Medallion and Elite Program

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  1. We are 2 platinum medallions who just booked companion fare tickets in economy (because the first class fare was1000k more) from Dtw to SfO in August and have been told by a supervisor that we cannot upgrade to Delta comfort (at any point, even with money) because of the new way they are booking DC. It is considered part of the complimentary upgrade exclusion. Have you found this to be true or do you know anyway around this? Thanks

  2. I don’t think so. There is plenty of space, the plane is almost empty. I was told there is no upgrade eligibility anymore to Delta C with companion certificates. She tried for a long time to upgrade us to Delta C and talked to the supervisor. Should I try again? Thanks

    • @Deb – I missed you are talking AMEX BOGOF cert. Those are no longer open to C+ upgrades..
      But if you are BOTH PM on a normal fare (not E or consolidator) then yes you should both auto UG is there is space.

  3. Yes, it is the Amex BOGOF cert, and I was surprised by that change,
    The rep was very apologetic and another disappointment from Delta
    Will the platinum upgrade certificates work? Thanks

  4. Hi ,
    Diamonds were able to make a co-terminal change like LGA to JFK when making same day confirmed changes in First. Has this been taken away as well. If you read the SDC policy it appears it has can you let me know thank you

  5. Mike from DC Reply

    Rene – I hit PM last October and received my PM packet in the mail about 3 weeks later; should I be receiving a new one for 2016? Haven’t seen one yet so debating whether to call.


    • @Mike from DC – No new one as your are in your current PM year ie you earned the 2016 year last year.

  6. Just made my million after many, many years. My question is what does it take to make Gold? If I am Silver from MM, do I just need 25K to gold and 50K to Platinum? Or, am I just awarded Silver status and still have to earn that first 25k on my way to Platinum/Diamond.

    • @Ward – As a MM you are gifted status, NOT MQMs. You must earn 50k for GM and 75k or PM plus MQD spend or MQD AMEX exempt.

      • That is what I expected, I just couldn’t find that written anywhere.’


  7. Rene,
    This question is regarding a Skybonus – Gift Medallion Silver
    If you gift a silver status to an employee that has no status (let’s say he has 10k miles this year and partial mile qualifying dollars)… what happens next?
    He becomes silver instanatly… but what about him building up to gold. Does he start right at 25k? Does it do a 25k plus 10k = 35k?
    What about the MQD$? Does anyone know how this works?
    I searched around to find this answer… and I don’t care that it is not a “good deal” for points. We have an excess of those right now.
    As always… thanks!

    • @Chriss – Just the status is gifted nothing more. You are NOT gifting MQMs. They have to net 50k MQMs plus MQD spend to be Gold.

  8. @rene
    Just what I thought… those buggers! Thanks again for all you do!!!!

  9. I’m confused about the implementation of the new comfort+ upgrade system. I’m a gold medallion. When I book a flight, if I do not select “request complimentary upgrade for comfort+”, does that mean I won’t be able to choose an available C+ seat 3 days before departure? And if I do select it, does that mean I’ll be randomly assigned a C+ seat (including middle seats) with no chance to change back to my old seat if I don’t like the new one?

    • @Joe – Yep. You would have to call to downgrade and then your seat you had could be gone.

  10. Santastico Reply

    @Rene: I wanted to see if you can help me with a question regarding the benefits from my Delta Platinum status when flying Alitalia. I cannot find anything related to what will be my benefits there mainly related to baggage allowance. For my upcoming summer vacation with family we are flying Delta MSP-FCO-MSP but then on separate tickets we have 3 segments on Alitalia. One is FCO-ATH, other is ATH-FCO-NAP and the last is NAP-FCO. Yes, buying 3 separate one way tickets saved us almost $7k. Problem is that Alitalia says that we can only have 1 23kg checked luggage per passenger. Do you know if my Delta Platinum status will provide anything extra there? Tks

  11. Santastico Reply

    @Rene: Tks but I still cannot find my answer. It is not a Code Share flight. It is a purchased Alitalia ticket and has nothing to do with Delta. On the baggage allowance chart it only says the allowances by class not by elite status. My tickets are on coach class so I am trying to understand if by being a SkyTeam Elite Plus that gives me anything extra in terms of how many bags we can check. Alitalia site is so bad that I could not find a place to add my Delta number there. 🙁

    • @Santastico – No, the wording is clear. To get Skyteam luggage perks needs to be codeshare. If not you are under Alitalia rules. Most things with Alitalia you have to call to get done btw. I would call and ask them to add your Delta / Skyteam number and hope it works. If not, flash your PM card and push it.

  12. Now that C+ is a booking option for Asia-Pacific and Latin America, will C+ Medallion Upgrades for those markets w0rk the same way as the US markets?

  13. Rene,

    Have you heard from any of your sources on when the change to allow a companion to clear into comfort+ when traveling with a Diamond / Platinum is coming back beyond “this fall”. Also I would love to hear your opinion as to why they are waiting to the fall anyway vs. just making the change immediately.

    • @Ryan – No updates. My guess it is an IT issue. Also my guess they are having to many C+ “upgrade” i.e. sidegrade issues to add more more thing to the mix.

  14. I am a platinum and was my husband is a platinum and we were traveling Dtw to Mco. I called the plat line on Wednesday so we could get Delta Comfort seats for us and our 2 grandkids. So she put us on 2 separate records and we got the DC seats. And when we got to the gate on Thursday we had all been upgraded to First Class. WE were shocked. Also we were all upgraded to DC seats on the return automatically I think 3 days before. So it looks like its working to me.

