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Should I Earn Delta Platinum for the Award Redeposit Waiver?

May 31, 2015
3 min read
Should I Earn Delta Platinum for the Award Redeposit Waiver?
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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available – Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

TPG reader Andrew messaged me with a question about Delta elite status:

"Is it worth going for Delta Platinum Medallion over Delta Gold Medallion solely for the award redeposit waiver?"

The simple answer to this question is yes if you plan on booking lots of awards. Delta gets a bad rap for charging a lot of miles for awards, but lower-level award tickets sometimes open up as your departure date approaches. The key is being able to change your award for free, because Delta charges $150 each time you redeposit or reissue an award ticket unless you have Platinum or Diamond status.

Some airlines (including American) will let you alter your itinerary as long as the origin and destination remain the same, but not Delta. Any small change will cost you $150, which can add up quickly.

Those award change fees can add up if you aren't a Platinum Medallion member. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Considering that Delta Platinum status requires just 25,000 MQMs more than Delta Gold, you can make up the difference pretty easily by earning MQM bonuses with several Delta co-branded credit cards, such as the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card from Amex. So I would definitely consider going for it, and not just because you'll get to change your award for free, but also for the Delta Choice benefit (which is worth a minimum of $200). I've written extensively about the Delta Choice benefits and which are most valuable. You also earn more miles if you have a higher elite status, which is another added perk.

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In fact, I'd recommend earning elite status with any airline that allows you to change awards, not just Delta. I've used this benefit time and time again and it has been a lifesaver. Just last weekend I was in Paris and had a backup award booked on British Airways. I ended up sticking with my original award on Singapore, but it was great to have a second option. The flexibility to book, change and cancel awards for free gives me a strong sense of freedom when I'm traveling.

Here are the requirements for earning Delta Gold and Platinum Medallion Status, along with the benefits you'll receive:

Delta Gold: 50,000 MQMs/60 segments plus $6,000 in MQDs

  • Unlimited Complimentary Upgrades (3 days out)
  • Delta Comfort+ Seats (72 hours out)
  • Earn 8 miles per dollar spent
  • Waived baggage fees and same-day confirmed fees

Delta Platinum: 75,000 MQMs/100 segments plus $9,000 in MQDs

  • Unlimited Complimentary Upgrades (5 days out)
  • Delta Comfort+ Seats (at booking)
  • Earn 9 miles per dollar spent
  • Waived baggage fees and same-day confirmed fees
  • Waived award redeposit/reissue fees

For more on the difference in value between Gold and Platinum, check out Jason Steele's valuation of Delta elite status.

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.
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Featured image by Those award change fees can add up if you aren't a Platinum Medallion. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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