The Guide to Delta Gold Medallion
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Delta Air Lines, a U.S.-based airline, carried 103 million flyers in 2021, making it the third-largest airline in North America by the number of passengers. As with most airlines, the more you fly with Delta or one of its partners, the more benefits you can earn through its SkyMiles loyalty program.
Delta offers its passengers the opportunity to earn one of four elite status tiers — Silver Medallion, Gold Medallion, Platinum Medallion and Diamond Medallion.
Let’s look at Delta Gold Medallion benefits, ways to achieve this mid-tier status, how much the elite status is worth and more.
Delta Gold Medallion benefits
Gold Medallion is the second status tier after Silver Medallion, the entry-level tier. It can be a great goal for those who fly Delta frequently.
Delta Gold Medallion perks include:
Bonus earnings on rewards: As a Gold Medallion member, you’ll earn eight redeemable SkyMiles per dollar spent on Delta flights, minus government taxes and fees.
Dedicated phone line: Receive priority when calling Delta customer service in the U.S.
Delta Vacations savings: Save up to $350 on qualifying Delta Vacations packages.
Discounted Clear membership: Because of the Delta-Clear partnership, Gold Medallion flyers can get Clear for $149 per year (rather than the regular price of $189).
Drink vouchers: Receive four complimentary drink vouchers for use on Delta flights.
Expedited baggage service: Your bag receives special treatment and arrives at the carousel before other passengers’ bags.
Free trial of Instacart: Receive three months of free Instacart membership.
Priority boarding: Board a Delta plane in the Sky Priority group (after Comfort Plus passengers and before Main Cabin 1).
Priority check-in: Access to Sky Priority lanes at the airport.
Priority security line access: Get in a frequent traveler security line at select U.S. airports.
Reclaim My Status: If you lose your status due to a life event that pauses your travel, you can fly for three months at your previous status tier and then requalify for the following year.
Rollover benefits: If you earn more Medallion Qualification Miles than needed to qualify for any status tier, the extra miles will roll over to the next year to help you qualify for status faster.
SkyTeam lounge access: Enter over 750 SkyTeam airport lounges worldwide as a SkyTeam Elite Plus member.
SkyTeam status: Delta Gold Medallion members receive Elite Plus status when flying with SkyTeam alliance carriers.
Status in the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards program: Enjoy complimentary Five Star status with Hertz.
Unlimited complimentary upgrades: Get upgraded to Delta Comfort Plus or first class when available, with upgrades clearing up to 72 hours before departure. Upgrades to Delta One on domestic routes are also possible on the day of departure, depending on seat availability.
Waived baggage fees: Check your first bag for free on Delta flights (for up to nine passengers traveling on the same reservation).
Waived same-day change/confirmed fees: Change your ticket to another flight on the original day of departure for free (available 24 hours before departure time).
» Learn more: The guide to earning Delta SkyMiles
How to get Gold Medallion Delta status
Reaching Medallion elite status with Delta requires some work — and spending — on your part.
Earning Delta Gold Medallion status includes completing both of these requirements:
Earn 50,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) or 60 Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs).
Spend $6,000 MQDs Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) or $25,000 on an eligible Delta credit card.
Here’s a closer look at how to get to Delta Gold Medallion elite status.
Earn MQMs or MQSs
When you fly Delta or partner airlines, you earn MQMs or MQSs. To qualify for Delta Gold Medallion status, you must fly 50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs.
Miles earned are a combination of the total miles flown and your fare class. Segments represent the number of flights flown. So, for example, if you fly from Houston to Atlanta to Boston, you’d earn two MQSs.
When planning your travel, remember that flying Basic Economy won’t earn you MQMs or MQSs.
If you often fly long distances, then MQMs are your friend. However, if you fly many shorter flights, MQSs can get you to Gold Medallion faster.
Spend MQDs or earn an MQD waiver
The second qualifier involves spending money with Delta or with a Delta co-branded credit card. To qualify for Delta Gold Medallion status, you must spend $6,000 MQDs.
MQDs are calculated based on how much money you spend on Delta flights (base fare only, taxes and fees are excluded). MQDs earned from partner flights are calculated based on a combination of the ticket’s fare class and a percentage of the distance flown.
Through the end of 2022, award flights also count toward MQDs. The amount earned is calculated based on the number of miles redeemed divided by 100. Only miles redeemed for Delta-marketed flights are eligible.
To bypass the MQD requirement, you can get an MQD waiver by spending a certain amount on an eligible co-branded Delta credit card from American Express.
To qualify for the waiver, you must spend at least $25,000 on the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card or the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card. Terms apply.
» Learn more: Best benefits of Delta credit cards
How much is Delta Gold Medallion worth?
Delta SkyMiles ranks in the top three programs competing for the best overall value, according to NerdWallet points and miles valuations from this year.
By our estimates, Delta Gold Medallion elite status has a value of $2,382 but costs $7,229 to earn.
Value of benefits
Cost to earn
Elite earning rate
Keep in mind that these values are estimates, and your results may vary. If you fly with a carry-on bag and on popular routes with fewer chances for upgrades, you might not get as much value from the Gold Medallion status.
However, if you take advantage of the many perks on the list, your personal value should increase.
» Learn more: Which airline elite status should you pursue?
What else you need to know about Delta elite status
Request a status match
If you’re an elite member of another airline’s loyalty program, you may be able to participate in a Status Match Challenge with Delta. For the status match, you’ll receive a corresponding elite status tier (excluding Diamond Medallion) for three months. Then, if you complete the qualifying requirements within the allotted time, you’ll be able to extend your status even longer.
Airline loyalty programs eligible for Delta’s Status Match Challenge include:
Achieve Million Miler status
The most frequent of flyers can reach Million Miler status by flying —you guessed it — millions of miles with Delta. Passengers who have flown a million miles with the airline reach status tiers that last a lifetime. Here’s how many miles you need to fly to reach each tier’s lifetime status:
One million miles: Silver Medallion.
Two to three million miles: Gold Medallion.
Four to five million miles: Platinum Medallion.
Six million miles or more: Diamond Medallion.
So, if you’d like to reach Gold Medallion lifetime status, you’ll have to fly at least two million miles on Delta flights.
How long does Gold Medallion status last?
Delta Gold Medallion status lasts until the end of the calendar year you earn it, the entire following year and through Jan. 31 the year after.
For example, say you became a Gold Medallion member on June 30, 2022. You’ll continue holding the same status level until Jan. 31, 2024, unless you qualify for a higher tier.
» Learn more: The best airline credit cards right now
Delta Gold Medallion recapped
There are multiple ways of earning elite status with Delta. Find what works best for you: flying the necessary miles or segments and spending sufficient money on tickets or through eligible credit cards.
As a Gold Medallion elite, you get some decent mid-range benefits when flying Delta and its SkyTeam partners, including free checked bags, higher rewards earning rates and unlimited complimentary upgrades, to name a few.
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:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card