Ultimate Guide to Delta Elite Status for 2021 [Silver, Gold, Platinum, & Diamond]

Airlines offer extra benefits to their most valuable customers. If you enough of a frequent traveler, you can become an elite member to access these benefits to make travel more rewarding.

Delta’s elite status program has four Medallion levels: Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Medallion.

This post will cover everything you need to know about each Medallion level, including how to earn each level and the great elite benefits. 

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    Delta A350

    Basics of Medallion Elite Program

    Before we jump into each Delta elite status level, it is important to understand the Medallion program’s basics, including MQMs, MQSs, and MQDs. 

    Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs)

    Medallion Qualifying Miles are based on the distance flown. One mile equals one MQM. 

    MQMs are different from SkyMiles, which can be used to book free flights.

    MQMs have no value outside of earning elite status and reset each year.

    To calculate the distance flown for MQMs, I recommend plugging your route into Great Circle Mapper

    light Distance Calculator Example

    You can also earn bonus MQMs by booking a higher fare class.

    100% MQM Bonus for Full-Fare First and Business Class tickets (F, J fares).

    50% MQM Bonus for Discounted First Class, Delta Premium Select, Business, and Premium Main Cabin tickets (P, A, G, C, D, I, Z, Y, and B fares).

    Purchased upgrades are also eligible for bonus MQMs based on the class of service flown.

    Earning Bonus MQMs with Credit Cards

    American Express credit cardmembers can earn extra MQMs by spending certain amounts on their cards. 

    Currently, you can earn:

    These rates are increased for 2021, which are normally 10,000 MQMs and 15,000 MQMs.

    Rollover MQMs

    One unique benefit of Delta’s elite status is the ability to rollover extra MQMs to the next elite status year.

    For example, if you earned 30,000 MQMs this year, 5,000 MQMs would rollover to the next year since you only need 25,000 MQMs for Silver Medallion status.

    Or if you earned 60,000 MQMs, you could roll over 10,000 MQMs because only 50,000 MQMs are required for Gold Medallion status.

    Delta will deposit the rollover MQMs in your SkyMiles account by the end of January each year.

    Medallion Qualifying Segments (MQSs)

    Medallion Qualifying Segments are based on the number of flights you fly.

    For example, if you were to fly direct from New York to Los Angeles that would equal one MQS. But if you connected in Atlanta, that would equal two MQSs.

    Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs)

    Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs) are earned based on your annual spending on Delta flights and on many partner flights.

    This includes only the base fare and any carrier-imposed surcharges on Delta-marketed flights (flight numbers than include the “DL” airline code). 

    Government-imposed taxes and fees are not included in MQDs.

    For example, if your flight costs $350, including $50 in government-imposed taxes and fees, you would only earn 300 MQDs for the flight ($350-50). 

    You can also earn MQDs for paid seat upgrades to First Class, Comfort+, Preferred Seats, and Premium Class upgrades.

    But you won’t earn MQDs for:

    • Checked bag fees
    • Delta SkyClub memberships
    • WiFi passes
    • In-flight food or drinks
    • Pet travel fees
    • Change fees
    • Same-day confirmed or standby fees
    • Flights booked via Priceline’s Express Deals or Hotwire’s Hot Rate.

    Earning MQDs with Partner Airlines

    You can also earn MQDs for flights on partner airlines, but Delta makes it overly complicated.

    You earn MQDs on partners according to a percentage of the distance flown. 

    Each partner has a different rate, so you will need to visit Delta’s Partner Earning page, click on the partner airline, find your fare class and the MQD %, calculate the flight’s distance, and then multiple the % by the distance.

    Additionally, not all flights by a partner are eligible. For example, only flights within the State of Hawaii are eligible for MQDs on Hawaiian Airlines. You would not earn MQDs on flights from Hawaii to the West Coast on Hawaiian.

    You should read the fine print for each partner, and if you have any questions, you could message Delta on Facebook or Twitter.

    MQD Waiver

    Delta offers an option to bypass the MQD requirement by spending money on American Express Delta SkyMiles credit cards.

    You need to spend $25,000 or more during the calendar year to get the MQD waiver for Silver, Gold, or Platinum Medallion. 

    For Diamond Medallion, it is a very steep $250,000 spend requirement per calendar year. 

    Eligible cards include:

    Spending on the American Express Delta Gold or Gold Business only counts if you have one of the cards above. If not, your spending won’t count towards the waiver.

    Timing of the "Medallion Year"

    Once you reach an elite status level, you receive that elite status for the rest of that calendar year, the next calendar year, and January of the following year.

    For example, if you earned Delta Medallion elite status in 2021, you would keep that status until January 31, 2023. 

    If you met the requirements again in 2022, you would keep that status until January 31, 2024.

