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Delta Silver Medallion: Worth It?  
User currently offlinePizzaPolli From United States of America, joined exactly 13 years ago today! , 243 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 2 months 4 weeks ago) and read 19624 times:

I tend to spread my travel around to different airlines and so have never obtained status on any airline. This year I'll have the opportunity to gain Silver Medallion status on Delta if I book one more flight with a total mileage of at least 2,725 miles. Was thinking I could go visit friends in MEM which will get me over the 25,000 mile mark and that ticket looks like it will cost about $400.

So, my question is: is Silver Medallion status even worth it? Are there so many Silvers and Golds, Platinums, and Diamonds that I'll never see any upgrades on my typical LAX-JFK-LAX runs or any other transcons? Are there really any real benefits to obtaining this status? My gut says probably not but since I've never had status I don't really know. Any opinions are greatly appreciated.

5 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePI4EVER From United States of America, joined May 2009, 690 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 19618 times:
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You can count on no upgrades on LAX-JFK roundtrip. They only clear Diamond on day of departure so a big deal to snag an upgrade on that route as with most transcon's. You'll see an occasional upgrade for Gold via SLC, MEM, MSP or DTW. ATL and JFK flights are heavy Diamond and Platinum on every flight, every day.
So your benefit will be priority check-in and boarding, selection of preferred seats, discounted Economy Comfort seats, a free bag, milege accrual and MQM rollover at end of year.
As I "advanced" up the ladder of Medallion status, my first upgrade as a Silver was on a MEM-STL CRJ9 on a Sunday night and not again until I made Gold.....a transcon routing of SAN-SLC-STL and only then because the flight was delayed 6 hours in SLC and many had been re-booked. I've held Platinum status for 3 years, and like to rollover enough miles to start each new year at or near Gold if possible. If you make a concerted effort to fly DL, you will accrue the status.....but from experience I've earned my "wings" with a fair amount of flight delays, cancellations, middle seats and many a connection over a nonstop on a competitor. I like DL's service and they treat me well. Last Friday in ATL, I made a 17 minute connection between Concourse D and B..........and 4 minutes before pushback my bag was planeside and boarded! My seat had been given away but luckily there was a stray empty for me. I was impressed.....that I could run that fast and that my bag made it to the plane as quickly as I did. Pretty awesome of DL on a Friday night in ATL......not to speak of the comp cold beer the F/A "awarded" me for running that fast in my age group.
Don't be surprised to see yourself way down on the upgrade list routinely. The worse I have seen was a LAX-ATL flight that had 88 upgrades on the list.......with 3 seats available.......on a 777LR. Trust me. You'll ride a lot in the back before you get up front, but rewards do come with effort. Then you'll find yourself thinking MQM's and mileage runs to build your accrual and status, along with using AMEX, Hilton, and Hertz. You can even buy MQM's from DL at the end of the year if you're in dire need of advancing your status by December 31st. Be careful. It can become addictive.
Good Luck with your travel,
Thomas



watch what you want. you may get it.
User currently offlinePizzaPolli From United States of America, joined exactly 13 years ago today! , 243 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 19613 times:

Thanks for all that insight, Thomas. Its really helpful to hear from someone who knows the system as well as you obviously do. Thanks!

User currently offlineredzeppelin From United States of America, joined Feb 2012, 612 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 19588 times:

I got silver status late last year and it has served me well. I say it is worth your effort to book the extra flight.

Upgrades on mainline aircraft are rare, especially on hub-to-hub routes, but 76-seaters in my experience are upgrade machines. They have an incredible 12F64Y configuration, and I have gotten upgrades on over half of the CR9 or E75 segments I've flown since then. I specifically try to book those flights now. I also got upgraded on my one and only CR7 segment, but I had a full Y fare that day so my priority was ahead of anybody with a lower fare class. I've seen Silvers get upgrades on 757s SLC-LAX.

I've had 2 encounters with irregular ops this year, and silver status helped both times:
The first time, my afternoon RSW-MSP flight was delayed indefinitely for MX. As the delay grew longer, I talked to the gate agent and she rebooked me with one of the last available seats on the next flight. I was traveling for work, and the agent told my colleague (on a separate itinerary) that she couldn't do the same for him because he didn't have status. She put him on standby for that flight, but he didn't make it. The original flight was finally cancelled and he had to spend the night in RSW.

The second time was a little different--I got an automated call the night before saying that my IAH-MSP flight was cancelled. I was at dinner, and tried rebooking through the smartphone app, but was told that no alternative flights were available (this was around the last day of the Houston Rodeo). I was able to call in on the Medallion line to get an agent and eventually work things out when seats opened up for an alternate flight via SLC. I don't have enough experience with DL's phone agents to know if the service is better for the Medallion line, but it seems nice to have access to a special number. IIRC, one other flight was also cancelled that morning, so check-in was a mess, and the kiosks refused to print my rerouted boarding passes. So it was very nice to have access to the preferred check-in line.