  15. If I earn Platinum status for 2017 in June of 2016 will I get to take advantage of Platinum benefits for the rest of 2016.

    • @Lisa – Yes as far as all the normal PM perks in 2016 and in 2017 and it will end 1FEB2018. However, you will ONLY earn the 2017 Choice Benefits choice for 2017 NOT for 2016. Clear?

  16. I’ve earned Platinum status for 2017 and expect to make Diamond for 2017 within the next 3 months. If I choose my Choice Benefits now as PM, do I get the option to choose again when I make DM?

    • @Steve – There is no again. You get your PM choice now if you want (but not again next year). When you make DM you get you DM choice also at that time if you want (but not again next year). Clear?

  17. I believe so… would you recommend pulling the trigger on the PM Choice Benefit soon and then waiting on the DM Choice Benefit until early 2017?

    sorry about the email typo.. corrected on this response.

  18. Hi Rene-I’m so confused by the C+ seating rules. My husband (FO) and I (no status) took advantage of the Europe fare sale a couple of weeks ago. Scored tickets to Ireland for $500/ea from our tiny airport. The tickets were booked on my husband’s account. I noticed he (we) are eligible for C+ and F side/upgrades on all of the domestic segments but not on the international segments. I know we are not eligible for F upgrades, but I thought we were still eligible for C+. Are we not because I have no status? I’m considering, depending on the cost, paying for C+ only because we have 2 hours to get off the plane make it thorough customs, etc and get to the train station in Dublin. That could be tight if we stay in our exit seats, more than half way back on the plane.

  19. I should be AA EP pretty soon and am very seriously considering to go for Delta DM or AS 75K. Three things that is drawing me to DM are: Ability to get almost half the MQMs through two Reserve cards every year, more SWUs (including regionals) and more redemption value as well as options for SkyMiles than AA on average.

    Couple of quick questions, what are the probabilities of upgrades as a Platinum on domestic flights and two how easy is it to use SWUs on international flights and get upgraded?

  20. Another quick question: Do you get automatic upgrades as Plat or Diamond on flights to Canada/Mexico/HI/ANC/Central America or do you have to use GUCs? Thanks!

    • @Jediwho – You have mixed a bunch up. Canada yes. Most of SA yes but no D1. Hawaii yes but only west coast plus SLC. ANC is nothing special so yes!

  21. I an diamond & my companion is gold. Before the new rules regarding + one companions taking effect sometime(?) this fall, we separated our reservations for a trip to Punta Cana in November into two records. Is it possible to get the two combined into one record?

  22. Read about #TeamBoardLast mentioned in a couple of posts. What exactly does it stand for?

  23. Geraldo Sousa Reply

    Dear Rene–
    I know you have written about this from time to time, but the Skymiles program has changed quite a bit. My partner and I have both been Gold Medallions for the last several years. However, this year we are both very close to reaching Platinum (about 6,000 MQMs short; as for MQDs we have already Platinum). Is it worthwhile to attain Platinum? Are there any real advantages to going for Platinum, as opposed to carrying MQMs into the following year?

    As Gold Medallion we are almost never upgraded to First Class on domestic flights.

    I would appreciate your thoughts. I enjoy your blog very much, and I have recommended it to my friends who fly Delta.

    Thank you. G

  24. Rene – Thanks for all the great information that you post. I had a question about earning MQMs on Delta Vacations flights. I saw that you addressed this back in 2014 but wondered if there had been changes?

    I can get a cheaper “Flight and Car” package through DV than purchasing the flight only on But wanted to confirm that I will get MQM before I booked.

    • @GP – Great question. The latest, as you can see:
      Is that YES you will earn. Having said that, that post is years old and a ton, and I mean a TON, of folks who I very much respected are no longer working with Delta.
      My only advice is email them and Delta and get in writing proof so you can grip if they do not give you points after the fact. Sad, but true in this Delta environment.

  25. Amar Karamali Reply

    Hi Rene,

    I’m going to be $50 dollars away from the MQD goal for Gold, I have all the MQM’s. Is there any way to get the last MQD without flying? If I pay for the mileage booster would it count towards MQD? Anything you can think of?

    If I call and ask nicely do you think they will waive/grant me the 50 MQD? Help would be appreciated. I would love to be gold for my next flight to Vegas as opposed to reaching gold status after!


    • @Amar – There really is no way other than the end of the year when Delta sells MQMs and gives you MQD spend credit at BAT CRAZY prices to avoid like ZIKA! If yo are in Vegas long enough you will be GM on the way back at least! Sorry – Rene

  26. If I’m flying on an AF flight number, but it’s operated on DL metal, can I use a GUC?

  27. Rene – For SkyMiles Global Upgrade coupon – does it have to be used by the expiration date or booked and redeemed by that date?

    • @Ken – See the T&C. It says fly by exp date. However, in practice there are many reports of using past if you call before exp date. What I would do, if that is the case, is ONLY book flights where you can clear at time of booking so there is less risk of issues.

  28. Rene,
    Looking at Choice Benefits for next year for PM. My wife and I often travel together but she is only SM because I gifted it to her for 2016. Under the new C+ rules, am I better off making her SM again or should I go for the 4 RU certs? Thanks.

    • @Randy – Need to work up a post on this with new +1 UG rules. Give me a few days.

  29. Hi Rene,

    Can you please clarify something from your last post? If I choose 4 RUC for my PM choice benefit, can I choose 4 GUC as one of my DM choice benefits?



  30. Hi Rene!

    My wife is current an FO with 44K MQM and Amex MQD Exempt. If I gift her Gold Status for 2017 and she stops flying now, will she role those 19K MQM over to next year?!