    Limitations with Basic Economy

    Medallion members who book basic economy tickets will not receive complimentary upgrades to First Class, Comfort+, or Preferred Seats.

    But Medallion members will still receive most other benefits, including free checked bags, priority check-in, priority boarding, and Medallion mileage bonuses.

    Plus, Basic Economy tickets still earn MQMs, MQSs, and MQDs towards Medallion status. 

    Delta Silver Medallion Status

    Silver Medallion is the lowest tier of Delta elite status, which is a good starter level for airline status.

    How to Earn Silver Medallion Status

    You can earn Delta Silver Medallion elite status by obtaining:

    • 25,000 MQMs (miles) OR 30 MQSs (segments) AND
    • $3,000 MQDs (dollars)

    Silver Medallion Benefits

    There are a lot of great benefits for Silver Medallion members, including priority check-in and boarding, potential upgrades to Comfort+ or first class, free checked bags, and SkyTeam elite status.

    Seven Miles Per Dollar

    Silver members earn seven (7) SkyMiles per dollar on the base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges, excluding government-imposed taxes and fees.

    This is a 40% bonus over non-elite members, who only earn five (5) SkyMiles per dollar.

    Complimentary Upgrades

    Silver members are eligible for unlimited complimentary upgrades 24 hours before departure for you and a travel companion on the same reservation to:

    • First Class
    • Comfort+
    • AeroMexico’s Premier Class on select flights
    Upgrades to Comfort+ are likely, but upgrades to First Class are rare as a Silver member because there are three other Medallion levels above Silver.

    Complimentary Preferred Seats

    Silver members can select “Preferred Seats” at booking, which cost non-elite members a fee and are located behind Comfort+ or may be aisle, window, or exit row seats.

    Complimentary Upgrades to Delta One

    All Medallion members are eligible for upgrades to Delta One (lie-flat) business class on the day of departure for flights within the United States.

    Priority is based on your Medallion level, with Diamond with the highest priority and Silver with the lowest priority. 

    But don’t expect any upgrades to Delta One as a Silver Medallion member. 

    Those routes are frequented by Platinum and Diamond Medallion members, who outrank Silver Medallion members.

    Delta One Suites Picture of service, food, and drink
    Photo: Delta

    Free Checked Bags

    All Medallion members enjoy a free checked bag over the standard allowance for the member and up to eight travel companions on the same reservation on Delta operated flights. 

    The free checked bag can weigh up to 70 lbs for flights within the United States.

    Medallion members with an eligible American Express Delta credit card can also get an additional checked bag for you and your travel companions.

    Eligible cards include the Delta: Gold, Gold Business, Platinum, Platinum Business, Reserve, and Reserve Business.

    Medallion members (not their companions) also receive free checked bags when departing on a SkyTeam airline, China Southern, Virgin Atlantic, or Virgin Australia.

    Priority Check-In and Boarding

    Silver members are eligible for priority check-in through the Silver Medallion check-in lane, or if there is not one, through the Sky Priority check-in lane.

    Silver Medallion members also receive priority boarding during “Main Cabin 1,” but this is the same boarding group as American Express Delta cardholders. (Higher elite levels have higher boarding priority). 

    SkyTeam Elite

    Silver Medallion members are considered “SkyTeam Elite” members when traveling on a SkyTeam airline.

    The benefits of a SkyTeam Elite member are:

    • Priority Check-In
    • Extra Check Bags
    • Priority Boarding
    • Priority Standby
    • Free Preferred Seats
    • Priority Bag Drop
    • Priority Transfer Desk
    • Priority Immigration
    • Priority Reservation Waitlist
    Medallion members also enjoy their benefits on Delta’s other partners. You can see the benefits for each airline on Delta’s partner page.

    Other Benefits

    A few other benefits of Silver Medallion and higher levels are:
    • Priority customer service phone line by calling 1-800-323-2323.
    • Priority waitlist on paid tickets for a higher class of service.
    • Preferred pricing of a CLEAR membership (expedited airport security) of only $109 per year. (Free for Diamond Medallion members).
    • A luggage tag with your Medallion level.
    • 1,000 bonus SkyMiles for every qualifying rental with Hertz.
    • Saving up to $350 with a Delta Vacation package.

    Delta Gold Medallion Status

    Gold Medallion is the second tier for Delta elite status, which offers SkyTeam Elite Plus, Hertz Five Star status, Sky Priority boarding, and waived same-day confirmed and standby fees.

    How to Earn Gold Medallion Status

    You can earn Delta Gold Medallion elite status by obtaining:

    • 50,000 MQMs (miles) OR 60 MQSs (segments) AND
    • $6,000 MQDs (dollars)

    Gold Medallion Benefits

    Gold Medallion members get the benefits below plus the benefits above, including:

    • Complimentary Preferred Seats.
    • Complimentary Upgrades to Delta One within the United States.
    • Free checked bags.
    • Priority check-in.
    • Priority customer service.
    • Priority waitlist on paid tickets for a higher class of service.
    • A luggage tag with your Medallion level.

