Medallion and Elite Program


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  1. We are 2 platinum medallions who just booked companion fare tickets in economy (because the first class fare was1000k more) from Dtw to SfO in August and have been told by a supervisor that we cannot upgrade to Delta comfort (at any point, even with money) because of the new way they are booking DC. It is considered part of the complimentary upgrade exclusion. Have you found this to be true or do you know anyway around this? Thanks

  2. I don’t think so. There is plenty of space, the plane is almost empty. I was told there is no upgrade eligibility anymore to Delta C with companion certificates. She tried for a long time to upgrade us to Delta C and talked to the supervisor. Should I try again? Thanks

  3. @Deb – I missed you are talking AMEX BOGOF cert. Those are no longer open to C+ upgrades..
    But if you are BOTH PM on a normal fare (not E or consolidator) then yes you should both auto UG is there is space.

  4. Yes, it is the Amex BOGOF cert, and I was surprised by that change,
    The rep was very apologetic and another disappointment from Delta
    Will the platinum upgrade certificates work? Thanks

  5. Hi ,
    Diamonds were able to make a co-terminal change like LGA to JFK when making same day confirmed changes in First. Has this been taken away as well. If you read the SDC policy it appears it has can you let me know thank you

  6. Rene – I hit PM last October and received my PM packet in the mail about 3 weeks later; should I be receiving a new one for 2016? Haven’t seen one yet so debating whether to call.


  7. Just made my million after many, many years. My question is what does it take to make Gold? If I am Silver from MM, do I just need 25K to gold and 50K to Platinum? Or, am I just awarded Silver status and still have to earn that first 25k on my way to Platinum/Diamond.

  8. @Ward – As a MM you are gifted status, NOT MQMs. You must earn 50k for GM and 75k or PM plus MQD spend or MQD AMEX exempt.

  9. Rene,
    This question is regarding a Skybonus – Gift Medallion Silver
    If you gift a silver status to an employee that has no status (let’s say he has 10k miles this year and partial mile qualifying dollars)… what happens next?
    He becomes silver instanatly… but what about him building up to gold. Does he start right at 25k? Does it do a 25k plus 10k = 35k?
    What about the MQD$? Does anyone know how this works?
    I searched around to find this answer… and I don’t care that it is not a “good deal” for points. We have an excess of those right now.
    As always… thanks!

  10. @Chriss – Just the status is gifted nothing more. You are NOT gifting MQMs. They have to net 50k MQMs plus MQD spend to be Gold.

  11. I’m confused about the implementation of the new comfort+ upgrade system. I’m a gold medallion. When I book a flight, if I do not select “request complimentary upgrade for comfort+”, does that mean I won’t be able to choose an available C+ seat 3 days before departure? And if I do select it, does that mean I’ll be randomly assigned a C+ seat (including middle seats) with no chance to change back to my old seat if I don’t like the new one?

  12. @Rene: I wanted to see if you can help me with a question regarding the benefits from my Delta Platinum status when flying Alitalia. I cannot find anything related to what will be my benefits there mainly related to baggage allowance. For my upcoming summer vacation with family we are flying Delta MSP-FCO-MSP but then on separate tickets we have 3 segments on Alitalia. One is FCO-ATH, other is ATH-FCO-NAP and the last is NAP-FCO. Yes, buying 3 separate one way tickets saved us almost $7k. Problem is that Alitalia says that we can only have 1 23kg checked luggage per passenger. Do you know if my Delta Platinum status will provide anything extra there? Tks

  13. @Rene: Tks but I still cannot find my answer. It is not a Code Share flight. It is a purchased Alitalia ticket and has nothing to do with Delta. On the baggage allowance chart it only says the allowances by class not by elite status. My tickets are on coach class so I am trying to understand if by being a SkyTeam Elite Plus that gives me anything extra in terms of how many bags we can check. Alitalia site is so bad that I could not find a place to add my Delta number there. 🙁

  14. @Santastico – No, the wording is clear. To get Skyteam luggage perks needs to be codeshare. If not you are under Alitalia rules. Most things with Alitalia you have to call to get done btw. I would call and ask them to add your Delta / Skyteam number and hope it works. If not, flash your PM card and push it.

