Should you go for Delta Platinum Medallion status or stop short for rollover MQMs?

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First things first. A number of folks have Gold Medallion status due to being gifted Gold status from a Diamond as a Choice Benefit. This post is not directed at you since you could be starting at ZERO MQMs for the year. No, this is for those of you who have earned the status via MQMs and MQD spend or by becoming MQD exempt with spend on your Delta AMEX card. First some background for this series:

If you are Gold right now, you should really think about Platinum. But for many who are Gold you fly just enough to make that level or with help from rollover and a few thousand MQMs from  Delta AMEX Platinum or Reserve card  spending. Is it worth it to push to the next level of Platinum? Let’s see what I think are the best perks of Platinum Medallion status:

  • Unlimited fee free SkyMiles ticket re-deposit (up to 72 hrs before flight)
  • Choice Benefits selection choice
  • Much better upgrade percentage
  • Great elite service phone and ground
  • Skyteam top elite recognition

Like the first part in this series, this is not meant to be an all inclusive list of ALL the perks of reaching Platinum Medallion (PM) status. This is meant to help you consider if you should push on and reach for Platinum status.

One of the absolute best perks of being PM is the ability to freely, as often as you like, up to 72 hours before flight, cancel or change any Delta award tickets booked from your account. You can change them if you booked for yourself, for family or friends, for anyone you want as long as the points came from your PM account. Even if you booked a ticket when you were Silver or Gold, now that you are PM, you get to change them for free. I really used this perk a ton when I was PM and I continue to do so as a Diamond.

Next up are Choice Benefits that are an amazing perk from Delta. It is debatable what is the best PM choice is, but for me Regional Upgrades are without compare. To be able to shoot up the upgrade list, or even sometimes months ahead of time clear to 1st class, is remarkable (for you and even a companion with you). If you fly domestic segments a bunch this can really matter and help you when you need it to ride in the pointy end of the jet.

Also, when it comes to upgrades, PM is sweet. Sure you are going to get trumped by a bunch of Diamonds, especially so on certain “Diamond Heavy” routes, but overall you are going to see your upgrade percentage improve over Gold. This, in addition or in concert with Regional Upgrades, can make your travel mostly 1st class on Delta.

The Platinum Medallion line folks can really work wonders. Not only are your hold times, most times, very short but service is usually outstanding. You will find more YES’s than NO’s to so many requests that may be a gray area, shall we say. Not just phone support but gate agents, Sky Club folks and on and on will “look” at you in a different light. Expect more as a PM.

Closely tied to the last point is when flying with Skyteam partners. Skyteam loves their Platinum members. Much of this, as talked about in the last post, is that Platinum is the top tier for AF/KLM so you tend to get “top tier” treatment and are recognized as a top elite. I have been told, by more than one Diamond, where a Delta Platinum got something special like a free upgrade to business class due to an oversold flight in coach over a Delta Diamond. Anyway, this plus being an “elite plus” matters with Skyteam.

Now let’s consider the reasons NOT to go for Platinum and stick at Gold Medallion level. Depending on how you fly this could be a smart move for you:

  • Conserving your precious MQMs with rollover
  • Your next year’s flying patterns
  • You are happy with current perks
  • The risk of dropping to Silver

It can be hard to make Gold from just flying. Heck, it can be hard to make Gold from flying AND bonus MQMs from Delta AMEX Platinum or Reserve cards <–LINK. So, I can understand if you are at ~60,000 MQMs saying something like “I would rather start the year with 10k than push it for the extra 15k and start at zero next year”. This is especially the case if you cannot, for whatever reason, supplement your MQMs with credit card bonus MQMs. This really is a “count the cost” type equation for you. Then again, there are always EliteMileageRuns you could consider. Just factor in your MQD status as well unless you are MQD exempt from AMEX spending (I did it in 18 days btw).

This next one really is to me one of the biggest to consider very carefully. If you are not going to have a bunch of award tickets next year, and or you are not flying “that much” next year, Gold may be enough for your needs. Think hard on this.

I seem to be leading each point into the next and they all really do tie in to each other. Gold has some nice perks so pushing for Platinum just for the extra perks may not be worth it to you personally. If you are happy with a few upgrades and C+ (now at 3 days before flight), plus exit rows, this could work for you. If you take those factors and include rollover, you are maybe best to stick with Gold!

Then there is the big one – the risk of dropping to Silver. Now I know Silver still has some real value. Many know how to work Silver for great rewards (I know I did when I was Silver). But everyone will agree, especially when it comes to Skyteam, Silver is NOT Gold. Enough said there for today.

So there we are. The pros and cons of sticking with Gold or going for Platinum. The equation, much like the Diamond one, really depends on what will happen to you next year. Are things going to stay the same or is next year a year you can really benefit from higher perks and status. Look at all the numbers NOW and consider what will be best and most rewarding for you. – Rene

 

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13 comments

  1. I’m currently projected to end the year 5000 MQMs short of PM status. I have no intention of going for PM, and have even done the math to make sure that I won’t hit it accidentally. I must rollover miles in order to requalify for GM in 2017 (I’ve travelled a lot more in 2015 than usual). PM is nice, but I’d rather have GM in the longer-term than risk dropping to FO.

  2. I could almost “copy and paste” William’s comment, as I am in the same boat. Traveled more than usual during 2015 plus Amex spending bonuses, puts me 600 miles short of PM status by year end. But so far very few trips planned during 2016…I am one of those who if I PM it now, could end up as Silver the following year, so I will stick with Gold for now and practically guarantee it for 2017 as well, when 24400 points roll over in Jan!

  3. Thanks for the insightful article. Due to my travel this yearfrom no miles I reached 78,000 miles which is the level need it to achieve platinum but I am only a silver because my spending is not that high. I am about 1,500 from Gold. I have two questions. What happens at the end of the year , what resets and what keeps for 2016 *i.e. MQD, MQS, MQM, etc? Also I do have the Amex card but I only have about 3K should I try to reach the 25k?

  4. Rene, First I can’t say enough thanks for all your insights.
    I am going to be Platinum after I fly to Florida in December. Tough and risky decision. Can I sign up for /switch over to the Amex Business Reserve Card from the regular card and get the extra MQMs?Any help you can provide on this would be awesome.

    Thanks in advance.
    Nervous

  5. If i sign up for the Amex reserve card, how long will it take for the 10k MQM to post once i make the purchase? will i make it before the end of the year?

  6. @Michael – The points do not have to post before year end. A CHARGE must post before year end. If you go for the card, apply via link, then call and get them to RUSH the new card overnight. Then charge something right away.

  7. Been following your advises to today, reached GM last year and want to gain for the first time PM with combination of domestic travel and Amex contributions.

    I don’t do enough travel in comparison to many of you and my resources can be consider limited to the standard traveler (hobbies), but by utilizing double segments (one way) and avoiding overcrowded routes I have been successful in taking advantage of the GM perks/upgrades.

    Sacrificing PM this year would not be bad as long as I can help push enough MQMs for next year if I am coming up short.

    C ya in the air, vp

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