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Delta offers a frequent-flyer elite status program with standard benefits at the lower tiers and more choice at the higher tiers. Compared to its legacy carrier peers, Delta has higher spending and miles requirements to qualify for top-tier status than its rivals, but it also offers the most flexible benefits package and the ability to roll over qualifying miles from the previous year.
Delta Medallion Status: What are the Benefits Worth?
At the lower tiers of Delta's SkyMiles program, flyers will benefit most from free checked bags, a small points earning bonus and the occasional seat upgrade. These benefits at the Medallion Silver and Medallion Platinum are similar to the benefits on United and American's lower tier status levels. The most notable difference is that Delta allows extra qualifying miles that you earn above your status level to roll over to the next year.
|Medallion Silver||Medallion Gold||Medallion Platinum||Medallion Diamond|
|Delta One upgrades||Day of departure||Day of departure||Day of departure||Day of departure|
|First Class upgrades||Begins 24 hours before departure||Begins 72 hours before departure||Begins 120 hours before departure||Begins 120 hours before departure|
|Comfort+ Upgrades||Begins 24 hours before departure||Begins 72 hours before departure||Shortly after ticketing||Shortly after ticketing|
|Free upgrades for a companion||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Free checked bags||1 free bag for you and up to 8 companions||1 free bag for you and up to 8 companions||1 free bag for you and up to 8 companions||1 free bag for you and up to 8 companions|
|Free same-day confirmed change and standby||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Priority check-in, boarding and security line||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|SkyTeam Lounge access||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
At the highest tiers, Delta's Medallion Platinum and Medallion Diamond members benefit most from consistent seat upgrades, SkyTeam lounge access and the option to choose from a range of bonus benefits. Delta gives status members at the Medallion Platinum and Medallion Diamond levels the choice of benefits like bonus miles, complimentary Delta Sky Club passes and guaranteed global upgrade vouchers. All elite status members benefit from an increased points earning rate.
|Medallion Level||Award miles per dollar spent on fare|
Delta Silver Medallion
The top benefits of Silver Medallion status are unlimited complimentary seat upgrades, priority boarding and waived baggage fees. These benefits are similar to what is offered by Delta's competitors at their respective first-tier status levels, United Premier Silver and American AAdvantage Gold. However, one difference is that Delta doesn't offer free same-day flight changes or priority security to entry level elites, but American does.
If you only travel enough to qualify for the entry level tier, you should choose your preferred airline based on convenience and cost rather than elite benefits, as differences between programs are negligible at this level. However, if Delta operates convenient flights out of your home network, it is an excellent choice for entry level status.
Delta Gold Medallion
With Gold Medallion status, you'll enjoy all the benefits of Silver status plus an increased earning rates of 8 miles per dollar and free same-day flight changes. Gold members are also eligible for First Class and Comfort+ upgrades as early as 72 hours before departure. Delta One upgrades are available for Gold Medallion status holders on the day of departure.
Delta Platinum Medallion
In addition to priority boarding and security, seat upgrades and a points earning rates of 9 miles per dollar, Elite status members at the Platinum Medallion status level can select one of the below Choice Benefits. The ability to choose among benefits is unique to Delta and allows travelers to tailor status perks to their own preferences.
Platinum Medallion Choice Benefits:
- Four Regional Upgrade Certificates
- One Global Entry application voucher
- Gift Silver Medallion Status to a friend or family member
- 20,000 bonus miles
- $200 Delta travel voucher
- $200 Tiffany & Co. gift card
If traveling in first or business class is important to you, then the four regional upgrade certificates are a good choice. If you prefer to earn and spend rewards points on economy travel, the 20,000 bonus points is a better choice for maximizing total redemptions. For those who frequently travel with a partner, the gift of Silver Medallion is likely the best choice.
Delta Diamond Medallion
If you qualify for Delta's highest status level, you get all the benefits of Platinum Medallion status plus the option to select three of the choice benefits listed below. At this elite status level, you'll also have access to all of the benefits of the lower tiers—including SkyTeam lounge access, free checked bags and priority boarding, check-in and security—in addition to consistent seat upgrades due to Diamond Medallion position as the top status tier.
