into first class! This shouldn’t be worth reporting, but I think its the first time it has ever happened to me.

Delta’s Regional Upgrade certificates are available to Delta SkyMiles members as Choice Benefits once they earn Platinum Medallion Status (and can be chosen again with Diamond status). The way they work is that you book a regional economy flight and can apply these certificates (one per passenger per direction of travel) to upgrade to first class.

Sometimes regional upgrades are available at the time of booking and then you’ll be upgraded immediately after applying the certificates. More often, you get waitlisted for an upgrade. When that happens, the idea is that Delta will upgrade you anytime before the flight if upgrade space happens to open up. But that rarely ever happens. I’d previously given up on that hope at all. They’re still useful when they don’t clear, though, because they bump you to the top of the upgrade list at the airport. In most cases, I’ve flown first class when applying certificates thanks to that feature.

The exciting thing here is that my wife and I were upgraded to first class on a long flight from Detroit to Los Angeles multiple weeks before our flight. Again, that shouldn’t be exciting. That’s how these things are supposed to work. But it’s never happened to me before!

Here’s to hoping that this is a sign of things to come and not a one-off aberration…

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Wife cleared Friday with a RUC on a LAX-ATL flight. Put on waitlist at time of reservation about 3 weeks ago. Also helping I think was the fact that it was an A350 with lots of D1 seats and not a small 12 seater FC plane.


Most of my certs did not clear last year. The other issue is when you see they are available at booking and click on them I usually get the upgrade for the 30 minute leg vs the 5.5 hour leg. I then have to call to fix.. Last time I used the certs I had to call 4 times in order to have them applied properly. When I call they want me to use the GUC’s vs RUC’s!!!


Even tho the website shows RUC available for upgrade to FC at the time of booking, 5 weeks prior in my case, does not mean a thing. I played around with different routings (2 fights each direction) but not all cleared. I gave up and just paid for FC. I tried to save money but doesn’t seem that the RUCs are very helpful.
I wish Delta would allow the passengers to see what flights will actually clear prior to booking. Instead I needed to call or chat with a Delta rep and waste their time when they could be handling more important calls.


I’ve only been a Platinum for three years. I have never had a regional upgrade certificate fail to clear. I apply them at the time of booking. 10 of them cleared immediately. One cleared 4 weeks before the flight and one only cleared at the airport. All involve PHX one way or another FWIW.


I got 4 regional upgrades last year when I made platinum but had a bad experience with two of them. Never cleared despite lots of unsold first class seats right up to date of departure. The last one effectively expired unused because the flight was in late January. Just another reason not to chase Delta status going forward


They don’t bump you to the top of the list at the airport but they give a higher priority over the other types of upgrades. What puts you on top is the fare purchased, status and other qualifiers.

Matt Kowalski

Greg, congratulations on the regional cert upgrade, they do happen! However, in my experience using the certs, using them doesn’t automatically bump you to the top of the upgrade list. I was told this over the phone with a Delta rep a few weeks ago. When I got to LGA for that flight in question and looked at the upgrade list on the Delta app, I was like number 74 or something. Seeing this, I called Delta from LGA and got the old “well, I don’t know who told you that, or who you spoke with, but we have Delta 360 folks, super special (read: not you) VIPs, etc. etc. but using the cert doesn’t automatically move you to the top.” And so it goes. The certs can work sometimes, but you have to have a little luck.

Jerry Udell

Way to go, Greg! We know it’s because you’re a famous blogger. Congratulations on winning the lottery, sort of.


Less Delta Elites, more availability…


I applied one yesterday PHX-ATL. I was 2/88 on the UG list. I’m a DM….and it didn’t clear


I think I applied my RUC for 5 flights and never cleared, even when I see available seats the day of flight. Was excited when I earned these, but they wound up just being a waste.


Hilarious that this is now post worthy.

I miss the old days when one could call and apply a RU within 1 hour, clear, and cert was never pulled. 😉


Greg, I find this amazing. I have used many of these and can’t recall a time when a waitlisted RUC cleared days (or weeks) before the flight. Seemed like once revenue management decided to “waitlist” (i.e., sometimes with as few as 3 or 4 FC seats booked) they rarely clear anything until right before the flight. This could be an encouraging omen. Let’s hope for some similar data points!


It helps when you’re a celebrity 🙂


Hub-hub flight, I guess they opened space up. I have had good luck finding space in advance to confirm at booking, even two people.