    • @MAX – NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Don’t do that. You would be gifting her status only so ZERO rollover. Best for her at this point to fly the 6k needed to be Gold on her own and use your Choice Benefit for something else.

  31. @rene Hello Rene – do you know if it is true that I cannot see the amount of EQMs or redeemable miles for an reservation online anymore? A CS agent just told me that I can’t see it myself on and must call them to confirm how much I will earn for each flight nowadays…

  32. Renee my head is spinning, i cant get it clear in my mind what to do, ive read your blogs but still am not sure I wont mess up?? Help me!!!
    I made diamond last june and have not done anything with my choices, ive just enjoyed the upgrades and bonuses.
    I want to choose the global certificates and gift my daughter gold status…when is the best time to do these? I gifted her silver last year when i made platinum. I know it must be simple but i get mixed up re-reading…thanks for your guidance im sorry to still be confused.

  33. Wow Renee i think i got it, those links were more clear than the ones i found…i should have gifted my daughter gold status earlier, as it would be good for 2016 thru 2017….. I can go ahead and choose my global certificate choice before 1/17/17 but the 12 month doesnt start until i use the first one!!?? Did i get it finally?? Bless you for tolerating feeble minds, you are such a big help!!!

    • @Steve – I gifted my 2017 Choice of Gold to my wife and she is gold all of the year, all of next year, and ends 1FEB18 so yes you could have jumped on the 2017 gift sooner. But as you point out, once you pick the GU certs the clock starts ticking you have have 12 months to spend and fly! Happy to be of service.

  34. Oh thanks Renee, I will get her gifted asap, but now lets clarify my global certificates……the 12 months begins from the date i choose them or the first time i actually use one? I promise my last rookie question!!

  35. Hi Rene,

    My wife and I are heading down to Cancun next spring and the question I have is whether buying first class seats will get me more MQMs than coach? I know it will get me more miles, but I don’t care about those. I’ve struggled to find this answered anywhere. I have the bogo from the chase reserve card so I can do a bogo for it which is why I’m considering it.




    • @Chris – More SkyMiles has NOTHING to do with fare class ie coach or 1st. It is all about price and your medallion level. However, MQMS IS all about fare class + distance. The farther you fly and the higher the fare class ie 1st vs coach does yield 50% bonus MQMs. If you use your BOGOF cert in 1st class (lower 48 only btw) the primary will earn 50% bonus MQMs based on fare class.

  36. End of year decisions…would it be beneficial for 2017 to end this year with 100K+ MQMs or just settle for the 99K+ I should have if all goes as planned. 100K+ would let me start 2017 as SM but would it really matter otherwise?

    BTW, the great MCO-MEX-SDQ-MEX-MCO AM @elitemileagerun was key in getting me close so thanks for the tip!

    • @Wes – To me it all depends on how much you will fly in 2017 and if you will fly more in 2018 or if you can crush it early in 2017 and then get “free” status in 2017 and enjoy it in 2018. Clear?

  37. Tim Nelson Reply

    To be clear… My 2015 choice benefit has to be picked by 1/31/2017, which will be global upgrades. My 2016 benefit, I will pick 2/01/2017.
    the day my wife loses status, gifting her back to silver.

    • @Tim – Yep. 2015 MUST be claimed by last day Jan17. But if you gift 2015 status to anyone they have it for ONE DAY is all. I have already picked my 2016 & 2017 gifts 🙂

  38. I will be 1300 MQM’s short of gold status. If I buy 2000 miles and get past that threshold do those purchases MQM’s help me get to my new status or not? I have read conflicting things and Delta hasn’t been very helpful.

    • @Helen – As long as you have ALSO spent enough MQD money ie $6000 with Delta. If not the MQMs will not help you (unless you are outside the USA or are MQD exempt from 25k Delta AMEX spend). If so yes you will be gold if you hit 50k MQMs. If not, no. But it would be cheaper to fly somewhere fun than just pay Delta IMO.

  39. Rene – thank you. I have spent $25k and have MQD waiver plus have 48,608 MQM’s. Does that make me exempt? Sorry, don’t know the code talk! 🙂

    • @Helen – Yes. Check your or Fly Delta APP is should show this. So fly somewhere with 4 segments (you get at least 500 each) and you are done. Go fly somewhere fun (and connect each way)!

  40. Rene – I have the MQD waiver as spent over $25k and have 48608 MQM’s. that makes me qualified – right? Sorry, don’t know all the lingo talk! I don’t want to buy if doesn’t get me status!

  41. Rene – just saw my last comment did post after an error message. Sorry for the duplicate. Thank you! Flying transatlantic tomorrow on miles so no time to go elsewhere!

  42. Oh forget it then. Thank you for clarifying. Do I have until feb 15 to get to 50,000 and will my spending roll over or does it all reset on dec 31?

  43. Hi Rene – first off, thanks for being here. I just found your blog about 6 weeks back and have been taking it all in and learning a lot. I like to fly Delta as I was a DTW guy for many years until I relocated to PHX.

    I hit GM for the first time this year and am good until Feb 2018. My question for you is – is it worth it for me to hit PM this year as well? I have the Reserve card in hand as of today but have not spent on it yet. I am 13,599 MQM away from PM with one more trip planned (PHX -> ATL-> MCO). The PHX ATL MCO RT should give me 4174 MQM’s as GM according to delta mileage calc. I did bring a companion with me from my AXP Platinum cert, but I will still get mileage for this flight.

