Rewarding Loyalty – Delta Choice Benefits

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Loyalty has its rewards. But loyalty flows both ways. On Delta, if you are among the top status levels, you’ll be rewarded for your loyalty each year. Delta rewards their top Medallion status members with a choice benefit each year. The benefits have different values so it is important to assess what they mean to you before making your selection. Because once you select your benefit, that’s it, you are stuck with your selection until next year.

Delta’s 2012 Choice Benefits

Delta’s choice benefits are for members who qualify for Platinum and Diamond status. Members who qualify for Platinum Medallion may choose one gift while Diamond Medallions may select two gifts.

System Wide Upgrade

  • Members who qualify for Platinum status may select 4 System Wide Upgrade certificates while members who qualify for Diamond status may select 6 System Wide Upgrade certificates. The certificates may be used for a member or a traveling companion to upgrade on Delta, Air France or KLM. The big issue here is all of the restrictions the certificates have make them essentially worthless to the average traveler.

Sky Club Passes

Bonus Miles

  • Members who qualify for Platinum status may select 20,000 bonus miles while members who qualify for Diamond status may select 25,000 bonus miles. The good part about this award is the miles can be banked for later use, but the problem with this is 25,000 miles only gets you a domestic coach ticket.

Travel Gift Card

  • Members who qualify for Platinum status and Diamond status may select either a Tiffany & Co. Gift Card for $200 or a Delta Travel Voucher for $200 (valid for 12 months from the date of issue). If you meet Platinum status and then meet Diamond status, you’ll get to choose two certificates during the year.

Medallion Status

  • This is the benefit that I consider to be the best benefit. Members who qualify for Platinum status may nominate a friend to Silver status while members who qualify for Diamond status nominate a person for Gold status. This is commonly used to upgrade the status of a significant other. A gamble ensues throughout the year. If you think Platinum is all you will get, do you want to upgrade to Silver status only or take one of the other awards? But if you think you’ll make Diamond easily, you should forgo the Silver nomination and instead wait until you hit Diamond to nominate someone to Gold status.

Bottom Line

Delta’s choice benefits are all over the map in terms of value. For me, I usually select the Travel or Retail card when I make Platinum, and then select the Gold nomination and another Travel or Retail card if I make Diamond status. I’ve acquired a few nice gifts for Mrs Weekly Flyer over the years from Tiffany & Co courtesy of Delta.

What’s your favorite Delta Choice benefit and where do you see the most value?

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About The Weekly Flyer

The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way.

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  1. I would take the upgrades if a Hawaiian trip is in your plans. Even if you have status with Delta you do not get free upgrades to Hawaii. They always have plentiful space and the upgrade certificates are also good for overseas travel, but the fare classes they are restricted to are HIGH!!

    No restriction on trips inside the 50 United States, you can upgrade the cheapest fare.

  2. Um @ Ron what you said isn’t true at all. To use a SWU on any route always required buying a higher fare class.

    For DL domestic US it has to be ‘K’ or higher! This can often be a minimum of $200-400 more r/t than the “lowest” coach fare which is T, then U, L, K , etc.

  3. I’ve come to the same conclusion as the weekly flyer. Nice to see it confirmed although I wish you had figured something else out. The upgrade certificates have become almost worthless. The rates of upgradeable fares are A LOT higher than the lowest fare. To Hawaii they are many hundreds of $$ more expensive so they don’t make much sense there either. I wish someone had another take because the miles are fairly useless to those of us who earn so much anyway. I welcome other’s views.

  4. I just flew to Hawaii on a K-Class fare from JFK > ATL > HNL and then from HNL > SFO > JFK. I used a system wide upgrade and only got upgraded from JFK to ATL and HNL to SFO. The trick is to find flights with the appropriate class (K or higher) that aren’t busy or where business class/1st Class never sell out. I made the mistake of choosing the ATL connection to Hawaii not realizing (or researching) how that flight has a high potential for selling out. It does get you in to hawaii earlier than the connections in SF or LAX from JFK. You’re just not guaranteed to get upgraded on those flights at all. SFO to JFK in the afternoon on a thursday or red-eye on a Thursday is also a useless flight to use a SWU. So my suggestion is this….when you hit platinum, get take the miles or the $200 giftcard to tiffany’s. When you hit Diamond, Take the miles, and a giftcard, or miles and gift gold to your sig other, or 2 giftcards, or 1 giftcard and the miles or, just get the miles. Whatever you find is more worthwhile. Just avoid the SWU’s. They’re a waste of time. I get upgraded more based on status that I do with those things. All they do is bump you ahead of the list if there are other diamonds ahead of you(but that is only if you’re first on the waitlist to use your SWU).

  5. I decided to get the certificates this year and found them worthless. I feel cheated! Every time I try to use them, I get a “Well we don’t have any seats” style message. The last trip I took to las vegas, they could be used and then the agent gave me lousy seats! Oh sure I changed them to economy comfort but really? Ill never get these again…

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