    Eight Miles Per Dollar

    Gold members earn eight (8) SkyMiles per dollar on the base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges, excluding government-imposed taxes and fees.

    This is a 60% bonus over non-elite members, who only earn five (5) SkyMiles per dollar.

    Complimentary Upgrades

    Gold members are eligible for complimentary upgrades 72 hours (3 days) before departure for you and a travel companion on the same reservation to:

    • First Class on Delta flights.
    • Delta Comfort+.
    • AeroMexico’s Premier Class on select flights.

    SkyTeam Elite Plus

    Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Medallion members enjoy SkyTeam Elite Plus status, which gets you the following benefits on SkyTeam airlines:

    • Airport lounge access
    • Extra baggage allowance
    • Preferred seats
    • Priority Check-in
    • Priority Airport Standby
    • Priority Boarding
    • Priority Security and Immigration
    • Priority Bag Drop and Baggage Handling
    • Priority Transfer Desk

    Airport lounge access is the most valuable benefit, which gives you access to any SkyTeam airlines’ lounge when flying a SkyTeam airline on an international flight.

    For example, if you were flying Delta internationally, you could access the Air France Lounge or another SkyTeam airline lounge.

    You can find a list of SkyTeam lounges with their online lounge finder tool.

    However, this lounge access is not as good as the access as a Star Alliance or OneWorld elite member, who also enjoy lounge access on domestic flights.

    For example, a United Premier Gold member would have access to the Turkish Airlines lounge in Washington D.C., even if they were flying United on a domestic flight.

    SkyTeam SkyTeam Airlines
    Aeroflot Aeroflot Aerolineas Argentinas Aerolineas Argentinas
    AEROMEXICO LOGO AeroMexico Air Europa Air Europa
    Air France Air France Alitalia logo Alitalia
    China Airlines China Airlines China Eastern China Eastern
    Czech Airlines Czech Airlines Delta Air Lines Delta
    Garuda Indonesia Garuda Indonesia Kenya Airways Kenya Airways
    KLM KLM Korean Air Korean Air
    Middle East Airlines Middle East Airlines Saudia Airlines Saudia
    Tarom TAROM Vietnam Airlines Vietnam Airlines
    Xiamen Airlines Xiamen Air

    Hertz Five Star Status

    Delta Medallion Gold members receive Hertz Five Star elite status, which comes with the following benefits:

    •  Upgrades if available
    • A 25% points bonus
    • A free additional driver
    • The ability to pick your car at Hertz Ultimate Choice airport locations.
    You can link your Delta and Hertz account easily online to get Hertz Five Star status.
    Rental Car Insurance
    Photo: Hertz

    Priority Boarding

    Gold and Platinum Medallion members may board the plane ahead of the Main Cabin during the “Sky Priority” boarding process.

    But if you were upgraded to Comfort+ or First Class, you can board even earlier during those boarding times.

    Waived Same-Day Confirmed and Standby Fees

    The $75 fee for making a same-day change to your flight is waived for Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Medallion members. 

    Delta Platinum Medallion Status

    Platinum Medallion is the third tier for Delta elite status, which offers members complimentary Comfort+ upgrades shortly after booking, one Choice Benefit, Hertz President’s Circle status, and waived award redeposit fees.

    How to Earn Platinum Medallion Status

    You can earn Delta Platinum Medallion elite status by obtaining:

    • 75,000 MQMs (miles) OR 100 MQSs (segments) AND
    • $9,000 MQDs (dollars)

    Platinum Medallion Benefits

    Platinum Medallion members get the benefits below plus the benefits above, including:

    • SkyTeam Elite Plus
    • Complimentary Preferred Seats
    • Complimentary Upgrades to Delta One within the United States
    • “Sky Priority” Boarding
    • Free checked bags
    • Priority check-in
    • Priority customer service.
    • Priority waitlist on paid tickets for a higher class of service
    • Waived same-day confirmed and standby fees
    • A luggage tag with your Medallion level

    Nine Miles Per Dollar

    Platinum members earn nine (9) SkyMiles per dollar on the base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges, excluding government-imposed taxes and fees.

    This is an 80% bonus over non-elite members, who only earn five (5) SkyMiles per dollar.

    Complimentary Comfort+ Seats

    Platinum and Diamond Medallion members can select Comfort+ seats complimentary shortly after booking for the member and a companion on the same reservation. 

    Comfort+ offers three extra inches of legroom, reserved overhead bin space, and free alcoholic beverages.

