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

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Delta Silver Medallion status is the lowest of the SkyMiles Medallion elite status tiers. Delta offers Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Medallion, and Silver Medallion provides entry-level benefits to the basic frequent traveler.

Most Delta elites are Silver Medallion, with fewer and fewer people achieving the upper ranks. Because of this, it’s important to look at the Silver Medallion benefits and help to place a value on each perk. That way, you better understand if you should fly more to earn this beginner level and how you should value higher tiers.

In this post, you’ll learn what a Silver Medallion is, how you can earn it, what each of the Silver Medallion benefits is, and its value.

How To Earn Silver Medallion Status

Silver Medallion is by far the easiest status to earn and is very achievable with even just a little bit of flying. 

As of 2024, earning Delta elite status is solely dependent on Medallion Qualification Dollars, or MQDs. To earn Delta Gold Medallion status, you must earn $5,000 MQDs in a calendar year.

Delta Elite Status levels 2024
Medallion status tiers and MQD requirements. Image Credit: Delta

You can earn MQDs by flying with Delta (1 MQD per dollar spent on most Delta flights), having or spending on certain co-branded Delta American Express credit cards, or spending money on Delta Vacations (1 MQD per dollar spent). If you occasionally travel for work or regularly spend on a Delta American Express, you may find yourself reaching Delta Silver Elite status in no time.

Increased Mileage Earning ($200)

Each Medallion tier progressively earns more miles based on the fare of your ticket. Silver Medallions earn 7 miles per dollar spent on flights, which is 2 more miles compared to the SkyMiles earning rate without status.

This means that a ticket that is $100, excluding taxes and fees, would earn 700 miles. If you earned all of your MQDs via spending on Delta, spending $5,000 per year on Delta flights would translate to 35,000. Those 35,000 miles might get you a one-way first class ticket at a low mileage rate or a round-trip coach ticket at a low mileage rate. But because Delta uses a dynamic pricing system, it’s tough to specifically place a value on each mile earned.

Complimentary Medallion Upgrades ($250)

One of the most coveted benefits of being a Medallion member is the opportunity to receive unlimited complimentary upgrades to Delta first class or Delta One within the U.S. and nearby international destinations.

Silver Medallions are eligible for upgrades beginning 24 hours from the flight, the last to be upgraded after Diamond, Platinum, and Gold Medallions.

You can receive upgrades on all paid tickets, with the exception of E fares (basic economy), all award tickets, Miles + Cash tickets (when you use a combination of cash and miles to cover the total of a ticket), and Pay with Miles tickets (when you use miles to cover the cash cost of a ticket).

Depending on the upgrade, you can be moved up at different times:

  • For Delta One upgrades, such as New York (JFK) to Los Angeles (LAX), you can receive an upgrade as early as the day of departure. Remember, you’d be behind all Diamond, Platinum, and Gold Medallions.
  • For first class upgrades, you can receive an upgrade as early as 24 hours from departure.
  • You can upgrade to Delta Comfort+ Upgrades (Delta’s version of extra-legroom economy class seating) starting 24 hours before the flight.
  • You wouldn’t receive a Comfort+ seat at the time of booking, but you may be able to move into such a seat within 24 hours of the flight. This is important, as these seats are more comfortable than regular economy class seats. Moving into one of these seats gets you additional legroom, but it also allows you to continue to upgrade to the first class cabin, which has even better seats.
  • For Clase Premier (first class) upgrades on select Aeromexico-operated flights, you can upgrade as early as 24 hours from departure. To be upgraded on Aeromexico, you must have your SkyMiles number in your reservation and you’ll automatically be added to the upgrade list.
    • If you don’t clear in advance, you can request to be added to the airport list at check-in with an agent. No Medallion members are allowed to upgrade to AeroMexico Plus, its extra-legroom economy class seating.
  • You can also upgrade a companion on any flight where you are seeking to upgrade to Delta One, first class, or Delta Comfort+. In these cases, it costs no extra miles or money to upgrade a companion, though due to the availability of seats, it may be more difficult to upgrade 2 people rather than only 1. You’re allowed to upgrade a companion on all paid tickets, except basic economy, award tickets, Miles + Cash tickets, Pay with Miles tickets, and SkyMiles companion certificates.