Diamond Medallion Choice Benefits:
- Delta Sky Club individual membership (requires 1 choice benefit)
- Delta Sky Club Executive membership (requires 2 choice benefits without existing membership, 1 choice benefit with existing membership)
- Delta Sky Club guest pass (requires 1 choice benefit)
- 4 global upgrades or 8 regional upgrades or 2 global upgrades and 4 regional upgrades
- 2 global entry application vouchers
- 25,000 bonus miles
- Gold Medallion status
What are the Requirements for Delta Medallion Status?
For low- and mid-tier elite status level, Delta has the same qualification requirements as their competitor airlines. To qualify for entry-level status in any given year, you'll need to spend at least $3,000 and either fly 25,000 medallion qualifying miles or 30 segments with the airline. You can easily hit this target if you take 15 round-trips that each cost $250.
|Elite Status Level||Miles Flown Requirement||Flights Flown Requirement||Dollars Spent Requirement|
|Medallion Silver||25,000 MQM||30 MQS||$3,000 MQD|
|Medallion Gold||50,000 MQM||60 MQS||$6,000 MQD|
|Medallion Platinum||75,000 PQM||100 MQS||$9,000 MQD|
|Medallion Diamond||125,000 MQM||140 MQS||$15,000 MQD|
Compared to United and American, Delta has the most stringent requirements to qualify for top-tier status. The other airlines require 25,000 qualifying miles and $3,000 fewer to be eligible for their most elite status levels. Delta likely has higher requirements due to the airline’s enhanced Choice Benefit perks at this level.
Medallion Qualifying Miles
It's important to note that the qualifying miles (MQM) you earn toward elite status are different from the rewards miles (Delta SkyMiles) you earn toward flight redemptions. Qualifying miles are based on the distance of a flight and your purchased fare class, while rewards miles are based on how much money you spend. Fares in premium cabins and on longer flights will be rewarded with more Medallion qualifying miles.
|Class||Fare Categories||Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQM)|
|Delta One, First Class and Premium Select||J, C, D, I, Z, F, P, A, G||150%|
|Full Fare Main Cabin and Delta Comfort+||Y, B, M, W||100%|
|Main Cabin and Discounted Main Cabin||H, Q, K, L||75%|
|Deeply Discounted Main Cabin||U, T, X, V, E||50%|
How to Get Delta Status Quickly
If you have status with another airline, the best way to get elite status quickly is to apply for a status challenge. For a small fee, these programs immediately grant you status at a certain level for a few months. If you meet spending and flying requirements during the challenge period, you get to keep your status for the remainder of the year.
For those ineligible for the status match challenge, the best way to get some of the perks of elite status is to open a Delta credit card. The Platinum Delta SkyMiles card, for instance, gets you one free checked bag and a points earning bonus equal to Medallion Silver Status. In general, co-branded airline credit cards and travel credit cards are good options for receiving the benefits of elite status without being a frequent flyer.
|Annual Fee||Delta Spending Rewards||General Spending Rewards||Free Checked Bags||Delta Sky Club Access|
|Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express||$0||7||1 (2 for restaurants)||—||—|
|Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express||$95 after first year||7||1||1 free bag||Discounted|
|Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express||$195||7||1||1 free bag||Discounted|
|Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express||$450||7||1||1 free bag||Free plus two guests free|
Is Delta Medallion Status Worth It?
At the top-tier status levels, Delta's Medallion program shines for its rollover qualifying miles and its choice benefit programs. The ability to rollover extra qualifying miles to the next year is unique to Delta and allows you to get a headstart on earning and retaining status. The option to choose among benefits, also unique to Delta, provides a level of customization and flexibility not seen in other frequent-flyer status programs.
At the two lower status levels, Delta's benefits are fairly similar to those of its competitors. If you anticipate frequent traveling for work or leisure and want to pursue status with an airline, you should choose based on the airline that has the most convenient flight schedule and routes for you. Otherwise, you can open up an airline credit card to get some of the benefits of elite status.