    Delta Comfort+
    Photo: Delta Comfort+

    Complimentary Upgrades to First Class

    Platinum members are eligible for complimentary upgrades 120 hours (5 days) before departure for you and a travel companion on the same reservation to:

    • First Class on Delta flights.
    • AeroMexico’s Premier Class on select flights.

    Platinum Choice Benefits

    One nice benefit of Platinum status is the ability to choose one “Choice Benefit.” Your options are either:

    • Four Regional Upgrades
    • Gift of Silver Medallion Status for current year plus January of next year.
    • $200 Delta Travel Voucher
    • $200 Tiffany & Co. Gift Card
    • 20,000 SkyMiles to you, another member, or a SkyWish Charity.
    The upgrades and travel voucher expire one year from issuance, so don’t request them until you need them.

    I recommend either the regional upgrades or Silver Medallion status.

    The Silver status is a good deal if you choose it early in the year, and the other person does not typically fly with you to enjoy your status benefits.

    But the regional upgrades are tempting if you plan to use them on routes with Delta One lie-flat seats such as New York to Los Angeles, or Atlanta or Minneapolis to Honolulu.

    Hertz President's Circle Status

    One of the great benefits of Platinum and Diamond status is Hertz President’s Circle status.

    The benefits of President’s Circle are:

    • A 50% points bonus
    • Guaranteed upgrades
    • Ability to choose a car from the President’s Circle aisle at Hertz Ultimate Choice airport locations. 

    You can link your Delta and Hertz account easily online to get Hertz President’s Circle status.

    Hertz Car
    Photo: Hertz

    Waived Award Redeposit Fees

    Platinum and Diamond members can cancel an award ticket and redeposit SkyMiles back into their account for free.

    However, this benefit does not apply to Basic Economy award tickets.

    Delta Diamond Medallion Status

    Diamond Medallion is the top-tier of Delta elite status, which offers three Choice Benefits, more frequent upgrades, a complimentary CLEAR membership, and the highest priority boarding.

    How to Earn Diamond Medallion Status

    You can earn Delta Diamond Medallion elite status by obtaining:

    • 125,000 MQMs (miles) OR 140 MQSs (segments) AND
    • $15,000 MQDs (dollars)

    Diamond Medallion Benefits

    Diamond Medallion members get the benefits below plus the benefits above, including:

    • SkyTeam Elite Plus
    • Complimentary Preferred Seats
    • Complimentary Comfort+ Seats After Booking
    • Complimentary Upgrades to Delta One within the United States
    • Free checked bags
    • Priority check-in
    • Priority customer service.
    • Priority waitlist on paid tickets for a higher class of service
    • Waived same-day confirmed and standby fees
    • A luggage tag with your Medallion level
    • Hertz President’s Circle Elite Status

    Eleven Miles Per Dollar

    Diamond members earn eleven (11) SkyMiles per dollar on the base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges, excluding government-imposed taxes and fees.

    This is a 120% bonus over non-elite members, who only earn five (5) SkyMiles per dollar.

    Complimentary Upgrades to First Class

    Diamond members are eligible for complimentary upgrades to first class 120 hours (5 days) before departure with priority over Platinum members.

    Diamond Choice Benefits

    One of Diamond Medallion status’s best benefits is the ability to choose three “Choice Benefits.” 

    You can choose from either:

    • Four Global Upgrades OR Eight Regional Upgrades OR Two Global Upgrades + Four Regional Upgrades.
    • One SkyClub Individual Membership
    • One Executive SkyClub Membership (allows you and two guests)
      • Requires two Choice Benefits
    • Delta SkyClub Guest Pass (allows two guests)*
    • Gift of Gold Medallion status for the current year and January of next year.
    • 25,000 SkyMiles for you, another member, or a SkyWish charity of your choice.
    • $200 Delta Travel Voucher
    • $200 Tiffany & Co. Gift Card

    * This benefit requires that you have an eligible American Express credit card that provides Delta SkyClub lounge access, such as Delta Reserve or Delta Reserve Business. Or one of the versions of the American Express Platinum (different from the Delta Platinum card) such as the Business Platinum, Morgan Stanley, or Schwab.

    The upgrades and travel voucher expire one year from issuance, so don’t request them until you need them.

    If I was choosing three benefits, I would get the:

    • One of the upgrade options since you can only choose one.
    • Gift of Gold Medallion
    • Delta SkyClub Guest Pass because I get SkyClub access with my American Express Platinum, and it would be nice to have the option to bring two guests.

    Complimentary CLEAR Membership

    Delta Medallion members receive a free annual membership to CLEAR, which helps save time at airport security. 

    CLEAR also offers security checkpoints at 25+ sports stadiums in the United States.

    CLEAR Airport Security
    Photo: CLEAR

    VIP Phone Line

    Diamond Medallion members get access to a VIP phone line to get you faster customer service over lower Medallion members.