    If I use the Reserve card (+ the MCO trip), this will bump me to PM, but I’ll be basically starting near zero MQM rollovers. I had 17K in rollovers this year which helped me get to GM. I will travel moderately next year and believe that with 15k+ rollover and normal travel I could hit GM again to see me through to 2019. Will probably try to do some elite mileage runs next year as well, just so I can say I did it.

    So, is hitting PM for a year and risking only silver for the following year worth the trade? What say you?


  44. Rene thank you for all you do! I have learned so much from you and your priceless advice. My 4 kids (all under 18) now have enough MQMs for Gold Medallion status but are short on MQDs. They can’t get a credit card as minors. Any thoughts on an MQD exemption for minors? We all live in the USA.

  45. Hi Rene, Due to the unexpected death of a friend, I cancelled plans for an overseas trip last month to go to her memorial. It leaves me with enough miles for status but short $1800 MQD. In this case should I purchase miles or take a MR from ATL on Saturday? When I asked two different Delta agents if the money spent to buy miles will count as MQD I got two different answers, Rather than try for a tie breaker I know I can trust you to have the correct answer. Thank you for any help and I’m looking forward to seeing you in Seattle! Ramona

  46. Hi Rene, Thank you for your prompt reply. At this late date I can’t make a mistake. Could you clarify your reply? It said to buy MQMs from Delta and that fee will count but the link says mileage purchases do not count toward MQD. Yes, I did get the Delta AMEX card two months ago so not enough time to hit that mark ( didn’t think I would need it as cancelled overseas trip would have covered MQD) but will be ready on Jan 1 for next year. Thanks again!

  47. Rene,
    I hit Delta Diamond for the first time and have yet to choose Choice Benefits for 2017. I logged in the screen and it tells me I can:

    Please select your 2017 Platinum Medallion Choice Benefit.
    Four Regional Upgrade Certificates:
    One $100 Global Entry Application Voucher:
    20,000 Bonus Miles:
    Travel/Retail Gift Card:
    $200 Delta Travel Voucher or $200 Tiffany & Co. Gift Card.
    Silver Medallion Status for a Recipient of Your Choice

    But then it tells me I can also:
    Please select your additional two 2017 Diamond Medallion Choice Benefits

    Four Global or Eight Regional or Two Global and Four Regional Upgrade Certificates.
    Two $100 Global Entry Application Vouchers:
    Delta Sky Club Executive Membership Upgrade
    25,000 Bonus Miles:
    Travel/Retail Gift Card:
    $200 Delta Travel Voucher or $200 Tiffany & Co. Gift Card.
    Gold Medallion Status for a Recipient of Your Choice

    Now, not to sound like a total newb or something, but does that mean I get 3 choices or just the bottom 2? And, follow up to that, what 3 would you choose (I’m assuming Skymiles, gift card and Global Entry credit would not be choices). Is the best strategy to stack the upgrades from Platinum with the Diamond and then get Executive Sky Club or Gift Gold to a spouse/significant other?

    Thanks so much! Stuart

  48. So, after reading these, I actually have 3 choices to make as long as they don’t duplicate? Meaning I could take the regional upgrades from Platinum and global from Diamond and then gift gold or take SkyMiles?


    • @Stuart – Sounds perfect to me! The only thing I would keep in mind is if your +1 always flies with you then no huge need for Gold. However, if your +1 flies solo often Gold gift can be HUGE.

  49. Hi Rene,

    I’m choosing the DM choice benefits now, and I saw that the GUCs need to be used and flown within one year of being issued. What I’m not able to find is – what is the issue date for these? Is it when I press the button (and presumably shows up in my account relatively quickly)? Or is it when I book my flight to use the certificate?

    Reason I ask: I’m not going to fly much in 2017, but I will fly in 2018. If the date is the date I press the button then, well, I’ll press the button later in the year. 🙂

    • @Dan – Officially you have 1 year to fly after the date you pick them. Unofficially, if you can confirm at booking, you can have a bit longer!

  50. Santastico Reply

    @rene: What should I get for 2016 Platinum Choice Benefits? I saw you covered that in your blog but that was back in 2014 so not sure if there is any change. I see you mentioned there that 4 regional upgrades would be the best option but are those confirmed? How about $200 voucher or 20k miles? Tks

  51. If I know I will hit my $25k (MQD) on my Delta AMEX card in July or so, what advantage is there to doing it sooner? I could, just not sure the point other than just to have it done. Maybe better chance for first class upgrades? I’ve been Plat last 10 years or so. 2MM Thanks

    • @Chuck – Yep it is one of the many tie-breakers now for upgrades. And less stress later in year. No huge rush but do stay on top of it.

  52. Thanks for the fast reply! I wondered about the tie-breaker thing. Thanks for this tip and all the others you offer. So far (because of you) both my wife and I got the chase preferred, then I also got the reserve as well as the AMEX Bus Plat back when they gave 10k MGM’s and 75k skymiles. I’ll keep reading as well as telling my traveling friends!

  53. @Rene, I just got an offer to purchase MQMs for 2017 that post back to 2016 to elevate my status, I finished 2260 miles shy of Platinum, partially by design to insure I would make it to Gold again for 2018. I am not sure how this would work because those miles have rolled over already to 2018 qualifying, I can’t imagine they would let me just purchase the amount I was short by (at high cost) and then let the rest still count towards 2018? The FAQ’s are not clear on this, wondering if you have come across this before? Thank you.

    • @Thomas – They could count on 2016 and YES the would re-set you. That is what the T&C says.

