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What Is the Value of Delta Diamond Medallion Status? [2024]

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James Larounis

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James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in...
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Diamond Medallion is the highest frequent flyer tier in the Delta SkyMiles program, above Platinum, Gold, and Silver. It requires a hefty amount of spending with Delta Air Lines, but the benefits are plentiful.

Diamond Medallion passengers are given the best treatment among Delta’s frequent flyers (except for those who have the elusive Delta 360 status, which is by invitation only).

Diamond Medallion benefits include fee waivers, SkyTeam Elite Plus, Global Upgrades, the highest priority for complimentary upgrades, and much more.

While the requirements to earn Delta Diamond Medallion are the hardest among all its status tiers, it can certainly be worth it for those who travel for business or who appreciate extra comfort during their air travel.

How To Earn Delta Diamond Medallion

Earning Diamond isn’t easy. It’s the hardest of Delta’s 4 elite tiers to earn, and it’s more difficult than several competing frequent flyer programs.

As of 2024, earning Delta elite status solely depends on one factor: Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs). To earn Delta Diamond Medallion status, you must earn $28,000 MQDs in a calendar year.

Delta Elite Status levels 2024
Image Credit: Delta Air Lines

You can earn MQDs by flying with Delta (1 MQD per $1 spent on most Delta flights), having or spending certain co-branded Delta American Express credit cards, or spending money with Delta vacations (1 MQD per $1 spent). Like all Delta elite qualifying, you must complete your qualification requirements by December 31 each year to earn Diamond status. If you don’t, you won’t earn Diamond the following year.

Choice Benefits (up to $2,000 Value)

delta comfort+
As a Delta Diamond Medallion, you can expect to receive many upgrades to Comfort+ and first class. Image Credit: Delta Air Lines

Diamond Medallion members get to choose 3 benefits from a Choice Benefits pool, allowing them to tailor the benefits that matter most to them.

The choices are:

  • 4 Global Upgrade Certificates or 8 Regional Upgrade Certificates, or a combination of 2 Global and 4 Regional Upgrade Certificates, which can be used on tickets booked as a part of a Delta Vacations® package
  • $700 statement credit for cardholders of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, or Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card (terms and conditions apply and will be provided when the American Express Statement Credit becomes available)
  • 6,000 Starbucks® Rewards Stars
  • Delta Sky Club® Executive (3 Choice Benefit selections) or Individual (2 Choice Benefit selections) Membership
  • $2,000 Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQD) Accelerator towards the next Medallion Qualification Year
  • Gift Gold Medallion Status to 2 Members
  • 35,000 bonus miles for yourself, someone else, or a SkyWish charity of your choice
  • $500 Delta Vacations Experience (flight + hotel)
  • $250 Sustainable Aviation Fuel Contribution
  • A $350 Delta travel voucher, also applicable toward a Delta Vacations package
  • $2,000 Wheels Up flight credit

Let’s take a look at each of these in more detail:

  • 4 Global Upgrades allows you to secure a 1-cabin upgrade in advance on any cash or award ticket in Main Cabin, Comfort+, or Premium Select fare, excluding basic economy. If there’s upgrade inventory, you can upgrade. These upgrades are most valuable for long-haul routes, such as to Sydney, London, or Johannesburg. 
  • 8 Regional Upgrades can be used for cash or award tickets to secure a 1-cabin upgrade in advance on any route where you would ordinarily be able to upgrade via the traditional Medallion Complimentary Upgrade process, including to Delta One. 
  • 2 Global and 4 Regional Upgrades combine the best of both long-haul and regional travel. Those elites who may only travel internationally once a year (cash or award ticket) can use the Global Upgrades and then use the Regional Upgrades for domestic travel.
  • Delta Sky Club Executive Membership allows you to access the Sky Club for yourself and 2 other guests, but it comes at a premium as you need to use 2 Choice Benefits.
  • 35,000 bonus miles are traditionally good for a one-way domestic first class ticket or a few one-way economy class tickets. However, the number of miles will vary since Delta employs dynamic award pricing.
  • The $350 Delta travel voucher is suitable for those who want to reduce personal spending on Delta travel but comes as one of the least valuable benefits.
  • Gifting Delta Gold Medallion status, which comes with SkyTeam Elite Plus, can be useful, but only if the person receiving the status would ordinarily fly enough to use the benefits. 
  • The $500 Delta Vacations Experience provides savings on a vacation package, though you’ll need to use Delta Vacations, which can be a bit clunky since it combines airfare with a hotel.
  • The 2,000 MQD bonus for next year allows you to spend less to earn status, which is always helpful.
  • If you’re a big coffee drinker, you may find the 6,000 Starbucks Rewards Stars worth it for lots of free coffee.