    Priority Boarding

    Diamond Medallion members may board the aircraft with First Class, Delta One, or Premium Select customers.

    The only customers who board ahead of Diamond Medallion members are the pre-boarding customers who need assistance or are active military members.

    Delta Priority Boarding

    Delta 360 Status

    Delta has a very exclusive invite-only elite level called Delta 360 for the most profitable Delta Medallion members.

    This status is similar to American Airlines’ Concierge Key or United’s Global Services.

    Delta does not publish specific information on Delta 360 but states that:

    “Delta 360° is an annual, invitation-only program for our top SkyMiles Members, offering an exclusive suite of benefits and services even beyond Diamond Medallion Status. An invitation into Delta 360° is based on your overall investment with Delta. If you’re selected to join, we’ll contact you directly.”

    Delta 360 Status

    How to Earn Delta 360 Status

    There is no exact formula for getting an invite to Delta 360. 

    Still, you generally need to be a very profitable Diamond Medallion customer for several years and spend at least $60,000 per year.

    If you live in a major Delta market such as Atlanta or New York, you may have to spend $100,000+ per year.

    A few other factors that may boost your chances are:

    • Spend a lot of money on your American Express Delta credit card.
    • Fly on full fare or premium cabin tickets, especially for international destinations.
    • Be the owner of a business or manager of corporate travel contracts. 
    • Live in a non-Delta hub or at a competitor’s hub.

    Delta 360 Status Benefits

    Delta does not publish the benefits of 360 status, but below are the benefits based on our research.

    Delta 360 members get the same benefits as Diamond Medallion members (above), plus the benefits below.

    Delta Sky Club Executive Membership

    360 Members receive an Executive SkyClub membership which gets the member and two guests into Delta SkyClub locations.

    This membership typically costs $845 or 84,500 SkyMiles a year, so this is one of the best perks of 360 Status.

    Delta Sky Club
    Courtesy of Delta Airlines

    Special Customer Service Team

    Delta 360 members have a team of elite customer service agents tracking all of your flights and proactively rebook your flights in the event of cancellations or delays.

    Delta 360 members also get access to a special telephone number where customer service agents answer immediately 24/7/365.

    Potential Porsche VIP Gate Transfer

    Delta’s special customer service team also monitors 360 members’ flights for tight connections and may dispatch a Porsche to your plane for a VIP gate transfer.

    These transfers are available at Atlanta (ATL), Detroit (DTW), Minneapolis (MSP), Los Angeles (LAX), Salt Lake City (SLC), and Seattle (SEA).

    Unfortunately, this service cannot be requested or reserved in advance. 

    If a transfer is arranged, a Delta representative will be waiting in the jetway with a sign with the member’s name.

    The representative will then personally escort you down the stairs onto the tarmac with your bags, where a Porsche Cayenne will be awaiting.

    Delta Porsche Transfer
    Photo: Delta

    A Special Gift

    Delta sometimes sends 360 members a gift such as Tiffany champagne flutes along with bottles of Louis Roederer Champagne.

    Slightly Higher Upgrade Priority

    Delta 360 members don’t have significant upgrade priority unlike American’s Concierge Key or United’s Global Services, which allow members to request upgrades ahead of top-tier elites.

    Delta 360 members’ upgrades are automatically requested 120 hours (5 days) before departure and should have priority over Diamond Medallion members.

    Superior Hotel Upgrades if an Overnight Delay

    Delta will place 360 members in much better hotels than other passengers in the event of an overnight delay.

    For example, Delta may pay for hotel rooms for other passengers at the Holiday Inn but pay for the Westin for 360 members.

    Delta One Check-In at LAX

    Delta 360 members may check-in at the private Delta One check-in counter at LAX Terminal 2 instead of the Sky Priority check-in counter like other Medallion members.

    Delta Million Miler Status

    Delta offers complimentary “Annual Medallion Status” to members who have earned a million or more Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs):

    • 1 Million MQMs = Silver Medallion + Gift
    • 2 Million MQMs = Gold Medallion + Gift
    • 3 Million MQMs = Gift (+ Gold Medallion for 2 Million MQMs)
    • 4 Million MQMs = Platinum Medallion + Gift

    “Annual Medallion Status” is intended to be lifetime elite status, but Delta calls it that for legal reasons, just in case Delta decides to discontinue the program. 

    Delta has temporarily suspended the gifts for reaching each million-mile level, but Delta traditionally offers three choices:

    • Hartmann luggage and briefcases.
    • Tiffany jewelry and luxury items.
    • Tumi luggage and business cases.

    Additionally, members receive special luggage tags to showcase their Millon Miler status.

    The biggest disadvantage of Delta’s Million Miler program is the inability to receive annual Diamond Medallion status.