  15. Now that C+ is a booking option for Asia-Pacific and Latin America, will C+ Medallion Upgrades for those markets w0rk the same way as the US markets?

  16. Rene,

    Have you heard from any of your sources on when the change to allow a companion to clear into comfort+ when traveling with a Diamond / Platinum is coming back beyond “this fall”. Also I would love to hear your opinion as to why they are waiting to the fall anyway vs. just making the change immediately.

  17. @Ryan – No updates. My guess it is an IT issue. Also my guess they are having to many C+ “upgrade” i.e. sidegrade issues to add more more thing to the mix.

  18. I am a platinum and was my husband is a platinum and we were traveling Dtw to Mco. I called the plat line on Wednesday so we could get Delta Comfort seats for us and our 2 grandkids. So she put us on 2 separate records and we got the DC seats. And when we got to the gate on Thursday we had all been upgraded to First Class. WE were shocked. Also we were all upgraded to DC seats on the return automatically I think 3 days before. So it looks like its working to me.

  19. If I earn Platinum status for 2017 in June of 2016 will I get to take advantage of Platinum benefits for the rest of 2016.

  20. @Lisa – Yes as far as all the normal PM perks in 2016 and in 2017 and it will end 1FEB2018. However, you will ONLY earn the 2017 Choice Benefits choice for 2017 NOT for 2016. Clear?

  21. I’ve earned Platinum status for 2017 and expect to make Diamond for 2017 within the next 3 months. If I choose my Choice Benefits now as PM, do I get the option to choose again when I make DM?

  22. @Steve – There is no again. You get your PM choice now if you want (but not again next year). When you make DM you get you DM choice also at that time if you want (but not again next year). Clear?

  23. I believe so… would you recommend pulling the trigger on the PM Choice Benefit soon and then waiting on the DM Choice Benefit until early 2017?

    sorry about the email typo.. corrected on this response.

  24. Hi Rene-I’m so confused by the C+ seating rules. My husband (FO) and I (no status) took advantage of the Europe fare sale a couple of weeks ago. Scored tickets to Ireland for $500/ea from our tiny airport. The tickets were booked on my husband’s account. I noticed he (we) are eligible for C+ and F side/upgrades on all of the domestic segments but not on the international segments. I know we are not eligible for F upgrades, but I thought we were still eligible for C+. Are we not because I have no status? I’m considering, depending on the cost, paying for C+ only because we have 2 hours to get off the plane make it thorough customs, etc and get to the train station in Dublin. That could be tight if we stay in our exit seats, more than half way back on the plane.

  25. I should be AA EP pretty soon and am very seriously considering to go for Delta DM or AS 75K. Three things that is drawing me to DM are: Ability to get almost half the MQMs through two Reserve cards every year, more SWUs (including regionals) and more redemption value as well as options for SkyMiles than AA on average.

    Couple of quick questions, what are the probabilities of upgrades as a Platinum on domestic flights and two how easy is it to use SWUs on international flights and get upgraded?

  26. Another quick question: Do you get automatic upgrades as Plat or Diamond on flights to Canada/Mexico/HI/ANC/Central America or do you have to use GUCs? Thanks!

  27. @Jediwho – You have mixed a bunch up. Canada yes. Most of SA yes but no D1. Hawaii yes but only west coast plus SLC. ANC is nothing special so yes!

  28. I an diamond & my companion is gold. Before the new rules regarding + one companions taking effect sometime(?) this fall, we separated our reservations for a trip to Punta Cana in November into two records. Is it possible to get the two combined into one record?

