Is it worth it to go for Delta Silver Medallion status? Are the perks worth the effort?

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We will receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertiser Disclosure, and advertiser partners, such as American Express, CreditCards.com and others visit this page.

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN
 

delta-medallion-silver-gold-platinum-diamond-tags-renes-points-blog

You will not get the above card. Nope! Delta has so little respect for Silver Medallions that they no longer send you any tags or such in the mail. Even your Silver Medallion SkyMiles elite card itself you must print it off the website (and then what, clear packing tape to make it real?). So does this tell us that Silver is akin to “gum on the bottom of your shoe”? Let’s take a look:

When you consider all the amazing perks of Gold, Platinum and especially Diamond Medallion status why even bother with Silver? I think there is a real argument that this bottom level Delta and Skyteam level has merit (there is SPG crossover rewards but not recognized by Skyteam). Let’s take a look why:

  • Comfort+ & exit row
  • Some upgrades (maybe many)
  • Elite service
  • Free bags & Skyteam elite perks

As I talked about before in this series I am almost a Delta million miler. One of the big perks of crossing this mark is “annual” or lifetime Silver Medallion (FO) status without having to do anything to keep the status year after year, that is, basically I will be gifted Silver every year by Delta. That is worth having to me and one of the big reasons is simply to be able to pick an exit row seat for free. On top of that, if I work it correctly, I will find myself in C+ seats many of the flights I am on with Delta. While the C+ seat is no different than the rest of coach, the experience is markedly better with free drinks, Delta Studio and more recline and leg room. That works!

Don’t “expect” to upgrade as a Delta FO. But when you do, it is all that much more special. Plus, if you really work it, you can surprisingly score a number of upgrades. Mid week, Saturday and other times and working fare class can result in a decent now and then upgrade percentage. Again, don’t plan for it but enjoy the upgrades when they happen.

You are still an elite to Delta as an FO. Sure, maybe not Diamond special but still an elite nonetheless and you will get better service. Heck, even dropping the “I am after all still a loyal Delta medallion” can win over when push comes to shove as you ARE a medallion elite flyer! Phone support, even at the Silver level, is better than just being a SkyMiles member. It can matter when you really need it and even on every day requests.

Then we have the big one depending on your travels. To have you, and up to 8 more on the same reservation get a free checked bag is a great value. Combo that with a Delta Gold, Platinum or Reserve cards <–LINK (and the same thing goes for the Delta AMEX business cards as well) and you can check two bags each with Delta. Even with Skyteam you are, under most situations, getting a free bag plus priority check-in, boarding and shots at better seats. All these little bits matter and can transform the travel from a experience to forget to one you can enjoy.

So you can see, Silver is not a “junk elite level”. No it has real value even if not as much as the ones above it.

Now on the other parts of this series I talked about why you should NOT go for the next level. When it comes to Silver it really is not about rollover but about YOU. Let’s take a look why you would not go for Silver:

  • MQDs (can’t earn MQD exempt status)
  • Not flying Delta next year
  • Can’t get MQMs via cards or Elite Mileage Run

A short list but it really is all about cost and what you can or can’t do. The first one is really simple. For most folks spending $3000 (net not including taxes etc.) with Delta is a LOT of money. Now voucher spend does count, but then you have to have flown to get a bump to spend them so there is that. Your credit may not allow you to get a Delta AMEX card and spend your way to MQD exempt status. So if you have only spent a few hundred bucks with Delta this year there is no point in going on a spending spree just to get MQD spend up. Now if you are only a few hundred away, then sure buy a ticket and fly somewhere nice.

This one is always all important on all of these elite levels, that is, what will be your flying pattern next year? If you only have one or maybe two trips on Delta planned (or likely to take) please don’t bother pushing it. Elite status is for frequent flyers and flying once a year is not frequent. You are better off just burning points and flying business class when you do fly (or at least that is what I would do).

The last one is sorta covered and yet not. Maybe you have the MQD spend from work trips or whatever but are MQM short. Maybe your home life does not allow for you to take a day or two off for an Elite Mileage Run to pick up the final few thousand MQMs you need. Or, maybe like already touched on, your credit does not allow you to hold a Delta AMEX Platinum or Reserve card to gain MQMs via spend bonus each year. If any of this is your situation then again pushing for status, even if it would benefit you next year, may not work out. Frustrating but perhaps a reality to consider.

