Also read KLM Upgrade Bidding “Upgrade Yourself” in the KLM upgrade series.
The DOD KLM Upgrades Program: A “Slightly” Definitive Guide And A Trick
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines offers a very aggressive day of departure (DOD) upgrade program for KLM and Delta metal flights ex-AMS (departing from Amsterdam).
This program is applicable for both KLM and Delta flights (also referred to as KLM and Delta metal), when departing from Amsterdam. These upgrades are also applicable on KLM-metal from other departure cities. Unfortunately, you can not upgrade Delta-metal from the USA DOD. Delta ex-USA DOD upgrades are only available using miles with the higher fare classes of Y, B or M. When reserved in these fare classes, you can upgrade (based on space/fare bucket availability) with 25,000 SkyMiles. In this regard, it is similar to the Amsterdam DOD upgrade process. [note : Delta international upgrade rules will be changing in June 2016]
Unfortunately, you cannot use a co-payment when departing from the USA on Delta flights. Also, Y/B/M fares are often much more expensive than the least expensive (non-refundable) alternative. The following chart, is the basis of this (KLM) upgrade program, which involves a (potential) co-pay + miles (or upgrade instrument).
For example, if you are flying Delta AMS-BOS, on a heavily discounted (T-fare), the upgrade would cost : €350 + 25,000 miles. 25,000 miles is the standard, for an upgrade on Delta/KLM transatlantic flights. The number of miles can range from 25,000 to 40,000 depending on the destination (ex-AMS). I’m most familiar with the process for transatlantic, so I’ll speak to that from personal experience. The process is relatively simple, with regard to securing these upgrades.
If you are SkyTeam Elite+ (or have a SkyClub membership) it’s easiest to process the upgrades in the lounge. Your options processing the upgrades are at the lounge or any of the transfer desks. You cannot process an upgrade at the gate, and if you try, they will send you to the nearest transfer desk. The gate only handle OpUps (operational upgrades, which occur when economy class is oversold) and denied boarding (either voluntary or involuntary) compensation. In addition, if you are starting your trip from Amsterdam, you can process the upgrade at the “ticketing office” adjacent to Amsterdam Schiphol KLM/Delta check-in at Departures 2.
As you can see from the chart, the cost of an upgrade ranges from €0 (for higher fare classes, such as Y/B/M) to €450 for the most heavily discounted fare classes.
In addition, you can use SkyMiles from another family members account; if you happen to have those details available.
This is not a bad idea; since SkyMiles can be more valuable in a Diamond or Platinum member’s account than a family member’s general, Silver or Gold Medallion account. Not so much, with regard to the value of the miles, but more so with the very lenient policies regarding award reservations booked by Platinum or Diamond members using miles from their accounts. Platinum and Diamond Medallions can redeposit award reservations (for themselves or others, as long as the reservation using the Platinum or Diamond’s SkyMiles) for no charge within 72 hours of departure.
This is quite advantageous, as one can book a higher category award on speculation, and continue to search for a better alternative. Or, if a better alternative presents itself that does not involve SkyMiles one can redeposit those miles for no charge. Perhaps, this is a little “trick” to maximize the usage of SkyMiles for upgrades, or perhaps to use the SkyMiles of a dormant account (child, relative, friend). Is goes without saying, that you should have permission for this; but in any event the miles are linked to your name and details. Also, you can just as easily use FB (Flying Blue) miles to upgrade. My advice, would be to use miles from a source where they are least valuable. Orphaned miles tend to be the best to use for upgrades, in my opinion.
FlyingBlue miles can also be used to upgrade at the same rate. Some deem FlyingBlue miles to be more valuable than Delta SkyMiles. A lot has to do with how you use your accumulated miles, as well as the balances in your mileage accounts. There is no correct answer, but it is often advantageous to look at the “big picture,” especially if you manage multiple mileage accounts (SkyMiles and FlyingBlue) for a family.