How Do Crossover Rewards Upgrades To Delta Comfort+ Work?

Delta and Starwood have an innovative partnership called Crossover Rewards, which gives reciprocal perks to elite members of both programs.

crossover-rewards

Through this partnership:

  • SPG Platinum and Gold members earn 1 Starpoint for every dollar spent on eligible Delta flights. Plus, SPG Platinum members enjoy elite benefits when traveling with Delta, such as Priority Check-in, Priority Boarding, Unlimited Complimentary Upgrades, and first checked bag free.
  • SkyMiles Diamond, Platinum, Gold and Silver Medallion members earn 1 mile for every dollar spent on eligible room rates at over 1,100 Starwood hotels and resorts globally. Plus, SkyMiles Diamond and Platinum Medallion members receive additional SPG benefits at Starwood hotels and resorts — 4 p.m. late checkout, access to the SPG elite check-in line, complimentary in-room Internet access and an upgrade to an enhanced room at check-in, when available.

I’m a Starwood loyalist though not a Delta loyalist. However, I do occasionally find myself flying Delta when it’s most convenient, and when that’s the case, I appreciate the benefits of Crossover Rewards.

When this partnership was first introduced, Crossover Rewards upgrades on Delta solely got you onto the first class upgrade list. That sounds great in theory, except you’re basically dead last on the list, so your chances of clearing an upgrade are small (however, it’s not totally impossible).

Late last year Delta added Comfort+ upgrades through Crossover Rewards, which I considered to be a nice enhancement to the program. On many routes, an upgrade to Comfort+ is much more attainable than an upgrade to first class.

Yesterday I had my first experience with this. Admittedly it was on a short 39 minute flight from Seattle to Spokane so the upgrade didn’t matter that much, but I figured I’d report back with my experience. If you’re a Starwood elite and in a similar situation, here’s what you can expect.

After you make your booking, log into your reservation online, and make sure that both the “Request Upgrade For First Class” and “Request Upgrade For Delta Comfort+” boxes are checked. The latter wasn’t checked in my itinerary, so I had to manually add it.

At that point when you check in you should see yourself on both the first class and Comfort+ upgrade list.

The catch is that you’ll only clear your upgrade at the gate, or perhaps shortly before that. You’re not going to get the upgrade 24 hours out (when you check-in). If you have a mobile boarding pass, you should eventually see in the app that your upgrade shows as having cleared, along with the seat assignment.

I ended up getting a bulkhead Comfort+ seat, which was great for the short flight. However, even though free drinks and snacks are advertised as a feature of Comfort+, there was no service on this flight due to “the short duration.” Meanwhile my friend who flew Alaska an hour later on a 737 was served snack mix and drinks in economy.

Bottom line

I wouldn’t count on a great Comfort+ upgrade through Crossover Rewards on a Monday morning Atlanta to New York flight or a transcon, but for west coast flights operated largely by Embraer regional jets, this is fantastic. The flights don’t have many elites based on looking at seatmaps, and there are no middle seats, so you’ll get a Comfort+ aisle or window seat.

Have you ever gotten a Comfort+ upgrade through Crossover Rewards? What was your experience like?

Comments

  1. I’ve actually been upgraded all the way to F a couple times through crossover rewards (SLC – RDU and RDU – NYC and vice versa).

  2. I’ve found that the Delta Connection operators won’t do a snack service in economy on flights less than an hour. Frequently I’m on Delta Connection between BOI-SLC (45 minute flight). However, Mainline Delta will do a full snack service on the same flight in 737’s and sometimes 757’s.

  3. The problem is on a 737 or A320 you could get “upgraded” from an aisle seat in the regular economy cabin to a middle seat in Comfort+, which most would not consider a good trade.

    I’m not sure how it works for Crossover Rewards but for regular Medallion upgrades you can now leave the “request upgrade” box unchecked, and then at your upgrade window (3 days before for gold, 1 day before for silver) you will have the ability to select a seat in Comfort+ for free on the seat map, without automatically being “upgraded” into a seat you might prefer less. I’m not sure if Crossover Rewards upgrades also become available at 24 hours in advance or not.

    Most gate agents will call people up to the podium and ask them if they want the middle seat upgrade to Comfort+ before they do it, but not all of them do, and if you’re in the SkyClub or otherwise miss the call you might get an undesirable “upgrade”.

  4. My 1st flight after signing up for crossover rewards, I was upgraded to F on SEA-YYC route. I was excited to be upgraded but it was only and hour ten mins flight. Also there was no one else on the upgrade list.

  5. Delta does not offer beverage/snack service in the main cabin or Comfort+ on flights 250 miles and shorter, with the exception of the LGA-BOS and LGA-DCA Delta Shuttle routes. However, flight attendants typically announce that they’ll honor special requests as they’re able.

  6. Rarely fly Delta but got an F class upgrade with crossover rewards at the gate on a recent Sunday evening flight LGA-FLL

  7. How does this work for companions? I booked myself and fiancee on Delta flight – don’t want to get upgraded if she doesn’t.

  8. I am SPG plat and fly Delta often. I get Comfort+ upgrades pretty much every flight, mostly because higher grade medallions are getting 1st class upgrades I guess. So I backfill. I get 1st class rarely. They will assign me a middle seat every once in a while, if they do I just tell the gate person to switch me back to my old seat.

    Note that crossover rewards seat upgrades do not work on international flights, but the other features seem to(free bag, sky check-in and boarding). They’ve been inconsistent with giving me expedited baggage, but sometimes they do. That part is not part of the benefit I believe.

    Overall I’m pretty happy, but I should be silver medallion soon anyways, so it just becomes an enhanced earn for SPG at that point

  9. L Price: never tried it, but according to the documentation for upgrades you’re treated the same as a medallion member, so companions should be okay.

  10. L Price and bhcompy: No dice on companions. It’s the one thing that sucks about Crossover Rewards – it’s only applicable to the person with CR and with multiple people on your PNR you’ll just be listed as ineligible for upgrade to either C+ or F. When I fly with my girlfriend I either have to split our PNR and give her the upgrade if it clears or the PNR is just ineligible for upgrade and we sit together in Y. I’ve asked multiple times in multiple formats (Twitter, GA, CSR, phone agent, Club Agent, etc.) and they all say the same thing.

    It’s unfortunate but we’ve been in Y on flights that have gone out with 2+ empty seats in F (off peak RDU – NYC and vice versa) and no ability to get them for both of us without paying for the 2nd one

  11. If you didn’t select Comfort+, do you think the system would put you in First? I always hesitate to select the Comfort+ checkbox because I feel the system thinks the job is done once it moves you to Comfort+ and you miss out on the opportunity to get First, especially since it’s wide open on your flight.

  12. Alex, they are separate lists. I’ve been bumped a number of times from coach with both checked. I’m going to hazard a guess that they run the 1st class list first to adding and then run comfort+ as 1st class opens a lot of holes

  13. Do you get upgrades on delta if you are spg gold? It looks like spg site states upgrades are for plat only.

  14. I am SPG Plat and have very good luck with this program. Recently though, the gate agent at SEA screwed up and passed me over in the C+ list with when I was high on the list and lots of open seats…he skipped right over me. When it was time to board I asked about it, he checked the list, realized
    his mistake, and apologized. However, no compensation was offered. I hate to sound “entitled”, but I was first on the list according to my app. The flight was already running late and people were queing behind me so I didn’t press the issue and I just accepted his apology andf boarded.

    @Lucky, does Delta owe me anything for their employee’s error? He admitted it, and did apologize.

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