Unlimited Complimentary Upgrades ($1,500 Value)

Delta Airlines A220 First Class
Upgrades to first class are one of the more popular perks of Delta Diamond Medallion. Image Credit: Delta Air Lines

Delta Diamond receives complimentary upgrades on all routes within the U.S. and select international destinations, such as the Caribbean, Mexico, and Canada.

Diamonds are always at the top of the upgrade order, so you know that as a Diamond, you’ll always be among the first to get upgraded.

In all upgrade cases, you must be on a paid ticket (except E fares), an award ticket, a Miles + Cash ticket, or a Pay with Miles ticket. You can never be on a basic economy fare, as these types of tickets do not receive upgrade privileges.

Here’s an easy-to-understand chart from Delta on how and when you can receive complimentary upgrades:

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For upgrade orders, it’s a reasonably straightforward process to understand:

  • Your Delta Diamond Medallion status will be the most important deciding factor — Diamonds get upgrades before all other tiers
  • If all else is equal between 2 Diamonds, the one with the higher fare class will get upgraded
  • Million Milers are upgraded before those who have not yet reached Million Miler status
  • If all else is equal, a Diamond with a Delta Reserve card will get upgraded
  • If all else is equal, the Delta Corporate Traveler will get the upgrade
  • If all else is equal, Diamonds will be upgraded based on who has earned the most Medallion Qualification Dollars in the current calendar year.
  • Finally, the upgrade will go to the person who requested the upgrade earlier.

Delta Diamonds are the first to receive upgrades on any flight, and they are often upgraded. However, that percentage is starting to decline as Delta begins to upsell its premium cabins more heavily. As a consolation, a Delta Diamond will be upgraded to Comfort+ right after they purchase their ticket, so at the very least, they can sit in the extra legroom seats scattered throughout the cabin.

Earning More Points ($500 Value)

As a Diamond Medallion, you earn 11 miles for every dollar spent — the highest amount of any elite tier.

Delta uses a dynamic system of pricing out awards and has removed its award charts, so it’s difficult to estimate what the 165,000 miles earned may be redeemed for. In general, this would roughly be worth 1 round-trip business class to Europe if redeemed for maximum value. Because these miles are accumulated over time and award availability may be limited, the value can’t be compared to what an actual ticket may cost.

Complimentary CLEAR membership ($189 Value)

Diamond Medallions receive a free membership to CLEAR, the fee-based program that allows you to breeze through the identification and boarding pass scan process before security. Normally, this membership costs $189 a year. However, Diamond Medallions receive it for free.

CLEAR requires members to enroll by scanning their fingerprints or iris, and then as they come to the airport for flights, they simply scan their boarding pass and fingerprints and then proceed directly to the metal detectors and bag scanners. This avoids Diamond Medallions having to wait in line to have their information checked and will help expedite them getting through the terminal and to the gate or club.

High-Priority Boarding ($150 Value)

Delta Diamond Medallions receive the highest boarding priority, just after pre-boarding (for folks who need more time getting onto the plane), active-duty military personnel, Delta 360° members, and Delta One/first class customers. 

Here is the boarding order from Delta:

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SkyPriority (Included in SkyTeam Elite Plus Value)

skypriority check-in delta
With SkyPriority, you’ll breeze through check-in. Image Credit: Delta Air Lines

As a Diamond member, you also receive SkyPriority, allowing you to get through the various aspects of travel within airports faster. It’s worth noting that Gold and Platinum also receive this benefit, so there’s nothing necessarily differentiating the Diamond level.

