Does Gifted Delta Medallion Status Count as MQMs Earned?

Dec 27, 2015

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

TPG reader Mike sent me a message on Facebook to ask about Delta Medallion elite status:

“If someone uses their Delta Choice Benefit to give me Gold status, will the miles I earn on my own still help me qualify for the next elite tier?”

One interesting feature of the SkyMiles program is that Delta allows upper-tier Medallion members to pick from among several special perks known as Choice Benefits. Options include SkyClub passes, bonus miles, retail gift cards and more, but one I’ve selected in the past is giving Medallion status to another flyer. Platinum elites can gift Silver status, while Diamond elites can gift Gold status, both of which can be fairly lucrative.

Delta describes this as gifted status, but it’s more apt to think of it as gifted benefits — you’ll enjoy the same perks as someone who earned Silver or Gold Medallion the hard way, but Delta won’t count you as having completed the regular requirements. If you were given Gold status, for example, your SkyMiles account would only reflect your actual elite-qualifying activity and would not include the 50,000 MQMs and $6,000 MQDs normally needed to reach Gold.

That means if you want to reach Platinum status, you’d still have to earn 75,000 MQMs (or 100 MQSs) and $9,000 MQDs. Keep in mind that gifted status only lasts through January of the following year, so it’s still worth pursuing Medallion status on your own if you want to keep it beyond that point. Also, you will be able to roll over MQMs above the status level you earn. If you finish next year with 30,000 in the above scenario, you’ll no longer have the gifted Gold status, but you’ll get Silver status for 2017 and 5,000 miles toward future elite qualification.

There are more ways to get those last-minute MQMs besides flying.
Gold Medallion status gets you benefits like complimentary upgrades to Delta Comfort+ up to 72 hours prior to departure.

For anyone deciding which Choice Benefit to use, I think gifting status is a good option if it goes to someone you travel with frequently, especially if you’re a Diamond Medallion and can give them Gold status. That will help you both get upgraded if you’re on the same itinerary and will give them other useful benefits like certain waived fees and SkyTeam lounge access if they’re flying to meet you on their own.

Purely from a value perspective, I think Diamond members without a regular travel partner are better off taking the four global upgrades. Platinum members should think about going with the 20,000 bonus SkyMiles, since regional upgrades aren’t as useful and Silver benefits are fairly watered down (so the gift of status is less impactful). Of course, status makes a generous gift for anyone who flies Delta regularly (even if you don’t fly with them), and I’m sure whomever you offer Medallion status to will appreciate it!

For more info about earning Delta Medallion status, check out these posts:

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.