    United’s Million Miler program awards its members who earn 3 million miles top-tier Premier 1K, and members who earn 4 million miles, invite-only Global Services status.

    Complimentary Medallion Upgrades

    First Class complimentary upgrades (subject to upgrade availability) will start to clear based on your elite level before departure:

    • 360, Diamond, and Platinum Medallion = 120 hours (5 days).
    • Gold Medallion = 72 Hours (3 days).
    • Silver Medallion =  24 hours (1 day).

    Complimentary upgrades don’t always clear in advance when your eligibility window opens. 

    If no upgrades are available, your pending request will be automatically added to the airport standby list for a potential upgrade at the gate before you board.

    You can view your spot on the upgrade list in “My Trips” in the Fly Delta app upon check-in. 

    Upgrades to Delta One

    Delta One (lie-flat business class) upgrades for flights within the United States will clear on the day of departure based on your Medallion level.

    Medallion members are ineligible for complimentary upgrades to Delta One for international flights. 

    However, they are still eligible for First Class (recliner seat) upgrades for international flights to nearby destinations like the Caribbean, Canada, and Central America.

    Diamond Medallion members would need to use a Global Upgrade Certificate to upgrade on an international Delta One flight.

    Requesting Upgrades Automatically

    You can set up automatic requests for upgrades to Comfort+ or First Class in your SkyMiles account by opting in for automatic upgrades.

    Changes to your upgrade preferences will only affect reservations booked after the change. Upgrade preferences for existing itineraries will not be changed.

    For Comfort+ upgrades, you can also now set your seat preferences to avoid getting upgraded to a middle seat. 

    Complimentary Upgrade Priority

    If there is a tie between Medallion members of the same level, Delta uses these tiebreakers to determine who gets the upgrade:

    1. Fare Class (higher priced fares are ranked higher).
    2. Cardholders of the American Express Delta Reserve or Reserve Business credit card.
    3. Delta Corporate Travelers (ticket must include employer’s “Corporate Ticket Designator”).
    4. Card Members who earned the Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQD) waiver in the current calendar year. 
    5. Date and time of upgrade request.

    For example, if there is one upgrade available and two Platinum members traveling on an “E” fare class tickets, the member with a Delta Reserve credit card gets the upgrade.

    If they both have the card, Delta keeps going down the list.

    Complimentary Upgrades with Companions

    A Medallion member and one traveling companion can enjoy a complimentary upgrade when traveling on Delta and Delta Connection.

    The companion must be a SkyMiles member, Medallion member, or partner airline elite member and traveling on the same flight in the same reservation. 

    The process is straight forward if you booked you and your companion on the same reservation.

    The upgrades will clear based on the status of the higher-tiered member.

    For example, if a Diamond and non-elite or Medallion member are traveling together, both upgrades will clear at the Diamond window or priority, if available. 

    The process is a lot more complicated if you are traveling with two or more travel companions or if you and your companion are on different reservations that are later linked.

    You never want to travel with two or more travel companions because the process is:

    • If there are any non-elite Members in the reservation, and everyone checks in together, no one in the reservation will be eligible for Complimentary Upgrades.
    • If you and two or more companions are in the same reservation, all Members must have Medallion Status or be a partner airline elite member for any Members to be eligible for upgrades. Each Member should check-in separately, and they will clear for their upgrade at their respective clearance priorities.
    • If the party comprises all Medallion Members and everyone checks in together, the party will be eligible for upgrades at the lowest tiered Medallion Member’s clearance priority.

    If you and your travel companion are on separate reservations, you can link them by calling 1-800-323-2323.

    The process for complimentary upgrades on the linked reservation is:

    • If the travel companion is a non-elite member, an upgrade to first class or domestic Delta One will clear at the Medallion member’s level. But upgrades to Comfort+ are not allowed for the travel companion.
    • If the travel companion is a Medallion member, upgrades will clear at each person’s respective upgrade window. (e.g., a Silver Medallion traveling with Platinum Medallion on a linked reservation will clear at the Silver level, not the Platinum level.).

    Complimentary Upgrades on Aeromexico

    Delta owns a 49% ownership stake in Aeromexico, and their joint venture partnership makes Medallion members eligible for complimentary upgrades on Aeromexico flights.

    Medallion members and one travel companion are eligible for complimentary upgrades on all intra-Mexico Aeromexico flights, as well as Aeromexico flights between Mexico and the U.S., Central America, Caribbean, Colombia, and Ecuador.

    All tickets, including award tickets but excluding basic economy, are eligible for upgrades.

    Upgrades to Class Premier (first-class) will clear in advance based on the normal Medallion upgrade windows.

    Unfortunately, Medallion members are not eligible for upgrades to Aeromexico Plus (similar to Comfort+).