SkyPriority includes:

  • Priority check-in, where you can speak to an agent from a separate queue
    • Check a bag faster, check in for your flight faster, and seek agent assistance faster during irregular operations — a huge benefit compared to those who need to wait in the standard lines that may be long.
  • Priority security in select airports, usually those that are hubs and/or major cities
    • At these airports, you don’t have to stand in the regular lanes and can instead use the priority lanes for faster access; these lanes are separate from TSA PreCheck and CLEAR, so if you have access to one of those services, you’ll want to use those respective channels.
  • Expedited baggage service
    • Your bags will be tagged with a priority tag at check-in and will be among the first to come off the aircraft upon arrival.

Free Checked Bag ($350 Value)

Delta Self Service Baggage Drop
As a Diamond Medallion, you don’t need to worry about paying checked baggage fees. Image Credit: Delta Air Lines

You receive your first checked bag free on all Delta and partner flights as a Diamond Medallion perk. The free checked baggage benefit also extends to 8 of your traveling companions, saving several hundred dollars depending on the itinerary and how many bags you may be checking.

Waived Same-Day Confirmed Fees ($400 Value)

Like both the Gold and Platinum Medallion tiers, Diamonds get free same-day confirmed changes, where they can confirm on to an earlier or later flight, so long as it is on the same day. The way this works is pretty simple — if the same fare class is available on the new flight, the Diamond can move to it at no additional charge. The only caveats are that you can’t switch airports (i.e., you can’t switch from LGA to JFK), and you can’t move from a connecting flight to a nonstop flight, which traditionally comes at a premium.

Bottom Line: When you do a same-day confirmed change, you’re confirming onto the new flight and will have a seat in your name — it is not to be confused with standby, where you don’t have a confirmed seat.

Waived Same-Day Standby Fees ($100 Value)

Though same-day standby is now free for all passengers, you’ll have a better position on the waitlist than others who might be on the waitlist.

Bottom Line:

Diamond Medallions get the huge benefit of being at the top of the waitlist, meaning they’ll get an available seat for standby free of charge before any Platinums, Golds, or Silvers.

Dedicated Phone Line ($250 Value)

When you need to speak with a human, you want to do it quickly, as chances are there’s an issue with your reservation, a flight cancellation, or severe weather approaching. As a Diamond, you get priority in speaking with a Medallion agent. Your calls are answered before other elite tiers, allowing you to get your ticketing problems sorted quickly.

A “hidden” benefit of the Delta Diamond line is that sometimes, these agents may be willing to bend the rules, waive fees, or do other favors. While this isn’t written down or is not a policy, many Diamond members report receiving above-and-beyond customer service from these agents.

Hot Tip: Diamond Medallions should call 800-323-2323 for their elite service desk.

Priority Waitlist ($150 Value)

Delta Boarding Gates
Delta Diamonds receive priority on all airport waitlists, putting them at the top of the list for a seat. Image Credit: Leonard Zhukovsky via Shutterstock

In cases where a Diamond Medallion can’t purchase a specific fare, they can waitlist so that if a seat should open up, they can book it. Diamonds get priority over all other elite levels when utilizing waitlists.

SkyTeam Elite Plus ($500 Value)

SkyTeam Plus is the highest alliance-wide status that SkyTeam has, similar to Star Alliance Gold or Oneworld Emerald. 

Among the benefits you’ll receive are:

  • Priority baggage handling, where your bag will be among the first bags to be delivered off of the plane
    • SkyTeam Elite Plus bags are tagged with a priority tag when you check them in, allowing handlers to know to deliver your bags first.
  • Lounge access to any lounge worldwide of any SkyTeam carrier
    • For example, Air France’s lounges in Paris, Aeromexico’s lounges in Mexico City, and any SkyTeam lounge or Delta Sky Club in the U.S., so long as you’re on a qualifying international ticket
  • Free baggage on all SkyTeam airlines — save on baggage fees no matter where you travel

Hot Tip: Lounge access is one of the most valuable benefits of SkyTeam Elite Plus status, as lounge access can refresh you before or after a flight. Unfortunately, SkyTeam Elite Plus lounge benefits aren’t valid on flights solely within the U.S., so if you want access there, you’ll need a Sky Club membership.

