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Is Delta Silver Medallion Elite Status Worth Earning?

by on Mon February 13, 2017 • No Comment
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Deciding whether or not to go for the next status level is an important decision to make. If you’re far off from the next level it is oftentimes easy to justify not earning the status, but if you are only 5,000 or 10,000 miles away it could be a tougher decision to make.

Here, we’ll take a look at Delta Silver Medallion status to see how you earn it, what it gives you, what it is worth, and how the Silver benefits stack up with simply carrying one of Delta’s co-branded credit card issued by American Express.

What you need to earn Delta Silver

In order to earn Delta Medallion Silver status, you will need to complete a couple requirements.

Firstly, you will need one of the following:

  • 25,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs)
  • 30 Medallion Qualifying Segments (MQSs)

Finally, you will need to spend $3,000 Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs) to earn Medallion Silver status.

This final requirement can be waived through credit card spend, however. In order to have the requirement waived, you would need to spend at least $25,000 within the year on your Delta American Express Credit Card – either the Gold, Platinum, or Reserve card.

Delta Silver Benefits Detailed

  • Complimentary Preferred Seats. You may not always get the upgrade you are looking for, but you can access a window or aisle seat of your choice near the front of the plane with complimentary preferred seats. Depending on the length of your flight, these seats can cost anywhere from $19 to $150+.
  • Delta Comfort+ Upgrades. With Silver Medallion Status, you will be able to select an available Delta Comfort+ Seat within 24 hours of departure. All revenue fare classes (except Basic Economy), award tickets, and pay with miles tickets are eligible within the U.S. and Canada markets as well as Latin America/Caribbean regions served with Delta’s Comfort+ product and select Asia Pacific markets. These seats can be found at the front of the economy class cabin and have extra legroom.
  • First Class Upgrades. These upgrades are granted if there is still space within 24 hours of departure. All higher status levels (Diamond, Platinum, and Gold) are upgraded prior to Silver Medallions. All revenue fare classes (except Basic Economy), award tickets, and pay with miles tickets are eligible for upgrade. Upgrades are possible on most domestic U.S. routes as well as those to Central America, Northern South America, and Southern South America.
  • Waived Baggage Fees. With Silver Medallion Status, you won’t have to worry about paying for your checked bag. Within the U.S. you will be able to check one bag for free. If you also hold an American Express Delta SkyMiles credit card, you can check a second bag free, and you get a free bag for up to eight companions traveling with you on the same reservation. Without a SkyMiles Amex, you will not receive free checked bag benefits for any of your traveling companions, and you only get one free bag for yourself.
  • Priority Boarding. When it’s time to board your flight, you’ll be able to with Zone 1, though it’s not the very first to board. First Class passengers, and Diamond, Platinum, and Gold Medallions all board prior to Zone 1. Delta SkyMiles credit card holders are also able to board with Zone 1. 
  • Priority Check-In. When you’re at the airport, you will be able to use a dedicated line to check-in for your flight.
  • Priority Phone Line. When you need to call Delta, you will have a number to call that is only for other Medallion members.

Credit card options to earn MQMs

It’s possible to earn Delta MQMs without even setting foot on a plane. You would also need to spend $25,000 to meet the MQD waiver in order to actually earn Silver (or any other) status via this method.

If you are a few MQMs short of earning status, earning through a credit card might be your best option, especially if you have already earned the $3,000 MQDs required for Delta Silver Medallion status.

What are the benefits worth?

The benefits of Medallion Silver status are worth different amounts to different people depending on how the benefits are used.

Most likely, the most valuable benefits of Medallion Silver status are complimentary preferred seats and the potential for upgrades.

As a Silver Medallion, your upgrade chances will be somewhat limited since Diamond, Platinum, and Gold Medallions will be upgraded ahead of you. Basically, unless you are flying on a non-business non-leisure travel-heavy day and/or on a less frequently traveled route, it is unlikely that you will see an upgrade to first class.

The real value in terms of upgrades comes in the form of selecting preferred seats. If you prefer sitting toward the front of the plane or having a window or aisle seat, Medallion Silver status could be quite valuable to you.

Likewise, upgrades to Delta Comfort+ could be valuable, though again, Diamond, Platinum, and Gold Medallions will be given these seats first.

Having a free checked bag on all flights and Zone 1 boarding could be beneficial, but these benefits can be had simply from carrying one of American Express’ Delta Co-Branded Credit Cards.

How do the benefits stack up compared with having a credit card?

As mentioned previously, the benefits that you can gain from carrying a Delta Credit Card that also are benefits of Delta Medallion Silver Status are free checked bags and Zone 1 priority boarding.

The priority boarding benefit is the same whether you carry a credit card or have Medallion Silver status, but the checked bag benefit is actually better if you carry a credit card, especially if you travel with companions.

The Delta co-branded credit cards offer a free checked bag for the cardholder as well as up to eight companions whereas having Medallion Silver status will only give the Medallion member a free checked bag. If a Medallion Silver member also carries a co-branded credit card they will receive an additional checked bag for free.

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