Last chance: Pick your 2021 Delta Choice Benefits by Jan. 31
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Delta rewards its most frequent travelers with annual Choice Benefits, which range from upgrade certificates to Delta Sky Club memberships. If you qualified for Platinum or Diamond Medallion status in 2021, you have until Jan. 31 to select your annual Choice Benefits.
Both elite tiers are eligible for Choice Benefits: Platinum Medallions can select one while Diamond Medallions can select an additional three. That said, the choices for each tier differ and vary widely in value. You will want to study the value of each option before selecting one to ensure you get the most value from your Choice Benefit.
Here’s a look at what each benefit tier has to offer and how to select your 2021 Delta Choice benefits.
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How to earn Delta Choice Benefits
As mentioned, you have until Jan. 31 to select your annual Delta Choice Benefits the year after you qualified for status. So if you qualified or requalified for status in 2021 (for the 2022 membership year), you must select your Delta Choice Benefit(s) by Jan. 31, 2022.
When you achieve Delta Platinum Medallion status, you can select one Choice Benefit, and once you achieve Delta Diamond Medallion status, you can select another three Choice Benefits. You may make your selections by going to this page. It’s important to note that if you forget to make your choices by Jan. 31, you are not able to make choices later.
Delta Platinum Medallion
When you earn Platinum Medallion status, you can choose your first Choice Benefit:
- Four Regional Upgrade Certificates.
- 20,000 bonus SkyMiles.
- Travel voucher or Tiffany & Co. gift card.
- Silver Medallion status for a friend.
Although this may seem like a lot of great choices, they range significantly in value.
Four Regional Upgrade Certificates
Delta’s Regional Upgrade Certificates can be used on all paid published Main Cabin and Delta Comfort+ fares, except E (basic economy), on the same routes as Medallion Complimentary Upgrades, including all flights with first class and the domestic Delta One experience. Upgrade certificates are valid through the end of the Medallion year, so you have to use them by Jan. 31, 2023.
Two of our favorite ways to use these certificates are on flights to Hawaii and on transcontinental flights with Delta One lie-flat seats. Since paid upgrades on these routes can cost anywhere from $500 to over $1,000, the total value of four RUCs is (conservatively) in the thousands of dollars.
20,000 bonus SkyMiles
TPG values SkyMiles at 1.46 cents, meaning that 20,000 SkyMiles would generally net you around $300 of value. Even if you score a Delta SkyMiles award sale, the most value you can squeeze out of this is around $500.
Travel voucher or Tiffany & Co. gift card
This option grants you a $200 Delta travel voucher or a $200 retail gift card to Tiffany & Co. This means the absolute most value you can get from either redemption is $200, which isn’t great compared to Regional Upgrade Certificates or SkyMiles. Delta travel vouchers are valid for 12 months from the date of issuance and can be used toward Delta flights and Delta Vacations packages.
Silver Medallion status for a friend
You can also use your Choice Benefit to gift Delta Silver Medallion status to a friend, family member or colleague. This has the potential to give another traveler free checked bags, upgrades and other benefits. At TPG, we value this low-tier elite status at $745 per year.
At the same time, if this person frequently travels with you on the same PNR (confirmation number), they’ll already have access to your Delta Platinum Medallion benefits. For example, they can be upgraded with you to Comfort+ and domestic first class with higher upgrade priority.
Additionally, many of the perks of Delta Silver Medallion status, like one free checked bag and priority boarding, are already included with the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, so we generally advise that you steer clear of this Choice Benefit.
Delta Diamond Medallion
When you earn Diamond Medallion status, you can choose a second, third and fourth Choice Benefit:
- Delta Sky Club membership.
- Upgrade certificates.
- 25,000 bonus SkyMiles.
- Travel voucher or Tiffany & Co. gift card.
- Gold Medallion status for a friend.
These three Choice Benefits are in addition to the single Choice Benefit earned when requalifying for Delta Platinum Medallion status. Like with the Platinum annual Choice Benefits, the value of these ranges significantly. Note that you may only select upgrade certificates or Delta Sky Club access once, but all other benefits can be selected multiple times.
