As you wander through any major U.S airport, you might see travelers wheeling their Away bags or Calpaks with a firm, plastic tag attached to the top. Those, my friend, are Delta Airlines flyers who are a part of the Delta Medallion Status program. This is the common man's way of displaying their alpha-traveler status to the world: that they are the apex predator in the U.S travel game, usually for business. You can spot the business travelers by the ones that are making jokes about hating their marriages while dressed in a suit and banging out their fourth bloody mary of the morning before they board the plane to West Bentonville.
Today, let's chat about the (almost) top tier of one of the most popular frequent flyer programs in the game. This is Delta Diamond Medallion.
Related: What Is Delta 360?
What Is Diamond Medallion Status?
Delta Diamond Medallion Status is the second-highest level of elite status a SkyMiles member can achieve in Delta Air Lines' SkyMiles frequent flyer program, but likely the highest that 99% of members can achieve. To achieve Diamond status, members must earn at least 125,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) or 140 Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs) and spend at least $20,000 on eligible Delta purchases within a calendar year, referred to as Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQD’s), or an MQD waiver (more on that it a bit). Once achieved, members can enjoy a host of exclusive benefits that make their travel experience more comfortable and rewarding.
Delta Diamond Medallion Benefits
One of the most significant, and most used, benefits of Delta Diamond Medallion Status is unlimited complimentary upgrades to First Class or Delta One on domestic flights in the U.S. This means that as a Diamond Medallion member, you'll have access to priority upgrades on Delta-operated flights, subject to availability, and you receive higher upgrade priority than those with Gold Medallion status or Silver Medallion status. This benefit can significantly enhance the travel experience, as it allows you to enjoy the perks of premium cabin travel without paying the full fare.
But you may be asking "what about upgrades to Delta Comfort?" Well, starting with Platinum Medallion Members, your automatic upgrade to Delta Comfort essentially clears as soon as you book your main cabin ticket. With a quick click or phone call, Platinum members and Diamond members can immediately upgrade to Delta Comfort. This rewards Delta elite status holders with extra leg room, enhanced boarding priority, etc.
In addition to unlimited complimentary upgrades, Delta Diamond Medallion members also receive priority check-in, security, and boarding privileges. These benefits are part of the Sky Priority program, which is designed to make the travel experience smoother and more efficient for elite members. With Sky Priority, Diamond Medallion members can skip the lines and enjoy a more seamless airport experience, including priority boarding once the plane door opens.
Another valuable benefit of Delta Diamond Medallion Status is complimentary access to Delta's network of Sky Club lounges. These lounges offer a range of amenities, including comfortable seating, complimentary food and beverages, and high-speed Wi-Fi. Diamond Medallion members can access Sky Club lounges when traveling on Delta or its partners, providing a relaxing and comfortable space to unwind before a flight.
In addition to these primary benefits, Delta Diamond Medallion members also enjoy increased mileage earning and waived fees. Diamond Medallion members earn more miles per dollar spent on Delta flights (11 bonus miles per $1 spent on Delta purchases), and they receive a mileage bonus on eligible partner flights. This can help members reach their travel goals more quickly and efficiently. Diamond Medallion members also enjoy waived fees for same-day flight changes, award redeposit or reissue, and more, as well as waived baggage fees for the status member and their traveling party. These fee waivers can add up quickly, providing significant savings for frequent travelers.
Perhaps one of the most significant benefits of Delta Diamond Medallion Status (if you're high maintenance) is access to dedicated customer service. Diamond Medallion members have access to a dedicated customer service line for assistance with their travel needs. This can be particularly valuable when dealing with travel disruptions or complex itineraries, as it provides a direct line of communication to a knowledgeable and experienced representative.
Finally, Delta Diamond Medallion members receive four Choice Benefits from Delta. Initially unlocked with a single selection with your Platinum status, the move to Diamond means you get three additional choices. The Delta Choice Benefits you can select from include:
Upgrade Certificates, from which you can select: 4 Global Upgrade Certificates, 8 Regional Upgrade Certificates, or a combination of 2 Global and 4 Regional
A $500 American Express Statement Credit
A Starbucks Gift Card loaded with 4,000 stars (good for 26 free Starbucks drinks)
A Delta SkyClub Executive Membership (this requires burning 3 of your 4 Choice Benefits)
1,000 free MQD's to boost your account
Gifting Gold Medallion Status to two other members (Platinum members can gift Silver status to 2 others)
25,000 bonus Delta SkyMiles to put towards a reward flight
A $500 travel voucher for Delta Vacations
A $250 donation towards Delta's Sustainable Aviation Fuel program
A $250 Delta travel voucher
As you can see, there are a huge number of choices you can make as a Diamond Medallion member, which is why achieving Delta Diamond Medallion status requires a significant investment of time and money. However, for frequent travelers who value the benefits of premium cabin travel, airport convenience, and customer service, it can be well worth the effort. The benefits of Diamond Medallion Status can significantly enhance the travel experience, making it more comfortable, convenient, and rewarding. But how do you actually achieve Diamond status?