You cannot receive a complimentary upgrade to Delta Premium Select or Delta One products outside of the U.S.

Delta First Class Meals Food
One perk of sitting in first class is a complimentary meal. All Delta Medallions are eligible for complimentary upgrades on select routes. Image Credit: Delta Air Lines

Here’s how Delta prioritizes upgrades:

  1. By Medallion status, the first and most important differentiator
  2. By fare class, with costlier fare classes receiving priority over cheaper fares
  3. By Million Miler status, giving priority to long-term Delta fliers
  4. By Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card cardholders, with cardholders receiving priority over others
  5. By Delta corporate travelers, when you include the Corporate Ticket Designator on the ticket
  6. By spending, based on the total Medallion Qualification Dollars earned in the current calendar year
  7. By the date and time of the upgrade request, the last and least important indicator

Using this logic, here are a few common upgrade scenarios:

  1. A Diamond Medallion on a lower fare will always receive an upgrade over a Platinum Medallion on a higher fare.
  2. A Silver Medallion with a pricier ticket will receive an upgrade over another Silver Medallion with a cheaper ticket.
  3. A Silver Medallion who has earned $8,000 MQDs this calendar year will receive priority over a Silver Medallion who has only earned $5,000 MQDs, assuming the fare class of the ticket is the same and both are or aren’t Delta Reserve cardholders.

While Silver Medallions are at the bottom for upgrades, they can possibly receive a seat up front, especially on less popular routes and at less preferred times of the week. 

Some simple tips for increasing your odds of receiving an upgrade are:

  1. Flying when others are not flying. Avoid peak travel days when a lot of business travelers are flying and you’re competing for upgrades.
  2. Depending on the city, an upgrade out of a hub is usually much more difficult than an upgrade to a hub. Keep this in mind as you book travel.
  3. Having the Delta Reserve card increases your chances of an upgrade when both your Medallion status and ticket fare class are the same.
  4. When possible, choose larger planes. It’s easier to receive an upgrade on a 767 from ATL to LAX than on a 737, which has a smaller premium cabin.

In general, it can be harder to secure an upgrade on Delta than on other airlines. Since every elite is eligible for an upgrade, every Silver Medallion member is vying for the same upgrades, resulting in much more competition for desirable seats.

Hot Tip:

Delta prices its first class cabins very competitively, and in many cases, the price difference between its economy and first class products may be only a few dollars. 

Delta One
As a Silver Medallion, you can receive a domestic Delta One upgrade on the day of departure. Image Credit: Delta Air Lines

Free Checked Bags ($100)

Checked bag fees can add up. As a Silver Medallion, you get your first checked bag free when traveling on a Delta or airline partner flight.

This is good for yourself and up to 8 travel companions, which can be significant savings depending on where you’re traveling to. This is good for all flights, both domestic and international.

Your carry-on luggage is free, but a first checked bag under 50 pounds on Delta is $35, and a second checked bag costs you $45.

For a group of 8 people, checking 8 bags costs $280, while a Silver Medallion can get these for free.

Delta Baggage
All Medallion members get at least 1 free checked bag on Delta flights. Image Credit: Delta Air Lines

Your baggage should be among the first to come out, as these bags are tagged with a special tag at check-in to indicate to the ground handlers that the bags take priority.

Delta generally does a good job of getting these bags out on time. Also, Delta offers a 20-minute bag guarantee where you can earn 2,500 SkyMiles as a form of compensation if your bag isn’t on the claim belt within 20 minutes of the plane touching the ground.