Delta Sky Club membership and guest options
Diamond Medallion members may select an individual Sky Club membership as one of their annual Choice Benefits.
Members can use one Choice Benefit for a Delta Sky Club individual membership, which includes unlimited Sky Club access. If you select this membership, you can bring up to two paid guests at a rate of $39 per guest per visit.
Alternatively, Diamond Medallions can give up two Choice Benefits for a yearlong Executive Sky Club membership. This membership allows members to bring up to two guests with them on every lounge visit, which can be useful for families or those who often travel with colleagues.
Alternatively, Diamond Medallion members who have complimentary Delta Sky Club access with an eligible card (The Platinum Card® from American Express, Delta SkyMiles Reserve or Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card) have the option to select a Delta Sky Club guest pass. This includes unlimited Delta Sky Club access for up to two guests per visit when traveling with the cardmember.
Any of these can be a solid deal, but we recommend going with the Delta Sky Club guest pass. If you already have a credit card that offers Sky Club access, this can be worth hundreds of dollars per year if you bring guests to the lounge with you regularly.
Delta allows Diamonds Medallion elites to choose from three upgrade certificate allotments:
- Four Global Upgrade Certificates.
- Eight Regional Upgrade Certificates.
- Two Global Upgrade Certificates and four Regional Upgrade Certificates.
Earning Diamond Medallion status is the only way to earn Global Upgrade Certificates, which can be worth thousands of dollars depending on how you redeem them. Of course, you’ll need to call and play around with dates to find availability, but those willing to roll the dice can waitlist and hope for an upgrade either leading up to departure or at the gate.
Do note, however, that Delta is changing how Global Upgrade Certificates work next month. Starting Feb. 1, these upgrade certificates will only let you confirm a one-cabin upgrade at booking. This means those booked in Main Cabin can only confirm an upgrade into Premium Select on three-cabin flights, and will be waitlisted for Delta One 24 hours prior to departure.
On the bright side, from Feb. 1, Global Upgrade Certificates will have last-seat access on upgrades from Main Cabin to Premium Select on international flights, and from Main Cabin to first class on domestic flights. In other words: If there’s an open seat in Premium Select or domestic first class, you can use your Global Upgrade Certificate to upgrade to it.
25,000 bonus SkyMiles
Again, TPG values SkyMiles at 1.46 cents, so 25,000 of them would generally give you around $365 of value. Assuming that you’ve used one choice on a batch of upgrade certificates and one on a Sky Club guest pass to pair with your eligible credit card, this is a solid bet for your third choice.
Travel voucher or Tiffany & Co. gift card
This option grants you a $200 travel voucher or $200 retail gift card to Tiffany & Co. Again, this isn’t a great deal given there’s no way to maximize the voucher for more than $200 in value. On top of this, those with select Delta cobranded credit cards can use Pay with Miles to redeem 25,000 SkyMiles for $250 in travel, making the travel voucher a particularly lackluster value.
Gold Medallion status for a friend
TPG values Gold Medallion status at $2,120, which means this is a great option for a close friend who doesn’t travel frequently on your itineraries. But again, if you frequently travel with your companion on the same PNR, several other perks like free checked bags, upgrades and international lounge access will also extend to your travel companion. As a result, if you choose this option, it only makes sense to gift it to someone who doesn’t travel with you regularly.
How to select Delta Choice Benefits
You can select Delta Choice Benefits by logging in to your Delta account and heading to the Choice Benefits page. Then, click the red “Select Your Choice Benefits” link. You will then be taken to a page where you can pick your Choice Benefits for both Platinum and Diamond Medallion status.
Your Choice Benefits like upgrade certificates, Delta Sky Club memberships and bonus points will appear in your account shortly. You can view previous selections by navigating back to the Choice Benefits page.
You have through the end of the month to select your annual Delta Choice Benefit(s). Keep in mind that if you do not select your Choice Benefit(s) by Jan. 31, you will lose out on this valuable perk.
Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.
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