Delta Silver Medallion Benefits Review (Qualifications, Upgrades, Baggage) [2019]

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

Delta has 4 tiers of elite status, with the lowest tier called Silver Medallion, then Gold Medallion, Platinum Medallion, and Diamond Medallion being the highest tier. Then there is an invite only status, only obtainable to Diamond Medallion members, called Delta 360. In this article I will review the qualifications needed for Silver Medallion status and benefits like upgrades and baggage. I’ll also discuss if it’s worth it to go for Delta Silver Medallion status.

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What is Delta Silver Medallion status?

Delta Silver Medallion status is Delta’s beginning tier of status. It offers benefits like a first free bag, preferred seat selection, special lanes for check-in, and complimentary upgrades.

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Delta Silver Medallion qualification requirements

To become a Delta Silver Medallion, you will need to complete the following requirements:

  • 25,000 MQMs (Medallion Qualification Miles) or 30 MQSs (Medallion Qualification Segments)
  • $3,000 MQDs (Medallion Qualification Dollars) or MQD waiver

In comparison, here is 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 are 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 into the status match challenge here.

Once you enroll, it will usually take 5 business days, but of course longer 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.


Delta Silver Medallion benefits

While the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card and other co-branded Delta cards give you free baggage and zone 1 boarding, Delta Silver Medallions do get a few other benefits that make flying more seamless and enjoyable.

Unlimited Complimentary Upgrades

Who doesn’t want to fly in first class?

As a Silver Medallion you and a companion are eligible for upgrades to First Class and Delta Comfort+ beginning 24 hours prior to departure on Delta marketed flights. On select Aeromexico operated flights you are eligible for upgrades to Clase Premier beginning 24 hours prior to departure. On the day of departure you are eligible for Delta One operated within the 50 states.

However, you aren’t able to receive upgrades to Delta Premium Select seats. This means on newly configured international flights without Comfort+, you won’t have access to better seats than preferred seats on those 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.

Delta domestic First Class glassware

As a Silver Medallion your odds of getting upgrades are slim, but on leisure heavy routes, your chances will be greater. From Delta hubs, it’s not common to get First Class upgrades as a Silver Medallion, especially during rush hours for commuters.

When I was a Silver Medallion for 3 years, I was upgraded to First Class 2 times and Comfort+ a handful of times. Do note, majority of my flights are flying Delta to Asia, therefore it doesn’t allow me to utilize First Class/Delta One upgrades. I am based out of DTW (Delta’s second biggest hub) and I am a little surprised myself for getting those 2 First Class upgrades on leisure routes. This just shows how rare one will get an upgrade to First Class as a Silver.

Complimentary Preferred Seats

When you’re a Medallion member, you are able to select preferred seats at booking. This means exit rows are up for grabs when you book a standard main cabin seat. Other preferred seats would be aisle or window seats at the front of the cabin.

Exit row on the CRJ900

This benefit is great since it allows you to select those coveted exit row seats at booking which sometimes offers better legroom than Comfort+ seats.

MQMs rollover

For any Medallion member, your leftover MQMs will rollover to the next calendar year. This means if you have 30,000 MQMs at the end of the calendar year after qualifying for Silver Medallion (25,000 MQMs requirement), you will have 5,000 MQMs rollover 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.

Award miles bonus

As a Silver Medallion, you will receive 7 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.

Checked baggage allowance

As a Silver Medallion you receive your first bag free for up to 50 pounds (23 kg) on Delta or one of their airline partners. For Delta flights you can have up to 8 companions on the same itinerary check-in a free bag.

Priority check-in

At most airports you will have access to a special Silver Medallion check-in lane. If airports don’t have a Silver Medallion check-in lane, then you will be able to use the SkyPriority lane. However, as a Silver Medallion you won’t get SkyPriority anywhere else for your ground experience.

At my home airport, the Silver Medallion lane is sometimes quicker than the Sky Priority lanes. So, this benefit could save you tons of time.

Priority boarding

You are able to board with Zone 1 as a Silver Medallion. Boarding with Zone 1 is the same benefit that co-branded Delta credit cards offer. So, this benefit isn’t so unique.

Priority waitlist

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

Silver Medallion phone priority

The Silver Medallion phone number is the same phone number that is used for general SkyMiles members, but with less of a wait. You will be in a position a little ahead of the queue, but still won’t be first in line.

