- Nick Burgess
The Delta 360 Medallion Status Explained
Updated: Feb 3
Delta 360 Medallion Club - Invite Only Tier Higher Than Diamond
When it comes to the millionaire lifestyle, there's a phrase that is more powerful than any other in the English language: "invitation-only program." The phrase that makes millionaires quake in their boots, makes normal people feel incredibly left out, and has likely zero effect on billionaires because they're rewriting the rules of the invite. So when I discovered that my favorite airline has a secret membership tier that's invite only, I had to dig a little deeper and figure out what it is, and how I can get there. This is the Delta 360 Club.
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EDIT: A previous version of this article stated that Gold Medallion status was automatically acquired after $50,000 in spend on a Delta co-branded American Express. That has now been corrected.
What is Delta Airlines, Anyway?
Being a native Atlantan, I have very little choice but to fly Delta Airlines literally everywhere. I'm 30 minutes from the busiest airport on the planet, and Delta is the main reason it has gained that dubious honor. The airline flies all over the world with very few exceptions. It's the highest grossing airline on the planet in terms of total revenue, and has a SkyTeam of some of the world's most famous airline brands.
It's extremely popular, and for good reason. In The Points Guy's annual ranking of The Best Airlines that came out earlier this year, Delta ranked 1st for the third consecutive year. This is despite being ranked dead last in affordability, clocking in at over 3x as expensive as the most affordable, Frontier.
They also have a bizarre program to pay for flights with frequent flier miles, removing their mileage chart several years ago and now work on a variable rate chart that my friends over at The Points Guy rate as one of the lowest value mileage programs in the industry. So I can hear you saying "all of these sound like negatives. Why the hell do you like Delta?" One answer: The Medallion Program.
The Delta Medallion Program: Silver, Gold, Platinum...Diamond?
Delta's Medallion Program is exceptional. Effectively, this is the airline's loyalty program, rewarding you with Medallion Qualified Miles (MQM's) that grow as you fly. Amass enough MQM's and money spent on travel with Delta (MQD's), and you qualify for their elite status programs.
They really shone during the pandemic hellscape that was 2020 because Delta is one of the few airlines that lets you gain status without actually stepping foot on a plane. That's because they issue waivers based on spend tiers through their partnership with American Express. If you have the co-branded Platinum or Reserve cards from American Express and Delta, you can waiver your way into the program with relatively little effort thanks to the MQD waiver system. For every $25,000 of spend on the card, they issue a waiver that gets you closer to the next tier of membership for the following calendar year. Spend $25,000 on your Platinum card? You're on your way to the Silver Medallion tier! How about an exceptionally large purchase and spending over $50,000 on the Reserve Card? Welcome to the Gold Medallion tier you walking, talking annual fee you. Additionally, each level of status gained acts like an airline snowball, increasing MQM multipliers which theoretically makes it easier to achieve the next level, meaning it's easier for you to get things like premium space on the plane (except on an international flight). So what do you actually get for this status?
Delta Choice Benefits and Status Levels
Benefits of Delta Silver Medallion:
Unlimited domestic upgrades
Waived checked-baggage fees
Benefits of Delta Gold Medallion:
Even higher priority unlimited domestic upgrades
Waived ticket change fees
Benefits of Delta Platinum Medallion:
All of the above, plus choice benefits that include gift cards or upgrade certificates as a travel benefit (though make sure you're booking the right ticket so you don't accidentally end up in Premium Select on your next flight!)
Delta Diamond Medallion Members- Almost Top Tier
But here's where it gets really fun. Delta has two more levels of membership: Diamond and 360. Delta caught a lot of crap in 2017 for radically altering their reward structure around the Diamond class. Only the top Skymiles members get everything I listed earlier, plus free access to the Delta lounges in the airports (some of the best U.S-based lounges you'll find), and don't even worry about booking a first class ticket because your ass is getting upgraded whether you like it or not. The threshold to qualify used to be:
Fly a lot. I mean a LOT. You need 150,000 MQM's amassed with Delta in a calendar year, in addition to;
Spending $25,000 on your co-branded American Express to gain the MQD waiver
Sounds easy, right? Well, it was. Too easy. So a few years ago, Delta kept the MQM requirement the same and bumped the MQD waiver spending threshold from $25,000 to $250,000. That's right. They 10x'd the requirements in order to achieve Diamond Medallion status. That'll show our loyal passengers. Really screw them. To be fair, Diamond does give you some crazy benefits, like: a waiver for free Clear membership to breeze through airport security, upgrade priority benefits bumping even the likes of Platinum members out of your seat, and even more upgrade vouchers. So what about that last tier...?
Invite Only: Welcome to the Delta 360 Club
Delta 360 is extremely secretive. While Delta is very forthcoming (almost to a fault) with the benefits of all of their other Medallion tiers, when you drill down into the "Delta 360" drop down, you're not greeted with stock images of a happy business traveler with a free beer in a lounge. You get this:
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Hmmm. Despite the lack of clarity, there are a few things we can glean. First, it appears to be an annual program, similar to their other Medallion tiers. Second, they have "exclusive suite of benefits and services even beyond Diamond Medallion Status." Awesome. Second, it relies on "overall investment." So I scoured around and found a few nuggets.
Delta 360 Medallion Benefits
A Dedicated Delta 360 Medallion Agent
Delta 360 members get a dedicated agent. Flying can be a smooth experience, or a total pain in the ass. In the event the second eventuality rears its ugly head, getting a hold of a real person is normally an event unto itself. 360 members get their own line for their own person. If you're someone with an American Express Platinum or Centurion card, this may not matter as much, but it's nice to have options.
Executive Level Delta Airport Lounge Access
360 members get an "Executive Level" membership to the Delta Sky Clubs. These lounges can be excellent, depending on the airport you're in, and they're normally expensive. Lounge pricing varies on the credit card you hold and your status with the airline, but standard rates (if you qualify to even walk in the door) is around $39 per person. This membership gives you and 2 guests free access to the club, as long as they're traveling with you.
An Exclusive Delta 360 Transfer, Courtesy of Porsche Rides
A plane-to-plane transfer program. This partnership with Porsche provides a dedicated, co-branded Porsche to take you to your new plane, should you need to transfer if you have tight connections. It's not guaranteed everywhere, but it's a nice perk if you can get it.
Custom Delta 360 Bag Tags
Custom bag tags. Delta LOVES custom bag tags as a status symbol for their rewards members. You get these at every tier, so I wouldn't sweat about these.
Why Do I Want Delta 360 Medallion Status?
Honestly, who the hell knows. As far as I can tell from random whispers and rumors on the internet, this program seems very "me-too" in that Delta is attempting to catch up to their main U.S competitors in United Airlines and American Airlines, who have similar invite-only programs. The benefits of 360 over Diamond really don't seem to be worth it (other than getting the highest priority when it comes to flight upgrades), with the best one being a random, once-in-a-while Porsche to take you on a one minute journey to your new plane. Unless Delta is hiding some incredible benefit like guaranteeing Margot Robbie sits next to you on each flight, I don't understand why this program exists. Delta, if you're reading this, please let me know. I cannot figure out why this exists, or why you'd want this over a Diamond Medallion membership.
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Do you have Delta 360 Club Status? Can you please let me know why on earth you have it, or how you got invited? And don't forget to sign up for my email list so you can get these in your inbox as soon as they post. Thanks for reading!