  29. Read about #TeamBoardLast mentioned in a couple of posts. What exactly does it stand for?

  30. Dear Rene–
    I know you have written about this from time to time, but the Skymiles program has changed quite a bit. My partner and I have both been Gold Medallions for the last several years. However, this year we are both very close to reaching Platinum (about 6,000 MQMs short; as for MQDs we have already Platinum). Is it worthwhile to attain Platinum? Are there any real advantages to going for Platinum, as opposed to carrying MQMs into the following year?

    As Gold Medallion we are almost never upgraded to First Class on domestic flights.

    I would appreciate your thoughts. I enjoy your blog very much, and I have recommended it to my friends who fly Delta.

    Thank you. G

  31. Rene – Thanks for all the great information that you post. I had a question about earning MQMs on Delta Vacations flights. I saw that you addressed this back in 2014 but wondered if there had been changes?

    I can get a cheaper “Flight and Car” package through DV than purchasing the flight only on But wanted to confirm that I will get MQM before I booked.

  32. @GP – Great question. The latest, as you can see:
    Is that YES you will earn. Having said that, that post is years old and a ton, and I mean a TON, of folks who I very much respected are no longer working with Delta.
    My only advice is email them and Delta and get in writing proof so you can grip if they do not give you points after the fact. Sad, but true in this Delta environment.

  33. Hi Rene,

    I’m going to be $50 dollars away from the MQD goal for Gold, I have all the MQM’s. Is there any way to get the last MQD without flying? If I pay for the mileage booster would it count towards MQD? Anything you can think of?

    If I call and ask nicely do you think they will waive/grant me the 50 MQD? Help would be appreciated. I would love to be gold for my next flight to Vegas as opposed to reaching gold status after!


  34. @Amar – There really is no way other than the end of the year when Delta sells MQMs and gives you MQD spend credit at BAT CRAZY prices to avoid like ZIKA! If yo are in Vegas long enough you will be GM on the way back at least! Sorry – Rene

  35. Rene – For SkyMiles Global Upgrade coupon – does it have to be used by the expiration date or booked and redeemed by that date?

  36. @Ken – See the T&C. It says fly by exp date. However, in practice there are many reports of using past if you call before exp date. What I would do, if that is the case, is ONLY book flights where you can clear at time of booking so there is less risk of issues.

  37. Rene,
    Looking at Choice Benefits for next year for PM. My wife and I often travel together but she is only SM because I gifted it to her for 2016. Under the new C+ rules, am I better off making her SM again or should I go for the 4 RU certs? Thanks.

  38. Hi Rene,

    Can you please clarify something from your last post? If I choose 4 RUC for my PM choice benefit, can I choose 4 GUC as one of my DM choice benefits?



  39. Hi Rene!

    My wife is current an FO with 44K MQM and Amex MQD Exempt. If I gift her Gold Status for 2017 and she stops flying now, will she role those 19K MQM over to next year?!


  40. @MAX – NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Don’t do that. You would be gifting her status only so ZERO rollover. Best for her at this point to fly the 6k needed to be Gold on her own and use your Choice Benefit for something else.

  41. @rene Hello Rene – do you know if it is true that I cannot see the amount of EQMs or redeemable miles for an reservation online anymore? A CS agent just told me that I can’t see it myself on and must call them to confirm how much I will earn for each flight nowadays…

  42. Renee my head is spinning, i cant get it clear in my mind what to do, ive read your blogs but still am not sure I wont mess up?? Help me!!!
    I made diamond last june and have not done anything with my choices, ive just enjoyed the upgrades and bonuses.
    I want to choose the global certificates and gift my daughter gold status…when is the best time to do these? I gifted her silver last year when i made platinum. I know it must be simple but i get mixed up re-reading…thanks for your guidance im sorry to still be confused.

  43. Wow Renee i think i got it, those links were more clear than the ones i found…i should have gifted my daughter gold status earlier, as it would be good for 2016 thru 2017….. I can go ahead and choose my global certificate choice before 1/17/17 but the 12 month doesnt start until i use the first one!!?? Did i get it finally?? Bless you for tolerating feeble minds, you are such a big help!!!

  44. @Steve – I gifted my 2017 Choice of Gold to my wife and she is gold all of the year, all of next year, and ends 1FEB18 so yes you could have jumped on the 2017 gift sooner. But as you point out, once you pick the GU certs the clock starts ticking you have have 12 months to spend and fly! Happy to be of service.

  45. Oh thanks Renee, I will get her gifted asap, but now lets clarify my global certificates……the 12 months begins from the date i choose them or the first time i actually use one? I promise my last rookie question!!

  46. Hi Rene,

    My wife and I are heading down to Cancun next spring and the question I have is whether buying first class seats will get me more MQMs than coach? I know it will get me more miles, but I don’t care about those. I’ve struggled to find this answered anywhere. I have the bogo from the chase reserve card so I can do a bogo for it which is why I’m considering it.




  47. @Chris – More SkyMiles has NOTHING to do with fare class ie coach or 1st. It is all about price and your medallion level. However, MQMS IS all about fare class + distance. The farther you fly and the higher the fare class ie 1st vs coach does yield 50% bonus MQMs. If you use your BOGOF cert in 1st class (lower 48 only btw) the primary will earn 50% bonus MQMs based on fare class.

  48. End of year decisions…would it be beneficial for 2017 to end this year with 100K+ MQMs or just settle for the 99K+ I should have if all goes as planned. 100K+ would let me start 2017 as SM but would it really matter otherwise?

    BTW, the great MCO-MEX-SDQ-MEX-MCO AM @elitemileagerun was key in getting me close so thanks for the tip!

  49. @Wes – To me it all depends on how much you will fly in 2017 and if you will fly more in 2018 or if you can crush it early in 2017 and then get “free” status in 2017 and enjoy it in 2018. Clear?

  50. To be clear… My 2015 choice benefit has to be picked by 1/31/2017, which will be global upgrades. My 2016 benefit, I will pick 2/01/2017.
    the day my wife loses status, gifting her back to silver.

  51. @Tim – Yep. 2015 MUST be claimed by last day Jan17. But if you gift 2015 status to anyone they have it for ONE DAY is all. I have already picked my 2016 & 2017 gifts 🙂

  52. I will be 1300 MQM’s short of gold status. If I buy 2000 miles and get past that threshold do those purchases MQM’s help me get to my new status or not? I have read conflicting things and Delta hasn’t been very helpful.

  53. @Helen – As long as you have ALSO spent enough MQD money ie $6000 with Delta. If not the MQMs will not help you (unless you are outside the USA or are MQD exempt from 25k Delta AMEX spend). If so yes you will be gold if you hit 50k MQMs. If not, no. But it would be cheaper to fly somewhere fun than just pay Delta IMO.

  54. Rene – thank you. I have spent $25k and have MQD waiver plus have 48,608 MQM’s. Does that make me exempt? Sorry, don’t know the code talk! 🙂

  55. @Helen – Yes. Check your or Fly Delta APP is should show this. So fly somewhere with 4 segments (you get at least 500 each) and you are done. Go fly somewhere fun (and connect each way)!

  56. Rene – I have the MQD waiver as spent over $25k and have 48608 MQM’s. that makes me qualified – right? Sorry, don’t know all the lingo talk! I don’t want to buy if doesn’t get me status!

  57. Rene – just saw my last comment did post after an error message. Sorry for the duplicate. Thank you! Flying transatlantic tomorrow on miles so no time to go elsewhere!

  58. Oh forget it then. Thank you for clarifying. Do I have until feb 15 to get to 50,000 and will my spending roll over or does it all reset on dec 31?

