ExpertFlyer no longer displaying Delta elite upgrade space

ExpertFlyer is a paid subscription service that I find incredibly useful for searching award space, looking at flight loads, and setting availability alerts. It looks like it got a bit less useful for Delta flyers as of yesterday, unfortunately.

Per an email sent out to ExpertFlyer members:

Dear ExpertFlyer Subscriber,

As of today, Delta has requested that we remove the visibility of the DL elite upgrade classes (RU/OU) from ExpertFlyer.com. As such, your Flight Alerts for these 2 classes can no longer check for availability in those classes so their status has been changed to Expired so they do not count against your available alert allocation.

If you would like to send feedback to Delta regarding their decision and how it may affect you, please use the following link to email them. Delta Email Feedback

As always, thank you for your support of ExpertFlyer.
-The ExpertFlyer.com Team

Definitely a sad development, though it’s also a trend I’m noticing lately whereby airlines want more control not only over what information is distributed, but how it’s distributed. We’ve seen this with AwardWallet as well, whereby airlines prevent them from displaying mileage balances, as they’d rather drive people to their own websites.

The good news in this case is that it’s actually still possible to search upgrade space on delta.com if you’re an elite member. Simply make a “dummy” booking for the route you want to search upgrade space on, and on the search page space specify you want to book a full “Y” ticket.

Delta_Upgrade_Availability1

Then on the results page you’ll see a button that reads “Upgrade Eligibility.” If the flight has confirmable upgrade space it’ll display “Upgrade Available,” while if it’s not confirmable it’ll display “Upgrade Eligible.”

Delta-Upgrade-Availability

I’d definitely recommend sharing some “feedback” with Delta if you found the upgrade space being displayed on ExpertFlyer to be useful…

Comments

  1. You say that you find it incredibly useful for searching award space. I think it depends on your needs and travel patterns. For a person like me who travels at the most 2-3 times a year, I find it quite over rated, at least at the current subscription price. Being a loyal subscriber for a couple of years, perhaps I will not renew it next time.

  2. Wow – this is such a bummer. I used to use my MR points to transfer to delta and upgrade myself to international J all the time. I used to fly Delta precisely because I could do this. I guess I’ll be flying AA or BA from now on.

  3. @ caveman — You’re right, for the person booking only a couple of awards a year the ability to search awards probably isn’t that valuable. That being said, I think one tool that’s very useful even if you don’t book a ton of awards is the ability to set availability alerts. Given how tough award space can be to come by nowadays, being able to set 30 availability alerts is extremely useful, in my opinion.

  4. @lucky – There are so many airlines for which you are supposed to enter the award codes yourself. How do you overcome this issue? Is there a comprehensive list.

    Also why don’t they search Cathy Pacific, one the most useful one world partner.

  5. @ caveman — Typically award space doesn’t show up for the airlines for which you have to enter the code. The reason ExpertFlyer doesn’t show award space for many airlines is that they’re not screen scraping from airline websites, but rather pulling their information directly from the GDS.

  6. This makes no sense to me. What exactly is Delta trying to hide? There must be some DL upgrade trick that I’m not aware of.

  7. @ Gene — I’m with you, I don’t totally follow the logic here either. The only thing I can think of is that they think that the harder they make it to find upgrade space, the higher the chance people will outright buy first class. Don’t necessarily think that’s true or smart, but that’s the only reason I can come up with.

  8. Seems to me like this is a case of two options (and I usually like to use three’s).
    (1) Delta believes they can leverage this into an additional small piece of revenue. Which will doubtless cause more distaste than value to them.
    (2) They are trying to devalue their program for the “power players,” once again. aka, they want to make it harder and harder to use. I would think this should hurt AMEX, as its a disincentive for mileage earners and CC Churners.

    Ultimately, though, there is the possibility that by restricting access to such information, they are increasing the value for their highest elites. But, lets be honest, they need every bit of value they can get out of their status, as it doesn’t seem like they get much.

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