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TPG reader Issac emailed me to ask:
“I will be achieving Delta Diamond Medallion status again before the end of the year, and was wondering which are the best Choice Benefits to choose? Last year the international upgrades worked well, but do you have any better suggestions?”
One of the unique things about Delta Platinum and Diamond status is that you get to pick one of their Choice Benefits when you reach Platinum, and two of them when you reach Diamond. Last week I covered the Choice Benefits for Platinum status, and this week I’ll give my thoughts on which benefit to choose for those with Diamond Status.
If you achieve Diamond Medallion status, you can pick two of the following Choice Benefits:
- Four Global or Eight Regional Upgrade Certificates: Global Upgrades are available on all Delta routes, and Regional Upgrades are available on the same routes as Medallion Complimentary Upgrades, but have a higher priority. Both can be used on all paid published Economy Class fares except for E fares on Delta-operated flights.
- Two ($100) Global Entry Application Vouchers: Global Entry will help you save time when re-entering the U.S. after being abroad or going through security. This credit covers the cost of two applications.
- Delta Sky Club Executive Membership Upgrade: Diamond Medallion members may upgrade their complimentary Individual Delta Sky Club Membership to an Executive Membership starting in 2015.
- Six Delta Sky Club One-Day Passes: With these passes you can access nearly 50 Sky Clubs worldwide. The passes are valid for up to one year from the date of issuance.
- 25,000 Bonus SkyMiles: You can add these miles to your account or donate them to a SkyWish charity of your choice.
- One Travel/Retail Gift Card:You can choose either a $200 Delta Travel Voucher valid for 12 months from the date of issuance, or a $200 Tiffany & Co. Gift Card.
- Two Tiffany & Co. Luggage Tags: Sleek rectangular stainless steel luggage tags with a genuine black leather strap adorned with Tiffany blue stitching and Diamond Medallion engraving.
- Give Gold Medallion Status: You can give Gold Medallion status to one person of your choosing, including unlimited complimentary upgrades, priority check-in, priority boarding and more.
The first one I would probably pick is the four global upgrades. I’d pick these over the eight regional upgrades, because just this year Delta released the fare classes needed to upgrade. In the past, Delta would only allow you to upgrade from the full fare Y, B and M economy fare classes. Now, however, almost every fare class is eligible, which makes these upgrades much more valuable than they were in the past.
For example, you can buy a cheap coach ticket to Australia and potentially use these upgrades to get into business class, which is a huge value. Just think, two different people could fly round-trip on coach fares using one upgrade each way. Delta does limit these upgrades to just the Medallion member and one guest, but it’s still an extremely valuable benefit.
The second benefit I would choose is giving Gold Medallion Status. Delta Gold Medallion status will get you 100% miles bonus on all flights and the occasional upgrade (Delta is one of the few carriers that still gives unlimited domestic upgrades on many routes). Gold Status also gives Skyteam Elite benefits, which gives you priority even when flying in economy on SkyTeam partners internationally, as well as lounge access. Overall I think Delta does treat Medallions pretty well, and Gold status is going to really come in handy if you ever have a canceled flight or need more customer service. So giving Gold status can be a $400-$500 value easily.
Another solid option is the 25,000 SkyMiles. I’m a little bit nervous about this, because entering 2015 Delta is will switch from three to five award tiers, which likely means more devaluations, and Delta has already watered down the value of SkyMiles recently. That said, there are still many solid ways to use them, and I could easily see getting $350 or more in value out of those 25,000 SkyMiles.
Those are the top three options in my opinion, so have fun choosing and enjoy!
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