Hot Tip:

For more information about baggage fees, explore our in-depth guide on Delta’s baggage fees

Priority Check-In ($50)

When you’re at the airport, you’ll have access to dedicated priority queues to help check you in faster.

It all depends on the type of airport you’re in:

  • In most hub airports, there are lines specifically dedicated to Silver Medallions, separate from a SkyPriority lane.
  • In many hub airports that aren’t hubs, there are SkyPriority lanes that also specifically list Silver Medallion. While Silver Medallions aren’t usually entitled to SkyPriority benefits, some smaller airports combine all premium travelers into 1 lane because of limited traffic.

Preferred Pricing on a CLEAR Membership ($40 Annually)

CLEAR is a program that allows you to speed through the airport security ID and boarding pass verification process before entering the metal detectors at U.S. airports. 

Essentially, instead of standing in line to present your ID and boarding pass to a TSA agent, you enter a CLEAR lane where your fingerprints or irises are scanned, along with your boarding pass.

This is a much quicker method than having to speak with a TSA agent at a podium. Assuming your details check out, you can then proceed to the metal detectors for screening.

Silver Medallion members can get CLEAR for $149 for the year, which is a $40 savings off the full-price membership.

Bottom Line:

CLEAR operates in many Delta airports and can well be worth the $40 savings a year when you can access your gate faster by speeding through security. 

Priority Boarding ($25)

Silver Medallion members receive priority boarding privileges but are far from the first to board the aircraft.

Per Delta, here is the boarding order:

Boarding OrderEligibility
  • Customers needing assistance or additional time to board
  • Active-duty U.S. military personnel with ID
Delta One
  • Delta One customers
First Class or Delta Premium Select
Early boarding for customers traveling with car seats and strollers
Delta Comfort+
  • Delta Comfort+ customers
Main Cabin 1
Main Cabin 2Main cabin customers
Main Cabin 3Main cabin customers booked in T, X, and V (discounted economy) fares
Basic EconomyBasic economy customers (E)

Note this message from Delta’s boarding chart: “Due to Air France-KLM boarding policies, Silver Medallion members will not have a dedicated Priority Boarding zone on Delta flights departing Amsterdam (AMS) and Paris (CDG).”

Delta Silver Medallion members are the first main cabin group to board, behind all other elite customers and those seated in the premium cabin. They are ahead, however, of those seated in Main Cabin 2 and 3.

On many hub-to-hub flights, don’t be surprised to see Silver Medallions board midway through the boarding process because of a large number of higher elite customers on board.

Hertz Car Rental Bonus Miles ($25)

This is a minor benefit, but as a Silver Medallion, you earn 1,000 bonus SkyMiles for every qualified rental when you rent through Hertz. 

Most flight rewards start at a minimum of 5,000 miles, and generally, these are off-peak days with not-so-popular flights. So you’d need to rent from Hertz 5 times to even receive 1 of these free flights. Still, free points are better than no points!

Priority Waitlist ($25)

If you’re trying to purchase a ticket on a particular flight, Silver Medallion customers can get on a priority waitlist if their particular class of service is not available.

This waitlist is ordered by status, and like most benefits, Diamonds come first, followed by Platinum and Gold Medallions. In most cases, there won’t be too many people trying to waitlist for a sold-out class of service on a paid ticket.

Bottom Line:

If a seat becomes available in the class of service you want to book, Medallion members have first dibs on booking before it is released back into the general booking pool.

SkyTeam Elite Status ($100)

The SkyTeam alliance has 2 alliance-wide status levels: SkyTeam Elite and SkyTeam Elite Plus. Both levels offer benefits across all SkyTeam carriers, no matter which class of service you’re flying.

SkyTeam Elite is the lower of the 2 levels and offers the most basic benefits. 

