Delta things you MUST do before year end & things that can wait for later (but you should be paying attention to).

René’s Points for Better Travel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. René’s Points for Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.

I was dumped out of Skybonus awhile back because I am not willing to take their own advice and come up with additional fake employees or contractors airline tickets to have at least 5 employees flying at least once to be a member of this program that makes SkyMiles look valuable. Even if I, as a small business owner, spend enough to be a member of Delta360 I could not be a part of Skybonus – that is ridiculous!

Anyway, if you too are going to be kicked out on 1JAN18 you may want to consult one of the only award charts that Delta still publishes online and choose something you can use. If you have few points maybe consider gifting Silver medallion to someone who will be flying Delta a few times next year or some Sky Club 1x use passes. Let’s look at what others things you must do before year end (or at least should do or consider doing).

OK this one is not really a must do before the 31st but you want this on your radar if you hold either the personal non-Delta Amex Platinum card or the business non-Delta Amex Platinum card. What airline, for 2018, do you want to select for your $200 travel credit. Since I am still a Delta flyer next year (and for 2019) I will simply do nothing and Delta will again be my selection. I again intend to test and blog if buying 4x$50 Delta e-Gift cards, each on a unique transaction, works to trigger the credits. It has in the past and should again next year. With this and all the Amex “offers to you” and twitter SYNC deals I hold one of my most valuable travel cards for free each year.

Start planning if you want to spend $25k+ with Delta next year and then complete that spend ASAP. Why? A good reminder, when all of our elite totals reset to zero on the 1st, is if you want to spend $25,000 to be MQD exempt up to Platinum and thus keep your rollover MQMs working. Oh, that and have a shot at more upgrades because one of the upgrade tiebreakers is still the 25k spend number on Delta Amex cards not the ¼ million number for Delta Diamond MQD exemption. The bigger question is how picky will Amex be on creative spending for the 25k in 2018. Most, so far, are saying they are only going after those who get creative for new card bonus points – not for other bonus spend offers (at least with Delta co-branded cards).

Procrastinators – go and click on something. Oh I know you have had that old trusty battery brick for years now and it has never failed you. But I bet it takes a long time to charge and does not seem to hold a charge as long as it once did – right? Time to look at that and all the other bits you need for the new year of travel. Not fun to be stuck on a jet with no power or other things that you need to be productive not working.

Consider CLEAR for 2018. I signed my wife up even though she will be Diamond by summer next year. Why? With TSA PreCheck lines getting longer and longer it is a must to get through security faster. That and the fact that CLEAR is now available at a ton of Delta serviced airports nationwide. This is just a service that is worth the fee and is discounted if you hold a Delta Amex card btw.

Check your My Delta and My Promotions section (must be logged in to fyi) and see if you have any offers you need to finish before year end to get some bonus offer. Also, maybe look if there are any targeted or future offers to register for. While SkyMiles have less value that other travel points there can be sweet spots and when you can get bonus points for free that is always good!

I bet you have not checked all your 2018 flights for schedule changes (or equipment changes). Folks you must do this every week – not just at year end. Every Monday I check each and every Delta flight I have. This is especially important if you are soon to drop in elite level and want to now try to hold on to a better seat. I can not begin to tell you the number of times a tiny change has booted me or me and my wife out of my selected seat. Take the time to check now.

Yes, Diamonds, each MEDALLION YEAR, get both a Platinum and a Diamond choice. But know WHEN you should choose them.

Now on to one you can wait on but only for one more month depending on what medallion year we are talking about. On is says:

“2017 Medallion Year: You may select one benefit when you qualify for Platinum Medallion Status; you may select two benefits when you qualify for Diamond Medallion Status. Select by January 31, 2018.

2018 Medallion Year: You may select one benefit when you qualify for Platinum Medallion Status; you may select three benefits when you qualify for Diamond Medallion Status. Select by January 31, 2019.” –

To be clear on what this means. If you, in 2016, earned Delta Platinum or Diamond status, you have until 31JAN18 to claim whatever Choice Benefit you want. If you, in 2017, earned Delta Platinum or Diamond status you are not in a rush at all as you have until 31JAN19 before they expire. Please don’t make this harder than this. Lastly, know as a Diamond yes you get BOTH the Platinum choice and the Diamond choice for each medallion year (NOT calendar year).

Last one for you and it is kinda silly but cute at the same time (I did not know the USPS made these stamps). We AVgeeks can buy “forever” stamps before 21JAN18 at the current rate before the price increase. OK so saving a penny a stamp is no big deal but if you have some spend to get done on your Delta Amex cards after 1JAN18 every little bit helps right?

Any other year end Delta questions? Fire away in the comment section below. René



  1. Totally agree on the usefulness of Clear. Use promo code VOYAGE for three months free of Clear expedited security (disclaimer: I get no financial benefit; just passing it along).

  2. finally qualified for Diamond. Can I choose the same benefit multiple times or do I have to select 3 different ones? Thank you

  3. Great post Rene. You were right on the Amex card a few weeks ago and I’m going to believe you this time on choice awards. I earned PM and DM in 2017. At the time I earned PM, I called Delta to ask for verification on getting both the PM and DM awards (assuming I would make DM). She told me “no, you don’t get both”. We had a fairly lengthy discussion but she was adamant in her statement.

  4. @Dennis – A number of things you can choose more than once like gifting Gold Medallion. Others items only once like GU certs.

  5. Remember to utilize any unused Regional Upgrade Certificates prior to their expiration in late January. Most of my flights are regional short hauls and I hold these certificates for the few long flights I have to take. One certificate did not clear and is still in my wallet. I applied it to my ATL to DEN flight next week.

  6. Just booked our flight to paris with my diamond Global Upgrades. Many thanks Rene! COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT YOUR GUIDANCE!

  7. Rene, I have a question about the RU certificate. How does it apply to multiple segment flights. For example: TPA-ATL-LAX. Can it clear for TPA-ATL and not for the longer leg ATL-LAX? Not knowing for sure, I’ve been holding my RUs for long direct flights as a precaution. Thanks for all you do, ScottA

  8. @ScottA – Works on all the legs one-way per person. Some request ONLY the long leg as it can be pointless to clear a short leg then fly coach on the long leg.

  9. @ScottA – I used a RU for DTW-MSP-ABQ in October. I called the PM res line about 2 weeks out. The agent was very helpful. She confirmed me on both flights in F/C. Both segments on the return were not available. She suggested not waitlisting because DL would pull the certificate even if I was upgraded only on the short leg.

  10. Thanks Rene, always The go-to source for all things Delta. I had a ‘17 choice benefit yet to claim and was going to pass on Silver status to my sister but it’s only good until end of Jan ‘18…so don’t waste that choice if you, like me haven’t used all your DM options. Global upgrades are still the best, using for Rome and Barcelona this year, thanks to advice from you! Thanks, Kevin

  11. Before the clock strikes midnight on 1/1/2018 log in to your SM account and make a screen shot of the “My SkyMiles” page. It could save you should MQMs go missing when the page resets in January.

Leave a Reply

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