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The Full Information to Delta Medallion Elite Standing


At NerdWallet, we attempt that can assist you make monetary selections with confidence. To do that, many or the entire merchandise featured listed below are from our companions. Nonetheless, this doesn't affect our evaluations. Our opinions are our personal.

Whether or not you're in it for complimentary upgrades, free checked baggage or simply the smug sense of superiority, there are a lot of good causes to pursue Delta Air Strains elite standing.

Delta’s Medallion elite standing works a lot the identical as different main U.S. carriers like American and United, with spending minimums for every tier and a complete bunch of acronyms like MQMs and MQDs. Whether or not you're a wizened outdated frequent flyer or are new to the sport, right here we'll break down every little thing it’s essential learn about Delta's program (and hold the acronyms to a minimal).

»Be taught extra: Delta Air Strains SkyMiles program: The whole information

How Medallion standing works

Delta has 4 tiers of elite standing: Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond.

You possibly can earn standing by flying and spending sufficient (see under) inside a single calendar 12 months, and as soon as earned you’ll hold it by way of the next calendar 12 months. So in the event you earn Gold standing in July 2020, you'll hold it by way of the tip of 2021. In the event you're simply in need of reaching standing earlier than the tip of the 12 months … effectively, powerful luck.

»Be taught extra: Final-minute mileage run methods

You may as well earn lifetime standing by flying one million miles or extra lifetime miles. This begins at lifetime Silver standing for reaching “solely” 1 million miles, and caps at lifetime Diamond standing for flying four million miles. That four million miles is greater than 160 journeys across the Earth, so don’t maintain your breath for this standing except you journey extremely typically.

Incomes medallion standing

In a nutshell, you earn Delta Medallion standing by:

  • Getting sufficient Medallion Qualification {Dollars} for every tier and both
    • Getting sufficient Medallion Qualification Miles or
    • Getting sufficient Medallion Qualification Segments

These are sometimes abbreviated to MQDs, MQMs and MQSs, however in our expertise that’s extra complicated than useful, so we’ll hold spelling them out.

In Delta's standing universe, you possibly can't sport the system by taking a number of lengthy, low-cost flights (as you possibly can on Alaska Airways) since you'll want to achieve the minimal variety of Medallion Qualification {Dollars} for every tier (except you could have a waiver earned on a Delta SkyMiles bank card, as mentioned under).

Right here’s the breakdown:

How Medallion Qualification {Dollars} work

Learn you suppose a Medallion Qualification Greenback is only a greenback, Delta makes it a little bit extra difficult.

First, Medallion Qualification {Dollars} are solely accrued from the base fare of a ticket, excluding taxes and costs. So in case your ticket prices $ 500, $ 100 of that are taxes and costs, you’ll earn 400 Medallion Qualification {Dollars}.

Second, you possibly can earn Medallion Qualification {Dollars} (and miles and segments) when flying on “choose partner-marketed flights not ticketed by way of Delta.” Nonetheless, the variety of Medallion Qualification {Dollars} earned from associate flights will not be primarily based on the price of the ticket however somewhat as a fraction of the miles flown. Confused? That's not even the entire story.

The fraction of associate miles flown which might be transformed into Medallion Qualification {Dollars} varies by associate and fare class. The “best” option to see how this works is to go to the Delta associate web page, click on on the suitable associate, then click on on the “mileage earn” field and at last look to the far-right column of the chart that seems.

Delta makes this far, much more difficult than it must be. Thus, when contemplating whether or not to guide a associate flight by way of Delta or by way of the associate itself, you need to examine the variety of Medallion Qualification {Dollars} (and miles) you’ll earn in every state of affairs.

Rollover Medallion Qualification Miles

Delta provides a terrific characteristic for these capturing for Medallion standing, wherein “further” Medallion Qualification Miles roll over to the next 12 months. For instance, in the event you earn 100,000 Medallion Qualification Miles in 2020, you’ll earn Platinum standing with sufficient Medallion Qualification {Dollars}. Since Platinum standing solely requires 75,000 Medallion Qualification Miles, the additional 25,000 you earned will roll over to 2021 and supply a jumpstart to your standing for the subsequent calendar 12 months.

Nonetheless, observe that Medallion Qualification {Dollars} don’t roll over to the next 12 months. The greenback threshold is more durable to hit than the mileage one for a lot of frequent flyers, which might render the mileage rollover profit moot.

Bank card waivers

SkyMiles earned from Delta’s branded bank cards don’t rely as both Elite Qualification Miles or Elite Qualification {Dollars}. Nonetheless, they do provide one thing referred to as a “Medallion Qualification {Dollars} Waiver”To those that spend a ton on their Delta playing cards. How a lot is a “ton”? Right here’s the breakdown:

  • $ 25,000 in spending inside a calendar 12 months qualifies for a Silver, Gold or Platinum Medallion Qualification {Dollars} waiver. That’s, you received’t have to achieve the Elite Qualification Greenback threshold to earn these three statuses.
  • $ 250,000 in spending inside a calendar 12 months qualifies for a Diamond Elite Qualification {Dollars} Waiver. (That's not a typo.)

»Be taught extra: Which Delta Air Strains bank card do you have to get?

Medallion standing advantages

All medallion tiers provide precedence boarding and check-in, and all besides Silver get precedence safety and baggage entry. All tiers additionally obtain complimentary seat improve eligibility, free checked baggage and bonus SkyMiles, with increased tiers provide correspondingly higher advantages.

upgrades

Though complimentary seat upgrades are one of many greatest advantages of any airline elite standing, the method by which upgrades are decided can appear daunting and complicated. It’s because all complimentary upgrades are basically a lottery, with no certainties (even for vacationers with Diamond Medallion standing).