These include:

  • A priority reservation waitlist, where you can stand by for a sold-out flight and receive priority over other passengers for a seat that may become available
  • Preferred seating, which varies depending on the carrier. Some SkyTeam airlines offer extra legroom seats free of charge, while others simply offer better-located seats (without extra legroom). Yet others simply offer a free seat selection but no premium seating.
  • Priority check-in counters, which usually mean access to business class or similar lanes. This is great because it means customers can bypass the long queue of economy class passengers to check in or check a bag much more quickly.
  • Priority boarding lanes, which usually mean you’re among the first to board the aircraft, though typically this follows premium cabin seating and SkyTeam Elite Plus passengers. Usually, this also means you can board at your leisure, so if you get to the gate after boarding has been called, you can still speed through the process in a separate priority lane.
  • Extra baggage allowance, which varies by airline. Typically, you can always check at least 1 bag for free no matter the SkyTeam airline, though some airlines allow more.
Hot Tip:

SkyTeam Elite status does not come with lounge access, so you must have SkyTeam Elite Plus status to access an eligible lounge. If lounge access is important to you, there are a number of credit cards with access.

Phone Line Priority ($50)

Delta Priority Phone
All Medallion members get priority phone handling so that their calls are answered before general members. Image Credit: Delta Air Lines

When you call Delta, as a Silver Medallion, you can speak with an agent much faster than if you were a regular SkyMiles member.

This is especially useful for significant irregular operations, such as storms, when you need to be able to speak with an agent as fast as possible to get rebooked.

These agents typically do not have the power to bend any rules or assist with breaking policies — at the Silver Medallion level, it’s all about having access to an agent much more quickly than if you weren’t a Silver Medallion.

Hot Tip:

The Silver Medallion phone number is 800-323-2323.

Delta Vacations Savings (Varies, if You Take Advantage of It)

This appears to be a standard benefit among all Medallion tiers, but because it is listed as an official benefit, it’s worthwhile to briefly mention it here.

According to Delta, Silver Medallion members can save up to $300 per booking with Delta Vacations and earn up to 7,500 bonus miles per person with a flight and hotel package.

Here is the schedule of savings, according to Delta:

  • $25 savings on vacations up to $1,499
  • $75 savings on vacations of $1,500 to $3,999
  • $125 savings on vacations of $4,000 to $6,999
  • $250 savings on vacations of $7,000 or more

Again, this isn’t entirely that useful a benefit, but it does offer marginal savings should you decide to book through Delta Vacations.

Luggage Tags ($10)

Sometimes known as “brag tags,” Delta briefly discontinued the distribution of luggage tags to Medallion members a few years ago. But they’re coming back now!

You’ll receive your Silver Medallion luggage tags in the mail, which you can proudly wear on your luggage, backpack, or anything else you travel with.

This is a great marketing move by Delta and hardly costs them anything to do. With some of Delta’s most frequent flyers circumnavigating the world nearly daily, they can display luggage tags on their bags for other travelers to see.

Reclaiming Status After a Life Event ($250)

Delta Premium Select laptop
Reclaiming status is important so you can have access to better seats on your Delta flight. Image Credit: Delta Air Lines

This is a really cool Medallion benefit, and while it won’t provide perks every day, it provides an invaluable benefit at a time when you probably need it the most.

Reclaiming status is only possible for Medallion members, but, as a Silver Medallion, you can certainly partake. 

Let’s say you have an extraordinary life event — perhaps the birth of a child, a death in the family, having to change jobs, or something else that severely limits your travel. Delta will let you have your status back should you lose it because of a life event.

There are a few important things to keep in mind. Members must have had Medallion status during the previous year and lost it or moved to a lower tier. This means that if you’re a Silver, you would have to have had Silver Medallion status for 1 year, then had an impacting life event, and then lost Silver Medallion status the following year. The Reclaim My Status benefit would help you get Silver Medallion status back.

To do this, you need to have “documentation to verify a life event occurred which reduced your ability to travel (all life events will be considered),” according to Delta. This could be a birth certificate, death certificate, new job contract, or some other official paperwork.

