Delta business class
Courtesy of Delta

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If you travel for business, you know Delta Air Lines is one of the preferred airlines to reach major cities and convention destinations conveniently and affordably.

As of this year, Delta flies direct to 241 destinations and can reach 328 destinations in 59 countries across six continents through Delta Connection affiliates. As one of the premium U.S. airlines, Delta offers a level of comfort, perks and customer service that you may not receive with budget airlines — especially if you upgrade to business or first class seating.

Delta offers many options for business travelers, including the capability to use your Delta SkyMiles to upgrade to a business class seat. In this guide to Delta business class travel, you’ll learn everything you need to know about what to expect when you fly Delta for business.

What is Delta business class called?

There’s been a lot of confusion lately surrounding the name of Delta’s business class accommodations. Many flyers are wondering, “What is Delta Business class called?” And with good reason.

Delta recently introduced its Delta One program, an enhanced business class option available on international trans-pacific flights and some coast-to-coast flights.

Originally revealed as a rebranding of Delta BusinessElite class, Delta One now offers amenities including a dedicated flight attendant and the option of suites for business travelers. With full-height walls and a door, the suites provide privacy, customizable lighting and a 180-degree flatbed seat. Every suite includes 110-volt power and USB ports.

Unfortunately, Delta One is available only on select long-haul flights. The carrier doesn’t actually have a class called “business class” anymore, but it still offers plenty of choices representing different tiers of comfort, service and pricing.

What if your tickets read Delta Z class? What does Delta Z mean? That just means you’ve gotten a free upgrade from coach to one of the premium fares by using your Delta SkyMiles or a Platinum upgrade certificate.

Let’s break through the confusion to find out the difference between Delta “business class,” Comfort+ seats and first class, known on international flights as Premium Select seating.

What’s the difference between Delta business class and Comfort+ seats?

As many carriers bridge the gap between first class and business class amenities, business travelers have more options to fly in greater comfort.

If you’re looking to fly business class on a flight that does not offer Delta One seating, you’re most likely looking at a Comfort+ or a first class ticket.

A notch below Delta First Class, Comfort+ is available to business travelers and anyone else seeking:

  • Extra legroom
  • Premium meals on select flights
  • Complimentary beer, wine and spirits
  • Priority boarding
  • Dedicated overhead space

What’s the difference between Delta business and first class?

Delta considers Delta One its new business class. So when you compare Delta business accommodations with first class, you are really comparing Comfort+, first class, and Delta One.

Think of Delta One as the premium tier for travelers seeking the ultimate luxury experience, with fully reclining seats and sliding privacy doors.

First class, or its international counterpart Premium Select, offers similar amenities to Delta One, with a dedicated flight attendant and customized meals prepared by expert chefs. While Delta Comfort+ provides an extra 4 inches of legroom, first class bumps that up to 8 inches, with seats that recline 50% farther than main cabin seats.

What other amenities do Delta business class flyers receive?

When you purchase or upgrade to Delta One, first class, or Premium Select cabins, you get more than just a dedicated flight attendant, free drinks, and plenty of room to stretch out.

Business class and first class flyers receive a few perks not given to other Delta passengers, including free checked bags, premium meals and access to Delta lounges when you fly Delta One.

What type of meals are served on Delta business class flights?

Delta business class flyers receive a first-class dining experience, with healthy food prepared from fresh, seasonal ingredients. Splurge on Delta One seating, and you can enjoy regional culinary classics on select flights, served on premium plates with top-shelf liquor wine selections chosen by a sommelier to perfectly complement your in-flight meal.

Premium Select and first-class also offer an elevated dining experience, though not at the same level as Delta One.

How many bags on Delta business flights?

When it comes to baggage on Delta flights, SkyMiles status can make a big difference.

All Delta domestic and international flights provide one free carry-on bag and personal item. Economy, main and Comfort+ seats may charge for checked bags, depending on the flight. But all first class, Premium Select and Delta One passengers on international and domestic flights receive two free checked bags weighing up to 70 lbs. each.

Flyers who book with specific Delta credit cards may be eligible for one free checked bag up to 50 lbs. on domestic flights.

Gold SkyMiles members receive 2 free checked bags up to 70 lbs. on flights within the U.S. and Canada, while Platinum and Diamond SkyMiles members can check up to three bags weighing up to 70 lbs. each on flights within the U.S. and Canada.

SkyMiles members who fly Delta One and have reached Gold, Diamond, or Platinum status get three free checked bags up to 70 lbs.

Can you use the Delta lounge when flying business class?

If you’re wondering, “Can I use the Delta lounge when flying business?” you’ll be pleased with the answer. Delta One passengers have full access to the Delta Sky Club airport lounges.