Beyond that, I really appreciate having access to preferred seating at the time of booking. It's nice to get the exit row or my favorite window seat or bulkhead or whatever you might like. The 25% mileage bonus on all flights is nice, even if it is nothing like the Diamonds get. I say that if you travel enough to maintain status with any airline, go for it. You might not get a lot of perks at low levels, but you'll find that it helps make the experience a bit better. And DL's rollover policy is especially attractive, as you can make your way up to Gold after a few years if you consistently fly 30k-40k miles. I'm in the funny spot this year where I'll probably finish very close to 50k MQMs, and I'll be happy to come up short. I'm not sure if I'll be traveling as much in 2013, and I'd rather have lots of rollover miles to guarantee some status for 2014 than to have Gold for 2013 but nothing in 2014. Is that crazy?

[Edited 2012-07-25 16:21:17]


Flown: DL,OS,NZ,UN,VV,NW,AA,UA,HP,TZ,AS,AF,KL,SK,WS,AZ,OK; op by OO,MQ,XJ,9E,G7,EV,QX,RP
User currently offlinemplsjefe From United States of America, joined Mar 2011, 107 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 19406 times:
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Quoting PI4EVER (Reply 1):
You can count on no upgrades on LAX-JFK roundtrip. They only clear Diamond on day of departure so a big deal to snag an upgrade on that route as with most transcon's. You'll see an occasional upgrade for Gold via SLC, MEM, MSP or DTW. ATL and JFK flights are heavy Diamond and Platinum on every flight, every day.
So your benefit will be priority check-in and boarding, selection of preferred seats, discounted Economy Comfort seats, a free bag, milege accrual and MQM rollover at end of year.
As I "advanced" up the ladder of Medallion status, my first upgrade as a Silver was on a MEM-STL CRJ9 on a Sunday night and not again until I made Gold.....a transcon routing of SAN-SLC-STL and only then because the flight was delayed 6 hours in SLC and many had been re-booked. I've held Platinum status for 3 years, and like to rollover enough miles to start each new year at or near Gold if possible. If you make a concerted effort to fly DL, you will accrue the status.....but from experience I've earned my "wings" with a fair amount of flight delays, cancellations, middle seats and many a connection over a nonstop on a competitor. I like DL's service and they treat me well. Last Friday in ATL, I made a 17 minute connection between Concourse D and B..........and 4 minutes before pushback my bag was planeside and boarded! My seat had been given away but luckily there was a stray empty for me. I was impressed.....that I could run that fast and that my bag made it to the plane as quickly as I did. Pretty awesome of DL on a Friday night in ATL......not to speak of the comp cold beer the F/A "awarded" me for running that fast in my age group.
Don't be surprised to see yourself way down on the upgrade list routinely. The worse I have seen was a LAX-ATL flight that had 88 upgrades on the list.......with 3 seats available.......on a 777LR. Trust me. You'll ride a lot in the back before you get up front, but rewards do come with effort. Then you'll find yourself thinking MQM's and mileage runs to build your accrual and status, along with using AMEX, Hilton, and Hertz. You can even buy MQM's from DL at the end of the year if you're in dire need of advancing your status by December 31st. Be careful. It can become addictive.
Good Luck with your travel,
Thomas

I agree 100%.

I have been upgraded as a silver, gold and platinum. I have been platinum for the last year and was gold before that and I can't tell you how many times it has greatly improved our travel experience.

The first year I was a silver medallion, my partner and I were flying AMS-MSP when we were diverted to DTW because MSP closed for several hours due to snow (the first time in my 33 years that I can recall MSP closing for more than 30 min or an hour) . It was the storm that caused the Metrodome roof to collapse. Because I was a silver medallion, we made it out the next day before DTW closed from the same storm. Also, DL put us up in the Hilton Garden Inn instead of the Day's Inn for the night we had to stay in Detroit after I mentioned my Medallion status. It is worth it.


User currently offlineEricAY05 From Finland, joined Sep 2010, 100 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 19321 times:

For me it was definitely worth it. I had Silver status with DL last year and I was really impressed. Out of 11 flights on DL I was upgraded 7 times. On the remaining 4 I got an emergency exit seat. Additionally I was upgraded to economy extra on all 4 KL intra-Asian flights I took. The best thing about this - every single time I had payed the lowest possible price for the ticket.

This year I've had Gold status with AA. What a dissapointment! The only advantage compared to DL is that AA allows you to check in two bags for free versus only one bag on DL. Also a slight disadvantage with DL is that their miles are much less useful than AA's and UA's.

As already mentioned, there is not much hope to be upgraded on any popular routes with any carrier, but on the right routes DL is fantastic.


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