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How to upgrade Air France flights with Delta miles

by on Sun August 17, 2014 • 70 Comments


Getting into Business Class on Air France with Delta miles is tough on the surface. If you search for awards using Delta miles you’ll rarely find that there are seats available on Air France flights.

That’s because Delta blocks most Air France business class award seats for a number of frustrating reasons we won’t go into here.

But there is a way to get into Business Class using Air France miles that has a lot more availability. It’s not cheap, but for still reasonable ticket prices and only 15,000 miles each way it’s possible.

Here is the rundown of what you need to know, with step by step instructions below:

– You can only do this on trans-Atlantic Air France flights like New York to Paris or Chicago to Paris, not onward flights like Paris to Nairobi or Paris to Hong Kong.

– You need to buy a Premium Economy fare that is ‘S’ class or higher (these usually run $2,000 – $2,500 roundtrip) directly from Delta

– Space must be available in Air France ‘O’ class to process the upgrade


1. Search for Air France flights that have ‘O’ inventory

‘O’ is the fare bucket that upgraded seats get booked into, and you’ll want to buy your ticket on a flight that has seats open in this fare class so you can upgrade right away. You can go to and search for award seats in Business Class on Air France to identify those with ‘O’ seats available.

Alternatively, you can pay to use which will let you look for Air France ‘O’ class more precisely. The space shows is the space Air France releases to partners like Delta.


2. Figure out the price by searching for Air France flights with ‘S’ class

Now that you’ve found flights you can upgrade on, you’ll need to buy a Premium Economy ticket. Air France has 3 Premium Economy fares, ‘W’, ‘S’, and ‘A’. Only ‘W’ and ‘S’ are eligible for upgrades and ‘S’ is the lower of the two fares. Usually from the East Coast to Europe it runs about $2,000 – $2,500 roundtrip.

The easiest way to check the fare is to call on the phone and ask for an Air France ‘S’ fare. But if you are shy or want to check all dates, you can go to the site, which has a powerful airfare search engine. There, enter your destination and click on the ‘Advanced routing codes’ link:


Then, copy and paste this line into the routing codes box:

/ f bc=s; airlines AF

That will tell ITASoftware to look only for fares in ‘S’ class on Air France so you can see exactly how much it will cost you.


3. Book the flight on or on the phone

You can’t buy a ticket on or any other location besides Delta if you want to upgrade your flight. The key is having a Delta ticket number so Delta can access your ticket to upgrade it, and the only way to guarantee that is to book on or on the phone with Delta.

The simplest way to do this is to just call Delta.

You know what the price will be. So just say you want to buy an Air France flight with an Air France flight number so you can upgrade.

Tell the agent to use the ‘S’ booking class in Premium Economy with Air France flight numbers, not Delta flight numbers.

Otherwise, you can buy an Air France Premium Economy ticket on, but it will assigned a Delta flight number and you’ll have to get it manually changed over.

This is what your Delta itinerary email should look like if you’re booked in ‘S’ class on Air France:


4. If you bought on, call Delta and ask to change your ticket to display Air France marketed and coded flights.

You can skip this step if you buy your ticket over the phone.

By default Delta sells Air France flights with Delta flight numbers. For example, the flight above Air France 9, is sold by Delta as DELTA 1017 – OPERATED BY DELTA CODESHARE PARTNER, AIR FRANCE AS AIR FRANCE 9.

This step is necessary because if you are on an Air France flight but with a Delta flight number, Delta won’t be able to see upgrade space.


This step tends to confuse some agents, but when you call just say you want to change your flight to an Air France marketed flight number so that you can then upgrade.

It’s terribly confusing for everyone involved, and you can get around it by booking on the phone the right way first.

Ask them to confirm a new ticket has been issued.

5. Request the upgrade

Some agents aren’t even aware upgrading Air France flights is possible. If they aren’t, tell them to look up award code ‘FM 01’ in their system, and they’ll see all the instructions.

If they say no space is available, double check that your ticket has Air France flight numbers, not Delta flight numbers, and have them check again.

Once it’s set, they’ll re-ticket it and deduct 15,000 miles each way for your upgrade.

Here’s what it will look like when you look at your itinerary on


What else should you know?

For intra-Europe flights like Paris to Milan you won’t be upgraded to Business, but you will be seated in Premium Economy which is basically the same on those short flights. You sit right behind Business Class in the same kind of seats (which are the same as coach on these short flights), and while the middle seat isn’t blocked, it’s less likely to be filled than in coach.