When you submit your request, you should do so when you’re in a position to fly as much or more than the status you previously held. You’ll be granted 3 months of the status you previously held, no strings attached, but will need to keep up certain requirements to have that status extended for the remainder of the year.

As a Silver Medallion, you must earn $1,250 MQDs during the qualifying period to reclaim status.

There are some important dates you should keep in mind. According to Delta, if you enroll in Reclaim My Status between January 26, 2024, and December 31, 2024, and meet the required thresholds, your Medallion Status will be extended through January 31, 2026.

Hot Tip:

Reclaiming your status as a Silver Medallion is probably not worth it, since it requires the least amount of flying and also comes with the fewest benefits.

Final Thoughts

Delta Silver Medallion status is certainly a good entry-level status and comes with a variety of perks for the occasional leisure or business traveler. If you used each benefit, you’d see more than $1,100 in value throughout the year.

Silver Medallions get complimentary upgrades, access to reservations agents before general members, and priority check-in privileges, among other benefits, which will enhance the travel experience.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of Silver Medallion status?

There are several Silver Medallion benefits, including:

  • Unlimited rollover Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs)
  • 7 miles per dollar earned on all purchased tickets
  • Unlimited complimentary upgrades to Delta One on the day of departure
  • Unlimited complimentary upgrades to first class beginning 24 hours prior to departure
  • Unlimited complimentary upgrades to Delta Comfort+ beginning 24 hours prior to departure
  • Unlimited complimentary upgrades on select routes for companions
  • Unlimited complimentary upgrades to Class Premier on select Aeromexico flights
  • Complimentary preferred seats
  • Priority waitlist status
  • Waived baggage fees
  • Priority check-in
  • Priority boarding
  • Preferred pricing on CLEAR membership
  • Dedicated phone line
  • Reclaim My Status benefits
  • SkyTeam Elite status
  • 1,000 miles per qualifying rental with Hertz

Does Silver Medallion status expire?

Silver Medallion status does expire if you do not meet the required amount of flying and spend.

That said, each year, you can roll over the EQMs earned beyond status to the next year so it can count for the next year’s elite status. For example, normally Silver Medallion requires 25,000 miles flown in a year, along with a spend requirement to earn status. If you fly 30,000 miles in a particular year, which is not enough to earn Gold Medallion status, 5,000 miles (the difference between 30,000 miles and the required 25,000 miles) will be rolled over into the next qualifying year. Therefore, you will have a 5,000-mile head start on flying the following year and would only need to fly 20,000 more miles to earn Silver Medallion status.

Is Silver Medallion SkyPriority?

Silver Medallion does not normally include SkyPriority benefits. Some airports may not have Silver Medallion check-in queues. At those airports, if you are a Silver Medallion, you can use the SkyPriority lane. Normally, there are dedicated Silver Medallion lanes at hub airports such as Detroit, Atlanta, or Salt Lake City.

How do I get Delta Silver Medallion?

You must fly either 25,000 miles or 30 segments on Delta or partner airlines, and then either spend $3,000 on Delta or eligible partners or $25,000 on certain co-branded Delta credit cards.

These requirements are annual, and reset each year after December 31, so you must fly the required amount and spend the required amount each year to earn Silver Medallion status.

You can also participate in a one-time status challenge if you have status with another eligible airline and want to start flying Delta. If you have entry-level or higher status with another major carrier, contact Delta, and it may be able to match you to Silver Medallion status or higher. That way, you can enjoy the perks and benefits upfront while completing some sort of status challenge requirements to keep the status for the months after.

What is Silver Medallion on Delta?

Silver Medallion is the entry-level elite status tier of Delta Air Lines and its Medallion loyalty program. Higher levels include Gold Medallion, Platinum Medallion, and Diamond Medallion.

The status comes with several benefits, including complimentary upgrades, free checked bags, additional bonus miles with every flight, and priority boarding, to name a few.

Silver Medallion status is won by earning either $3,000 Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQD) or spending $25,000 on an eligible co-branded credit card to receive an MQD waiver.

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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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