And that folks raps this all up. Silver Medallion status with Delta and Skyteam has real value. I will value it one day when I drop down from Diamond to Silver and enjoy all the perks this lower ranked status will afford me (in conjunction with other travel card perks that gets me lounge access and other perks as well)! – Rene

 

SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express
 

17 comments

  1. here is a question. I have the MQM to repeat as the mighty silver flyer that I am next year, however, I am $160 short of the MDQ. I will not be able to waiver spend up my Delta Plat card in the time left. What is the deadline for getting this spend, is it year end, Dec. 31? Regardless of the end date, would it be a valid strategy to buy a single, refundable ticket for far future travel to get my MDQ then cancel it after the deadline? Now that I type it out, the MDQs don’t actually post until the travel is completed do they? Dang. Ok, thanks for any info. I’ll still fly Delta because I plan early enough to get the lowest level awards out of CVG when I need them (DeltaOne CVG-CDG-OTP the day after Christmas for the lowest level, plus the same CVG-CDG-Europe next year to Athens as well), plus the fact that I am in CVG in the first place with so many international options. (HA!)

  2. Question: if you have lifetime silver status being MM, what happens when you get 25,000 mqms. Are you gold?

  3. Honestly, I’ve always enjoyed being silver medallion (that’s just all I can achieve) and plan to keep that status.
    When I assume that Delta never changes rules again (I know, this is not realistic) and that my flying pattern doesn’t change then I will be gold for one year somewhen in the future. Thanks to accumulating rollover MQMs.
    Status saves me money because of one checked bag free.
    You’re right, upgrades is something one cannot take for granted or count on. But it happened from time to time, which always was a joy. Except for one time when we ended up in the bulkhead row on a 757, hence, we had less legroom than in coach. Other than that, if some upgrade happens it’s great!
    What I dislike is the change regarding c+ seats. While it was called Economy Comfort we enjoyed some discount (25% on international and 50% on domestic flights). Now, since it is called Delta Comfort+, not only those seats got more expensive, we also have to pay full price if we want it.
    Oh sure, they are complimentary during the last 24 hours before departure. But since flights are so full these days it is not very realistic to find two open seats so close to flight … and two seats that are next to each other.
    The thing is that I don’t travel alone but always with my +1. And trust me, we don’t want to be separated during a flight.
    Still, I am happy to have some status at least. And, as of now, MQDs are no problem for us (well, my +1 is silver, too, of course … as mentioned, we always travel together), since we are not US-based.

  4. @Brian –

    Correct. The MQD’s will not post until after flight occurs. So, if you purchase on December 31st, 2015 and fly on December 31st, 2015 the MQD’s (regardless of when Delta gets around to processing the flight in your SkyMiles account) will past back to 2015’s MQD spending requirement. If you were to purchase the ticket on the 31st and wait to fly until January 1st, then the MQD’s would apply to your 2016 requirement.

    Per Delta’s T&C:
    Miles, MQDs, MQMs, MQSs are only awarded upon completion of qualifying flight activity. No Miles, MQDs, MQMs, or MQSs are awarded for tickets which are purchased but never flown, regardless of reason.

  5. Rene, I wonder if Delta will still send the Silver Card to the Million Milers since it still has the 1 M designation on it.

  6. I “enjoy” Silver Medallion since several years. It is OK – the free luggage and the Chance to use the Medallion CI is a good perk.
    Upgrades happen – but the experience from Saturday was not fine: First they gave me and my +1 an upgrade – then they downgraded me (both on one booking) and they were not able to give me my former seat! Reason was – so I was told – there was a last Minute customer buying a ticket after we were upgraded. Frustrating, back to Silver: It is worth the effort.

  7. Wait, so the “one free bag” with cc and silver status are stackable? As in, if I have both I get 2 bags free? That would be awesome.
    –signed “chasing silver in ATL”

  8. silver is the sweet spot. gold is really no better. the only thing gold has is a faster phone line, which does help if you need it. otherwise the diff btw silver and gold is minimal. if you have a choice set yourself up for easy silver next year rather than pushing for gold. i try to end year with 45,000-49,000 mqms.

  9. Whew that last comment is so short sighted for frequent travelers. The SDC fee for FO is brutal loss from GM. Buying cheapest flight of the day and flying out/home on changed tickets can save tons of money/time. At $50 per day that can change your travel life.

  10. I reached silver at the end of last year and should reach gold this year. I hope the perks start to kick in when I reach gold….’cause I ain’t gettin’ any benefits at silver. I travel between ATL and ERW 2-3 times a month and I have never gotten an upgrade….not even to C+.

  11. @Will – If you reach Gold in 2017 you will have it for the rest of this year, all of 2018, and it will end 1FEB19 (if you do not qualify again in 2018 that is).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *