Understanding Metallurgy: The 7 Medallion Levels of Delta

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delta airlines real and fake elite medallion levels delta points blog

Since there have been so many changes as of late, I thought I would pop up a rookie-ish post about all these changes after last Friday’s posttiny arrow. Today I really just poking fun, sorta, at all the changes, so I did not want to put it on a Rookie Wednesday. Now to be clear, most of what I am talking about is real in practice if not officially recognized by our beloved airline. Let’s “dive” in to today’s rant by yours truly (gosh I hope you have your air tanks on as I am going deep 🙂 )

Diamond Medallion makes sense as a top status. Diamonds have real value. They are hard to beat. They sparkle and everyone is impressed with a big diamond. When it comes to the status, it commands attention not just from those who see your “cow bell” but those at Delta will bend over backwards to make a Diamond happytiny arrow.

Platinum Medallion. The metal itself trades higher than gold. It has real value. It is a harder metal than gold and commands attention. So does the status of the same name with Delta. You have “bling” with Delta. Reps care and the elite line is often answered by the amazingly talented Chisholm call center.

Gold Medallion. Who does not love gold. It is shiny, pretty and throughout history everyone knows the value of gold. While a soft metal, they say nothing glitters like gold. As to the status, this is the elite level where the airline cares about you. You get real value and while softer than Platinum, you are still pretty.

Silver Medallion. Jewelry is made from silver but it is also used a TON in manufacturing things so it is kinda an industrial metal. This metal has value but compared to gold pales in comparison in value and beauty. Same goes when it comes to elite perks. Sure you get some, but don’t you compare yourself to the two truly precious metals above you or the sparkly diamond.

Bronze Medallion. This is the new SPG Platinum level with CrossoverRewardstiny arrow. Bronze was revolutionary for its time. This was new technology. Well, it was a few thousands of years ago. Bronze medallion really is revolutionary in the airline industry. To “alloy” status to someone who has NO status with the airline, but has top status with a HOTEL CHAIN. This new blending of hotel and air is a huge change. Granted the perks seem to be amazing, but that is only until you compare them to the precious metals above.

Copper Medallion. This is the new buy yourself status or Smart Travel Packtiny arrow. Copper can be melted down and used over and over and is useful to a point but bends easily. This metal looks good till it ages and then the oxidized green look is only attractive to some. Most say a shiny penny is nice and they say a penny saved is a penny earned. I say a penny saved is a waste of time! Same goes for this new status. It seems great and seems to have value. But I bet after it weathers a bit, those who got it will think otherwise and be “green” with envy of anyone above them who has any kind of real or semi-real status with Delta. Copper is good for a lot of things – not for flying an airline.

Aluminum Medallion. This is the Delta Platinum cardtiny arrow. Aluminum is a light weight metal and is very flexible. It sure looks good and it can be recycled again and again. It can be molded into just about any shape and it is very cheap in comparison to any of the metals above. For so many, the Delta Platinum card is just the same. Light & reasonably priced for all the benefits this “metal” gives you!

So there is my list of the, in my mind anyway, the 7 “current” real and fake Medallion levels with Delta. They all have some intrinsic value and thankfully there are still more metals on the periodic table to go through when Delta comes up with the next way to package what they have to offer. What do you think of my “heavy metal” rant today; is it too over top 😉 ? – René

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20 comments

  1. You forgot Kryptonium medallion – the most elite level of all! With Kryptonium medallion you get to fly in the jump seat in the cockpit and use the crew rest beds on TATL & TPAC flights.

  2. Can you explain the 5-3-1 day window confirmation for upgrades. My thought was that if it was xdays out from your flight depending on you status if there was a FC seat open you would automatically get one. However it does not seem to be the case as my window has come and gone many times with no upgrades while showing an open FC seat, and being placed on some waitlist. Sorry if this is a n00b question but as a new Medallion it was kind of misleading.

