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Are 2018 PLASTIC Delta Diamond Medallion #BragTags a reflection of the elite program? Can we order replacement tags when the new cheap ones break and fall off our bags?

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’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. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Hello cheap plastic BragTags 🙁

Oh Delta. Just how cheap can you go (wait, maybe I don’t want an answer to that question when I think about it)? I mean really! Quality does matter if you are going to send us something to use on our frequent flyer bags (vs. just selling them on Ebay for a few bucks). Are you confused? Let me explain what I am sorta ranting about today.

How to print a copy of your card (got tape)!?

“Back in the day” Delta used to send out a medallion credential kit to everyone who became a medallion (all levels). Then Delta decided in Feb of 2015 that if you “only” fly enough to become a Silver Medallion you would no longer get anything in the mail from Delta. The following year Delta took a rather shocking step in doing the same thing with Gold Medallions. Why shocking? Once you hit that elite level you are a Skyteam Elite+ and having real (not just printed on paper) credentials can impact your ability to get into Skyteam lounges or even mean the difference between paying for a bag and not (at some airports).

Got printer paper & tape?

Now Delta does stress (in RED) that you can always pull up your elite Medallion card in the Fly Delta App (if it is working and you don’t have issues with off-line mode, that is). You can also do the smart thing and do a screen shot of the digital elite Medallion card so connectivity does not matter. But, as so many readers will attest to, some partner airports and lounges will simply not accept the digital card as proof of your status – they want to see the “real” card vs. a printed one. They should not care about the real card nowadays because it no longer has a bar code or magnetic strip on the back but again, that does not seem to matter sometimes.

My 2018 kit from Delta

When Delta first invented the new Diamond Medallion top elite level all the luggage “Brag Tags” for charter members were plastic (all the elite level tags mailed out were plastic). But plastic tags tend to break and get ripped off luggage (or even some say just stolen) but Delta allowed you “back in the day” to simply click on reorder on but that ended the better part of 3 years ago.

Oh look – SkyMiles is “A” award winner???

Delta fixed this issue by sending out metal tags (even if they sometimes took a while to show up) that could really take lots of abuse and lasted for those flying Delta all the time month after month. Well, now we are back to cheap plastic tags for all Diamond Medallions.

Do you spend what it takes to be Delta360*

Well maybe not “all” Delta Diamonds because the Delta360 Diamonds still get metal tags (HT to David on Twitter) and they are meant to really stand out this year vs. years past when they looked like standard Diamond tags but with the words 360 on them.

Fun fake BragTags

So what – does any of this really matter at all? Well as I have proven, putting your elite tags on your bags can impact the way Delta folks treat you and it can help your travels now and then. But the plastic ones break and fall off I doubt paper printed ones will hold up any better (plus, it seems, ordering you own replacements has been shut down by Delta as well).

My welcome letter from Sandeep Dube

Now on to my feelings on the tag controversy? Is this really just one more step in the cheapening of the elite program? Clearly Delta will save a buck (or charge you a buck) anywhere and any way they can. Some “el-cheap’o” changes get changed back if we push hard enough (enjoy your newspapers again in the Sky Clubs). I personally liked the metal tags as they were durable and hold up during my year of flying Delta – I seriously doubt these new cheap plastic ones will last!

These will not last long!

I sure am not going to raise a stink or try to start a movement to bring the metal ones back. But to me this is yet one more indication of lessening value of elite status overall. Upgrades are hard to get when Delta keep selling them out from under us as low as $9.95 each. Finding Global or Regional upgrade space (with the help of a phone rep since we can not search ourselves) is becoming harder than a unicorn walking down the street. Even, next year, Sky Club membership no longer really becomes true membership as you will only enjoy that when you are flying Delta.

Most valuable item – new JWD certs!

