The elite status members of hotel and airline loyalty programs can now choose from a variety of benefits. This was a major development in loyalty programs. Delta was well ahead of the rest. Delta Choice Benefits, despite being relatively recent in terms of American Airlines Loyalty Point Rewards or Alaska MVP 100K Choice Benefits, date […]

The elite status members of hotel and airline loyalty programs can now choose from a variety of benefits. This was a major development in loyalty programs. Delta was well ahead of the rest. Delta Choice Benefits, despite being relatively recent in terms of American Airlines Loyalty Point Rewards or Alaska MVP 100K Choice Benefits, date back more than a decade.

Even though the program has been around for many years, Delta will be reviving it in 2023. This is what you need to know in order to choose and earn Delta Choice Benefits.

How to get Delta Choice Benefits

Delta SkyMiles members receive one Choice Benefits selection upon earning the Delta Platinum Medallion. Members also get three Choice Benefits choices upon reaching Diamond Medallion elite status. Let’s first look at the requirements to achieve elite status.

Earning Delta Platinum Medallion status

Delta SkyMiles Members are Platinum Medallion after meeting the following requirements:

  • Flying – 75,000 Medallion Qualification Miles, or 100 Medallion Qualification Segments.

  • Spending — 12,000 Medallion Qualification dollars or earning an MQD waiver when you make purchases of $25,000 or more with an eligible SkyMiles card. SkyMiles members who are based in the United States do not have to meet MQD requirements.

Earning Delta Diamond Medallion status

SkyMiles members must fulfill the following requirements to earn Diamond Medallion Status:

  • Flying – 125,000 Medallion Qualification Miles, or 140 Medallion Qualification Segments.

  • You can spend 20,000 Medallion Qualifying Dollars or an MQD waiver if you are not based in the U.S.

You will need to spend $250,000 in a calendar year on a SkyMiles eligible credit card in order to earn an MQD waiver for Diamond Medallion Status.

Delta Choice Benefits

After you have earned Delta Platinum or Diamond Medallion elite status you will be able to choose your Delta Choice Benefits. What are your options? And what should you do? Let’s look at your options.

Delta Choice Benefits Selected After Feb. 1, 2023

Delta will be re-inventing its Choice Benefits options effective February 1, 2023. Delta Platinum Medallion elite members can now choose from one of these Choice Benefits:

  • Four regional upgrade certificate.

  • 20,000 SkyMiles bonus

  • $250 sustainable aviation fuel contribution.

  • $500 MQD increase towards the next Medallion qualification year.

  • $200 American Express statement credit for eligible Delta co-branded card

You’ll be able to select three benefits from the Delta Choice Program:

  • Four international upgrade certificates or eight regional upgrade certificate, or two regional and four global upgrade certificates.

  • SkyClub Executive membership — An individual membership that allows you to invite two friends or your spouse/domesticpartner, and children under 21. It also includes complimentary entry for up to three guests.

  • 25,000 SkyMiles bonus.

  • $250 sustainable aviation fuel contribution.

  • Experience with Delta Vacations (flight + hotel): $500

  • $1,000 MQD increase towards the next Medallion qualification year.

  • $250 Delta travel voucher.

  • $500 American Express credit card on eligible Delta cobranded cards

Deadline for choosing Delta Choice Benefits

The elite Delta Diamond or Platinum Medallion members must choose their Choice Benefits no later than January 31st of the year after their elite year.

Imagine that you have earned Delta Diamond Medallion elite status by flying and spending in the 2023 calendar year. For the rest of 2023, 2024, and Jan. 31, 2025, you will be awarded Diamond Medallion status. You can choose your Delta Choice Benefits selections at any time before Jan. 31, 2025.

You have only 31 days to select your Delta Choice Benefits options if you earn Delta Diamond or Platinum Medallion status in 2022, which grants you status for the 2023 Medallion years.

This deadline is important. Delta does not automatically offer a certain Choice Benefit to members who forget to select it, unlike other loyalty programs. The benefit is forfeited forever.

Why should you choose Delta Choice Benefits

Timing is important — at least when it comes to Delta Choice Benefits.

Some Delta Choice Benefits may not be valid for more than one year from the date you choose them. Delta travel vouchers, for example, are only valid 12 months after they were issued.

The Global and Regional upgrade certificates will expire one year after they are selected as Delta Choice Benefits. Delta requires you to use these upgrades before the Medallion year ends. Any upgrade certificates you earn from 2022 must be applied and used by January 31, 2024.

Other rewards are not time-sensitive. Delta SkyMiles, for example, won’t expire so long as you have an account. It doesn’t matter if you choose bonus SkyMiles to be one of your Choice Benefits.

Delta Choice Benefits should be considered an ace in the back of your hand throughout the year.

Did you know that a global upgrade certificate can be used in a number of ways? You can redeem one of your Choice Benefits to upgrade and use it for that trip. You need to top up your SkyMiles balance in order to redeem. To make this booking, choose a Choice Benefits option to receive bonus SkyMiles.

Gifts of Medallion elite status are an exception. You should give your Medallion elite status gift as soon as you can if you are certain you want to. This is because the status can only be used up to a certain date. The gifted elite status, which is applicable to 2023 Choice Benefits selections only, is valid until Jan. 31, 2024, regardless of when it was given.

Choice Benefits for Delta recapped

Each Delta Choice Benefits option’s value will depend on your individual situation. Global upgrade certificates, for example, can be of great value if they can be used on high-value flights. These certificates can be difficult to apply for and use due to the strict deadlines.

The upside is that SkyMiles bonus SkyMiles are a safe option. SkyMiles are not subject to expiration, unlike Delta upgrade vouchers or travel vouchers. According to NerdWallet analysis SkyMiles have a base value of 1.5 cents per. This means that a Choice Benefits selection of 20,000 miles would have a value of around $300.

NerdWallet analysis estimates that Medallion status is worth $876 for Silver Medallions and $2,442 to Gold Medallions. Keep in mind that the valuation assumes that the traveler uses enough of the status’ perks — which may not be true if the status is being gifted.

Maximizing your Rewards

A travel credit card should be able to prioritize what is most important to you. These are our top picks for the best travel cards in 2023, as well as those that work best for: