How To Get First Class Upgrade On Delta Domestic Coach Ticket

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Did you know you can upgrade from domestic Coach Class to domestic First Class on a Delta revenue ticket? Of course if you have status, you can receive a complimentary upgrade. But depending on your ticket’s fare class, you could also upgrade using miles for as little as 5,000 miles or as much as 12,500 miles each way. There are a few restrictions for the upgrade to clear. We’ll cover those and a few other details in this post.

Rules To Upgrade From Domestic Coach To Domestic First Class

The rules to upgrade from domestic Coach Class to domestic First Class are easy to understand. You must have a qualifying fare to be able to upgrade. Not all fares qualify to upgrade so it is important to note which fare you have.

    • Discounted fares in H, Q, and K class are now eligible providing you with more upgrade opportunities
    • Award level for fares other than full Y will require 12,500 miles each way
    • L, U, T, and E class fares are not upgradeable


Upgrade Availability From Domestic Coach To Domestic First Class

Just because you have a qualifying fare class doesn’t mean you can upgrade. The flight has to have upgrade availability in order for your upgrade to clear. The easiest way to find availability is to call the Delta elite line and ask about the availability for your flight.

What if there is no upgrade availability? Don’t worry. If there is no upgrade availability, you can still get on the waitlist. The waitlist allows you to get on a list so that when upgrade availability becomes available, you can use your miles to upgrade to First Class.

Miles Required To Upgrade From Domestic Coach To Domestic First Class

The miles required to upgrade from Coach Class to First Class depend on your fare class. Full fare economy class tickets, Y fares, only require 5,000 miles to upgrade. Select fares including H, Q, K fares are eligible for upgrade and require 12,500 miles per way. The lowest fares L, U, T, and E, are not eligible for upgrade. image

You can see the mileage required to upgrade from Coach to First Class on flights to / from other regions around the world here.

My Biggest Dilemma – Which Seat To Choose

Once your upgrade has cleared, the biggest dilemma will appear. Which seat do you select on a 777 in Business Elite for a 5 hour flight?

You could go with the front row in seat 1 D. You’d be served first and will have a view of out of the window.


Or you could select 7 D. You’ll also have a nice view out of the window and you won’t have someone across the aisle.


Or you could choose the last row in seat 14 D. Same window, but a different view of the engine and wing. You’ll also have Coach Class directly behind the divider behind your seat.


Which seat would you choose?

Bottom Line

Delta has the ability to upgrade a domestic Coach Ticket to First Class using miles. This is great for those that have tons of miles and don’t like to take chances with the gate lottery.

What is the best way you’ve seen to find Delta upgrade availability?

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The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way.

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  1. I’d make sure which side of the plane will have the sun so its not in my eyes while I look out the window!

    Not sure about tradeoffs of being in front of galley or divider (i.e. less recline), and not sure how much you care about first choice of food. Hell, I’d be happy just to fly BE on a 777

  2. PPM, i am this delta 777 in biz class from NRT to LAX…what is the best seat for two people..looks like it is a tough plane for two…i think i have 6 BC for now..most seats are open…thanks for your help!

  3. It is important to note that upgrading with miles will not add you to the gate upgrade list (where medallions get their complimentary upgrades). If the upgrade inventory does not open up prior to the flight, you won’t get the upgrade (but will not lose the miles). Many people assume that using miles to upgrade puts them on this upgrade list.

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