In response to the pandemic, Delta Air Lines has extended elite status for its customers through Jan. 31, 2022. In the process, Platinum-level elites got an extension of their Platinum Choice Benefits. This unique elite status perk lets members choose their preferred benefits from a menu of choices.
So what is the best Choice Benefit for Platinum Delta elites? That depends on your needs, but certain perks have more value than others.
Here is the guide to the Choice Benefits options for Platinum members who are aiming to get the most value out of their Delta status tier.
» Learn more: The complete guide to Delta Medallion elite status
Delta Platinum Choice Benefits
Delta offers Platinum elite members one of four choices:
Four regional upgrade certificates.
20,000 Delta SkyMiles.
A $200 Delta travel voucher or $200 Tiffany & Co. gift card.
Gift Silver Medallion status to your favorite traveler.
Regional upgrade certificates
The regional upgrade certificates are the most valuable Platinum Choice Benefit since premium-class tickets rarely come cheap.
These certificates must be booked and flown within a year of issuance, so don’t choose this benefit unless you’re sure you’ll use it in time. The certificates can be used anywhere in the 50 states for an upgrade to Comfort+ or first class. You can even use it to upgrade to the premium Delta One class; normally flown on international flights, the option does exist on a few domestic routes. The upgrades can be used on any tickets except basic economy or award tickets.
What to watch out for:
These certificates do not guarantee availability. Check with Delta when you book a ticket to see where upgrades are available or to ask to be placed on the waitlist. If a seat opens, you will be moved into it. Delta advises that you could clear from the waitlist at the gate, so the wait may be a nail-biter.
Don’t use the certificates for Comfort+, which is Delta’s premium economy product. As a Platinum elite member, you’re likely to get that upgrade for free.
Don’t want the upgrade certificates? Then your choice comes down to money or miles.
The 20,000 miles are probably your best bet. One-way flights can be found for less than 5,000 miles, so you can do a lot of flying with 20,000 miles.
If you have a Delta credit card, it’s an even better deal. Almost any Delta card, including the free ones, like the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, make you eligible for the Pay with Miles perk. This perk allows you to redeem 5,000 miles for $50 toward a flight, making it easy to mix cash and miles. That comes out to a value of 1 cent per mile (on par with our Delta points valuation). Terms apply.
$200 Delta travel voucher or Tiffany & Co. gift card
Certainly one of the simplest selections, you can opt for a $200 travel voucher with Delta or a gift card to the jeweler famous for its signature shade of blue. The $200 Tiffany & Co. gift card is handiest if you have plans to give that special someone jewelry or pick out a nice bauble for yourself.
Note that when you use the Pay with Miles perk outlined above, your 20,000 miles are worth the same as the Delta $200 voucher, but, importantly, the miles option gives you more redemption choices. You will still earn more miles for the portion of the ticket that you pay cash for. This means there's potential to get more value out of the 20,000 miles perk than this straight voucher option.
» Learn more: Which Delta Air Lines credit card should you get?
Gift Silver Medallion status
Gift one lucky friend Delta Silver Medallion status for a year.
Silver status comes with a bunch of benefits, including potential upgrades, priority check-in and priority boarding. But the best feature that Silver status offers is a waiver on several fees, such as baggage fees. A Silver Medallion member could save not only $30 for their first bag, but also the first bag for up to eight travel companions.
Nerdy tip: If you choose this benefit, give it to someone who doesn't travel with you frequently, since your travel companions already enjoy your Platinum elite benefits.
The bottom line
Delta Platinum Choice Benefits get you at least $200 in value, but if you choose your benefit well, it can be worth a lot more. Opt for the four upgrade certificates if you know you will take at least that many flights over the next year. If deciding between miles or vouchers, the miles have potential for more value. If you're feeling generous, gifting Silver status could certainly bring a friend of yours a lot of value, too.
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 2021, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card