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
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
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]