You tell me. Is this change much ado about nothing or does it bug you at all? Do you put your brag tags on your bags or do they go in a sock drawer each year? Do you carry your real Delta SkyMiles card with you or is the digital one enough for you? Let me, and us, know in the comments below! – René


Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’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. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. Mike Keough Reply

    When I opened the package with my 2018 Diamond tags the first word that came to mind was “chintzy”. Delta is a public company and serves customers and shareholders so a part of me understands that they get to decide what changes to make. I live in Atlanta and want my hometown airline to be successful but I am also the customer. Because of the many changes that you have pointed out and I have seen I am more prone today of flying other carriers and do. Mike K 2MM miler and Diamond member

  2. The plastic ones are not more likely to “break” or “break off.” They are secured by the same exact metal wire previous years have. From someone that doesn’t put brag tags on my carry on bags, I just don’t really care about this change.

    Do I want to be able to search for GUG and RUC upgrade space? Yes! Do plastic tags make a difference to me? Absolutely not.

  3. Michael Karpiel Reply

    I’m Platinum and the tags have always been plastic. I can assure you that it does not matter what you use to secure the tags the plastic does break where the strap goes through. I’ve lost tons of these tags.

    I no longer put them on the outside of my bag and use some custom metal ones (747 skins) with metal wire straps on the outside. I put my DL Platinum tags on the inside of my bag with my SM on them from a labeler.

    Does it really matter what tags you have? That I can’t say for sure.

    In regards to my “real” Platinum card yes I do have it in my passport wallet along with various other travel related cards many of which these days are also paper. I also have these electronically saved to my iPhone wallet.

  4. Andrew Lock Reply

    This is short-sighted by Delta. The metal ones definitely last longer and are more secure. When youre flying several times a week, it matters. If Delta wants to save money, they should do it in areas where it doesnt impact the customer directly, especially their top tier flyers.

  5. Delta is now cutting the smallest of things. Plastic tags, no tags, NYC to ATL meals are a joke in 1st, stale popcorn has replaced two choices of salted snack mix in SkyClubs, this $35K Diamond is 2/8 in upgrades this year. Diamond is the new Platinum as 360’s will soon be seen as top level. Short flights no longer get a drink or snack. Haven’t seen the return of major papers in SkyClubs, just local papers. You just wonder where it stops. Business used to say you couldn’t cut your way to prosperity, but Delta seems to be trying.

    I’ve put my old Delta Medalllion Elite white and blue plastic tag with name and number from the 80’s back on my bag. At least when I (or others) look at it, we can remember when Delta was trying to win our business.

  6. I am 62 and have been in these programs since starting my career at 21. I can remember when all the airlines would send you those nice little kits when you joined their program. I have been in Eastern’s, Braniff’s, Northwestern, TWA, Piedmont, and more than I can remember that are no where around anymore. I thought those little tags were nice back then and meant something. Now, I would rather not have their stuff on any of my bags.

  7. They are very cheap looking and the 2M is very visible. But to be honest I would rather a barcode with my skymiles number on the back so I could use for ID over having a metal tag. I wish Delta would mail out better cables, those cables aren’t very good at securing the tags and I’ve pinked tagged bags on CRJ’s before to have the bags delivered with no cable/tags.

    What I find really insulting is they only give us four drink vouchers. Delta needs to start comping alcohol and premium snacks for diamonds regardless of where they are sitting. I’d rather have the exit row if it’s available over C+ for the leg room and if I SDC or buy a last minute ticket a lot of times C+ is no longer available but Delta expects us to pay for drinks where the competition comps it for their highest tiers (this is OT but I’d love to see them only give exit rows to DM’s and PM”s and hold them back for others until gate control for DM’s and PM’s who want to SDC).

  8. Last week ago I called Delta and was told that my DM wallet card indeed should have had a magnetic strip and that they were sending me a replacement.
    In light of the fact that the 2018 DM brag tags are plastic and are missing the magnetic strip maybe it’s all a big mistake. Perhaps the person tasked with preparing the kits moved on to a new position. Then his/her successor dropped their big orange drink. Rookie mistake.
    Or maybe it’s just my wishful thinking. I’ve decided not to hold my breath waiting for my magnetic-stripped replacement.

  9. Donald Osborne Reply

    I throw those out as soon as I receive them. Only dorks affix them to their carry on luggage, especially since most of those guys just bought theirs on eBay for ten bucks. The GAs and FAs know exactly what the elite status is of each flyer. They generally thank me for being a DM/MM and I certainly don’t affix those tacky tags on my luggage. I wish Delta would just stop sending them altogether.