Once you get it down, the process is quick, but Delta needs to do a better job of streamlining it and educating their agents.

Getting rid of the confusion of Delta flight numbers not showing upgrade space would go a long way to eliminating the confusion, but don’t expect that to change anytime soon.

And while the tickets aren’t cheap at $2,000+ roundtrip, this is still a decent value.

You’re paying 30,000 miles for a roundtrip upgrade, versus 50,000 miles if you booked Delta’s own flights.

And the fares are sometimes cheaper than the minimum fare Delta requires for upgrades on its own flights.

You also get a 50% Medallion Qualifying Miles boost for booking Premium Economy, which you don’t get for booking the lowest upgradable Economy fare on Delta flights. And you get full Medallion Qualifying Dollars because you’re buying your ticket directly from Delta.

Air France upgrade availability is more generous than Delta’s, and it’s even possible to find a few seats on really long flights from the West Coast like San Francisco and Los Angeles to Paris.

With Business Class awards getting tougher to find thanks to this stronger economy, you need every angle you can to save money on the big seats to Europe, and this is one of them if you’re willing to pay up. And starting next Summer, Air France will be rolling out new lie-flat seats that will be among the best in the world for Business Class.

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70 thoughts on How to upgrade Air France flights with Delta miles

  1. debbie

    Can i upgrade on air france with delta miles on the following route…i am presently in Premium Economy:

    IAD to CDG
    CDG to DXB



      @debbie – The IAD – CDG might be possible – call Delta to check availability. CDG – DXB isn’t possible as only the Transatlantic portion of Air France flights is upgradable with Delta miles.

  2. Charles Roy

    This was a great article, now one question remains. Can you buy a premium economy ticket from LAX to CDG using only delta miles?

    On I am only offered, economy or First/business…

  3. Michael


    I’m supposed to travel in 2 weeks to Paris with Air France from NYC but apparently Air France do not offer anymore upgrade with miles from economy or premium economy to business class for non elite flying blue members. Please not that I’m an ivory flying blue member but I have been told that upgrade seats are currently available for flying blue elite members and there are no seats for non elite members from the US to Paris or Paris to the US. First time to hear that


      @Michael – She might be confusing inventory. There is a ‘flex award for elites’ inventory that is used for outright awards at a higher price, that gives expanded availability to elites. Maybe that is what she is seeing.

  4. Bert

    I’m booked on an AF flight from CDG to JFK in Business class and wondering if it’s possible to upgrade with Delta Skymiles (or Flying Blue) to First Class. I booked through Delta and I’m a Diamond member (which translates to a Flying Blue Platinum on my documents). Right now, the entire First Class cabin on the new 777-300er is showing empty, so trying to figure out how to get in there for the ride home in about a month!


      @Bert – Unfortunately Air France First Class can only be booked with Flying Blue miles, and even then they only let their elite level members use miles to upgrade. They’re pretty restrictive about it and Delta SkyMiles has no access to First Class on Air France.

  5. candace

    Hello. I have a bunch of sky miles I want to use for a trip to greece. We’d leave LAX, stopover at CDG, and end up in SAN or HER (Santorini or Crete…not sure yet). We’d depart from ATH (Athens) back to LAX. RT tickets on Expedia are under $1200 and the flight times/layovers are reasonable. The flight from LAX to CDG is coded Delta, but operated by Air France. Will I be able to use sky miles to upgrade that first leg to CDG and, if so, how does that work if I book on Expedia? Do you know how many miles it might take to upgrade? Thanks!!

  6. Rick

    Hi Mark- We have 2 tickets from LAX to CDG in premium economy S class on 6/29/15. Unfortunately there is no O class availability on our flight, but in the past I’ve had luck using Air France miles day of at the airport to make the upgrade. This has been 15,000 miles in the past. Did you mention the amount of Air France miles needed to do this post 6/1/15 will be going up? If so, do you know how many miles will be required?

  7. Gwad

    So based on reading the above, if a bought a premium economy ticket from Air France then I can’t upgrade with my Delta miles…is that correct….thanks….great website….gd

  8. Mark

    If I have a Air France Premium Economy “W” ticket purchased via Delta with a Delta flight number from SFO to CDG, will I be able to upgrade with miles? You mentioned “S” quite a bit, but I think “W” is higher you said? Will I have luck with this via Delta Skymiles? Thank you.


      @Mark – Yes, ‘W’ is upgradable if there is space. Just beware that if the flight is June 1 or later the prices are being increased to astronomically high levels. That’s happening to all upgrade prices with Delta miles.

  9. Alisa

    I want to book a RT flight MLU to CDG. Called Delta and they said you can not use Delta points to upgrade. Has this changed in the last months. On the Delta website I can book Premium Economy for 1600. the Delta agent quoted me a price of 2200. advice on best class to book


      @Alisa – The agent is right – you can only upgrade Air France flights that start or end in the U.S. So best to just sit in Premium Economy if the only miles you have are Delta.

  10. Barbara

    I’m trying to use Delta miles to upgrade an Air France flight to Paris July 6, 2016 originating in Columbus, OH. But I need 4 upgrades- taking my family. What are the chances I can get 4 O seats in business class on the same flight? Will I need to look exactly 331 days before? If so, what day is that?


      @Barbara – Unfortunately for flights June 1, 2016 and later Delta has massively increased the cost of upgrades. It will be 60,000 miles one way for each upgrade.

      As for the ‘O’ seats as of today you can start looking for July 6 flights and there are 3 seats on the JFK-CDG at 6:25pm on Air France.

  11. Laura

    Hi, I am looking to use my sky miles to buy 2 economy seats on the delta site and then pay $$ to upgrade to economy comfort, ORF to STR. One of my flight options is an Air France flight (ATL-Paris). There is not an option to pay for the AF premium economy seats. Do you know if calling Delta or Air France can get that booked for me? I have been reading mixed reviews on if this is possible.
    Thanks for the help.


      @Laura – Air France has an entirely separate Premium Economy cabin that’s more exclusive than the Economy Comfort seats on Delta. To get in it you have to purchase a separate type of fare altogether, but calling Delta you should be able to find out the price and whether it’s reasonable for you.

  12. kosmokramer


    I need to fly ATL>MUN around July 19th & return TXL>ATL around July 25th. Is the “O” upgrade possible?


  13. Mike

    Just to confirm – someone cannot upgrade on an Air France flight using Delta SkyMiles between KUL and CDG?

      1. Mike

        Thank you – do you know if that is fairly consistent among other carriers/alliances, or is this specific to Air France/Delta? For example, could I upgrade on Lufthansa between Frankfurt and (anywhere outside of U.S.) using United miles?


          @Mike – It’s specific to the Delta / Air France arrangement. You can use United miles to upgrade selected Lufthansa fare classes outside the U.S. – but you can’t upgrade the cheapest fares.

  14. Luiz


    do you know if I can upgrade a GRU-CDG flight using delta skymiles? Or this is only valid for flight originating at the US?


  15. Patrick

    Very informative! I think that I’m stuck, unfortunately – I have a flight this Saturday (May 23) from CDG to DTW (AF378) and, while I had it reticketed to be an AF ticket, the Delta agent couldn’t find any upgradeable seats (I was W class but when reticketed that became Air France A class). It looks like half of business class is empty at this point while the rest of the plane is sold out so that seems odd, especially considering that I am two days out. I checked ExpertFlyer and it looks like there is nothing in O, but I am new to it and not sure if I searched correctly. Do you have any advice at this point? Thanks!


      @Patrick – Unfortunately unless upgrade space opens not much to do as they don’t have a waitlist. Maybe since it’s so full they’ll move people up from premium economy.

  16. karl

    Hi. Thanks for this post—very useful!

    I’ve got a W ticket on AF for LAX-CDG flight on Delta stock. Called Delta to see if space is available to upgrade (they said no—flight is on 5/23) and they said there’s no need to convert to AF flight numbers as the systems are integrated now. In your experience, does this hold true?

    Also, when converting to AF flight numbers, do you lose any DL RDMs, MQMs or MQDs in the process? Delta has been be a bit floozy lately about this, and don’t want to give up on these.

    Thanks in advance.


      @karl – As far as we know if your flight number is a Delta flight number, it needs to be switched to an Air France flight number.

      Since your ticket is on Delta 016 ticket stock, there’s no change to mileage accrual.

      1. karl


        Just called and asked for a AF flight number change, and Delta agents said that there’s an additional payment of $2200 to cover the difference in fare price—despite you’re swapping Delta W fares for AF W ones. Am not sure, it’s worth it…

        And there’s also a reissue fee on top of that.

        Very confusing and slightly frustrating.


  17. Blossom

    Hi! I booked my trip from

    December 10 2015
    ATL – JFK = business

    JFK – CDG = main cabin (x)

    CDG -BOM = business

    January 5 2016

    BOM-CDG = business

    CDG-ATL = business

    I used 140,000 Delta miles to book this trip online at I don’t know why they stuck me on economy for the JFK – CDG stretch. I tried to chat with a Delta representative and they said to contact Air France. Is it possible for me to upgrade my seat? I’ve been trying to call Delta for a week now, no success. I would appreciate if you could give some pointers.



      @Blossom – That is strange. They do charge you the full miles if part of your trip is in Business though.

      But on December 10 there is availability wtih Business all the way through on ATL-ICN-BOM with Korean Airlines. Give Delta a call and see if you can switch to that given the misunderstanding about your ticket.

  18. Lorenzo

    Is it possible to do the same for upgrading from economy to premium economy? Will the operator have to look for the ‘FM 01′code also in this case or is it a different one?


      @Lorenzo – Yes it’s possible to upgrade, but from a Y, B, or M Economy fare, which is often more expensive than a Premium Economy fare.

  19. ea sports

    hey, need to fly out my gf from paris to lax, i have a few hundred k miles of delta….just looking to book her a premium economy direct flight on airfrance, what do you think is the best way

    thanks again


      @ea sports – Unforutnately you can’t book premium economy with Delta miles – they don’t offer their own premium economy, so the other airlines don’t allow it. You could book business class for 125k miles roundtrip if you’re flexible, but the nonstop is rarely available though with miles. Most likely you’ll have to deal with a connection. When are you trying to do it?

  20. Mindy

    Hi there

    I want to fly from New York to Paris and back in May and would prefer to do what you are saying but it sounds very confusing. Do you recommend anyone who could help with the hoopla of booking and reticketing to AF, etc,; maybe a company or someone who understands this process. A business class ticket is about $5,000. Obviously, I would much prefer to pay a lesser price and use miles and additional $ to upgrade. This sounds awesome but is way, way above my skillset in getting this accomplished. Thank you so much.

  21. JD

    1/31 – JFK-CDG BE has 50 seats open on a380. Delta agent says no upgrade inventory? 50 seats avail? I am booked “W” in PE and want to use GUC. Looked on delta for O inventory and none. Can’t figure out how to look on AF for O avail. Seriously, no upgrade avail with 50 open BE seats? Is it also correct that I can’t upgrade from CDG to BOM? Tks to any advice. BTW, also willing to burn miles to upgrade.


      @JD – ExpertFlyer (the other place to look for AF ‘O’ avail) is showing none either unfortunately so the agent is correct. CDG-BOM unfortunately isn’t upgradable with Delta miles or GUCs – only flights across the Atlantic are covered. Here’s the fine print:

      “Available only on Air France operated Transatlantic Joint Venture flights between U.S. and CDG with Premium Economy cabin, except for 747 aircraft equipped flights. Upgrade request has to be done 24 hours before the departure. Please check with a Delta reservations representative for details.”

  22. Nick

    Important note from Frugal Travel Guy: “It is important to keep in mind that any AF/KLM award availability displayed by them on their own web site or on ExpertFlyer is completely irrelevant if you want to use Delta SkyMiles for your booking. Both the award availability displayed on the AF/KLM website and on ExpertFlyer is the one that AF/KLM makes available to their own members (which is completely unrelated to any potential availability with Delta). There is also no magic formula that I know of to determine how many seats AF/KLM need to have available to their own members so that Delta will have access to some of that availability.”

    I read some of these comments and it seems like most of you are having problems with ‘O’ class not being available to Delta after searching for Classic Award availability on It’s too bad that there are so many intricacies with using miles on partner airlines. I am looking for MIA to LIS connecting in CDG March 27 – April 3. Is it possible to call Delta and see if there is ‘O’ availability for those dates without booking a ‘W’ ticket first?

    Thanks for a great post!


      @Nick- Actually there’s yet another change to that.

      With the new calendar, you can now reliably see Air France ‘O’ space on Delta’s site. So that should be the first place to check (and it’s updated above now).

      ExpertFlyer actually is accurate for Delta now, as it shows the ‘O’ made available to partners.

      Prior to these changes Delta had an even deeper subset of ‘O’ it was blocking, but that practice has ended, and Delta is offering the same seats other partners see. But like other partners, it’s not getting the full boat Air France releases to its own Flying Blue members.

      Unfortunately for your dates the result is the same – no ‘O’ space available on MIA-CDG.

