Delta Gold Medallion Benefits Review (Lounge Access, Qualification, Sky Priority) [2019]

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. 

Delta Gold Medallion elite status is the second tier of status in the Medallion SkyMiles program. It offers some of the same perks as Silver Medallion status, but the benefits become more serious at this level like receiving SkyTeam Elite Plus status, lounge access, and slightly better chances of receiving an upgrade to First Class. In this article, I will review the benefits of Gold Medallion status and see if it’s worth it.

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What is Delta Gold Medallion status?

Delta Gold Medallion status is Delta’s lowest tier status that offers SkyTeam Elite Plus status, which gives you Sky Priority and business class lounge access. Gold Medallion status is an upgrade compared to Silver Medallion status for a more enjoyable and seamless ground experience.


Delta Silver Medallion qualification requirements

To become a Delta Gold Medallion, you will notice that the requirements are double of Silver Medallion status requirements. You will need to complete the following requirements:

  • 50,000 MQMs (Medallion Qualification Miles) or 60 MQSs (Medallion Qualification Segments)
  • $6,000 MQDs (Medallion Qualification Dollars) or MQD waiver

In comparison, here are the other requirements for all tiers of status for Delta:

Medallion TierMQMs or MQSs requirementMQSs requirement (only for US residents)
Silver25,000 MQMs or 30 MQSs$3,000 MQDs
Gold50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs$6,000 MQDs
Platinum75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs$9,000 MQDs
Diamond125,000 MQMs or 140 MQSs$15,000 MQDs

The MQD requirements for Silver Medallion, Gold Medallion, and Platinum Medallion will be waived when you spend at least $25,000 on any of Delta co-branded credit cards. For Diamond Medallion you will have to spend $250,000 on any of Delta’s co-branded credit cards to get the MQD requirement waived.


Delta Status Match Challenge

Delta has a detailed chart for their status match challenge, and if your airline elite program is not on the chart, you can still submit it when you enroll for the status match challenge. You can enroll in the status match challenge here.

Once you enroll, it will usually take 5 business days, but up to 2 weeks if needed. After they have completed their review and determined if you’re qualified, you will have the status for 90 days. If you want to extend your status, you will have to complete a certain amount of requirements during those 90 days. Here are the requirements:

“If you enroll in the challenge between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018 and you complete the requirements, your Medallion Status will be extended through January 31, 2019.

If you enroll in the challenge on or after July 1, 2018 and you complete the requirements, your Medallion Status will be extended through January 31, 2020.” Source: Delta

Delta makes it easy to do their challenge. You can fly any of their partners, and those MQMs, MQSs, and MQDs will count towards extending your status. Plus, the Delta co-branded credit cards will still waive the MQD requirement if you spend $25,000 on their credit cards.


Gold Medallion upgrades and preferred seats

Delta Gold Medallion status gives you a slightly greater chance of receiving an upgrade to First Class or Comfort+. While you won’t be flying First Class every time, the slightly greater odds won’t hurt anyone.

Unlimited Complimentary Upgrades

As a Gold Medallion, you and a companion are eligible for upgrades to First Class and Delta Comfort+ beginning 72 hours prior to departure on Delta marketed flights. On select Aeromexico operated flights you are eligible for upgrades to Clase Premier beginning 72 hours prior to departure. On the day of departure, you are eligible for Delta One operated within the 50 states.

The main difference is getting upgrades 72 hours prior to departure. Meaning it’s possible to receive upgrades to First Class, Clase Premier, and Comfort+ a whole 3 days before your flight. In comparison, Silver Medallions will only be able to receive upgrades 24 hours prior to the flight.

For Delta One flights within the 50 states, you will only be eligible to receive an upgrade 24 hours in advance (the same as Silver Medallion, Gold will have priority over Silvers). Delta One routes like LAX to JFK are very competitive for complimentary upgrades, so don’t bank on it to receive an upgrade as a Gold Medallion. Receiving upgrades for Delta One is very rare.