    Regional and Global Upgrade Certificates

    Upgrade certificates are one of the nicest perks of Delta Medallion status, but there are several things you should know:

    – Each certificate expires one year from the date it is issued. The flight must actually be flown, not ticketed during this period. You have until January 31st after each Medallion year to choose the upgrade certificates as your Choice Benefit, so don’t choose the certificates until you have a plan to use them. 

    – Each certificate is good for one person one-way. To upgrade two people on a round-trip flight, you would need four certificates.

    – The certificate can only be used on certain fares P, A, G, W, Y, B, M, H, Q, K, L, U, T, X, or V class. You can also upgrade Pay with Miles tickets and tickets using Companion Certificates. However, you cannot use upgrade certificates on basic economy or award tickets.

    – You can apply a certificate to someone else’s reservation, but they must be on the same flight as you. You cannot use a certificate to upgrade someone on a different flight.

    – You won’t lose your Upgrade Certificate if you need to change or cancel a flight. This is a nice policy, unlike United, which makes upgrades using PlusPoints non-refundable. But if you’re not changing your flight, an upgrade cannot be reversed.

    Regional Upgrade Certificates

    Regional upgrades can be used on flights within the United States or between the U.S. and:

    • Canada
    • Mexico
    • Caribbean
    • Bermuda
    • Central America
    • Northern South America (excluding Delta One)

    Global Upgrade Certificates

    Global Upgrade Certificates can be used anywhere Delta flies or on one of Delta’s partners (below). 

    Global Upgrades are valuable, so always try to use them on flights with lie-flat business class seats.

    Delta One Suites Picture

    How to Use Upgrade Certificates

    Upgrade certificates cannot be applied online or via the Fly Delta app.

    You must call 800-323-2323 or your Medallion phone number to apply a certificate at least 3 hours prior to departure, but at least 24 hours is recommended.

    There is no good way to see if a flight is eligible for upgrades online. 

    We recommend calling Delta before you book a flight to investigate possible booking dates where your Upgrade Certificates will clear immediately.

    Waitlisting Upgrade Certificates

    If an upgrade is not available, you asked to be put on the waitlist.

    If you’re flying on an itinerary with connections, you should request the agent place upgrade priority on the most important flight.

    You would hate to burn a Global Upgrade Certificate on a 45-minute flight if your long-haul upgrade doesn’t clear.

    If your upgrade doesn’t clear, it will automatically be redeposited into your account.

    You can waitlist for multiple flights and multiple classes (Delta One, Premium Select, Comfort+), but once an upgrade clears, a certificate is considered used.

    Waitlisting for multiple classes could be a trap because if your upgrade to Premium Select clears before Delta One, you would use two certificates.

    If you just waitlist for Delta One, you would only use one certificate. But if the Delta One upgrade never clears, you’re sitting in economy class instead of Premium Select.

    Global Certificates on Partner Airlines

    Diamond Medallion members can redeem Global Upgrade Certificates on select flights with KLM, Air France, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia, Korean Air, and Aeromexico.

    Upgrades on partners will depend on the fare class booked and, for some flights, whether it is marketed by Delta. 

    Marketed by Delta means that you can book that flight on Delta.com, but it will be operated by the other airline.

    Delta Marketing Flights

    Below are the eligible fare classes for Global Upgrade Certificates based on a partner airline.

    • For travel on Air France-operated flights marketed by Air France and booked in Y, B, M, K, H, L, Q, T, N, R, or V class, customers can upgrade into A class (Premium Economy) or Z class (Business Class).
    • For Air France-operated flights marketed by KLM, customers with a published fare booked in  Y, B, M, K, H, L, Q, T, N, R, or V class can upgrade into Z class (Business Class).
    • For Air France-operated flights marketed by Delta, customers with a published fare booked in Y, B, M, H, Q, K, L, U, T, X or V class can upgrade into A class (Premium Economy) or Z class (Business Class).
    • In addition, customers traveling on an Air France-marketed and operated flight and booked in W, S or A class as well as customers traveling on an Air France-operated, Delta-marketed flight and booked in P, A, or G class can upgrade to Z class (Business Class). 
    • For travel on KLM-operated, Delta-marketed flights this certificate may be used to upgrade on published fares booked in Y, B, M, H, Q, K, L, U, T, X or V class and all fare classes upgrade into Z class.
    • For travel on KLM-operated flights marketed by KLM, fares booked in Y, B, M, K, H, L, Q, T, N, R, or V class are eligible to upgrade into Z class.
    • For travel on KLM-operated flights marketed by AF, this certificate may be used to upgrade on published fares booked in Y, B, M, K, H, L, Q, T, N, R, or V class into Z class.

    For travel on Aeromexico operated, Delta marketed flights this certificate may be used to upgrade on Delta`s published fares booked in W, Y, B, M, H, Q, K, L, U, T, X or V class and all fare classes upgrade into Aeromexico`s O class. 

