Welcome to a weekly feature on the Eye of the Flyer blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.
Today I will try to explain just what Medallion points and levels are all about and how to get them. Also what perks you can get.
Let’s start with the levels and the terms. Delta has 4 levels of elite they refer to as Medallion status. They are Silver (called FO by frequent flyers) Gold or GM, Platinum or PM and Diamond or DM. To reach the first level you must accumulate 25,000 MQM’s or medallion qualify miles. Gold requires 50,000, Platinum 75,000 and lastly Diamond 125,000 all in ONE CALENDAR year (not the day you start flying). Elite qualifying miles are often referred to as BIS or “your” Butt In Seat miles. There are however other ways to collect them, like the 10,000 MQM’s you can get from the Delta AMEX Reserve card. Please note many do not understand the difference between these miles and NORMAL Skymiles. Getting the DELTA AMEX GOLD card does get you 30,000 Skymiles, nice, but will not help you to earn status. You can also achieve FO, GM, PM & DM via segments or individual flights called MQS’s. You will need 30, 60, 100 & 140. That is a lot of takeoff’s and landings!
Now why would you want to earn status with Delta? It is all about perks and treatment. When you have Medallion status, depending on the level, the airline will bend or break many of the rules for you. Many other rules simply do no apply to you as a Medallion. Let’s walk through what the benefits are as you move up the Medallion ladder.
As you can see, much of the hard and fast info is in the chart above. What I am going to give you is a personal outlook on the real difference in the program levels.
SILVER – The first level of status. You get some very nice perks, but not a lot of love from Delta. The biggest perks are being able to pick exit row seats for you and those traveling with you. You can score a few upgrades, but it will be mostly on off days, off routes. You may get some upgrades 1 day before you fly, but expect upgrades to happen at the gate. Mostly count upgrades as a gift. You do get recognized as a medallion and will get some faster service and get a 25% bump on Skymiles per paid ticket. You do also get a free bag checked, Zone 1 boarding. The last two you can also get from ANY Delta AMEX card btw.
GOLD – Level two is a big jump in perks. This is the first level Delta really loves you. You get so many of the same perks that even the top level Medallions get. Here are the highlights. Everything Silver gets plus free domestic Delta Economy Comfort seats. Better upgrade results and 3 days before you fly. Much faster results when calling Delta. Free lounge access on any class ticket when flying internationally. 100% bonus on paid tickets. Many fees go away, but not all. Your bags will be priority tagged (or should be) so they should come out much faster.
PLATINUM – Level three is again a HUGE jump. Now Delta really knows who you are. You get all of the above plus free Economy Comfort seats on international Delta flights. Your upgrades will begin to clear 5 days out and a lot more of them. Most fees are gone and even change fees for award tickets (up to 72 hrs before your trip). You also get to pick a gift from Delta like a $200 travel voucher or 20,000 Skymiles or Gift someone Silver Medallion status or other goodies. Most times when you call Delta you will hold for only seconds and you will get some very good reps. This is a nice level to reach.
DIAMOND – All of the above plus upgrades over all others 5 days out. Tons more upgrades at the gate. Free Skyclub access. 125% bonus Skymiles on paid for tickets. VIP phone help (Salt Lake calling center) and more gifts including giving GOLD Medallion status to someone! This is the top Delta offers and they will care about you.
So there are the basics and the nuts and bolts of the program. Is it worth going for Medallion status at any level? It all depends on how much you fly. If you can always book seats in business class, there simply is no need, end of story (either with points or with paying for a ticket). Or, if you only fly a few times, you are just better off with a Delta GOLD AMEX or the Delta Platinum AMEX card as you can get some of the same level of service. Silver is so worth it even when just flying moderately to be able to pick exit row seats!
Gold and Platinum are the real sweet spots for frequent Delta flyers. You will notice a big difference in interacting with our airline.
So are there other ways to get Delta status? There is in fact a way to get DIAMOND status instantly. I bogged about it but it may be worth it if you spend $33,000+ dollars a year flying. There is also a status match challenge. If you have status with another airline you can get temporarily equivalent status and then as long as you meet the requirements, you will have the status for the following year.
These are the basics of the program and why you should or not go for it. Have more questions? Ask away! – René
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