  54. For comp upgrades, I am very familiar with AS and AA programs. Regarding DAL, I was wondering if it gave a non hub flyer any advantage for upgrades. For instance, if you are flying from BOS to LAX via MSP, a Diamond would probably have more than 99% chance of an upgrade from BOS to MSP route but does he also have a higher chance (assuming he has the Delta Reserve card) from MSP to LAX than another Diamond who also has a Reserve card and same fare class from MSP to LAX or are the upgrades by segment — similar to AS and AA? I am assuming it’s the same like AA and AS but wanted to double check. Thanks!

  55. @Rene — It seems as though you sometimes plan meetup/group mileage runs. I would be interested in learning more. Current FO making my way to GM or even Platinum with enough runs.

    • @Kyle – Yes at times. Be sure to follow the mileage run posts and I will advise if I am taking this run either in the post or in the comments and you are welcome to join us.

  56. Robert Elhai Reply

    Hi Rene. I am a 2017 PM with 46k miles so far this year. I just got an email informing me that I had achieved Diamond status. Is this a glitch or what? It seems to have come out of nowhere. I am MQD exempt via Amex reserve…


  57. Hi Rene, I jumped over to United W/ a PM Status Challenge last year. My wife hates United, so I’m moving back to Delta. I have no Medalion status w/ Delta right now.

    Is Delta going to treat my United Premier Platinum status as “promotional”, or will they allow me to Status Challenge back to PM?


  58. Awesome! I really wasn’t looking forward to clawing my way back up.

    Thank you, Rene

  59. Rene, is there a date I have to choose my platinum gift by or I lose it? Thanks

  60. So Jan. 31st of next year if we haven’t declared our 2017 gift?

  61. I was trying to book a Delta flight from BZN-SJC on July 10.
    One route is BZN-SLC-SJC, and it shows I can earn 1085 MQM.

    Another route is BZN-LAX-SLC, but only shows 500 MQM. The first leg of this route is operated by Skywest.

    Is this a new policy? I still earned MQM on my flight in April operated by Skywest.

    • @ddt – and IT problems go hand in hand. You are in an approved fare class and Delta codeshare flights. All should earn per the T&C on If not, you can gripe and they can make it right.

  62. I just did a SEA-AMS-ZRH return trip, using a GU.
    The first segment, SEA-AMS, was delayed by 4 hours, forcing a delay on the AMS-ZRH segment.

    I filed a complaint about the delay, Delta offered 20k miles for it. Is that a lowball number?

    Now, the AMS-ZRH segment was done with KLM. They seem to have limited seating for Delta using a GU. Is there ground for a complaint when at least 5 seats in the ‘European First’ class remained opened for the flight?

    • @al bell – 20k is not bad. GUs are not guaranteed if there are flight issues sad to say.

  63. Todd Lattanzi Reply

    Hi Rene,

    Really enjoy your posts and have used your advice with great success. My question relates to Choice Benefits. Ive been a PM for years and hit it for 2018 back in April. Through a combination of flights and hitting the $60k Amex Reserve threshold, at the end of the coming week, I will roll over to DM for 2018.

    I have not selected my 2018 Pm Choice Benefit yet. Should I do it before I roll over to DM or when I roll, will I in effect have 4 selections to make for 2018 – 1 for PM and 3 for DM?

    As far as selection goes, I’m thinking the most value for PM is the 20k mileage bonus. For DM, I’m thinking a combination of the 4 GUs, 25k and ideally a second 25k if I can chose miles twice for the three selections.

    Last question is do I have to make the 3 DM selections at the same time?

    Appreciate any advice! Thanks

  64. Rene,

    Love your blog! I was a 2017 PM who became a DM a few weeks ago, and I already claimed my 2017 Choice benefits. When I became DM, I noticed on the Delta website that I had BOTH a 2018 PM Choice benefit and THREE 2018 DM Choice benefits. Is this a bug, or normal?

    Thanks a lot.

    • @Charlie – Normal. If you make DM each year you get BOTH the PM & DM Choice Benefits.

  65. Any feedback on how the DM SC Guest Pass Choice Benefit is being enforced? The wording on the site suggests it’s only for actual travel companions. Do the guests have to be in the same PNR? And do they have to be on the same flight? What if I run into my buddy Jim, who happens to be connecting in ATL just as I arrive home from somewhere else? Can I bring him in if I have this benefit on my account? Thanks!

  66. You probably got this too:
    They are raising TENFOLD (!) the 2019 Medallion Qualification Dollar (MQD) Waiver for Diamond Medallion Status from $25,000 in eligible purchases in a calendar year on a SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. It is being adjusted to $250,000 in a calendar year.

  67. What do you think about the new change being made on how you qualify for 2019 Medallion status. The Delta Amex spend went from $25,000 to $250,000. I thought that it had to be a typo.. but, it is not. Do you think this will stop people from having the card? I personally have two reserve cards. I do not spend that much. I think it is a huge increase. I can see doubling it – but raising it 10X?
    I am curious to see what other Diamond’s think.

  68. Hi Rene, given the new MQD spend for Diamond is $250K for 2019, and I (Platinum) almost always fly with my Diamond travel companion, are there any advantages to me going Diamond myself for 2018? If I understand correctly, if we travel on the same tkt, I’ll be upgraded (if available) with him under the current rules. (I don’t need the miles bonus for actually flying Diamond or the extra Choice Benefits that MS on my DL Amex to be Diamond would bring (I’m primarily interested in upgrades and fee waivers for changing award reservations), but am I missing some other advantage of going for Diamond once on my own?

