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October 12, 2021
With travel getting back to almost normal, many people are flying to visit family–or to just get away–for the first time in over a year. We’re seeing more and more people value travel and seeing the world. But are they all doing it in the most beneficial way? Definitely not.
Ever since I started flying frequently in 2015, I’ve been building my travel knowledge and earning miles making my travel experience enjoyable – yes, even my time at the airport! My top recommendation for enjoyable travel is brand loyalty. Delta treats their Medallion members well and earning status is not as difficult as you may think.
How to Earn Medallion Status with Delta
First things first, you must have a SkyMiles account with Delta. This tracks all your flights so you earn SkyMiles, which can be redeemed for travel, used to pay down the cost of a flight, used to upgrade, or even redeemed for things like gift cards. You can also track MQMs, MQSs, and MQDs – the three criteria used to earn status.
MQMs: Medallion Qualification Miles
The MQMs you earn for each flight is equal to the miles flown. The only exception to this is flying First or Business class, in which case you earn double the miles flown. For example, flying in the Main Cabin or Comfort Plus from Atlanta to Miami will earn you 601 MQMs since the distance of the flight is 601 miles long. Flying in First Class on that same flight will earn you 1202 MQMs.
MQSs: Medallion Qualification Segments
You earn one MQS for each segment flown. For example, you have a flight from ATL to SFO with a layover at LAX, you would earn two MQSs: one for the ATL > LAX flight, and another for the LAX > SFO flight.
MQDs: Medallion Qualification Dollars
The MQDs you earn for each flight is equal to the dollar amount of the purchased ticket price. For example, if your flight from ATL to JFK cost you $250, you would earn 250 MQDs. You earn MQDs even if someone else paid for the flight – score!
With the Delta American Express Credit Card, you can earn a waiver for the MQD requirement, which has been a lifesaver for me. Since I love a good deal, I have never reached the requirement for MQDs to achieve status. But since I had the waiver, I was golden. The requirement for the waiver is a total card spend of $25,000 for the year. This gives you a waiver all the way up to Platinum Medallion Status. In order to earn the waiver for Diamond Medallion status, your card spend must exceed $250,000. Needless to say, I’ve never reached that level. *tear*
Delta Medallion Tiers
While the three criteria listed above are used to calculate status, you don’t actually have to earn a certain amount in all three categories. You only need MQMs or MQSs, plus MQDs (unless you have the MQD waiver via your Amex). You have from January 1 to December 31 to earn status. Your status is applied immediately upon achieving it and is valid for the rest of the year, plus the entire following calendar year. For example, if I earned Platinum status on October 12, 2021, I would be considered Platinum from October 12, 2021 until December 31, 2022. I can of course, requalify in 2022 for my 2023 status.
In order to achieve Silver Medallion status, you need to earn 25,000 MQMs or 30 MQSs + $3,000 MQDs.
Silver Medallion status earns you unlimited complimentary upgrades 24 hours before departure (depending on availability), complimentary preferred seats, priority check-in and boarding, preferred pricing on CLEAR ($109/year – $70 off), and more.
In order to achieve Gold Medallion status, you need to earn 50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs + $6,000 MQDs.
Gold Medallion status earns you all Silver Medallion benefits plus unlimited complimentary upgrades 72 hours before departure, waived fees for your first checked bag, waived fees for same-day ticket changes, Sky Priority check-in, security, expedited baggage service, and Sky Priority boarding. Gold Medallion members also get four drink vouchers that can be used on any flight. Read more about the benefits of Gold Medallion status here.
In order to achieve Platinum Medallion status, you need to earn 75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs + $9,000 MQDs.
Platinum Medallion status earns you all Gold Medallion benefits plus unlimited immediate upgrades to Comfort Plus seating, unlimited complimentary First Class upgrades 5 days before travel, and waived fees on your first checked bag not only for yourself, but also for up to eight travel companions. Platinum Medallion members also get a dedicated phone line with shorter wait times for customer service. Finally, the most exciting is the choice benefit. Platinum Medallion members can choose one of the following for each qualifying year:
- Four Regional Upgrade Certificates
- Gift Silver Medallion Status to a friend or family member
- 20,000 bonus miles for yourself, someone else, or a SkyWish charity of your choice
- $200 Delta travel voucher
- $200 Tiffany & Co. gift card
More on Platinum Medallion status here.
In order to achieve Diamond Medallion status, you need to earn 125,000 MQMs or 140 MQSs + $15,000 MQDs.
Diamond Medallion status earns you all Platinum Medallion benefits plus complimentary CLEAR membership and highest priority boarding and phone support. Additionally, Diamond Medallion members can choose THREE choice benefits from the following list:
- Delta Sky Club® Membership Options
- 4 Global Upgrade Certificatesor 8 Regional or 2 Global AND 4 Regional
- Gift Gold Medallion Status to a friend or family member
- 25,000 bonus miles for yourself, someone else, or a SkyWish charity of your choice
- $200 Delta travel voucher
- $200 Tiffany & Co. gift card
Achieving Diamond Medallion status has been a dream of mine for years. It’s worth it for those global upgrades alone! Learn more about Diamond Medallion status on Delta’s website here.
Delta Medallion Benefits
Without fail, every time I travel with someone for the first time, they make a comment about how they never want to travel without me again. Having status with Delta makes things so much smoother and quicker. As listed above, there are a lot of benefits to having Medallion status with Delta, but the following stick out to me the most:
- Sky Priority Bag Drop
- Sky Priority Security
- Sky Priority Boarding
- Unlimited Complimentary Upgrades (based on availability + status tier)
- Waived Baggage Fees
- Rollover MQMs, helping you earn status for the following year
Of course, the higher the status, the better the benefits and the higher priority for complimentary upgrades and even standby flights. I personally have Platinum Medallion Status, so I never have to fly Main Cabin; I am always immediately upgraded to Comfort Plus as soon as a purchase a ticket. Many times I am upgraded to First Class as well. It’s important to note that flying in First Class earns you double the MQMs, so there’s always an added benefit in addition to the comfier seat and extended service.
I also get to change my flight within 24 hours of takeoff without any fees at all. This has come in very handy when I wanted to extend a trip. I can do it right in the app. So easy and convenient!
Are you a member of any travel loyalty programs?
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