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Whether or not you’re in it for complimentary upgrades, free checked baggage or simply the smug sense of superiority, there are lots 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 previous frequent flyer or are new to the sport, right here we’ll break down all the things it’s worthwhile to learn about Delta’s program (and preserve the acronyms to a minimal).

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

How Medallion standing works

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

You’ll be able to earn standing by flying and spending sufficient (see under) inside a single calendar 12 months, and as soon as earned you’ll preserve it by means of the next calendar 12 months. So in case you earn Gold standing in July 2020, you’ll preserve it by means of the tip of 2021. Should you’re simply in need of reaching standing earlier than the tip of the 12 months … nicely, robust luck.

» Be taught extra: Final-minute mileage run methods

You can too earn lifetime standing by flying 1,000,000 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 usually.

Incomes Medallion standing

In a nutshell, you earn Delta Medallion standing by:

Getting sufficient Medallion Qualification 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 preserve spelling them out.

In Delta’s standing universe, you possibly can’t recreation the system by taking a number of lengthy, low-cost flights (as you possibly can on Alaska Airways) since you’ll want to succeed in the minimal variety of Medallion Qualification for every tier (except you’ve a waiver earned on a Delta SkyMiles bank card, as mentioned under).

Right here’s the breakdown:

How Medallion Qualification work

Lest you assume a Medallion Qualification Greenback is only a greenback, Delta makes it a bit extra difficult.

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

Second, you possibly can earn Medallion Qualification (and miles and segments) when flying on “choose partner-marketed flights not ticketed by means of Delta.” Nevertheless, the variety of Medallion Qualification earned from associate flights shouldn’t be based mostly on the price of the ticket however fairly 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 varies by associate and fare class. The “best” strategy 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 e-book a associate flight by means of Delta or by means of the associate itself, it’s best to examine the variety of Medallion Qualification (and miles) you’ll earn in every state of affairs.

Rollover Medallion Qualification Miles

Delta gives an ideal function for these capturing for Medallion standing, wherein “additional” Medallion Qualification Miles roll over to the next 12 months. For instance, in case you earn 100,000 Medallion Qualification Miles in 2020, you’ll earn Platinum standing with sufficient Medallion Qualification . 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.

Nevertheless, observe that Medallion Qualification 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 depend as both Elite Qualification Miles or Elite Qualification . Nevertheless, they do provide one thing known as a “Medallion Qualification 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 waiver. That’s, you received’t have to succeed in 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 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 better advantages.


Though complimentary seat upgrades are one of many largest advantages of any airline elite standing, the method by which upgrades are decided can appear daunting and complicated. It is because all complimentary upgrades are primarily 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 signifies 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 case 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’d 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’ll be able to be taught all the main points on Delta’s improve web page, however right here’s the gist:

Companions should 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 case you’re Platinum and your companion is Gold, you’ll each be eligible as Platinums.
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 simple for nobody within the group to be upgraded. We advocate calling Delta in case you’re reserving a bunch ticket and are curious how the upgrades will shake out.

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

» Be taught extra: The best way to benefit from Delta’s primary financial system

Selection advantages

Delta gives a novel choose-your-own profit possibility for each Platinum and Diamond Medallion members. It’s a pleasant perk, because it permits you to deal with the advantages you worth most and skip those you’d by no means use.

Platinum members select ONE of the next:

Bundle 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 pal.

Diamond members select THREE of the next:

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

Accomplice 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 mentioned, on the whole:

Silver Medallion holders get “SkyTeam Elite” standing, which gives just a few restricted advantages on most companions.
Gold, Platinum and Diamond holders get “SkyTeam Elite Plus” standing, which gives extra strong advantages like lounge entry.
All Medallion holders get one additional free piece of baggage on associate flights.
Most companions provide their very own mixture of advantages to those two teams. Should you’re uncertain which airline to fly based mostly in your Medallion standing, examine the associate web page and examine the provided advantages.

Standing matching, challenges and Reclaim My Standing

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

Standing matching

Should 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 of show that you’ve this standing and that you just earned it from flying (not by means of one other standing match).

If accepted for a standing match, you’ll even be enrolled in a standing problem. Basically, this allows you to prolong your standing past the three-month trial in case you’re capable of hit sure flying and spending milestones through the trial.

In truth, you possibly can prolong your Medallion standing by means of all the following 12 months in case you start your standing match after July 1. For instance, in case you start your match (and problem) on July 2, 2020 and meet the milestones, you’ll preserve your standing all through 2021.

‘Reclaim My Standing’

This useful program is actually parental depart for airline elite standing. That’s, in case you have been a Medallion standing member who had a serious life occasion that precipitated you to lose your standing, Delta will allow you to reclaim your earlier standing in an analogous strategy to the matching program above.

To qualify, you could be capable of present documentation of the life occasion, however Delta claims that “all life occasions will likely be thought of.”

If accepted, Delta will reinstate your former standing for 3 months and provide the alternative to increase your reclaimed standing by means of the next 12 months in the identical method because the standing problem above. So it’s best to solely apply for this system if you’re prepared (and planning) to start out flying once more.

The underside line

Overwhelmed by the complexity of Delta’s Medallion elite program? Don’t be. It’s an ideal program for vacationers who fly incessantly on Delta and its companions, and it will possibly present money-saving and comfort-improving advantages to all Medallion holders.

Should you’re able to be taught extra concerning the Delta SkyMiles program, try our full information.

The best way to maximize your rewards

You need a journey bank card that prioritizes what’s essential to you. Listed below are our picks for the most effective journey bank cards of 2019, together with these greatest for:

Planning a visit? Take a look at these articles for extra inspiration and recommendation:
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