  69. Hello Rene! I have a question as it relates to getting the MQM bonus points for spend. I have a Delta Plat AMEX. I am working towards the $25K min spend to get the 10K MQM bonus. My statement ends on the 18th of each month and I understand that one usually does not get the bonus awarded until a few days afterwards. I will be reaching the spend but not till after the Dec 18 statement. I know I will still get the bonus because it will happen prior to Dec 31 but after the 18 statement. This bonus 10K would get me to Platinum status. My question is if I don’t get the bonus awarded until the Jan 18, 2018 statement since I did not achieve the spend until after Dec 18, 2017 statement- will I still be able to use that 10K MQM for 2017 to achieve Platiunum status? Sorry so long.

  70. Tenfold increase in AMEX spend. Just incredible! Only Delta would make this kind of change. Oh well they have done just about everything they can to kill Skymiles. Just another nail in the coffin.

  71. Santastico Reply

    Have the following Choice Benefits to select:
    2017 Platinum (1)
    2018 Platinum (1)
    2018 Diamond (3)

    What should I select for each one? Tks!!!

  72. Hi Rene,

    I just hit platinum yesterday when my 25,000$ 10k mqm hit from amex. On my delta profile i”m platinum and I was able to select benefit, etc.

    When does my platinum welcome package with drink coupons/bag tag come? Does it come ASAP or does it wait until the annual January 1 time frame and send it out with all the renewals?

    • @Amar – HOOUs are digital (see your my Delta or app). Tags and packet take a few weeks to months to arrive.

  73. Hi Rene,
    I have a question about MQD”s. When are MQD’s post to our accounts? At the time of purchase or at the time of the actual flight? The reason I’m asking is that with the new waiver limits, MQD’s may be my only path next year to achieve DM for 2019 . If I purchase a tickets this year, I don’t want to have the MQD’s credited this year (I have the waiver from my cards). If that is the case, I’ll just wait to book my flight until next year. If they are credited at the time of the flight then, I can book it now. Thanks in advance.

  74. Immanuel Gilen Reply

    I have the exact same question as W Horne above – it’s coming down to the wire for the waiver for me…

  75. Looking for an opinion…I need 1700 MQMs to make gold, but have the MQDs for gold covered. Was thinking about going with the AMEX to get to gold, but I’m thinking maybe keeping the roll over for an easy silver (as far as MQMs go) next year would be better. I did a lot of international travel this past year, but will probably only travel domestic next year. Not super often either.
    So, stay with silver? I doubt I could make silver for the following year if I make gold this year and don’t have the roll over miles.
    Tommy M.

  76. Greg Meador Reply

    Was GM in 2016 & was GM till this week. Cleared to PM for the rest of this year (2017) & 2018. Choice Benefits, will I have a 2017 PM CB selection or just one for 2018? Thanks for all of your information!!

  77. I’ll likely be about 191 MQMs short of Platinum, does Delta do any waiver or will I need to book a flight or buy MQMs?

  78. Hi Rene. I’m 15k MQMs from being Diamond this year. I was going to apply for the Platinum Delta AMEX which gives 5k MQMs after $1000 spend, and then another 10k MQMs if I spend $25k in December which I can by paying taxes.

    My question is though if I make the spend in December will the MQMs make it to my account before end of year? Or will this all credit for 2018 and ruin my plan for Diamond this year?

    Thank you!

    • @Alex – All spend that POSTS before / on 31DEC counts on this year. Statement close date matters not.

  79. Hey, first of all, thank you for this great blog and for all the timely information.
    I am currently a silver medallion for 2018 but I am 515 MQD short and 5000 MQMs short of gold status.
    do you think it is worth finding a mileage run to go on within the next 2 weeks to achieve gold status for 2018?
    I do plan to fly next year and have found myself purchasing first class tickets more often just to have sky priority access etc… especially out of specific airports where the lines are mayhem.
    I just don’t want blow the money if it is a dumb move or there is a better way to do this. any advice?
    Thank you!

  80. HI Rene’!
    I need 400 MDQs in 2017 to reach Gold Status and have “{nowhere else to go” this year! what are my options for getting those points without flying (in order of least expensive preferably!). Thank you!!

  81. I gifted Gold status to my wife as my DM choice benefit last year. If I want to do the same thing again, do I need to wait until she falls out of Gold status?

    • @Ashker – You must wait till she is no longer Gold before you can re-gift.

  82. Thanks Rene. If that’s the case, the new rule for choice benefit is really convenient (ability to choose 3 benefits at separate times).

  83. From what I’ve read on your blog, all the spend that is posted before Dec 31 will apply toward 2018 mqm spend, correct? I want to make sure is that the spend does not need to be paid off until the next statement in 2018?

  84. Is Delta going to do the “Delta BUY MQMs, MQDs & MQSs for 2018”

    If so where do you go to get them?

  85. Rene,
    We are silver with Delta but are looking to either maintain or increase next year. Booked 70k one way Delta Onetickets MSP-FCO next October. For flight back the cruise line has a price of $1300 one way Delta One in Z class booked through KLM. If I am reading the rules correctly, the MQDs will be 40% of mikes flown credited to Delta?? We fall short always with the MQDs, so if this is the case would be great for us. Booking through Delta about same cost. Any thoughts on which would be best program? Thanks much!

    • @Jane – If the cruise line books via KLM i.e. the Delta flight becomes a code-share so it is a KLM stock ticket yes you are earning 40% of distanced as MQD dollars or just under $2,000. Yes that keeps you about $1,000 short of the MQD for Silver. Clearly more than if booked via Are you not flying for at least the extra $1,000 on Delta all of 2018?

  86. Hi Renee,

    Great site just found it and it’s a great resource.

    Anyway I was givin a Platium status Challenge. I have a couple of flights over the next three months but nothing that will even come close to meeting the 18500 mqms needed.

