I’ve done more than my share of pontificating about why I think the idea of “complimentary” upgrades to first class for most elites is a bad idea. As I’ve said before, I’m not an economist, but did take a few college courses which doesn’t qualify me as an expert. That said, the basics of supply and demand really come into play here. You could look my upgrade list from last Wednesday which placed me at 21 of 55 as a Delta Platinum Medallion. For that matter, we could throw in my experience from this Wednesday as well, 22 of 50+ for the record. I was entertained when the flight attendant took my HOOU coupon and remarked that “everyone has one of these today.” No kidding!


The truth is, sometimes comp upgrades work out, and sometimes they don’t. One thing I’ve left out of some of my posts on my preference for the “non complimentary” upgrade is that upgrade success can be very market specific. I know that’s not news to the frequent flyers among us, but it is a factor…. a big factor for me. While I think it’s beyond a little ridiculous that I was number 22 of 50+ on a Wednesday afternoon upgrade list, it is what it is. It’s the day after a federal holiday, and I was flying to Washington, DC. I’ve also cleared into F on more than few flights to DC, so I digress.

My point is that upgrades and success rates are dependent on a lot of factors, but all things being equal, I think it’s better to “pay” for an upgrade with some kind of scrip whether that be money, miles, or some kind of upgrade credit. It controls demand, and I honestly believe it provides better results for a bigger number of people of the mid and lower elite tiers….scientific evidence to support my theory or not. 🙂 Feel free to disagree.

-MJ, November 12, 2014

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