Delta recently updated their paid standby upgrade program March 1st.
One of the major changes is that they are allowing paid upgrades on more fare classes now, however those on cheaper fares will be forced to pay a higher upgrade fee.
Before you would only upgrade on a K+ fare, but now they are adding paid upgrades to L, U, T, X, and V fares in addition to K+ fares.
However, the price for these paid upgrades is dependent on the fare class. For flights within the domestic 48 states and Alaska it’s broken down in the following three fare classes: Y/B/M fares; S/H/Q/K/L fares; and U/T/X/V fares.
The same applies to flights to Hawaii that they are broken down by the same fare types. If I recall correctly, Delta used to allow paid upgrades to Hawaii on all fare classes so this is not much of a significant change except for the price increases.
For all other eligible flights (mainly Caribbean routes) the pricing chart above would apply. Note for these routes they are still requiring a K+ fare.
Another major change when it comes to paid upgrades is that they are not allowing them on their JFK-Los Angeles/San Francisco/Seattle flights.
This makes sense since they’ve slashed Medallion upgrades on these routes and paid upgrades are generally only available on routes that they offer complimentary Medallion upgrades.
For comparison this was Delta’s old standby upgrade chart.
Just to clarify, these are the only routes eligible for paid upgrades:
Within North America including Hawaii (except JFK-LAX, JFK-SEA and JFK-SFO).
• To/from Aruba, Bermuda, Grand Cayman (Cayman Islands), Los Cabos (Mexico), Montego Bay (Jamaica), Nassau (Bahamas), Providenciales (Turks and Caicos), San Juan (Puerto Rico), and St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands)
• Between Atlanta and Costa Rica, St. Maarten and St. Lucia
• Between Cancun (Mexico)and Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis, Memphis and Minneapolis
These changes follow Delta’s new mission to favor those on higher fares and these new upgrade pricing charts do just that. If you’re on a Y/B/M fare domestically and want to pay to upgrade to first class you can do so starting at only $49 now compared to those on cheaper fares which will now start at $169.
One thing I want to make clear about these paid stand-by upgrades is that they come after all Medallion upgrades. While sometimes the Gate Information Display screens will appear to be selling upgrades, these will not clear until all Medallions do.
What do you think of Delta’s new upgraded pricing for their Paid Stand-by upgrade program? Would you plan on upgrading on any of these routes based on these new prices?