Delta global upgrade certificates now improved for Air France and Virgin Australia flights

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Delta Diamond status offers elite members members three Choice Benefits each year. The single most valuable choice, in my opinion, is four Global Upgrade Certificates.  These certificates can be used to upgrade from the cheapest economy fare to lie-flat business class (Delta One).  Now, those Global Upgrade Certificates have become even more valuable.

Air France Business Class

In addition to using global upgrades on Delta flights, it has also been possible to use them on select partner airlines (but usually only if the flight was marketed by Delta).  For the past few years, Delta has allowed upgrades to business class from highly discounted economy fares on Virgin Atlantic and KLM, but not on Air France or Virgin Australia.  Air France global upgrades did exist, but Delta used to require full-fare tickets and would upgrade only to premium economy.  Now that has changed.

On February 25th 2020, Delta announced that Global Upgrade Certificates could be used to upgrade Virgin Australia flights to business class.  And now we’ve learned that Delta has greatly improved the use of Global Upgrade Certificates on Air France flights (Hat Tip: The Points Guy).

Delta Global Upgrade Certificates can now be applied to upgrade to business class from highly discounted Air France economy tickets.  Here are the details found in Delta’s Global Upgrade terms:

For Air France-operated flights marketed by Delta, customers with a published fare booked in Y, B, M, H, Q, K, L, U, T, X or V class can upgrade into A class (Premium Economy) or Z class (Business Class).

Additionally, Air France flights marketed by Air France or KLM can now be upgraded as well.  This is great because there are situations where flights marketed by Delta cost significantly more than those marketed by Air France or KLM.

Rules by partner

Many of the rules for applying Global Upgrade Certificates to partner airlines vary by airline. One rule, though, is universal at this time: if upgrade space isn’t available, you cannot waitlist for the upgrade.  With Delta operated flights, if upgrade space isn’t available, you can ask to waitlist and you might get a confirmed upgrade in advance if upgrade space appears.  This isn’t currently possible with any partner flights.

To see rules by partner airline, see below.  The following rules were copied from Delta’s Global Upgrade Terms & Conditions on 10/29/2020:

Aeromexico

  • Applicable Routes: valid for use on Delta-marketed, Aeromexico-operated flights. For travel on Korean Air: valid for use on one-way travel systemwide.
  • Applicable Fare Classes: For travel on Aeromexico operated, Delta marketed flights this certificate may be used to upgrade on Delta`s published fares booked in W, Y, B, M, H, Q, K, L, U, T, X or V class and all fare classes upgrade into Aeromexico`s O class.

Air France

  • Applicable Routes: valid for one-way travel systemwide as long as the travel to and within Europe is connected with a long-haul route. A qualifying “long-haul” route contains a distance of at least 1,750 miles between Point A and Point B. For example, ATL-CDG would be valid but CDG-IST would not be valid as there is no long-haul route connected to the intra-Europe flight.
  • Applicable Fare Classes: 
    • For travel on Air France-operated flights marketed by Air France and booked in Y, B, M, K, H, L, Q, T, N, R, or V class, customers can upgrade into A class (Premium Economy) or Z class (Business Class).
    • For Air France-operated flights marketed by KLM, customers with a published fare booked in  Y, B, M, K, H, L, Q, T, N, R, or V class can upgrade into Z class (Business Class).
    • For Air France-operated flights marketed by Delta, customers with a published fare booked in Y, B, M, H, Q, K, L, U, T, X or V class can upgrade into A class (Premium Economy) or Z class (Business Class).
    • In addition, customers traveling on an Air France-marketed and operated flight and booked in W, S or A class as well as customers traveling on an Air France-operated, Delta-marketed flight and booked in P, A, or G class can upgrade to Z class (Business Class).

KLM

  • Applicable Routes: valid for one-way travel systemwide as long as the travel to and within Europe is connected with a long-haul route. A qualifying “long-haul” route contains a distance of at least 1,750 miles between Point A and Point B. For example, ATL-CDG would be valid but CDG-IST would not be valid as there is no long-haul route connected to the intra-Europe flight.
  • Applicable Fare Classes: 
    • For travel on KLM-operated, Delta-marketed flights this certificate may be used to upgrade on published fares booked in Y, B, M, H, Q, K, L, U, T, X or V class and all fare classes upgrade into Z class.
    • For travel on KLM-operated flights marketed by KLM, fares booked in Y, B, M, K, H, L, Q, T, N, R, or V class are eligible to upgrade into Z class.
    • For travel on KLM-operated flights marketed by AF, this certificate may be used to upgrade on published fares booked in Y, B, M, K, H, L, Q, T, N, R, or V class into Z class.

Korean Air

  • Applicable Routes: valid for use on one-way travel systemwide.
  • Applicable Fare Classes: Valid on Delta-marketed, Korean Air-operated flights for use globally on Delta’s published fares booked in Y or B class to Korean Air’s Z class, or booked in M class to Korean Air’s O class.

Virgin Atlantic

  • Applicable Routes: valid for use on one-way travel systemwide.
  • Applicable Fare Classes: Valid on Delta-marketed, Virgin Atlantic-operated flights for use globally on published fares booked in W, Y, B, M, H, Q, K, L, U, T, X or V class to G class (Upper Class).

Virgin Australia

  • Applicable Fare Classes: Valid on Delta-marketed, Virgin Australia-operated flights on published fares booked in Y, B, M, H, Q, K, L, U class to Virgin Australia’s Business Class.
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