    Valid on Delta-marketed, Virgin Atlantic-operated flights for use globally on published fares booked in W, Y, B, M, H, Q, K, L, U, T, X or V class to G class (Upper Class).

    Valid on Delta-marketed, Virgin Australia-operated flights on published fares booked in Y, B, M, H, Q, K, L, U class to Virgin Australia’s Business Class. 

    Valid on Delta-marketed, Korean Air-operated flights for use globally on Delta’s published fares booked in Y or B class to Korean Air’s Z class, or booked in M class to Korean Air’s O class.

    Elite Status Match

    Delta will match your elite status with another airline for three months – complimentary. 

    You can also extend your elite status by completing an elite status challenge.

    How to Status Match to Delta

    You can match elite status from the list of pre-approved airlines below at each elite level except Diamond. 

    You cannot match elite status from another SkyTeam airline or one of Delta’s partner airlines.

    • Air Canada Prestige 25K and Elite 35K
    • Alaska Airlines MVP
    • All Nippon Airways Bronze
    • American Airlines Gold
    • Asiana Airlines Gold
    • British Airways Bronze
    • Copa Airlines Silver
    • Japan Airlines Crystal
    • Lufthansa Frequent Traveler
    • South African Airways Silver
    • Southwest Airlines A-List
    • United Airlines Premier Silver
    • Air Canada Elite 75K and Super Elite 100K
    • Alaska Airlines MVP Gold 75K
    • All Nippon Airways Diamond
    • American Airlines Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro, and Concierge Key
    • Asiana Airlines Diamond Plus and Platinum
    • British Airways Gold
    • Copa Airlines Platinum and Presidential Platinum
    • Japan Airlines Premier and Diamond
    • Lufthansa Senator and Hon Circle Members
    • South African Airways Platinum and Lifetime Platinum
    • United Airlines Premier Platinum, Premier 1K, and Global Services

    If your airline is not on the list, you can still submit your request, and Delta will decide if that status qualifies.

    You are also ineligible for a status match if you received a status match in the past three years.

    If you meet all the eligibility requirements, you must submit both:

    • A valid, current elite physical or digital membership card or credential with your name on it; AND
    • A statement showing your earned elite status with an airline and the corresponding activity with that airline that made you achieve that status, with your name on it. 

    For both of these materials, you may upload a photograph, screenshot of your app or computer screen, or other file format as long as it clearly shows the required information, your elite status level, and your name. 

    Keeping the Medallion Status

    To extend your Delta elite status past the first three months, you need to meet certain requirements within three months based upon your Medallion level:

    • Silver Medallion = 6,250 MQMs OR 8 MQSs; AND $750 MQDs or MQD Waiver.
    • Gold Medallion = 12,500 MQMs OR 15 MQSs; AND $1,500 MQDs or MQD Waiver.
    • Platinum Medallion = 18,750 MQMs OR 25 MQSs; AND $2,250 MQDs or MQD Waiver.
    Platinum members who complete the challenge will be eligible for Choice Benefits.
    Delta Status Challenge Requirements

    Reclaim My Status

    All Delta elite members are eligible to reclaim their status if they have a qualifying life event resulting in you traveling less.

    You must have had elite status during the previous Medallion year but lost it completely or moved to a lower Tier of Status.

    Delta will give you three months of complimentary status, but you need to hit certain flight requirements to maintain the status.

    What Qualifies to Reclaim Status

    Delta considers the following reasons to make a Medallion member eligible for the program: 

    • Becoming a parent, including maternity, paternity, adoption, or foster leave
    • Recovering from a serious illness
    • Sustaining serious injury
    • Changing jobs or careers
    • Caregiving for a family member
    • Getting a degree

    You will need to fill out this form and provide documentation of the life event such as a birth certificate or new hire paperwork.

    Requirements to Maintain Status

    To keep your reclaimed status, you will need to complete the following thresholds:

    • Silver Medallion = 6,250 MQMs OR 8 MQSs; AND $750 MQDs or MQD Waiver.
    • Gold Medallion = 12,500 MQMs OR 15 MQSs; AND $1,500 MQDs or MQD Waiver.
    • Platinum Medallion = 18,750 MQMs OR 25 MQSs; AND $2,250 MQDs or MQD Waiver.
    • Diamond Medallion = 31,250 MQMs OR 35 MQSs; AND $3,750 MQDs or MQD Waiver.
    Upon completion of the Platinum or Diamond Medallion levels, members will be eligible for Choice Benefits for the following year.

    The Verdict

    Delta elite status can unlock many great extra perks to help your frequent travel feel more comfortable, especially upgrades using a Global Upgrade Certificate on Delta or one of their partners.

    I hope you enjoyed this very long guide to Delta’s elite status. There is a lot of information to absorb.