Home > Delta > A Medallion’s Dilemma: Rollover or Make a Run For It?

A Medallion’s Dilemma: Rollover or Make a Run For It?

Despite having flown close to 100,000 miles this year, most of my travel has been on award tickets that don’t earn elite or redeemable miles. My main elite program is Delta Skymiles, in which I achieved Gold Medallion through the end of February 2013. My secondary is Aegean Gold, which helps for any flights I have on Star Alliance (including United and US Airways), and is valid through 2015.

I’m currently sitting at 33,607 Medallion Qualification Miles for the year, and have 10K on the way, meaning I will hit Gold Medallion through February 2014 with just 6,393 more miles. If I fly 6,392 miles of less, I’ll qualify for Silver Medallion and roll over however many miles above 25,000 I have to start next year’s qualification. So if I end with 49,000 miles, I’ll have 24,000 MQMs on January 1. I’ll have Gold until the end of February 2013, then Silver from March 2013 onward.

Gold Medallion has treated me well since I achieved it late in 2011. I’ve gotten lounge access on international itineraries, been able to use same-day confirmed for free (which helped me get an elusive LAX-JFK upgrade to BusinessElite by being able to play the odds), helped my general upgrade percentages on Delta and Alaska, and got me 100% bonus miles instead of just 25% (= 33K extra miles based on how much I’ve traveled as GM).

More … I must have more!

However, I’ve got my eye on Platinum Medallion, Delta’s 75K level, for several reasons:

1) Platinum Medallions get free award redeposits (outside of 72 hours to departure). As a Gold, I have to pay $150, the same as a general member. This is huge, because I’d love to be able to make speculative bookings and have the fallback of being able to cancel without a fee. This is worth at least $300 to me, since I could imagine using this at least twice.

2) Platinum Medallions get a choice benefit, which ranges from a $200 voucher, to 20K Skymiles, to nominating someone for Silver status, to 4 Systemwide upgrades (which are useless to me for international flights but could be useful for domestic flights out of LAX). I’d probably take the 20K Skymiles or the SWUs, depending on my travel plans. I’d call this benefit to be worth $225.

3) Having Platinum Medallion puts me in a better position to status match to United’s Premier Platinum level. With my family’s credit card signups yielding tons of Ultimate Rewards points and lots of expected travel with United miles starting in 2014, having status with United will help me with award bookings and cancellations (and I’m hoping the glitches with United should be ironed out by then ;)). I’ll likely have to fly a certain amount on United to challenge for Premier status, but my Aegean Star Gold should help out during that in case I need club access or general Star Gold benefits. Trying to figure out the value of this is difficult, since I don’t know if the challenge will be available next year, but if it is, it’ll be worth about $300 to me.

Decision Time! – do I:

A) make a late push for Platinum Medallion this year (which will require about 31K miles flown, or 21K miles + $25K spent on my Amex)? I’d then have PM through February 2014.

or

B) hold short of Gold this year and rollover 18K-24K MQMs to start off a run for PM next year? My idea is to fly as many miles before the end of February so that I can take advantage of all my residual Gold benefits and to limit the amount of time I’m stuck at Silver Medallion. If I reach 50K before the end of February 2013 (with the help of rollover), I won’t even have a lapse in my Gold status, and will actually keep Gold through February 2015 if I re-qualify in February, rather than 2014 if I re-qualify this year.

If I do B, I would work to hit PM by June so that I could look at available status matches, since most airlines offer matches for a year longer if you match in July rather than June. I’d cancel my Delta Platinum Amex this year (after I hit the $25K required to activate the 10K MQM bonus), and possibly hope for another MQM signup bonus with a business Delta Amex Platinum card or the Reserve card to help with Platinum qualification. I also have a few hundred dollars in vouchers plus 2 <$400 tickets or 1 <$800 ticket courtesy of my new US Bank FlexPerks card. That's at least $1000 worth of travel that I could book for early 2013, which could earn upwards of 25K MQMs at 4 cents per mile.

I don't have any Delta travel planned for the rest of the year, and even if I did, I could credit to Delta only on flights where I get upgraded, so long as I don't hit 50K, and credit any remainder flights to Alaska Airlines.

So, anyone other Delta elites in this quandary? If so, what are you all thinking? It is a unique part of the program, whether we like it or not. I was leaning towards option A until I thought more about it, and now am leaning toward option B (especially since my travel will have to slow down at the end of this year, and won't be able to pick up until the end of January).

Oh the things we do for elite status … 🙂

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  1. January 13, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    I’m wrestling with taking the SWUs… sure would be nice on the ATL-SFO/LAX/SEA runs. Tough decision. Thanks for posting!

    • Amol
      January 13, 2013 at 6:43 pm

      One aspect of the SWUs is that you have to buy K+ fares domestically, so it requires some initial investment in buying your fare.

  1. September 6, 2012 at 4:25 pm
  2. October 20, 2012 at 8:17 pm

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