How Delta Choice Benefits Work

Choosing bonus Skymiles as your Choice Benefit is likely the best call, but other options hold value, too.
JT Genter
By JT Genter 
Edited by Meg Lee

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.


Airline and hotel loyalty programs increasingly allow elite-status members to choose which benefits they receive from a list of options. As with many loyalty program developments, Delta was far ahead of its competition in this regard. Although American Airlines Loyalty Point Rewards and Alaska MVP 100K Choice Benefits are relatively new, Delta Choice Benefits date back over a decade.

Although it's been around for years, Delta is keeping the Choice Benefits program fresh with a revamp in 2023. Here's what you need to know about earning and choosing Delta Choice Benefits.

How to earn Delta Choice Benefits

Delta SkyMiles members get one Choice Benefits selection when earning Delta Platinum Medallion. In addition, members earn three Choice Benefits selections upon achieving Diamond Medallion elite status. But first, let's look at what's required to earn these elite status levels.

(Editor's note: Big changes are coming to Delta's SkyMiles program in 2024, including how members can earn elite status. The carrier will also be cutting back Sky Club lounge access. Read more on these upcoming changes here.)

Earning Delta Platinum Medallion status

Delta SkyMiles members make Platinum Medallion status after earning the following requirements:

  • Flying — 75,000 Medallion Qualification Miles or 100 Medallion Qualification Segments.

  • Spending — 12,000 Medallion Qualification Dollars or earning an MQD waiver by making purchases totaling $25,000 or more on an eligible SkyMiles credit card. Note that MQD requirements don't apply to SkyMiles members based outside the United States.

Earning Delta Diamond Medallion status

To earn Diamond Medallion status, a SkyMiles member must complete the following requirements:

  • Flying — 125,000 Medallion Qualification Miles or 140 Medallion Qualification Segments.

  • Spending — 20,000 Medallion Qualification Dollars or earning an MQD waiver — unless you're based outside the U.S.

To earn an MQD waiver for Diamond Medallion status, you'll need to spend a whopping $250,000 on an eligible SkyMiles credit card in a calendar year.

Earn up to 100,000 bonus miles with our favorite Delta cards
Check out our nerdy picks for the best Delta credit cards and find the right card for you.

Delta Choice Benefits options

As soon as you've completed the hard work of earning Delta Platinum or Diamond Medallion elite status, you'll get the chance to select your Delta Choice Benefits. But what are your options, and what should you choose? Let's review your choices.

Delta Choice Benefits Selected After Feb. 1, 2023

Delta is revamping its Choice Benefits choices effective Feb. 1, 2023. Delta Platinum Medallion elite members now get a choice of one of the following Choice Benefits:

  • Four regional upgrade certificates.

  • 20,000 bonus SkyMiles.

  • Gift Silver Medallion status to two members.

  • $250 sustainable aviation fuel contribution.

  • $400 Delta Vacations experience (flight + hotel).

  • $500 MQD boost towards the following Medallion qualification year.

  • $200 American Express statement credit on eligible Delta co-branded cards.

Upon reaching Diamond Medallion status, you'll get to choose three of the following Delta Choice Benefits:

  • Four global upgrade certificates, or eight regional upgrade certificates, or two global and four regional upgrade certificates.

  • SkyClub Executive Membership — an individual membership that also allows complimentary entry for two guests or your spouse/domestic partner plus children under 21 (requires two Choice Benefits for the 2023 Medallion Year and three Choice Benefits for the 2024 Medallion Year).

  • 25,000 bonus SkyMiles.

  • Gift Gold Medallion status to two members.

  • $250 sustainable aviation fuel contribution.

  • $500 Delta Vacations experience (flight + hotel).

  • $1,000 MQD boost towards the following Medallion qualification year.

  • $250 Delta travel voucher.

  • $500 American Express statement credit on eligible Delta co-branded cards.

The deadline for selecting Delta Choice Benefits

Delta Diamond and Platinum Medallion elite members must select their Choice Benefits by Jan. 31 of the year following their elite year.

For example, say you earn Delta Diamond Medallion elite status from flying and spending during the 2023 calendar year. You will get Diamond Medallion status for the remainder of 2023, throughout 2024 and through Jan. 31, 2025. In this case, you can make your Delta Choice Benefits selections anytime before Jan. 31, 2025.

However, if you earned Delta Diamond or Platinum Medallion status during 2022 — granting you status for the 2023 Medallion year — you only have until Jan. 31, 2024, to make your Delta Choice Benefits selection(s).

And you don't want to miss this deadline. Unlike some loyalty programs, Delta doesn't default to offering a particular Choice Benefit to members that forget to make a selection. Instead, the benefit is lost forever.

When you should choose Delta Choice Benefits

Timing matters — at least for some Delta Choice Benefits.

Certain Delta Choice Benefits are only valid for one year after you select them. For example, Delta travel vouchers are only valid for 12 months from the date of issuance. 

Similarly, Regional and Global upgrade certificates are only valid for one year after you select them as Delta Choice Benefits. However, Delta now also requires that you use these upgrades by the end of the Medallion year. Therefore, any upgrade certificates earned from your 2022 activity must be selected, applied and flown by Jan. 31, 2024.

Other rewards aren't time-sensitive. For example, Delta SkyMiles won't expire as long as your account is open. So, it doesn't matter when you choose bonus SkyMiles as one of your Choice Benefits.

Generally, you should treat Delta Choice Benefits as an ace in your back pocket during the year.

Found a particularly good use of a global upgrade certificate? Redeem one of your Choice Benefits for upgrades and apply it to that trip. Need to top off your SkyMiles balance for a redemption? Use a Choice Benefits selection for bonus SkyMiles to make that booking happen.

The exception to this is gifts of Medallion elite status. If you're sure you want to give a gift of Medallion status, you'll want to do so as early in the year as possible. That's because this status is only valid through a set date. For example, for 2023 Choice Benefits selections, the gifted elite status is valid through Jan. 31, 2024 — no matter when in the year you give it.

Choice Benefits on Delta recapped

The value of each Delta Choice Benefits option depends on your situation. For example, global upgrade certificates can provide outsized value if you can use them for high-value flights. However, beware of the tight deadlines for selecting, applying and utilizing these upgrade certificates.

On the flip side, choosing the bonus SkyMiles is a safe choice. Unlike Delta travel vouchers and upgrade certificates, you don't need to worry about SkyMiles expiring. Per NerdWallet analysis, SkyMiles provide a baseline value of 1.2 cents each. That means a 20,000-mile bonus Choice Benefits selection would provide around $300 in value.

If you're considering gifting elite status, NerdWallet analysis pegs the value of Medallion status at $876 for Silver Medallion and $2,442 for Gold Medallion. Just keep in mind that valuation assumes the traveler flies enough to utilize all of the perks of the status — which might not be the case if you're gifting status in the first place.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:

Cards for Delta from our Partners
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.


Intro offer


Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.


Intro offer


Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

See more cards for delta
Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox
Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you along with other ways to help you get more from your money.