      1. Ben

        I just looked at JFK->CDG AF 7 on 3/16 using and see business class award seats listed on DL 400, but the class is listed as OS instead of O. Is that the same or different? Thanks for all of your help by creating this page and being so responsive to comments!

  23. Josh

    I tried this for a Singapore -> Boston flight on the 15th of Jan. Found an available ‘O’ fare, went to look at the premium economy options and they were pricing it ~8,500 SGD (~6,700 USD). That is just for the one-way, how can this be? For that price I may as well just book Business Class.

    Does this seem right to you?


      @Josh- Try a roundtrip to see how it prices. Sometimes one-way gets pushed higher. Also, these upgrades are officially only available on the transatlantic portion of a trip, to/from the U.S. and France.

  24. Ben

    I just tried to do this for JFK-CDG on 3/16/5 at 8:10pm. They were able to convert my ticket from DL to AF. A little twist — the fare code remained W, but the fare class was changed to A. Still, the agent checked with her supervisor who said that fare code W was still eligible for an upgrade. The AF web site shows “Classic Award” available for this flight, but the agent said that there was no availability for an upgrade. Any ideas? Thanks for this posting — even though I haven’t been able to do the upgrade, I’ve gotten pretty close and learned a lot.


      @Ben – Glad you’re closer. For what it’s worth we don’t see any of the ‘O’ upgrade space on Air France for that day and route either. So they are correct, but you’re now in position to grab the space if it does open up.

  25. Ciara

    Hi all,

    Hoping you all could help me out with mine and the Delta agent’s confusion on trying to upgrade my W ticket to buisness call on a Air France operated codeshare ticket. Every agent I talk to tells me something different and its been very frustrating trying to check for the upgrades. Most recently the agent is telling me that code share tickets are not available for upgrade and I would have to get the ticket repriced and reissued in order to upgrade my ticket if there is a seat available. Is this true?



      @Clara – Unfortunately you may have to keep calling. They can convert a codeshare to a ‘native’ Air France flight number free of charge for the purposes of an upgrade. If you want to know whether an upgrade is available, consider using which lets you check for the ‘O’ class on Air France flights, though it costs about $10 per month.

      1. Ciara

        Milecard – the issue is the agent is telling me that I have to have the ticket resissued and repriced as a AF ticket in order to upgrade. This could be $900 plus. Does this sound right?


          @Ciara – If your ticket was already around $2,000 then it doesn’t sound right and you should check another agent. If it’s a much cheaper ticket (you need to be the ‘S’ class or equivalent fare) then it may need to be repriced.

  26. Ciara Beatty


    I have a (W) flight booked to Dublin with Air France flights from DTW-CDG, CDG-DUB, Return CDG-ATL. My flight is exactly 2 weeks away and I have been calling every 3 days for the agent to check if there are any O upgrades available and the answer is always no. When I look at the seat map business class is less that 20% full. Does anyone know if these will open up closer to departure or are they gone for good?

    Additionally my ticket is marketed as Delta since I purchased on if I wanted to change my ticket to a true AF flight codes the ticket would be repriced and I would be changed a reissue fee. However, the agent confirmed that regardless of what my ticket says as long as the agent searches using the AF flight #s they would see the same availability and would be able to book the seat. Does that sound valid?

    Thanks, Ciara

      1. Ciara

        On AF when searching for DTW – CDG on 12/23 I see a classic business fare available for purchase with miles. Does that mean and O upgrade should be available?

        Thanks Ciara

  27. Alan

    Very informative. As a frequent upgrader with Delta I agree that Delta need to work on training their agents.
    I have a Business Class ticket with Air France from LAX to Dublin in January, which I bought from AF, is it possible to use Delta points to upgrade to AF First Class?
    How greedy am I?


      @Alan – Unfortunately no, Air France does not allow upgrades from Business to First Class using Delta miles. In fact they only let their own elite members book reward tickets in First Class.

  28. Greg

    I tend to run into problems when they don’t properly re-code the ticket to be pure Air France flight #s.

    If that doesn’t happen all they see is the (more limited) Delta award space, rather than the full Air France ticketed upgrade space.

    Hang up, try again.

    1. Ciara Beatty


      How did you go about re-coding the ticket to pure Air France flight #s. Does this actually change your ticket or do you mean when the agent searchers for the flight?

      Thanks, Ciara

  29. Bradley

    All went well until the end of the process… The agent claimed that AF had not yet released the upgradeable seats to Delta. (My flight is still six weeks away.). She suggested I call back at least one month before ETD. Anyone have experience or advice around this?


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