Hertz President’s Circle Status ($200 Value)

If you’re a heavy flyer, you’re probably someone who also rents rental cars a lot. Thanks to Delta’s partnership with Hertz, Diamond, and Platinum members will receive complimentary President’s Club status, allowing you to earn more Hertz points and free upgrades.

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President’s Circle

Qualification

15 rentals or $3,000

Upgrades

Guaranteed

Earning Points

$1 = 1.5 points

Ultimate Choice

Widest selection

Free CLEAR Airport Trial

4 months

Reward Redemptions

Additional exclusive benefits and rewards

Transfer Points to Select Traveler Partners

Dedicated Hertz Rewards Line

Free Additional Driver

Delta Vacations Savings (Value Depends on How Much You Purchase)

No matter which Medallion elite level you hold, you can get minor savings on Delta Vacations.

  • $50 savings on vacations of $1,250 to $2,499
  • $100 savings on vacations of $2,500 to $3,999
  • $150 savings on vacations of $4,000 to $6,999
  • $350 savings on vacations of $7,000 or more

You’ll get a specific discount when you purchase a Delta Vacations package of a certain amount or higher. This is the same discount across all elite levels.

Luggage Tags ($10 Value)

delta baggage luggage tag bragtag
Showing off your luggage tags is one of the cool benefits of Diamond Medallion! Image Credit: Delta Air Lines

If you’re a Delta Diamond, and you’ve worked that hard for status and spent exorbitant amounts of money with the airline, you’ve got to show it off. Like all Medallion tiers, you’ll receive a complimentary luggage tag to strut your stuff in the terminal.

Reclaim My Status ($400 Value)

This benefit is available to all Medallion tiers and is 1 way the SkyMiles program is excellent for busy travelers. Life happens — and even the busiest of travelers can have interruptions. It could be a job change, surgery, the birth of a child, or perhaps a severe financial situation. Whatever the case, Delta allows you to get that status back with a relatively simple process.

After you feel like you can fly again, once you finish your life event, you can reclaim your status by contacting Delta and providing proof of the interruption that caused you not to fly Delta. Assuming it gets approved, you’ll be granted a temporary status, and you must then complete a challenge to keep it through the remainder of the year.

For Diamonds, you must earn $7,000 MQDs within 3 months. If you finish this challenge, you’ll be granted Diamond Medallion through the following year, allowing you to get back on track to earning Delta status for years to come.

Final Thoughts

When you add all the benefits together, accounting for the maximization of each benefit, you’re looking at approximately $6,489 worth of value each year — a decent return on your investment.

A flyer who doesn’t use many benefits can expect around a $5,000 valuation yearly, while a flyer who over-utilizes benefits can expect north of $10,000 in valuation each year.

Delta Diamond is at the top of the elite tiers and definitely comes with some serious perks, including global upgrades, free same-day changes, a chance for free Sky Club access, and more. It’s undoubtedly a status to consider if you live in a Delta hub and are loyal to the SkyTeam alliance!

For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Diamond status on Delta?

Diamond status is Delta’s highest status in the SkyMiles frequent flyer Medallion program. Diamond requires earning $28,000 Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) in a given year. Benefits include:

  • A choice of Choice Benefits include global upgrades, regional upgrades, club access, and more
  • Unlimited complimentary upgrades
  • Complimentary same-day changes and same-day standby
  • Complimentary CLEAR membership
  • Discounts on Delta Vacations
  • Free checked bags and priority bag handling
  • SkyTeam Elite Plus status
  • Free award changes and redeposits

What is Delta Diamond status worth?

According to our valuations at Upgraded Points, Delta Diamond status can usually be worth approximately $7,000, with infrequent users getting about $5,000 in benefits and over-achieving flyers getting over $10,000 worth of benefits.

What is the highest Delta status?

The highest published Delta Medallion tier is Diamond, however, Delta does have an unpublished Delta 360 program that provides additional benefits alongside the Delta Medallion perks.

Is Delta Diamond status worth it?

If you are a heavy flyer with Delta and are able to leverage the plethora of perks the top-tier status provides, it’s certainly worth it, as you’ll be among the airline’s top flyers and will be entitled to some of the very best perks each time you fly.

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About James Larounis

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in dozens of travel publications.

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