Delta award tickets at low saver level – how much better is Diamond vs Gold Medallion?

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diamond medallion vs gold medallion on award seats

A reader piqued my attention the other day with a question about a comparison of Diamond vs Gold Medallion when searching for award space and how much better is it? Great question. I decided to take a look and share what I found.

First some background info. We know that the higher up the Delta ladder you climb the more seats there will be at low or saver level and that applies to both coach and business class. Also, we know, having a Delta AMEX does help. I have the Delta Reserve card and my Gold wife currently has NO Delta AMEX cards.

Other bits. I am searching one way as we all know, and as you can see from the E7 posts in the essentials tab, you always search one way and then put them together later. Also I searched just for ONE SEAT other than the last search and I will expand on that later. The DM searches are on the top and the GM are on the bottom FYI. Lastly, as you can see on the right, I have sorted by “Miles per Passenger” so it is always picking the lowest miles number first on the list (a good tip to check always btw)!

rene-atl-slc

lisa-atl-slc

I started with something very simple with Atlanta to Salt Lake this winter in coach. As you can see I had one flight option and saver coach. Lisa however had none. 🙁

rene-msp-lax

lisa-msp-lax

Then on to another hub and a spring visit from the cold Midwest to sunny LA! Here we both had saver award seats open but I as a Diamond had more choices to pick from.

rene-nyc-sfo

lisa-nyc-sfo

Then how about one from Delta’s newest hub NYC transcon to the lovely San Francisco during the summer but in business class this time at the new saver business level. Strangely we both got the space but at different flight times. Most perplexing!

rene-dtw-ams

lisa-dtw-ams

Now on to Europe before the kids have to go back to school in August and again this time in business class. As you can see there is a bunch of space wide open for us both. But there were MANY more choices for me as a DM. How many? I had 25 flights to pick from and Lisa only had 8 flights. Then I changed up the number of flyers and did the same search same days same business class of service. Now my DM choices dropped down to 13 to pick from but Lisa’s stayed the same at 8.

So what does all this tell you in the end? Clearly the status, the cards and the package has an impact when searching for flights and the number of flights to pick from. The other intangible perks are getting a great rep (possibly) at a higher up elite over a mid level elite. Then if things come up what they are willing to do for a DM over a GM are hard to quantify.

Either way, if you are on the fence about some status level before the end of the year do keep in mind if award redemption is important to you being PM or DM is a world of difference. You still have time (but running out) to get either a Delta Reserve personal or business card, spend anything at all on it, and pick up 10,000 MQMs to push you to whatever level you need! – René

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8 comments

  1. @MSPDeltaDude – scam is maybe a harsh word. I agree they should, as afraid as they are about legal stuff, tell us more about just what will and will not result in more low or saver seats not just yes levels, credit cards etc. will impact you many times. Ah well. At least we know about it.

  2. Could you hold 2 seats (assuming you had availability and Lisa did not) and then call and have the miles taken from each of your accounts (split the record)?

  3. @iwantmoremiles – officially NO as the space must be open for each medallion level. Now if you get a good rep, well… 😉 maybe (it is so good to be Diamond).

  4. I’m Diamond on Delta and have zero status on United. However, I find it much (MUCH!) easier to find saver level business awards on United. For LAX-SYD you need to look 6 months out on Delta for a saver award.

  5. I noticed this on a recent “Saver” redemption to London. Love being a Diamond.
    Rene, what do you think about the changes to the Regional and Global Upgrade (System Wide Upgrades)? It looks like DM receive fewer certificates (if you equate the global certificates to the current SWU).

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