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So, you’re a frequent flyer and are a bit tired of sitting elbow-to-elbow with a stranger on your flights. You’ve flown on Delta for a while now and are accumulating Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) quickly. Once you hit certain threshold amounts with your MQMs, you will be entitled to various benefits, including complimentary seat upgrades. How do you go about doing so?
In order to qualify for complimentary upgrades, you’ll have to accumulate at least 25,000 MQMs. At this point, you will achieve Silver Medallion Status. As the typical Delta flight earns at least 500 MQMs (even if you travel less than that in actual miles), you should be able to reach this amount fairly quickly if you are frequent flyer. Many are multiplied by 1.5, so you’d actually receive, for example, 3,000 MQMs if you traveled 2,000 miles. At that rate, you’d hit 25,000 MQMs in just over eight round trips.
Here is the breakdown of the remaining thresholds and statuses:
- 50,000 MQMs – Gold Medallion Status
- 75,000 MQMs – Platinum Medallion Status
- 125,000 MQMs – Diamond Medallion Status
Once you reach Silver Medallion Status, you will qualify for unlimited upgrades. Of course, the perks get better as your status rises, so you’ll stand to benefit more by moving up the ranks. Here is how upgrades are prioritized (all but priority 1 apply to class B, M, H, Q, K, L, U, T and E tickets) :
- Priority 1: All Medallion flyers on Y-class fares are cleared for upgrades at the time of ticketing
- Priority 2: Diamond Medallion flyers are cleared for upgrades 5 days prior to their flights
- Priority 3: Platinum Medallion flyers are cleared for upgrades 5 days prior to their flights
- Priority 4: Gold Medallion flyers are cleared for upgrades 3 days prior to their flights
- Priority 5: Silver Medallion flyers are cleared 1 day prior to their flights
- Priority 6: Companions are cleared within 24 hours of departure
In addition, those paying with award tickets or the Pay with Miles program are given priority at each level after Diamond Medallion flyers are cleared. In other words, after Diamond Medallion flyers are cleared for their upgrades, those paying with award tickets or the Pay with Miles program are cleared next and this process repeats in steps 3 and 4 with the Platinum and Gold Medallions, respectively. Your chances of getting cleared for an upgrade decrease at each priority, so you’ll have a much better chance at getting an upgrade with Diamond Medallion Status than with Silver Medallion Status.
So, once you earn at least 25,000 MQMs, you’ll be eligible for complimentary upgrades with the Delta SkyMiles program. While I wouldn’t recommend going out and taking a bunch of random flights just to reach this amount, it will be a nice benefit if you fly enough to achieve it anyway. Of course, availability of seat upgrades is also an issue, so Diamond Medallion Status doesn’t mean you’ll be rubbing elbows with celebrities and corporate big-shots on every flight – and, even if you do sit next to them, you won‘t have to rub elbows with them in your comfortable seat! However, you will be able to fly more comfortably on some flights, which isn’t a bad perk to have if you’re in the air a lot.
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
Annual Fee: $195
Credit Required: Excellent
Rewards Program and Welcome Offers*:
- Earn 35,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within your first 3 months.
- Earn 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
- Earn 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 10,000 bonus miles after you reach $25,000 or more on purchases within the calendar year.
- Companion Certificate - Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card.
- Earn 2 Miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta.
- Earn 1 mile for every dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.
- Check your first bag free on every Delta flight - that's a savings of up to $200 per round trip for a family of four.
- Settle in sooner with Priority Boarding.
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