It’s now possible to upgrade on Delta Air Lines flights using Virgin Australia Velocity points! The new Velocity redemption opportunity unlocks points-based upgrades on Delta domestic and short-haul international flights, as well as flights between Sydney and Los Angeles.
Upgrades using Velocity points are now being offered on codeshare flights that are operated by Delta, but booked on a “VA” flight number. This means upgrades are only possible when travelling between Australia and the United States or Mexico on a Virgin Australia booking. You cannot use Velocity points to upgrade on Delta flights booked under a “DL” flight number.
Although there are some catches, this is good news for Velocity members flying with Delta to the United States, or connecting from Virgin Australia flights onwards from Los Angeles to other North American destinations.
Upgrades on eligible flights are available as long as there is Premium Economy or Business Reward Seat availability on that flight. If there is award availability, you can upgrade any time up to 72 hours before departure. However, waitlisting for an upgrade is not possible, nor can you upgrade within 3 days of taking the flight. You also cannot use complimentary Velocity Platinum member upgrades on Delta flights.
Upgrade on Delta’s Sydney-Los Angeles flight with Velocity points
Upgrades on Delta’s flights between Sydney and Los Angeles (DL40/41) are subject to similar rules that apply to Velocity points upgrades on long-haul Virgin Australia flights. To upgrade, at least one passenger on the booking must be a Gold or Platinum Velocity member. You’ll also need to have originally booked an Economy Freedom or Premium Economy (which Delta calls Premium Select) airfare.
If you meet these criteria, you’ll be able to upgrade as long as there is Reward Seat availability on your flight. You can check for award availability at any time by searching on the Virgin Australia website, but you’ll have to call the Velocity Membership Contact Centre on 13 18 75 to request the upgrade.
Upgrading from Economy Freedom or a Premium Economy Saver ticket to Business Class costs 45,000 Velocity points. If you’ve booked a flexible Premium Economy ticket, the cost is reduced to 25,000 Velocity points. Upgrading from Economy Freedom to Premium Select costs just 18,000 Velocity points. This is the same number of points that you would need to upgrade on a Virgin Australia flight to/from Los Angeles.
Realistically, like Virgin Australia, Delta rarely releases Business Reward seat availability more than about a week out. As you have to upgrade at least 72 hours before departure, there may only be a small window in which you can actually do this and it is possible that an upgrade is never made available. Thankfully, Delta has been a bit more generous in releasing Premium Economy reward availability.
If you choose to upgrade, you’ll still earn the Velocity points and status credits that you would have earned for your original booking class.
Upgrade on other Delta routes with Velocity points
You can also upgrade on Delta-operated flights booked on a “VA” codeshare in conjunction with a flight to/from Australia. The following routes within North America are available, as well as Los Angeles-Honolulu (which didn’t fit on this map):
On these short-haul routes, the rules are a bit different. You can upgrade from any Economy Getaway, Elevate or Freedom fare to Business Class, and you don’t need to have any Virgin Australia status.
Pricing depends on the distance of the flight. For flights up to 400 miles in length, you’ll need just 5,900 Velocity points to upgrade to Business class. If you’ve booked an Economy Freedom fare, the price is reduced to only 3,900 Velocity points. On flights from Los Angeles to New York, an upgrade would cost 14,900-19,900 Velocity points.
These upgrade prices are introductory prices, which are set to increase after 30 April 2020.
Keep in mind that, for US domestic flights, having a Business Class ticket does not entitle you to lounge access. However, Virgin Australia Gold and Platinum members, as well as Amex Platinum and Centurion cardholders, can use Delta Sky Club lounges regardless of their class of travel.
More information and full details on upgrade pricing is available on the Velocity Frequent Flyer website.
Upgrading with points on partner airlines
It is rare for a frequent flyer program to offer the ability to upgrade using points on flights operated by partner airlines. There are some limited exceptions, such as with the Star Alliance upgrade program. It’s also possible to upgrade using Qantas points on a limited range of codeshare flights booked with Qantas but operated by Qantas’ partners Aircalin and LATAM Airlines.
Qantas recently commenced a Joint Venture with American Airlines covering trans-Pacific flights. However, it is not currently possible to upgrade with Qantas points on American Airlines flights.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Now Available: Upgrade Delta-operated (VA-coded) with Velocity Points