Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.
Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
Recently, Delta added the option to use miles to pay for an upgrade both online and to their mobile app. But now, without announcement, they went ahead and did away with Mileage Upgrade Awards in the Americas.
Getting rid of Mileage Upgrade Awards won’t directly impact that many people. But it is another step toward Delta doing their best to make their miles worth closer to 1 cent each for everything since that’s about what each mile is worth for most upgrades. And that’s what they’re worth (1 cent a piece) if you have a Delta card and can use the Pay with Miles feature to purchase flights.
On the plus side, it makes it easier to understand what, at a minimum, these limited-time (ending on April 3, 2019) increased AMEX Delta card bonuses are worth:
- Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express – 75,000-mile bonus (worth at least $750) and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Plus a $100 statement credit after making a Delta purchase in the first 3 months
- Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express – 60,000-mile bonus (worth at least $600) after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Plus a $50 statement credit after making a Delta purchase in the first 3 months
- Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express – 75,000-mile bonus (worth at least $750 ) and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
Delta Eliminates Their Upgrade Award Chart
In the past, finding and booking a Delta Mileage Upgrade Award wasn’t an easy process. And even if you could pull it off it wasn’t always a great deal since you’d have to buy a more expensive fare class to be eligible for the best upgrade award prices in the first place. But Delta doesn’t tack on extra fees for Mileage Upgrade Awards, which is better than most other airlines.
All of that said, if you were one of the dedicated miles and points deal finders, then the elimination of the upgrade award chart hurts because getting outsized value when upgrading with miles is becoming a thing of the past.
Now that anyone can easily use their miles to upgrade any flight, the travelers hit the hardest will be Delta’s most loyal customers. I imagine that as leisure travelers start burning their miles for upgrades, Delta elites will start seeing far fewer complimentary upgrades.
Currently, I plan on using my Delta miles almost exclusively for their frequent award sales. But my fear is that long term Delta turns their miles into more of a cash back currency where they’re just worth 1 cent each for everything.
It’s also worth noting that The Points Guy is reporting that Delta Mileage Upgrade Awards are still available for flights operated by Virgin Atlantic, KLM/Air France, and Aeromexico. But to book these awards, you’ll need to call Delta. If you need help with that, check out our step-by-step guide to upgrading with miles.
How do you feel about these changes? Have any Delta elites out there noticed that it’s been tougher to get a complimentary upgrade?
Want more travel tips, tricks, and deals delivered to you daily? Then subscribe to our newsletter:
Hat tip: View From the Wing