For instance, though upgrades start clearing for Diamond members 120 hours previous to departure because the above desk describes, this solely implies that they get the primary crack at seats which might be out there at that time.

Extra seats will open, typically on the final minute, and people will get assigned to Medallion members nonetheless on the improve waitlist in descending order of standing (and fare class). In different phrases, the very best Medallion standing members get first dibs on upgrades, however solely when these upgrades can be found.

So in the event you're a Gold Medallion member flying from Atlanta (Delta’s residence airport) to New York, for instance, you’re far much less prone to rating an improve than you’ll be on one other flight with fewer elites.

Companions touring with you’re additionally eligible for complimentary upgrades, although it will get a bit convoluted. You possibly can study all the small print on Delta’s improve web page, however right here’s the gist:

  • Companions will need to have a SkyMiles membership to be eligible for upgrades.
  • A companion booked on the identical reservation as you’re going to get upgraded on the highest tier of the 2. For instance, in the event you're platinum and your companion is gold, you’ll each be eligible as platinum.
  • For a companion booked on separate however linked reservations, it's difficult – mainly these companions are unlikely to be upgraded except they’ve Medallion standing of their very own.
  • For teams of three or extra, it's extraordinarily difficult and really straightforward for nobody within the group to be upgraded. We suggest calling Delta in the event you're reserving a bunch ticket and are curious how the upgrades will shake out.

Lastly, fundamental economic system (E) fares are usually not eligible for any complimentary upgrades, so suppose twice earlier than reserving these tickets for long-haul flights.

»Be taught extra: Learn how to profit from Delta’s fundamental economic system

Alternative advantages

Delta provides a singular choose-your-own profit choice for each Platinum and Diamond Medallion members. It's a pleasant perk, because it permits you to give attention to the advantages you worth most and skip those you'd by no means use.

Platinum members select ONE of the next:

    • Package deal of 4 regional improve certificates.
    • 20,000 bonus miles.
    • $ 200 Delta journey voucher.
    • $ 200 Tiffany & Co. present card.
    • Present of Silver Medallion standing to a buddy.

Diamond members select THREE of the next:

    • Particular person membership to Delta Sky Golf equipment (limitless entry for self; friends pay a payment).
    • Govt membership to Delta Sky Golf equipment (limitless entry for self and two friends) – this feature counts as two selections.
    • Package deal of as many as eight improve certificates (eight regional, 4 world, or two world and 4 regional).
    • 25,000 bonus miles.
    • $ 200 Delta journey voucher.
    • $ 200 Tiffany & Co. present card.
    • Present of Gold Medallion standing to a buddy.

Associate advantages

The “system” for Medallion advantages on Delta’s associate airways is so byzantine and inscrutable that we will’t presumably clarify all of it right here. Delta’s personal associate profit web page begins with a glossary of phrases, like an inventory of characters the start of a Russian novel.

That stated, generally:

  • Silver Medallion holders get “SkyTeam Elite” standing, which provides a number of restricted advantages on most companions.
  • Gold, Platinum and Diamond holders get “SkyTeam Elite Plus” standing, which provides extra sturdy advantages like lounge entry.
  • All medallion holders get one further free piece of baggage on associate flights.
  • Most companions provide their very own mixture of advantages to those two teams. In the event you're uncertain which airline to fly primarily based in your Medallion standing, examine the associate web page and examine the supplied advantages.

Standing matching, challenges and Reclaim My Standing

Delta provides a number of useful methods to provide you a leg up on incomes Medallion standing (or assist you to get it again after lapsing).

Standing matching

In the event you're a frequent flyer on one other program contemplating switching loyalty, Delta will match your standing for 3 months to provide you a way of the advantages. To qualify you could:

  • Not have acquired a standing match from Delta up to now three years.
  • Have elite standing from one other qualifying airline.
  • Be capable to show that you’ve got this standing and that you simply earned it from flying (not by way of one other standing match).

If authorized for a standing match, you'll even be enrolled in a standing problem, Primarily, this allows you to prolong your standing past the three-month trial in the event you're capable of hit sure flying and spending milestones throughout the trial.

In actual fact, you possibly can prolong your Medallion standing by way of your complete following 12 months in the event you start your standing match after July 1. For instance, in the event you start your match (and problem) on July 2, 2020 and meet the milestones, you'll hold your standing all through 2021.

‘Reclaim My Standing’

This beneficial program is basically parental go away for airline elite standing. That’s, in the event you have been a Medallion standing member who had a significant life occasion that brought on you to lose your standing, Delta will allow you to reclaim your earlier standing in the same option to the matching program above.

To qualify, you could have the ability to present documentation of the life occasion, however Delta claims that “all life occasions can be thought of.”

If authorized, Delta will reinstate your former standing for 3 months and provide the alternative to increase your reclaimed standing by way of the next 12 months in the identical method because the standing problem above. So you need to solely apply for this system while you're prepared (and planning) to begin flying once more.

The underside line

Overwhelmed by the complexity of Delta’s Medallion elite program? Don’t be. It's a terrific program for vacationers who fly regularly on Delta and its companions, and it may possibly present money-saving and comfort-improving advantages to all medallion holders.

In the event you're able to study extra concerning the Delta SkyMiles program, try our full information.

Learn how to maximize your rewards

You desire a journey bank card that prioritizes what's essential to you. Listed below are our picks for one of the best journey bank cards of 2019, together with these greatest for:

Planning a visit? Take a look at these articles for extra inspiration and recommendation:
Discover one of the best journey bank card for you
Your information to reserving award flights on Delta Air Strains
Earn extra factors and miles with these 6 methods

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