    Worst case I found an okay fair on a delta metal to sin thru Portland and NRT.

    Question is…does partner travel also count towards a status match? I found a cheap deal to SIN on China Eastern.

    • @Danny – All MQMs are the same no matter what the source. Even Amex card MQMs (but Delta will tell you they do not count, but they do in practice).

  87. Thanks René for answer 164. We will certainly hit the silver for sure (Australia in Feb) but putting gold in sights for next year. We fly primarily for leisure so push it yearly. Appreciate the insight!!

  88. Hi René,

    Thanks for putting together ac cool travel blog. I enjoy perusing it.

    I recently read the post titled “WARNING! Your Delta Comfort+ Upgrade CAN Exclude you from First Class Upgrades” – by Christine Krzysztof back from September of 2016. I was wondering if you knew if this issues was fixed. If I check both boxes to request a Delta Comfort seat and a First Class upgrade does that give me a lower chance of receiving a First Class upgrade if they bump me up to Comfort? Is it smarter just to request the First Class upgrade if you are confident there will be seats available?

    Thank you again for any of your time and consideration. Happy New Year to you and all in your life.


    • @Michael – That bug, and others, still exist. Delta is also not transparent so it is hard to know unless someone fesses up.

  89. Hi Rene! Your blog is proving to be a great resource as I transition from AA to Delta.

    My husband and I are in the middle of a Delta status match challenge, and are trying to figure out a way to meet the MQD requirement ($1,500 in 3 months). While we both have the Delta Platinum AMEX, there is no way that we’ll both be able to get the $25k spend waiver before the end of our challenge period (though achievable by the end of the year).

    We’re new to looking for airfare through the lens of fare codes (either discounted biz class on Delta or earning MQD based on distance flown on partners), and would appreciate any and all advice! I know there is the possibility of earning MQDs at x% on Skyteam partners, based on fare code, but I have no idea how to search for that (presumably via the ITA software, which is a bit of a mystery to me!).

    My goals are to spend as little as possible on the ticket (ideally less than $1k per person, though obviously less than this is even better!), go overseas to maximize MQM requirements (literally anywhere – we’re not picky!), and manage to wipe out $1,000+ of the MQD requirement, all before the beginning of April. Is this possible? So, so grateful for any tips/tricks/suggestions/blogs/experience/experts you can provide!

  90. Hello Rene,
    I’m looking at my choice benefit selections for Platinum & Diamond. If I select 20k sky miles for plat, then as DM select GU, individual membership in SkyClub & gift GM, can I then still upgrade the Sky Club membership to Executive for 23k sky miles (which means the Exec just takes 3k more sky miles)?
    Thanks, Bill

      • Rene,
        In retrospect I think I’ll get the RU later w/plat instead of 20k sky pesos now. I’ll get the individual club membership & burn 23k miles that I already have.
        Thanks for your help on this & thanks for your blog!

  91. Why aren’t ppl up in arms regarding the new Diamond spend requirement (from 25k to now 250k !!!! )

    • @Patricia – Many are. That is why many are closing their Delta Amex cards.

  92. I have written several complaints about his new requirement and will continue writing. I have been a very loyal customer to Delta for over 25 years. I feel like this is a slap in the face. What else do you suggest we do to get Deltas attention in addition to closing Delta AMEX. I don’t want to quit flying them bc it is more convenient but feel like I’m being forced to…… kicked out of a family.

    • @Patricia – They don’t care sad to say. The only thing that will make an impact is what you point out. Cancel cards and fly other airlines.

  93. Rene, I’m sure you’ve answered this before, but I cannot find it (exactly) in the search.
    2 questions regarding choice benefits:
    If I gift gold to someone else, and they fly/acquire say 48000 mqm this year, do they drop to silver and get the 23k rollover for 2019?

    Regarding multiple choice benefit selections as a diamond…I see where I can only select one choice of upgrades. Is that one of each type (regional vs global) or I can only get 1 choice period. Looks like I can pick 4 regional for my platinum and then another 4 for diamond? The wording on website is vague to me. I want to be certain before I blow my globals on my platinum benefit selection.

    Lastly, can I get the link and password to your recent post?

    Thanks! Again! You’re the best.

  94. Rene, I saw this:
    Q9) I was gifted Gold medallion status and flew just 21,000 MQM miles this year. How many MQM’s will I rollover?

    A9) Zero! Keep in mind gifted status means just that – status NOT any MQMs. If you want to have rollover MQMs you have to earn your Gold status via MQMs and MQDs (or MQD Amex spend exemption).

    But that doesn’t answer whether you would roll over if you acquire more than 25k miles (but under 50k) while under a Gold gift. I would assume you would roll those over, but want to be certain.

    I did not see the other link previously. Thanks, that helps a lot. I’ll likely pick the same as you.


    • @Barry the A9) covers it. Gifted status is just a gift. Unless you fly 50,000 and spend $6,000 MQD (or are MQD exempt) you roll over ZERO! To be crystal clear anyone gifted Gold would have to do what I just said and fly 50,001 to rollover 1 MQM. Got it?

  95. Rene, Look what I found under program rules for skymiles. You DO rollover under gifted status as long as you make at least silver.

    Rollover Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs)
    Rollover benefit means MQMs earned in 2017 above a Member’s earned Medallion Tier will roll over to 2018 and count toward 2019 Medallion Status Qualification. Members who do not achieve any Tier of earned Medallion Status through the published requirements are ineligible for rollover MQMs. Members who receive complimentary or gifted Medallion Status are only eligible for rollover MQMs if they also earn at least Silver Medallion Status through the published requirements. Members who successfully complete a Status Match Challenge are also eligible for Rollover MQMs based on their earned Medallion Status.