(Do note: you aren’t able to receive upgrades to Delta Premium Select seats. That means on newly configured international flights without Comfort+ you won’t have access to better seats than preferred seats on planes like the A350.)

Fares that are eligible are all paid fares (except E fares), Award Tickets, Miles + Cash, Pay with Miles tickets, and Companion Certificates.

It’s a little ironic that I have never actually taken a picture of Delta First Class. (Photo credit: Delta)

As a Gold Medallion, your odds of getting upgrades are slightly greater. You won’t be upgraded every time to First Class, and even Platinum Medallions don’t get upgrades every time. As a Gold Medallion myself, I have only flown 3 domestic flights this calendar year that are eligible for upgrades and received one First Class upgrade and 2 Comfort+ upgrades. I would take that with a grain of salt, but compared to my years as a Silver Medallion the odds are better.

Preferred seating

Any Medallion member can pick any seat when booking a main cabin seat including exit rows, seats near the front of the cabin, or bulkhead seats. This is a nice benefit since you are able to select those exit row seats, which sometimes have more legroom than Comfort+ seats.


SkyTeam Elite Plus status

Probably the biggest benefit of Gold Medallion status is SkyTeam Elite Plus status on any SkyTeam member airline, which includes Delta. SkyTeam Elite Plus status gives you benefits like Sky Priority and business class lounge access. SkyTeam Elite Plus is similar to Star Alliance Gold or OneWorld Sapphire.

SkyTeam member airlines

Here is the full list of benefits:

  • Business class lounge access
  • Guaranteed reservations on sold-out flights
  • Sky Priority recognition
  • Priority at transfer desks
  • Priority at immigration and security lanes
  • Extra baggage handling
  • Priority baggage handling
  • Priority check-in
  • Priority seating
  • Priority boarding
  • Priority airport standby

(Bold is SkyTeam Elite Plus status benefits compared to the unbold which is SkyTeam Elite status.)

The most notable benefit is business class lounge access. Any SkyTeam member airline lounge is accessible while flying a SkyTeam airline. You can bring one guest with you to the lounge and enjoy some of those drinks.

Sky Priority

Sky Priority, aka fast track, is a significant benefit that helps save time and makes traveling easier. While flying Delta or another SkyTeam member airline, you get priority at security, immigration, check-in, transfer desks, boarding, and even get your baggage faster.

You can also get priority while flying partners like Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia.

Sky Priority boarding FCO

Extra baggage handling

Need to check-in a bag? You will get one bag for free flying any SkyTeam member airline.

On Delta’s partners GOL, Virgin Atlantic, and Virgin Australia you will also get one free bag.


Sky Club and lounge access

Gold Medallions can access Sky Clubs and partner lounges when flying on Delta or airline partners when it’s an international itinerary.

Sky Club access

You can gain access to Sky Clubs when your itinerary includes international flights. Example: if you are flying from Orlando to Tokyo via Detroit, you can access Sky Clubs in Orlando and Detroit. If your flight is Tokyo to Orlando via Detroit, you can access Sky Clubs in Tokyo and Detroit.

However, Delta considers only Europe, Asia, South America, Central America, Africa, Canada, And Mexico international destinations. Caribbean, Guam, Palau, and Saipan aren’t eligible destinations for Sky Club access.

Partner lounge access

You will have lounge access to any of the airlines within the SkyTeam alliance when flying on international itineraries.

You will also have access to GOL, Virgin Atlantic (US lounges only), and Virgin Australia lounges when flying on international itineraries.

KLM Crown Lounge 52 AMS

Other benefits

As a Gold Medallion you can get other benefits that are worth noting and make traveling much easier like:

  • Waived same-day confirmed fees
  • Waived same-day standby fees
  • Dedicated phone line
  • Clear membership discount
  • Hertz Five Star status
  • Delta Vacation savings
  • 8 miles per dollar spent
  • Rollover MQMs
  • Priority waitlist

Waived same-day confirmed and standby fees

Waived same-day standby fees matter a lot to me. If you had to go on standby for an earlier flight, it makes a difference not to pay those fees and get home earlier.

