The Guide to Delta Platinum Medallion

Upgrades, bonus miles, free bags, rental car perks — this status has everything a frequent traveler could want.

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence 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.

Platinum Medallion is the second-highest standard tier in the Delta Air Lines SkyMiles program and offers a significant swath of benefits for some of Delta’s most frequent flyers. Not only are the perks available for domestic travelers, but several benefits make flying overseas especially rewarding.

You can even earn Medallion status when redeeming miles for award travel. For those conscious of sticking with Delta, SkyTeam or eligible partners, attaining Platinum Medallion can be meaningful for frequent flyers. Here’s why.

Platinum Medallion perks

Achieving Platinum Medallion will surely please frequent Delta flyers thanks to a higher number of bonus miles, upgrade opportunities and airport benefits. Here’s what you can expect once you earn this high tier.

  • 9x SkyMiles: For every eligible dollar spent on airfare, Platinum Medallions earn nine SkyMiles. This offers a nice boost over general SkyMiles members who only earn 5x miles.

  • No bag fees: This tier includes free checked bags for the member and up to eight traveling companions on the same reservation.

  • Free same-day confirmed benefit: If eligible seats are available, Platinum Medallions can switch to a confirmed flight on the same day of travel at no charge.

  • Choice Benefits: This is an immediate prize for achieving Platinum Medallion. Those that reach this level can choose one benefit during their tenure. They include 20,000 SkyMiles, the ability to gift Silver Medallion status to someone, a $200 travel voucher or four Regional Upgrades. Beginning Feb. 1, 2023, benefit options will be updated to include the ability to gift Silver Medallion status to two people, a $250 travel voucher and a $400 Delta Vacations Experience credit, among other choices.

  • Unlimited complimentary upgrades: On non-basic economy domestic and select international flights, space-available upgrades to Comfort+ and first class for the member and a companion are a perk. This includes award tickets, Miles+Cash, Pay with Miles tickets, and on select Aeromexico flights. They are free and processed five days before departure and ahead of Gold and Silver Medallion upgrades.

  • Higher priority for same-day standby benefit: Delta offers the option to standby on the same day for another flight for most fares; standby is confirmed on a space-available basis and prioritized by Medallion status.

  • SkyPriority: This means members get access to premium check-in and security lanes, where available, and board the aircraft earlier.

  • Preferred seats: Platinum Medallion members can select preferred seats for free.

  • Discounted Clear membership: Platinum Medallions receive preferred pricing for an annual Clear membership.

  • SkyTeam Elite Plus status: This is the top status for the SkyTeam alliance and includes SkyPriority when flying other member carriers, access to member lounges when flying internationally and priority baggage handling.

  • Higher priority for customer service: When calling Delta, Platinum Medallion members receive higher priority than general members and Silver and Gold Medallions.

  • Drink vouchers: Platinum Medallions receive digital vouchers for a free drink on Delta flights annually.

  • Bonus perks: Platinum Medallion members qualify for bonus miles and President’s Circle elite status —free of charge — when renting from Hertz. They are also eligible for a one-year trial to Instacart Express.

How to earn Platinum Medallion

Earning Platinum Medallion status is based on meeting select benchmarks within a calendar year. These qualifying benchmarks are:

  • Medallion Qualification Dollars (the amount of money you spend or MQDs).

  • Medallion Qualification Miles (the number of miles you fly based on fare class or MQMs).

  • Medallion Qualification Segments (the number of segments you fly or MQS).

U.S.-based members earn Platinum Medallion status by reaching certain thresholds of both MQDs and MQMs or MQSs. These are the requirements to earn Platinum Medallion:

  • Earn 75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs in a calendar year.

  • Earn $9,000 worth of MQDs within a calendar year. Beginning in 2023, the MQD threshold for earning Platinum Medallion status will increase to $12,000.

  • Achieving only one of the above requirements would not qualify for Platinum Medallion, so it is crucial to monitor your progress.

Uniquely, Delta awards MQDs on award tickets, which are calculated based on a percentage of distance flown. This means that if you have enough SkyMiles (perhaps through a Delta co-branded credit card) and redeem them for Delta flights, you could technically earn Platinum Medallion without spending much cash on flights.

How much is Platinum Medallion elite status worth?

This is somewhat subjective and depends on how you use your benefits. However, we have taken the time to estimate the value of Platinum Medallion. According to Nerdwallet, Platinum Medallion has a raw estimated value of $5,476 and is currently estimated to cost $10,843 to earn. This works to a 51% earning rate, making Delta Platinum Medallion the second-most valuable high-tier elite status – trailing only Alaska Airlines. Note that our valuation will change in light of the changes coming in 2023.

That earning rate is one thing, but what about saving potential? Platinum Medallion does allow for four select Choice Benefit options, one of which is 20,000 bonus points. NerdWallet values SkyMiles at 1.5 cents each so if you choose the 20,000 bonus miles, that is equal to $300.

Other Choice Benefit options include redeeming for a voucher worth $200 in-flight credit (less valuable than miles for some people) or perhaps the most valuable Choice Benefit, the four regional upgrades. If you use those on a flight that would cost a lot for an upgrade (perhaps on a flight from the East Coast to Hawaii), you can extract excellent value from them.

Unlimited complimentary upgrades are one of the most significant benefits, but it only provides value if you get upgraded. On busy flights, this may be tough. The same goes for checked bags. If you often bring luggage along, this can save quite a bit considering Delta charges $30 for the first checked bag each way. If you take one round-trip each month of the year and check a bag, that could be $720 in savings. However, that perk is not worth much for those who fly solo and usually only bring a carry-on.

Same-day confirmed and SkyPriority benefits plus faster access to phone representatives are all helpful perks for frequent travelers, but their value depends on how often you use them. Lounge access on international itineraries, if you don’t already have it due to Priority Pass, credit card benefits or traveling in the premium cabin, is another fantastic benefit.

For Clear membership, Platinum Medallions pay $109; a typical membership is $189, representing an $80 value savings.

What else you need to know

There are a few other paths to Platinum Medallion that can prove fruitful.

Other ways to earn MQDs

Seat selection and upgrade fees are eligible for MQD earning, so if you are close to reaching the threshold, consider upgrading for more MQDs. However, checked bag fees and inflight food, drink or Wi-Fi purchases are not eligible.

MQD Waiver

You can bypass the MQD requirement entirely if you spend $25,000 on a Delta co-branded American Express card. This is a great way to reach Platinum status if you spend a lot on credit cards.

Delta Platinum Medallion is valuable

If you are a frequent Delta flyer, especially someone who values upgrades, bonus miles and free checked bags, reaching Platinum Medallion is quite rewarding. In addition, international travelers that usually fly in economy can benefit from SkyPriority access overseas and lounge access on eligible trips. Add in rental car perks from Hertz, and the Platinum Medallion package is the real deal.

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 2022, including those best for:

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.