This is the time of year to look at what is next. I had a great post Monday, that I will link back to in December when folks are freaking out about being short of MQMs, that asked you to consider is now the time to do what it takes for some extra MQMs.
But then there is the question of is some or another status worth it? I am going to cover them over the next few weeks, that is:
- Considering your MQM balance & strategies to consider
- Should I go for Delta Diamond Medallion Status
- Should I go for Delta Platinum Medallion Status
- Should I go for Delta Gold Medallion Status
- Should I go for Delta Silver Medallion Status
Once I post about each one the above links will become active so if one of them is not “clickable” you will just have to wait a little longer 😉
I think the best way to cover today’s topic is with a question from blog reader Bob (no, not “that” Bob, another Bob)! Bob asks me:
“René can you consider an article on whether or not to go for Diamond? I have 124K and think I might just want to rollover. Other than the choice benefits upgrade certs, what else is of value?” – Bob
Bob makes a great point and really pushes it almost to the max. I will make a list, maybe not all inclusive, but extensive of why it would be worth it for perks. Then, later on, we will consider the reason NOT to push it up to Diamond.
- Diamond Medallion Choice Benefit
- MANY more upgrades
- Better Delta service
- Sky Club individual membership
The above are very broad listings and I could have made this list really, long but I think these really encompass so many of the perks. Clearly, as Bob touches on, the Choice Benefits for making it to Diamond are HUGE. To be able to upgrade to a DeltaONE seat on a LONG international flight from a cheap coach ticket is amazing. Then you even get a second choice like gifting Gold Medallion status to someone you like / love is another HUGE perk (sure not as great as it was but still nothing to sneeze at).
If you want a bunch more upgrades you need to be Diamond. Sure, it is still hard at HUGE Delta hubs but if you work it you can be very successful. I have only missed 2 upgrades on some 70 segments this year and they were on award tickets. Bottom line is you will be up front a bunch more if you are Diamond.
When it comes to service it is good to be Diamond. You get better treatment. If you don’t, you can play the “Diamond card” if you will and I have never had a rep not agree to somewhat do what I have asked. From better hotels when you bump to favors outside the “rules” to fees waived, again it is good to be Diamond.
Lastly we have free Sky Club individual membership. Honestly this is not worth it alone. After all, with either the Delta AMEX Reserve card or even the non-Delta AMEX Platinum card you, for yourself, get entrance the day you fly Delta. The only real extra perk of membership is entrance to the club when you are NOT flying Delta and want to get into the Sky Club. But it is a perk no matter what.
Now let’s look at the reasons NOT to go for Diamond and to stop at Platinum Medallion for the year.
- Rolling over a bunch of MQMs
- Your next year’s flying patterns
- The “sweet spot” of Platinum
- SkyMiles perks and spending
Again, a short-ish list but covers so many little bits. Let’s start with the goal of all elites that huge bucket of MQMs. As long as you have at least earned Silver Medallion status, that is, 25k MQMs and 3k MQD spend or MQD exempt status via AMEX 25k spend, you are rolling over some number of MQMs. If you are Platinum Medallion (our assumption for this post btw) then you are talking about rolling over every MQM above 75k. So, theoretically anyway, you could rollover 49,999 MQMs into the next year. More realistically many will roll 20-40k. But the point is that you have a massive jump on re-qualifying for Delta elite status the next year. And that ties in to the following point.
Your flying patterns for 2016. Let’s say you ARE going to fly a bunch in 2016. Then you will want the perks of Diamond status. But if you are staying even compared to 2015, or even flying less than this year, then you may want to hold short at Platinum. Or, if it looks like 2017 will be a bigger flying year for you then again pushing for Platinum, or even Diamond, for that year could be better for you and having a big start with rollover MQMs could help you with that future goal.
Then we have the last one that is the Platinum Medallion “sweet spot” if you will. I was Platinum for a great many years. It truly is a great place to be with Delta. They do love you (just not as much as they love Diamonds). They give you “most” of the perks of Diamonds and truly appreciate your business. Your upgrades as Platinum tend to be good (not as good as they once were I agree but still). You can also work many of the same elite perks that Diamonds get as again Delta does like you very much at the Platinum level. Then there is Skyteam that also really appreciates Platinums as “elite plus” members. In a very strange way they like Platinums MORE that Diamonds as Skyteam does not have a 4th status like Delta and they are sometimes confused that Diamonds ARE in fact higher than Platinums. Anyway, it is good to be Platinum with Skyteam.
Lastly we have SkyMiles. All I really need to say is UNLIMITED re-deposits up to 72 hours before flight. If you have a bunch of trips planned or points to burn in 2016 you need to be at least Platinum to take full advantage of this perk.
So there you are. Once again not a complete and exhaustive list but enough for you to take the time to consider your own needs, wants, points spending and travel patterns. With this in mind it really should not be “that” hard of a choice to decide to stay at Platinum or push to Diamond. – Rene
PS – If you are willing to commit to a few EliteMileageRun a year it really is not that hard to make Diamond each and every year – Just Sayin’ 😉