  10. I am totally in the minority here but I don’t give a rip about the tags. I have the “card” in my wallet and do everything by phone. I don’t use the tags. I agree that if Delta is going to cut costs, this plastic was a cheap move. I would rather have breakfast in First on a 6am 2.5 hour flight than any tags at all – metal or plastic!

  11. I was very disappointed when I got my new tags this year. They are not attractive at all and do not appear they will last long. The color is muted and it is not easy to see the status. I would like them to revert to the metal tags. I have not placed them on my bags yet because they look so cheap and it does not make me want to showcase my 1M Diamond status.

  12. Max Escher Reply

    I carry my real Diamond Card with me when I travel. The paper version would be pathetic to show, even if I laminated it, “Diamonds are forever, Sir, but your credential is a bit weak.”
    I use my metal brag tags on my luggage. The only person you should ever try to impress is yourself…

  13. I have a collection of Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond brag tags. All unused.
    I also have a decades-old, battle-scarred Sky Miles General Membership card, along with worn Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond cards. They each have a magnetic strip and can be used at airport kiosks to obtain boarding passes and (elites only) to gain access to partner airline clubs.
    While many DMs may be displeased about the downgrade to plastic brag tags, I believe the more compelling issue is the elimination of magnetic-striped memberships cards for all Sky Miles whether they have status or not.

  14. My American Platinum plastic tags never broke. Once I hit lifetime Plat with AA, I kept the same set for >5 years, maybe 10.

    This is a non-problem of the highest order. the wire is the fragile part, not the tag. If you think the wire will cut your plastic tag (maybe, I doubt it, but maybe), get a plastic tag holder from any luggage shop. I did that last year with my Delta Platinum tag as I lost / did not have the magic wire. Was perfect. Tag in fact sat better than it does with Delta’s magic wire.

    Now my Diamond tag is on the wire, and I’m thinking I should get the plastic tag holder back out.

    I mean this is a non-problem. The thing where Golds are denied access to something because they have no real card and some lounges demand one? OK, that seems like a small but real problem.

  15. That is because of the 50 million loss to the NRA discount and in 2017 they only discounted a grand total of… wait for it 13 NRA tickets… Ouch

    • @Jeff – My biggest concern for this NRA mess is the very valuable SkyMiles lost by accepting the discount for those 13. Should they not have paid full price or MORE to be able to earn max valuable points from “A” US NEWS award winning rewards program? What were they thinking? 🙁

  16. Just got my 2018 plastic Platinum luggage tags last week. Put one of them on a carry-on for a flight to JAX on Monday…and, you guessed it, the tag broke off before even boarding the plane in CHA.

  17. Enjoy Fine Food Reply

    I have two wonderful, metal Boarding Area baggage tags. They grace my checked bags or carry-ons on any fight I take on any airline. If I had a Delta Medallion tag, would I feel the need to remove it when flying another carrier? I think maybe yes. Thank you, Delta, for relieving me of that decision.

  18. Rene – my 2018 DM tag is metal. I wonder if they just changed the process mid stream.

  19. @Rene – these are not plastic, per se, they are some sort of fiberglass or other polymer. Do I miss the metal tags? Yeah, but I’ve got a few to last me for awhile.

    Only time will tell, but I don’t think these will simply break off like the cheap platinum plastic tags as reported by others in the comments.

    We’ll see.

  20. I was impressed with the metal Diamond cards when I first got them, but after hearing them clang, clang, clanging as I walked through the airport, I removed them.
    I put one on my checked bag (could not hear the clanging when checked!), but the wire unwound and the tag fell off!
    Did anyone figure out a way to keep the wires from unwinding?

  21. Jeffrey Smith Reply

    None of my Delta tags ever survived a trip. Suitcase arrived. No tag. Pretty sorry.

  22. Scott Rush Reply


    Not to worry. 360 are now plastic too. Two layers glued together, but plastic nonetheless.

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