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Table of Contents
- Platinum Medallion requirements
- Changes to Platinum Medallion status in 2023
- Platinum Medallion benefits
- How much is Platinum Medallion elite status worth?
- What else you need to know about Delta Platinum Medallion
- Delta Platinum Medallion is valuable (just not the most valuable relative to other airlines)
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.
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 Delta Platinum Medallion is so good for frequent Delta flyers, how to earn it and how it compares against other elite status tiers.
Platinum Medallion requirements
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 $12,000 worth of MQDs within a calendar year.
You must achieve both of the above requirements in order to qualify for Platinum Medallion.
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.
» Learn more: The best airline credit cards right now
Changes to Platinum Medallion status in 2023
This year, you'll have to spend about 33% more to earn Delta Gold Medallion status or higher, the airline announced last fall.
That means you'll need to spend $12,000 in Medallion Qualification Dollars to earn status for 2024. This is up from $9,000, which was the requirement in 2022 to earn status for 2023.
Keep in mind, earning Delta elite status still requires a combination of both spending and frequent flying.
Platinum Medallion benefits
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.
» Learn more: How to cancel a Delta Flight
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 over $6,000 and is currently estimated to cost more than $15,000 to earn. This works to a 41% earning rate, which is better than a poke in the eye if you were going to always fly Delta anyway.
That said, Delta Platinum Medallion is not all that great relative to other airlines. If you're open to pledging your loyalty to any airline and you anticipate being a frequent flyer, then other airlines — Alaska, United and American — fare far better in terms of return.
» Learn more: The best airline elite status right now
Delta Choice Benefits
That earning rate is one thing, but what about saving potential? Platinum Medallion does allow for a delightful perk called Delta Choice Benefits, where you get to choose from a selection of bonus goodies. You might choose the Choice Benefit of 20,000 bonus points, which — based on NerdWallet's value of a Delta SkyMile at 1.2 cents each, is worth about $300.
Other Choice Benefit options include redeeming for a voucher worth $250 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.
Other Delta Platinum Medallion benefits
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 $149; a typical membership is $189, representing an $40 value savings.
» Learn more: The complete guide to Delta Medallion elite status
What else you need to know about Delta Platinum Medallion
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.
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 (just not the most valuable relative to other airlines)
If you are a frequent Delta flyer — especially someone who values upgrades, bonus miles and free checked bags — reaching Platinum Medallion is quite rewarding given its value estimated at over $6,000. 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.
Just recognize that, compared to what other airlines are willing to offer their biggest spenders, Delta isn't actually the cream of the crop. Top-tier status with other airlines can offer up even higher value, so only commit to Delta if it's an airline you'd fly anyway. Otherwise, if your goal is purely earning top-tier status with any airline, others (like American Airlines) will pay off far more than Delta.
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