  3. “Diamonds have real value”–Never thought about this, but indeed a status appropriately comparable to the gem. Basically, a non-transferable item; marketed as a status item rather than an investment/asset; value manipulated by monopolistic control over supply; people put forth at times absurd effort to get them and struggle to justify to others.

    The real question is whether you’d trade your DM for a diamond! 🙂

  4. RE: Platinum: “the metal itself trades higher than gold.”

    Gold was trading higher than Platinum starting 10/2011, and continued for at least a year thereafter. But who’s keeping, anyway.

    Now they trade so close together that they could almost be the same. And, of course, the same could be said for the two statuses 🙂

  5. Rene,
    Love the creation of the new Medallion levels. You have nailed them, including the right metals for the new levels. I really dislike the idea of buying the equivalent of Silver status for 90 days through the Smart Travel Pack. 25,000 MQM’s is a lot of butt in seat (BIS) time to be sold for $199, even though it will only be good through January. I’m sure they will renew the offer after Jan unless too many people complain.
    Best Regards,
    Ron Harvey

  6. Rene, you forgot one thing and that is the Delta treats silver very much like aluminum! I really think this is biggest disservice to FO’s. Delta is basically saying, that other than the occasional upgrade benefit, your travel with us means nothing. Just get a Amex card and you have the same boarding, free luggage etc. It would cost Delta nothing to give FO SkyPriority Boarding, since now everyone with a Delta Amex gets Zone 1, which is about half the plane!

  7. Great, I’ve been officially bumped from Bronze to Aluminum, a metal the Brits can’t even pronounce correctly 😉
    .
    This list is perfect, Rene! This is the hierarchy we needed to see, and I bet the Delta reps would even agree with this as listed and explained.
    .
    On a side note, I would actually enjoy it if AMEX made the DL Platinum the Delta Aluminum card, instead. Fits perfectly with the status level and would reduce confusion with their signature Platinum membership rewards card.

  8. I loved your post. Witty and funny. Yet I want to write about something which may sound very surprising here… I am an NYC resident so for many, many years Delta has been my “natural”, very instinctive and intuitive choice. In contrast to so many of you I have never been more than “just” Gold. Still, I was always (in 99.9% of times) easily getting free upgrades. It was a pleasure and a pure joy.
    Ad rem. What has killed my love to Delta was the introduction of those Delta $ starting January 2014. Seriously? Thank you but …NO WAY. Most of my travels are personal pleasure trips. I do not travel very often for business so I do not have a corporation behind my shoulders spending thousands of dollars for some lucrative trips and routes.
    Secondly, if I have a choice to travel to Europe first class and I can do it for 55/60 K miles OW or 110/120 K mile for RT flying e.g Finn Air or Air Berlin my choice is AA Advantage. Try to get Delta SkyMiles flat bed to Europe in High Season for 60 K skymiles OW. Good luck!
    I never use British Airways because of their ridiculous fuel surcharges (yes, yes, $700-$900 extra after redeeming your precious Advantage miles) but there is always JAL, Cathay Pacific, Malaysia, Qantas if you travel to Asia or South Pacific etc. No, please do not get me wrong. I am not a “paid contributor” of AA. My switch and choice is an informed consent;) I will miss Delta but MQD was a kiss of death to me. Delta probably doesn’t care since I am not their business traveler and those generate 40% of their income.
    It is a little sad but well… life continues.

  9. I think you forgot “Sodium Medallion” which arrives when your try and put it all together and the sweat (water) makes your head explode!

  10. In response to the comment of Silver Medallion being given SkyPriority Benefits. I disagree…unless you separate out Platinums. When you fly through a Delta hub, everyone is SkyPriority. I was on one flight that literally half the plane was SkyPriority (the pilot even read off the numbers for how many DM, PM, GM, etc.. were on the plane). As a DM, usually I have been upgraded to first, but if I have to board during the SkyPriority, I don’t want to be in the mad rush with folks which essentially negates the benefit. I think DM and PM should be SkyPriority, GM and FO zone 1, AMEX zone 2, and the rest of the plane zone 3.

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