  59. Hi Rene – first off, thanks for being here. I just found your blog about 6 weeks back and have been taking it all in and learning a lot. I like to fly Delta as I was a DTW guy for many years until I relocated to PHX.

    I hit GM for the first time this year and am good until Feb 2018. My question for you is – is it worth it for me to hit PM this year as well? I have the Reserve card in hand as of today but have not spent on it yet. I am 13,599 MQM away from PM with one more trip planned (PHX -> ATL-> MCO). The PHX ATL MCO RT should give me 4174 MQM’s as GM according to delta mileage calc. I did bring a companion with me from my AXP Platinum cert, but I will still get mileage for this flight.

    If I use the Reserve card (+ the MCO trip), this will bump me to PM, but I’ll be basically starting near zero MQM rollovers. I had 17K in rollovers this year which helped me get to GM. I will travel moderately next year and believe that with 15k+ rollover and normal travel I could hit GM again to see me through to 2019. Will probably try to do some elite mileage runs next year as well, just so I can say I did it.

    So, is hitting PM for a year and risking only silver for the following year worth the trade? What say you?


  60. Rene thank you for all you do! I have learned so much from you and your priceless advice. My 4 kids (all under 18) now have enough MQMs for Gold Medallion status but are short on MQDs. They can’t get a credit card as minors. Any thoughts on an MQD exemption for minors? We all live in the USA.

  61. Hi Rene, Due to the unexpected death of a friend, I cancelled plans for an overseas trip last month to go to her memorial. It leaves me with enough miles for status but short $1800 MQD. In this case should I purchase miles or take a MR from ATL on Saturday? When I asked two different Delta agents if the money spent to buy miles will count as MQD I got two different answers, Rather than try for a tie breaker I know I can trust you to have the correct answer. Thank you for any help and I’m looking forward to seeing you in Seattle! Ramona

  62. @Ramona – No on buying miles. See:
    All other ancillary purchases or fees including but not limited to checked baggage fees, Priority Boarding, Delta Sky Club® memberships, Wi-Fi passes, in-flight food and beverage purchases, in-flight entertainment, unaccompanied minor fees, pet travel fees, Mileage Booster™ or mileage purchases, ticket change fees, Direct Ticketing Charge (DTC), same-day confirmed or standby fees, Administrative Service Charge (ASC), and External Reissue Charge (ERC), do not count toward earning MQDs.
    You will have to buy MQMs from Delta and that fee will count! Or buy 1st class upgrade as that counts too (see link on
    Next year get a Delta AMEX card and become MQD exempt!

  63. Hi Rene, Thank you for your prompt reply. At this late date I can’t make a mistake. Could you clarify your reply? It said to buy MQMs from Delta and that fee will count but the link says mileage purchases do not count toward MQD. Yes, I did get the Delta AMEX card two months ago so not enough time to hit that mark ( didn’t think I would need it as cancelled overseas trip would have covered MQD) but will be ready on Jan 1 for next year. Thanks again!

  64. @Romona – If your MQD spend totals on show you have met the $25,000 spend you do not need to worry about MQD spend. You THEN must only worry about MQMs at whatever level you want. As to the last question, you can each year buy MQMs from Delta and the cost you spend counts towards the MQD total. They are INSANE in cost but you can do it. See this post:

  65. Rene,
    I hit Delta Diamond for the first time and have yet to choose Choice Benefits for 2017. I logged in the screen and it tells me I can:

    Please select your 2017 Platinum Medallion Choice Benefit.
    Four Regional Upgrade Certificates:
    One $100 Global Entry Application Voucher:
    20,000 Bonus Miles:
    Travel/Retail Gift Card:
    $200 Delta Travel Voucher or $200 Tiffany & Co. Gift Card.
    Silver Medallion Status for a Recipient of Your Choice

    But then it tells me I can also:
    Please select your additional two 2017 Diamond Medallion Choice Benefits