SkyTeam Elite status

SkyTeam Elite status isn’t the status that allows you to enter any SkyTeam member airline lounge, but it does allow you to access to certain priority services. I written more about SkyTeam Elite status below.

Discount CLEAR

CLEAR is a wonderful service that allows you to cut to the front of regular TSA or TSA-precheck lines. Diamond Medallions are able to receive CLEAR for free. Silver, Gold, and Platinum Medallion members are able to get 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 are able to receive discounts when booking Delta Vacations. The discounts aren’t huge, but could make a difference if you find a deal on Delta Vacations.


SkyTeam Elite Status

Delta is part of the SkyTeam Alliance and they have two tiers of status called SkyTeam Elite and SkyTeam Elite Plus. Silver Medallions will receive SkyTeam Elite status, while SkyTeam Elite Plus status is given to Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Medallions.

SkyTeam member airlines

You are able to receive benefits on 20 airlines worldwide within the SkyTeam alliance. The benefits are as follows:

  • Extra baggage allowance
  • Priority check-in
  • Priority seating
  • Priority boarding
  • Priority standby

These are the same benefits that I have described above.


Non-alliance airline partners benefits

Delta has some other unique partners. Their non-alliance airline partners are Virgin Australia, Virgin Atlantic, Jet Airways, WestJet, Hawaiian Airlines, GOL, and Great Lakes Airlines.

Sadly, with these airlines as a Silver Medallion member you won’t be receiving any benefits.


Lounge access

Being a Silver Medallion does not grant you access to any lounge. To get access to Delta Sky Clubs or partner airline lounges you will have to be a Gold Medallion or above flying on international itineraries. If you are a SkyTeam Elite Plus member, you will have access to Sky Clubs on international itineraries.

However, if you want to access Delta Sky Clubs, I suggest grabbing a credit card like the American Express Platinum charge card or the Delta Reserve Credit Card. Both of those cards will grant you Sky Club access while flying Delta.

ATL F concourse Sky Club outdoor deck

Delta Silver Medallion vs United Premier Silver status

The difference between the beginner tiers of status at Delta and United are mainly the complimentary upgrades and priority services on the ground.

Delta allows one to have complimentary upgrades on award tickets, while United only allows it if you hold their credit card. United allows priority security and baggage handling, but Delta doesn’t.

If you want to learn more about United Premier Silver status, you can read our full write up on the benefits here.


Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card vs Silver Medallion Status

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card

Does the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card offer the same benefits as Silver Medallion status?

No… besides free first checked baggage and priority boarding.

Here are the benefits of the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card 

  • Welcome bonus up to 60,000 miles after meeting the minimum spend requirement
  • 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases
  • Priority boarding
  • First checked bag free
  • 20% off inflight purchases
  • Annual fee waived first year, then $95

The Delta Gold credit card is a great card to jumpstart your Delta journey, it’s the cheapest card that has the annual MQD waiver by spending $25,000. It also allows you to get 20% off inflight purchases, which is a nice benefit if you like to buy lots onboard. The first waived annual fee is another benefit compared to the other Delta credit cards. The key with this card is to time your application so that you end up applying for the best welcome bonus that’s offered.

However, Silver Medallion status gives far more benefits like priority check-in, preferred seats, and the possible upgrade. If all you care about is free bags and Zone 1 priority boarding, than this card will work great without status.

If you are a Silver Medallion, I would suggest getting the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card for the companion pass and the annual MQMs spend bonus.

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 inflight purchases
  • Annual fee $195 (not waived)
  • 1 time economy companion pass
  • Annual miles and MQMs after spend requirement

The Platinum Delta credit card also often comes with a great welcome bonus, but it’s even better for those who are trying to earn elite status with Delta since you’re able to earn MQMs along the way. Spend $25,000 a year and have the MQD requirement waived, earn 10,000 MQMs and miles. Spend a total $50,000 a year and have another 10,000 MQMs and miles added to your account. Plus, the companion pass helps you and a friend go further with all the same benefits as the Gold Delta credit card.

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


Final word

Delta Silver Medallion status can be valuable, but the benefits of Silver Medallion status only shine if you are able to utilize those benefits. I wouldn’t go out of my way to fly only Delta because I want to be a Silver Medallion. While, the one or two upgrades are nice, Silver Medallions aren’t upgraded that often.

The good news is there is a science to Delta’s upgrades, but it would take too long to explain in this one article, so I will leave it for another article. 😉 However, I will agree though, it’s worth having the status for just selecting those exit row seats and a slightly better on the ground experience.

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