    For example:

    If a Member is gifted Gold Medallion Status in 2017 and also earns 30,000 MQMs and $3,000 MQDs in 2017, they will be able to roll over 5,000 MQMs since they met the earned Silver Medallion Qualification requirements level.
    If a Member is gifted Platinum Medallion Status in 2017 and also earns 22,000 MQMs and $7,000 MQDs in 2016, they will be ineligible for Rollover MQMs since they did not meet the qualification requirements for earned Silver Medallion Status.

  96. Hello Rene,
    One of the best benefits of DM has been the Diamond line. I called this morning & got a message that because of the volume I could leave my telephone # & would get a call back in 33-41 minutes. I was reading the morning paper, so I elected to just hold. It took 28 minutes for an answer & the rep said it was just busy due to summer travel. Really, it’s April.
    Rene, do you feel that this an aberration or is it another “keep descending” move by Delta? Have you heard similar comments from others?

  97. Hi Rene, I saw your post that you reached MQD and MQM for Diamond already. I can get MQMs but can’t figure out how to get the most MQDs for least $$ spend. Any tips or tricks?? Is there a post somewhere that I should read?? Thanks!

  98. Hi Rene, I can see that Simon Mall purchases are no longer working towards MQD waiver. However, I don’t know if it’d count towards MQM boost, as I haven’t reached 30k in spend yet. Do you have any DP?

    • @Ash – Incorrect. Simon Mall is AOK and working fine (tested). Amex / Delta are having issues updating numbers. Just wait. All old MS is working fine other than for new card bonus points – that is not MS friendly.

  99. @Rene – Well, all my non-Simon purchases are getting updated against MQD waiver, with a delay of 1-2 weeks. That’s why thought Simon no longer works.

  100. Edward Coleman Reply

    Hi Rene, I have been a PM for a number of years, usually ending the year with about 120K MQM’s. I then get a rollover of 45K MQM’s. With the new spending requirement for DM, I can never reach that, but might (or could) end up with 130K MQM’s. Since I wouldn’t be Diamond, would they roll over 55K, or only 5K?

  101. Any news about new hurdles the mothership might throw our way in our pursuit of Diamond status in 2020? Increasing the required AX spend above $250K in 2019?

    • @Rick – There will be no free waver (like this year) if you do 125k MQMs and 25k Amex. I am told more news maybe on 14th. We shall see. It may have just been BASIC SkyMiles and we are good for now.

  102. LUIS KRAMARZ Reply

    I am a Diamond Medallion for 2018 and I just became a 2019 Diamond Medallion following their requirements.
    It was very expensive to expend $250K because I had to pay charges of 2-3% percent when I charged my property tax, Income tax, dues, etc.
    If Delta is now waving the $250K requirement, I am going to call Delta to request some compensation (MQMs, Miles). Before I call, has someone else brought up this issue ?

  103. Hi Rene. LOVE your site, thanks. So I’m going to be about 1000 mqm from Gold by EOY (don’t have available for a mileage run), spent at platnium level this year too btw. I have 4 trips in Jan (far exceeding the mqm target), and been a Delta Skymiles member for over 20 years. Has Delta been known to grant a waiver to become Gold if you call them? I have the amex Platinum but not a card with the airline. Any advice would be helpful, as I’d strongly prefer not to lose out or have to buy the status for over 800. Thanks!!!

  104. Hi Rene — Appreciate your information, great site! I recently got started with pursuing Delta Elite Status. I picked up 2 Amex Reserve cards in November 2018 and hit $33,000 spending by December 31st. Per my app I had reached the MQM portion to satisfy Silver Medallion and then some. However, my MQD Waiver was lagging in terms of updating the spending amount. I woke up this morning to see that it had reset for 2019 without updating anything for my Silver Status, etc.

    Will AMEX go back and update my spending with Delta for 2018? Will it also roll over those MQM’s? Thanks!

    • @Dustin – Yep. Give if a few weeks. Should wash out before 1FEB when new medallion year begins. You can toggle the last year points and see if it updates.

  105. Hi Rene, Have I missed something on status of HOOU vouchers anywhere? All my 2018’s disappeared mid-year and I’ve received no more even though I cleared DM again before year’s end. I saw where some people lost access on the app, but I’ve lost them completely and they’ve never replenished. Do we not get them anymore?
    Thanks for any insight!

  106. Thanks, Rene.
    FYI – Received the following from @Delta:

    Hello Nathan. Thank you for reaching out to us tonight. We are aware that there is an issue with the Medallion Drink Vouchers. Please send me your SkyMiles account and for security purposes, please verify your date of birth and mailing address. *HAL

  107. Hi Rene-

    After several years as a PM, I changed jobs and lost all my medallion status at the end of January. Prior to that, I booked about 4 trips, some on miles, some paid, where i was able to seat myself in C+. Now, as a ‘general member’, apparently all of those seat assignments are gone, and each itinerary shows up as “not assigned”. Obviously the app doesn’t let me select C+ now, but can I get my previous seats back by calling?

  108. Hi Rene! Do you know what happens to the Delta MQD waiver if you hit the $25k in a given year, but then cancel your Delta Amex card?

    I’ve hit the $25k on my Delta gold card, but want to cancel it to open a slot for other Amex cards (I already have 5 Amex cards). I don’t want to cancel the Delta card if it’ll remove the MQD waiver though.


    • @Patrick – Once you have hit the waver you are done for that year. You do NOT need to keep the card open.

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