Dedicated Medallion phone line

As a Medallion member, you have access to the Medallion phone line. The Gold Medallion reservations phone number is +1-(800)-325-1551.

Award miles bonus

As a Gold Medallion, you will receive 8 miles per dollar instead of the standard 5 miles per dollar that general SkyMiles members receive.

Since you will be earning more SkyMiles, you should read up the best ways to redeem your Delta SkyMiles.

MQMs rollover

For any Medallion member, your leftover MQMs will rollover to the next calendar year. If you have 60,000 MQMs at the end of the calendar year after qualifying for Gold Medallion (50,000 MQMs requirement), you will have 10,000 MQMs rollovers since those are considered leftovers that couldn’t reach the next status.

As a Medallion member myself, I try to strategize my flights around this benefit. I rather have lots more MQMs rollover than a few.

Clear membership discount

CLEAR is a wonderful service that allows you to cut to the front of regular TSA or TSA-precheck lines. Diamond Medallions can receive CLEAR for free. Silver, Gold, and Platinum Medallion members can get a CLEAR membership for $79 a year. This benefit is only useful if you want to save time and if CLEAR is at your airport.

You can read more about CLEAR here.

Delta Vacations savings

As a Medallion member, you can receive discounts when booking Delta Vacations. The discounts aren’t huge but could make a difference if you find a deal on Delta Vacations.

Priority waitlist

You can get ahead of the waitlist on paid tickets if your class of service is not available when making a reservation.


Delta Gold Medallion vs. United Premier Gold status

There are a few differences between the two programs second tiered status.

The first difference is how early upgrades can be confirmed. Gold Medallion upgrades can clear 72 hours prior to departure, but for Premier Gold it’s 48 hours prior to departure. Gold Medallions are also eligible to receive upgrades to Delta One within the 50 states, unlike Premier Gold.

Both of these don’t mean you’re more likely to receive an upgrade with Gold Medallion over Premier Gold; it just means your upgrade might clear sooner and have the added benefit of getting a rare upgrade for Delta One within the 50 states. (There is a lot of factors for upgrades, so take this with a grain of salt.)

The second difference, Premier Gold members get Marriott Gold status, while Delta doesn’t give any benefits or status for a hotel.

So in the end, both of these programs are very similar. The deciding factor will most likely come down to the route network. For me, Delta works for me since DTW is my base, but if I were based out of IAH than United would be better.

Daniel wrote a great article about United Premier Gold here.


Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card + Gold Medallion status

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
  • Welcome bonus up to 70,000 miles + 10,000 MQMs after meeting the minimum spend requirement
  • 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases
  • Priority boarding
  • First checked bag free
  • 20% off in-flight purchases
  • Annual fee $195 (not waived)
  • 1 time economy companion pass
  • Annual miles and MQMs after spend requirement

The Platinum Delta credit card and Gold Medallion status is a great combination. The card comes in handy for earning MQMs and bonus miles. Spend $25,000 a year and have the MQD requirement waived, earn 10,000 MQMs and 10,000 miles. Spend a total $50,000 a year and have another 10,000 MQMs and 10,000 miles added to your account. The companion pass is a great benefit that I use every year to buy one ticket and get the second one free plus tax.

I recommend reading our guide to applying for Amex cards here.


Final word

Delta Gold Medallion status is a huge step up regarding benefits compared to Silver Medallion. While I wouldn’t bank on getting First Class upgrades, the chances become slightly greater compared to Silver Medallion. However, lounge access and Sky Priority makes a huge difference regarding a nicer flying experience making it more enjoyable and faster to get your way through the airport and relax.

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