    Four Global or Eight Regional or Two Global and Four Regional Upgrade Certificates.
    Two $100 Global Entry Application Vouchers:
    Delta Sky Club Executive Membership Upgrade
    25,000 Bonus Miles:
    Travel/Retail Gift Card:
    $200 Delta Travel Voucher or $200 Tiffany & Co. Gift Card.
    Gold Medallion Status for a Recipient of Your Choice

    Now, not to sound like a total newb or something, but does that mean I get 3 choices or just the bottom 2? And, follow up to that, what 3 would you choose (I’m assuming Skymiles, gift card and Global Entry credit would not be choices). Is the best strategy to stack the upgrades from Platinum with the Diamond and then get Executive Sky Club or Gift Gold to a spouse/significant other?

    Thanks so much! Stuart

  66. So, after reading these, I actually have 3 choices to make as long as they don’t duplicate? Meaning I could take the regional upgrades from Platinum and global from Diamond and then gift gold or take SkyMiles?


  67. @Stuart – Sounds perfect to me! The only thing I would keep in mind is if your +1 always flies with you then no huge need for Gold. However, if your +1 flies solo often Gold gift can be HUGE.

  68. Hi Rene,

    I’m choosing the DM choice benefits now, and I saw that the GUCs need to be used and flown within one year of being issued. What I’m not able to find is – what is the issue date for these? Is it when I press the button (and presumably shows up in my account relatively quickly)? Or is it when I book my flight to use the certificate?

    Reason I ask: I’m not going to fly much in 2017, but I will fly in 2018. If the date is the date I press the button then, well, I’ll press the button later in the year. 🙂

  69. @Dan – Officially you have 1 year to fly after the date you pick them. Unofficially, if you can confirm at booking, you can have a bit longer!

  70. @rene: What should I get for 2016 Platinum Choice Benefits? I saw you covered that in your blog but that was back in 2014 so not sure if there is any change. I see you mentioned there that 4 regional upgrades would be the best option but are those confirmed? How about $200 voucher or 20k miles? Tks

  71. If I know I will hit my $25k (MQD) on my Delta AMEX card in July or so, what advantage is there to doing it sooner? I could, just not sure the point other than just to have it done. Maybe better chance for first class upgrades? I’ve been Plat last 10 years or so. 2MM Thanks

  72. @Chuck – Yep it is one of the many tie-breakers now for upgrades. And less stress later in year. No huge rush but do stay on top of it.

  73. Thanks for the fast reply! I wondered about the tie-breaker thing. Thanks for this tip and all the others you offer. So far (because of you) both my wife and I got the chase preferred, then I also got the reserve as well as the AMEX Bus Plat back when they gave 10k MGM’s and 75k skymiles. I’ll keep reading as well as telling my traveling friends!

  74. @Rene, I just got an offer to purchase MQMs for 2017 that post back to 2016 to elevate my status, I finished 2260 miles shy of Platinum, partially by design to insure I would make it to Gold again for 2018. I am not sure how this would work because those miles have rolled over already to 2018 qualifying, I can’t imagine they would let me just purchase the amount I was short by (at high cost) and then let the rest still count towards 2018? The FAQ’s are not clear on this, wondering if you have come across this before? Thank you.

  75. For comp upgrades, I am very familiar with AS and AA programs. Regarding DAL, I was wondering if it gave a non hub flyer any advantage for upgrades. For instance, if you are flying from BOS to LAX via MSP, a Diamond would probably have more than 99% chance of an upgrade from BOS to MSP route but does he also have a higher chance (assuming he has the Delta Reserve card) from MSP to LAX than another Diamond who also has a Reserve card and same fare class from MSP to LAX or are the upgrades by segment — similar to AS and AA? I am assuming it’s the same like AA and AS but wanted to double check. Thanks!

  76. @Rene — It seems as though you sometimes plan meetup/group mileage runs. I would be interested in learning more. Current FO making my way to GM or even Platinum with enough runs.

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