Leveraging Delta Regional Upgrade Certificates Domestically

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Delta Regional Upgrade Certificates are one of the Choice Benefits that Diamond and Platinum Medallions members can select once earning or re-qualifying for status, which if used effectively can save you quite a bit of money.

If choosing the upgrade certificate option, Platinum Medallions can choose 4 regional upgrades, whereas Diamond Medallions can choose either 8 regional upgrades, or 2 global upgrades plus 4 regional upgrades.

Leveraging Delta Regional Upgrade Certificates Domestically

Regional upgrades can be used within the United States including Alaska and Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Bermuda and, Northern South America (on non-Delta One routes)

Delta sets the following rules about regional upgrades:

Regional Upgrades: On Delta flights, you can use one-way Regional Upgrade Certificates on all paid published Main Cabin and Delta Comfort+ fares, on Pay with Miles tickets, and on Companion Certificates. Upgrade Certificates are not valid on Award Travel or tickets booked in Basic Economy (E Class). You can use these certificates on the same routes as Medallion Complimentary Upgrades, including all flights with First Class and the domestic Delta One experience.

The good news is earlier this year Delta Medallion Upgrades Return on Transcontinental Flights, including those with their lie-flat Delta One business class product including JFK-LAX/SFO to name a few routes.

How to Leverage Regional Upgrade Certificates

Transcontinental Flights 

It’s important to note the regional upgrades can clear at time of booking if upgrade space is available, otherwise they move you to the very top of the list on the airport standby list.

To maximize this benefit, I’d recommend using for a using for a Delta One Business Class transcontinental flight. As the example above you use for New York (JFK) to Los Angeles in Delta One, which has a price premium of nearly $2,000 over a Main Cabin fare.

Flights to Hawaii

Another good option to use regional upgrades is for flights to/from Hawaii, which can often be mostly sold full in First Class, meaning complimentary Medallion upgrades are hard to come by.

In the above example, a one-way flight from Los Angeles to Maui in First Class is going for almost $2,000, with a Main Cabin fare of around $300, yielding you over $1,700 in value.

Northern South America

Delta allows for regional upgrades to be used to Northern South America and Central America on non Delta One business class routes. Looking at some flights, I found New York (JFK) to Liberia, Costa Rica for over $3,000 in first class, with coach running for under $200.

This would be a great route to use your regional upgrade certificates on.

Love racking up the Delta Miles?

If you are looking for more ways to earn Delta miles, consider The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card or The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card.

See our recent Delta Flight Reviews:

Do you have any tips for maximizing your Delta regional upgrades? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed.

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  1. This is a great post!
    How do I find availability for the Regional Upgrade Certificates? can I see the availability on Delta.com, use tools such as expertflyer, or have to call a Delta agent over the phone? Thanks!

  2. You have to call to ask about availability, and be prepared.. it can be scarce. Even empty first class cabins booked months ahead have ‘no availability’ which can be discouraging. However I just used a regional upgrade into Delta One from Detroit to Seattle (5hrs) so there is hope !!

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