This amenity is also available to SkyMiles members who have achieved Diamond, Platinum, or Gold Medallion status, or to cardholders of specific Delta cards, including the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express and Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card from American Express.

If you’re flying Virgin Atlantic, you can access the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse if you are a SkyMiles Medallion member with Diamond, Platinum, or Gold status.

Access to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is also available to holders of select Delta credit cards.

What airlines are Delta transfer partners?

Virgin is one of my Delta’s many transfer partners that allow you to earn SkyMiles points and enjoy upgraded amenities.

Other transfer partners, which allow you to use Delta SkyMiles to book flights, include:

  • AirFrance
  • KLM
  • Virgin Australia
  • China Airlines
  • China Eastern
  • China Southern
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Alitalia
  • Aeromexico
  • GOL
  • Korean Air
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Middle East Airlines
  • Mandarin Airlines
  • Shanghai Airlines
  • Saudia Airlines
  • Vietnam Airlines
  • Tarom Airlines
  • Xiamen Airlines
  • WestJet

You can also book award travel through the Delta reservations desk (not Delta.com) on these partner airlines:

  • Air Europa
  • Air Tahiti Nui
  • Czech Airlines
  • Kenya Airways

How much does Delta business class cost?

Airline ticket prices vary widely depending on your destination, your flight time, and how soon before your flight you book. We ran several scenarios to notice some ticket price trends and discovered that the difference between Delta One and Premium Select (first class for international flights) can range from a 25% fare increase to almost double the price.

On domestic flights, you can expect to pay anywhere from $60 to around $400 more to upgrade from Comfort+ to first class, and about the same to make the jump from economy or main cabin seats to Comfort+.

You can also use your Delta SkyMiles to qualify for an upgrade so you can enjoy all the luxury and amenities of Delta One, first class, Premium Select or Comfort+ without additional cash outlay.

How to use your Delta SkyMiles for a cabin upgrade

You’re probably wondering, “How many miles to upgrade to business class on Delta?”

The answer isn’t easy because it varies based on the flight, when you book, and the type of upgrade you want. But the Delta SkyMiles amounts equal approximately one cent per mile, so to book an upgrade that would cost $150, you’d need 15,000 miles one way.

To upgrade with SkyMiles, simply choose “Upgrade with Miles” before you make your purchase. If you’ve already purchased your tickets, log in and find your reservation in My Trips on delta.com or the latest version of the Fly Delta app. Select an upgraded seat and choose to pay with Miles.

Keep in mind, upgrades are non-refundable and non-changeable after purchase, which means if you switch your flight, even on a refundable flight, you’ll lose your Miles.

You can also get a free upgrade, when available, to Comfort+ or first class when you become a SkyMiles Medallion Member.

You may even get lucky and receive a complimentary day-of-departure upgrade to Delta One on U.S. flights where it’s available.

Reaching Medallion status is the best way to enjoy upgrades without spending cash or using your SkyMiles and is a good reason to keep ranking up those Miles by using a Delta SkyMiles credit card.

Which Delta credit card is best for business?

With all these benefits to earning SkyMiles and achieving Medallion Status, you’re probably wondering which Delta credit card is best for business travel to earn these upgrades and perks.

Delta offers four co-branded American Express SkyMiles credit cards and three business credit cards that earn SkyMiles and can help you earn Medallion status for free business class upgrades and more even faster.

The Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card is ranked as the top tier card in the line, giving you 2X SkyMiles for every purchase made directly with Delta, 1 mile on all other eligible purchases, and complimentary Delta Sky Club access every time you fly Delta.

With a $450 annual fee, however, whether the Delta Reserve for Business is the best Delta credit card or not depends on how much you spend each year, although the Annual Companion Certificate can go a long way toward covering that fee.

Your other options are the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express and the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express.

If your goal is to reach Medallion status for free upgrades, it pays to spring for the Platinum or Reserve cards, which both offer Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) as part of the welcome offer.

The chart below offers more details on the Delta SkyMiles American Express cards.

Delta SkyMiles American Express Business Card

Annual Fee

Welcome Offer

Added Benefits

Gold

$0 first year, $95 after that

30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 mos. $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase within first 3 mos.

Platinum

$195

5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Annual miles boost; annual companion certificate (terms apply)

Reserve

$450

Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Annual Miles boost, annual companion certificate, Sky Club access, concierge service (terms apply)

Note: All Delta SkyMiles Business cards from American Express offer 2x Miles on every directly-made Delta purchase and 1 mile for other eligible purchases and carry a variable APR of 17.99%, 21.99% or 26.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.

Is Delta business class worth it?

If you’re interested in flying internationally and on long-haul coast-to-coast flights in luxury, Delta One offers amenities and space you won’t find in other business class cabins. The cost is worth it for many flyers — especially if you can earn free upgrades faster by using your Delta SkyMiles business credit card from American Express.


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