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Dropping a Delta Status Level (or Completely)? Use Your Medallion “Grace Period” This Week!

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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.


One of my family members enjoyed a fun surprise the other night.

Her Delta Medallion status drops this week from Platinum to Gold. While booking a Delta trip for this summer, she lamented she could no longer select Comfort+ seats shortly after booking (a perk reserved for Diamond and Platinum Medallions, inventory permitting, for free as an a but instant “upgrade”).

“I’m taking this trip after I drop to Gold,” she said, “and figured I couldn’t get a Comfort+ spot after buying the ticket tonight. I’d have to wait until a few days before my trip.” (Though she’d be perfectly happy with an exit row seat. #FirstWorldProblems!)

However, she’s still a Platinum Medallion through January 31. Because she booked the trip as a Platinum Medallion, she was upgraded to C+ (for the entire trip!) a few minutes after purchasing the ticket. 

2019 Delta Platinum Medallion brag tag / baggage tag.

So if you drop from one Medallion status to a lower tier this week — or lose your Delta elite status altogether — keep these tips in mind during the next several days.

Medallion Qualification Year vs. Medallion Year

Many people understandably believe the Medallion qualification year and Medallion year itself are the same things.

They’re not.

The Medallion qualification period is a calendar year: January 1 – December 31. That’s when you must earn your MQM, MQS, and MQD (or complete the $25k Amex MQD spend waiver for Platinum, Gold, and Silver. It’s, of course, ten times that for Diamond.)

The Medallion year, however, annually ends on January 31. It’s sort of like a grace period to enjoy your benefits and perks a little longer. 🙂

What You Can Do in the Final Days of the Medallion Year

First of all, Diamonds and Platinums: select your Choice Benefit(s) if you haven’t yet already. If you select upgrade certificates, you’ll have a year to use them — regardless of your status level — yep you could drop to Gold or Silver or even just SkyMiles member and still apply and use upgrade certs then jump ahead of even a Diamond on the upgrade list!

First class in a Delta Air Lines 737.

First Class Upgrades

Your first class upgrade position is determined based on your day-of-trip Medallion status. For example, if you’re Diamond through January 31 and start a trip on Friday, you’ll be pretty high up on the list. But if you drop to Silver on Saturday, you’ll likely be toward the bottom.

Comfort+

Diamonds or Platinums falling to Gold, Silver, or Tin (slang for “no status”): you can book tickets now and receive a complimentary Comfort+ upgrade shortly after booking just as my relative did (again, inventory permitting).

Delta 767-300 domestic first class exit row seat.

Free Award Redeposits (i.e. SkyMiles Tickets)

Another thing that keeps so many chasing at least Platinum Medallion status with Delta is the ability to have unlimited cancel and redeposits of award tickets booked in their name or even for other friends (up to 72 hours before flight that is). If you drop below Platinum on 1FEB2020 then you will no longer have this perk even if you had the perk when you booked. However, if you regain or earn Platinum (or higher) status before your flight you can then have the perk even though you maybe did not have it when you booked the award. Sweet right?

Preferred Seats (i.e. Exit Rows)

Any Medallions completely losing status: you should be able to secure preferred seats — including exit rows — this week when you book flights. It is also good to remember the big warning here. If you have a Delta schedule change or an equipment swap (both happen all the time) you may be dumped from these seats (or even a C+ upgrade seat) and you will NOT be able to get it back. Thus the below may matter to you. 😉

Want Your Status Back?

If you’re already having Medallion status withdrawal, consider getting a Platinum or Reserve Delta American Express card — start earning some MQM and MQD exemption! Or consider taking a mileage run. (If you need help, ask Juicy Miles to put you in touch with their Delta expert who will create something amazing.)

What’s Your Status?

Are you climbing up the status ladder? Or taking a step or two down? Or tossing it altogether? Tell us in the Comments section!

— Chris

 

🔺 Delta SkyMiles American Express Cards

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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.


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3 Comments

  1. I tossed chasing status a couple of years ago. I go now for the “cheapest” most direct route possible. No more hub hoping for me just to get a few more miles. Delta is generally not the cheapest option out of Minneapolis but they win when they are comparably priced and direct. I have saved quite a bit of $$$ over the past couple of years and haven’t missed it because upgrades were so few and far between anyway even as a Diamond out of MSP. The only thing I missed from being a Diamond is the award ticket redeposit.

    As a 2+ MM, I still am gold for “life” so I do get the odd upgrade (#FirstWorldProblems).

  2. Cindi Anderson Reply

    Ditto Fred.
    I never got much value from status since First Class upgrades are hard to come by so I always ended up buying First Class. Now I go for the best price and routing, which half the time is Delta and half the time is United.

  3. I mostly switched to Southwest when the the Diamond waiver went to $250k. After hitting the $25k waiver in 2020, I’m dropping the Reserve Amex. So, I’ll be Platinum Medallion this year and next, then I’ll let my “Lifetime” Gold kick in.

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