How To Achieve Delta Diamond Medallion Status
If you're interested in achieving Delta Diamond Medallion status, it's essential to plan your travel and spending strategically. Here are the best ways to graduate from Platinum Medallion status into the top tier of Delta flyers:
The absolute easiest way to achieve the status is...to fly! That's right. If you're someone who travels frequently, then flying is the best way to achieve Diamond status. This does a few things to help get you to elevated status levels faster:
If you're a business traveler, then your business is literally paying you to chase status and no/lower costs to you
You should be racking up Delta SkyMiles, which you can redeem for reward flights. Use these for personal travel to contribute to your MQS goal
If you racked up enough MQM's through flying last year to hit Platinum, but didn't quite have enough to hit Diamond, Delta will actually rollover your MQM's (called the "Rollover MQMs" program) into the next year to help you get a head start on your Medallion chase this year!
You can also work some magic in the partner ecosystem. Delta is head of the SkyTeam Alliance, and as such, has key strategic business partnerships with many airlines around the world. Booking flights on those partner airlines (like ITA, Virgin Atlantic, AeroMexico, etc) changes the calculation on MQM's and MQD's in your favor. This is doubly true on international flights where the math starts to get exponentially larger, meaning it could be cheaper to gain elevated Delta status by...not flying Delta. Do yourself a favor and check out partner airlines for Delta before you book through Delta's official platform to see if a partner flight could tip the scales in your direction.
This one leans much more heavily into the points and miles hacking game, but it's my favorite way to achieve Delta status, and to game the Delta SkyMiles Program in general. It's also usually the fastest way to earn qualifications of multiple membership tiers in a rapid amount of time, assuming you know what you're doing.
Delta has a key partnership with American Express, which features a line of cards that are Delta/Amex co-branded. These cards include:
Delta Reserve American Express Card
It also includes business-focused variants of each of the above. The Platinum and Reserve cards come with MQM bonuses once you achieve certain spending thresholds (10,000 bonus MQM's for every $25k of spend on the Platinum Delta card up to $50k, and 15,000 bonus MQM's for every $30,000 spent on the card, up to $120,000). The Reserve and Reserve Business cards also frequently see sign-up bonuses for new account holders that include some sort of MQM bonus, which make these a great way to fast track your entry into Delta's elite program.
These cards also come with additional Delta bonus features, such as annual companion certificates where your travel partner flies free (plus taxes), as well as waived baggage fees, and even priority upgrade status with the Reserve and Reserve Business card that serves a as a tiebreaker is you're competing with another person of your same status and fare class for an upgrade. The Reserve cards also come with guest passes for Delta Sky Club access, which could go a long way to justifying that annual fee!
In addition to earning MQMs, Diamond Medallion members must also meet a spending threshold to achieve status. This can be challenging for some travelers, particularly those who do not fly frequently on Delta or its partners. However, this spending requirement is waived if you spend $250,000 or more per year on your Delta/Amex co-branded card. This was raised from $25,000 per year a few years ago as too many people were qualifying for the Diamond Medallion tier, so Delta cut the legs out from under Diamond flyers who just rack up massive spend on their cards.
In conclusion, Delta Diamond Medallion status is the highest tier of elite status in Delta Air Lines' Medallion frequent flyer program, offering a host of exclusive benefits to frequent travelers. Achieving Diamond Medallion status requires a significant investment of time and money, but for those who value the benefits of premium cabin travel, airport convenience, and customer service, it can be well worth the effort.
Diamond Medallion members enjoy unlimited complimentary upgrades to First Class or Delta One (on domestic flights), priority check-in, security, and boarding privileges, and complimentary access to Delta's network of Sky Club lounges. In addition, Diamond Medallion members receive increased mileage earning, waived fees, and access to dedicated customer service.
Overall, Diamond Medallion Status offers a range of benefits that can significantly enhance the travel experience. Whether you're a frequent business traveler or a leisure traveler looking to maximize your travel rewards, achieving Diamond Medallion Status can provide a more comfortable, convenient, and rewarding travel experience.