Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.
While I have covered Delta’s Choice Benefits before, that was under the old gifts; it is time for a new post with updates.
First some facts and thoughts about the choices. Some choices you are better to grab ASAP while others it is best to wait as long as you can or redeem just when you need them. I will touch on when later on after we look at each choice. As to the facts, it is important to know that you have 12 months to use your regional and global upgrades but that clock does not start until your redeem them. Also, when it comes to giving medallion status, you can not give the same status to someone and just extend their status. They must drop to a lower level (or nothing) before you can gift them the same status again. Lastly, if you are a Diamond, you can not pick the same choice for both your Platinum and your Diamond gift.
On to all the choices and the list is quite extensive for both Diamonds as well as Platinums:
- Global Upgrade certificates. These on their own can be a reason to shoot for Diamond status and the savings can be huge. You can only use them on any Delta metal anywhere Delta goes and fly in 1st / business class on all fares other than E-Class. Even though you can use them domestically, internationally is where the true value of these lies. Having said that, the only other place I would consider burning them would be say on the direct Atlanta to Hawaii route since it is so very long. Your 12 month expiration starts the day you cash these in so wait until you need them.
- Regional Upgrade certificates. These are just like Global Upgrades but only good in the USA. Will not work on JFK-SFO/SEA/LAX trancons or ATL-HNL.
- Global Entry Application Voucher. Diamonds get for 2 and Platinums get for 1. This is $100 value but you can get this perk free with the non-Delta AMEX Platinum card and to me this is not a wise selection.
- Delta Sky Club Executive Membership Upgrade. Do you bring your +1 or guest often into the Skyclubs? This could be a good value but keep this little bit in mind: “Executive Membership for the amount of time between Choice Benefits selection and the end of the 2015 Medallion year (January 31, 2016).” This is one of those you would want to redeem ASAP to get max value.
- Delta Sky Club One-Day Passes. Just as it says but the expiration clock starts the day you redeem. Plus, again here, a very poor choice vs. value of the gift.
- Bonus Miles. 20 or 25k can be a good choice if you need the points. Come Skymile2015 this could be an even more valuable gift when Skymiles become harder and harder to get.
- Travel/Retail Gift Card $200. This could be one to consider and at least for me the travel voucher can earn you both MQMs and Skymiles when you spend it. Since I really value MQMs spending this to fly at a great discount or even free works for me and has value.
- Tiffany & Co. Luggage Tags. If you are considering this, you need to have your head checked. Let’s move on.
- Give Medallion status. This is a HUGE perk and gift to give to those who fly a bunch. Many Diamonds gift GOLD to their spouse / +1’s as then both of you have a chance to upgrade on an award ticket (must be GM+ to do that). Even Silver can be a sweet perk over no status at all. This is one that you do want to spend ASAP as the status ends when your medallion year does, in other words say you got Diamond on 1MAY and gift Gold. The gold gift would be the rest of this year, all of next. If you wait, the person you are gifting just gets less time as a medallion.
So there is the list. Clearly, to me, the BEST choices are Global Upgrade and Regional Upgrade certs. If you call and book and find space, redeem, and spend, you are all set. If you have some already picked, you just go to the head of the upgrade chain, but there are no guarantees then (if you don’t upgrade on them you don’t lose them btw). Also, if you do clear as a medallion upgrade you don’t have to spend them so wait to request the upgrade if going that way (maybe inside 24hrs before flight).
The next best choice for someone who flies a bit is medallion status. The perks are great and to not have to earn the status is sweet. Plus, the gifted flyer is MQD exempt during the gift time. Now having said that, they still must earn the needed MQMs to have any rollover so they are not gifted MQMs, just the status.
Then the other good choice, depending on your circumstances, are points or $200 travel voucher. The points never expire and could help you get whatever award you are looking for. The travel voucher can earn you MQMs and Skymiles and who does not love that?
The final one I would even consider is the upgraded Skyclub membership, but again this is a very targeted flyer who could see real benefit from this gift.
The rest are honestly just junk and you are not getting full value out of your Choice Benefit. There are cheaper and better ways to get the other things being offered.
Have any questions? Anything I missed? As always feel free to fire away with any questions you may have here on the blog below in the comments section so others can benefit as well from what you are asking about! – René
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