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How to Maximize Your Delta Frequent Flyer Miles and Get Elite Status

Delta Air Lines’ frequent flyer program, SkyMiles, allows members to earn and spend miles in a variety of ways. With a basic SkyMiles membership, which is free, travelers can earn five miles for every dollar spent on a Delta, Delta Connection, or Delta Shuttle flight.

SkyMiles members can also earn miles — though the amount varies depending on the carrier — by flying with one of Delta’s more than 20 partner airlines, which includes Virgin Atlantic, Air France, KLM, and Aeromexico. (Delta is a part of the SkyTeam alliance.)

Membesr who have Medallion status (Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond levels are available) are also able to earn miles in other ways. Delta SkyMiles credit card holders can earn up to two extra miles per dollar spent on Delta flights using their cards. And with Delta’s frequent flyer program, miles never expire.

Related: The Very Best Credit Cards for Airline Perks

Delta frequent flyer miles can be redeemed for free air travel on Delta or any participating airline, for cabin upgrades, or for goods or services sold on the SkyMiles Marketplace, which can include hotel rooms, magazine subscriptions, Delta Sky Club (the airline’s branded airport lounge) memberships, meals, or event tickets.

Medallion members can also convert SkyMiles into Starpoints, which can be redeemed for free nights at more than 1,300 Starwood properties around the world.

The Perks of Medallion Status

In addition to the free basic SkyMiles membership, Delta Air Lines offers four tiers of the elite membership program: Medallion status. Frequent flyers reach Medallion status not with conventional redeemable miles, however, but with Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs). MQMs are earned based on distance flown, class flown, and annual Delta spending (also known as Medallion Qualification Dollars, or MQDs). When frequent flyers become Medallion-level members, they can earn redeemable miles from partner hotel, car rental, and dining programs, as well as Airbnb and Lyft.

Silver Medallion Status

After earning 25,000 MQMs (or flying 30 Medallion-qualifying flight segments) in addition to spending $3,000 or more MQDs, frequent flyers earn Silver Medallion status. Silver Medallion members receive free checked bags, priority boarding and seating, and free cabin upgrades. They also earn seven miles per dollar spent on Delta flights. While MQMs never expire, Silver Medallion members need to continue to meet the minimum MQD annual spending requirements to maintain their status.

Gold Medallion Status

After earning 50,000 MQMs (or flying 60 Medallion-qualifying flight segments) in addition to spending $6,000 or more MQDs, frequent flyers earn Gold Medallion status. Gold Medallion members receive free checked bags, priority boarding and seating, free cabin upgrades, expedited security, and lounge access, as well as waived standby and direct ticketing fees. Travelers with Gold Medallion status are considered Five Star status members in the Hertz rental car loyalty program, and can earn 1,000 miles per qualifying car rental. They also earn eight miles per dollar spent on Delta flights. While MQMs never expire, Gold Medallion members need to continue to meet the minimum MQD annual spending requirements to maintain their status.

Platinum Medallion Status

After earning 75,000 MQMs (or flying 100 Medallion-qualifying flight segments) and spending $9,000 or more MQDs, frequent flyers earn Platinum Medallion status. Platinum Medallion members receive free checked bags, priority boarding and seating, free cabin upgrades, expedited security, lounge access, and waived standby and direct ticketing fees, as well as a welcome gift of their choice. (Gifts can be, for instance, up to 20,000 bonus miles, or the ability to bestow Silver Medallion status on another person.)

Platinum Medallion members are considered President’s Circle status members in the Hertz rental car loyalty program, and can earn 1,250 miles per qualifying car rental. They also receive automatic perks — like late checkout, free room upgrades, and complimentary in-room Wi-Fi access — at Starwood Hotels. They also earn nine miles per dollar spent on Delta flights. While MQMs never expire, Platinum Medallion members need to continue to meet the minimum MQD annual spending requirements to maintain their status.

Diamond Medallion Status

After earning 125,000 MQMs (or flying 140 Medallion-qualifying flight segments) and spending $15,000 or more MQDs, frequent flyers earn Diamond Medallion status. Diamond Medallion members receive free checked bags, priority boarding and seating, free cabin upgrades, expedited security, lounge access, waived standby and direct ticketing fees, and complimentary Delta Sky Club membership, as well as two welcome gifts of their choice. (Gifts range from to 25,000 bonus miles to the ability to grant Silver Medallion status to another person.)

Diamond Medallion members are considered President’s Circle status members in the Hertz rental car loyalty program, and can earn 1,250 miles per qualifying car rental. They also receive automatic perks — such as late checkout, free room upgrades, and complimentary in-room Wi-Fi access — at Starwood Hotels. They also earn 11 miles per dollar spent on Delta flights. While MQMs never expire, Platinum Medallion members need to continue to meet the minimum MQD annual spending requirements to maintain their status.

In addition to perks on standard Delta flights, travelers with hoards of SkyMiles (2.5 million, to be exact) can now redeem those miles for flights with Delta Private Jets.

Travelers shood note that even Medallion members of the Delta SkyMiles program cannot receive seat assignments before check-in, or free seat upgrades, when booking basic economy fares.

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