CONFIRMED: Delta Improves Diamond Medallion Choice Benefits

Last week Ben wrote about a rumored addition to Delta’s Diamond Medallion benefits. Per Rene’s Points, it was suggested that for the 2018 SkyMiles program Delta would take away the automatic SkyClub membership it bestowed upon its top-tier Diamond Medallions, and add a SkyClub membership back in as one of three “Choice Benefits,” as opposed to the two Choice Benefits that Diamond Medallion members currently receive.

In other words, the SkyClub membership — which for many credit card members was a redundancy for a benefit they would have received in any event through their card membership — is now “opt-in,” and the upside would be that a Diamond Medallion member who already has SkyClub access could choose an entirely different third benefit.

Well, the rumors are true and actually part of a big overhaul to the Choice Benefits program for Diamond Medallions announced today.

Starting February 1, 2017, when qualifying for 2018 Diamond Medallion status, members receive any three of the following Choice Benefits:

  • 4 Global upgrades or 8 Regional upgrades or 2 Global + 4 Regional upgrades
  • 2 Global Entry application vouchers (worth $100 each)
  • 25,000 bonus SkyMiles
  • $200 Delta travel voucher or $200 Tiffany gift card
  • Ability to gift Gold Medallion status
  • Delta SkyClub individual membership

In addition to the Individual Membership benefit, an Executive Membership in SkyClub (which entitles you to guest access) can be redeemed for two Choice Benefits. Further, if you already have access to the SkyClub through a credit card, you can redeem one Choice Benefit for a Guest Pass to provide you unlimited guest access for up to two guests.

Delta SkyClub Seattle

Delta SkyClub Seattle

It’s also worth noting that, for the first time, you can choose a Choice Benefit twice… or even three times… except that you can’t choose upgrades or SkyClub memberships more than once, so this benefit expansion isn’t quite as amazing as it sounds. Still, if you valued SkyMiles you could triple up on bonus miles for a total of 75,000 miles if you selected bonus miles as all three of your Choice Benefits.

For the first time, too, you can choose to gift bonus miles to another SkyMiles account, not your own (this change also applies to Platinum Medallion members, if they choose bonus miles as their sole Choice Benefit in lieu of regional upgrades).

Perhaps the best news to come out of the announced changes to Choice Benefits are that, starting February 1 and for both 2018 and 2017 Diamond Medallion members, you can now redeem your Choice Benefits separately and at different times.

This might not sound like a big deal, but I’ve found as a Diamond Medallion that the requirement that if you choose one Choice Benefit, you must choose both at the same time to be hugely restrictive. In particular, if you elect to gift somebody Gold Medallion there is a major incentive to gift that status as soon as possible in order to grant your giftee the longest possible duration of gifted status. Conversely, the upgrade benefit is best cashed in at the last possible minute until you actually plan on using the upgrades, especially considering that upgrades are good for 12 months from the date of “cash-in,” and you can cash-in on the last day of your Medallion status for a given year.

Delta-SkyClub-San-Francisco - 7

Delta SkyClub San Francisco

Bottom Line

All in all, these are not earth-shattering changes to the SkyMiles program, but they are a wholly positive development for Delta’s top tier elite customers, and represent a true value and further incentive to attain Diamond Medallion status where possible.

Who else is excited about these changes for 2018?

About Nick

Nick brings the perspective of the infrequent but savvy traveler who finds that getting there is actually less than half the fun, but you might as well fly business class on the way and get a good night's sleep. Despite a relatively sparse portfolio of flown miles and hotel stays per year that would never otherwise qualify for status, Nick manages to leverage credit cards, promotions and points to secure elite status and increase his chances for that sought-after upgrade.

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Comments

  1. Can you clarify this statement, “Further, if you already have access to the SkyClub through a credit card, you can redeem one Choice Benefit for a Guest Pass to provide you unlimited guest access for up to two guests.”

    Does guest in this example have access to Skyclub without the DM member present?

  2. Nick,

    This is great news. As a diamond is it fair to assume we will still receive the one Platinum choice benefit as we hit that level on the way to Diamond?

  3. Selecting the benefits at different times is definitely a big improvement. Not only for gifting status, but also because presumably the various SkyClub choice options will be on a fixed timeline like gifting status, so it will be nice to be able to select those early and then select upgrades later on as needed.

  4. Sounds to me that you will need to use an RUC next year to get an upgrade as there will be lots of them in circulation

  5. This paragraph doesn’t make sense, can you clarify?
    Seas
    In addition to the Individual Membership benefit, an Executive Membership in SkyClub (which entitles you to guest access) can be redeemed for two Choice Benefits. Further, if you already have access to the SkyClub through a credit card, you can redeem one Choice Benefit for a Guest Pass to provide you unlimited guest access for up to two guests.

  6. @Sam

    It looks like this:
    If you do not have a credit card that gives you access (Amex Plat, Delta Reserve) you must use:

    One (of Three available) Choice Benefit for a regular sky club membership which allows access just for you.

    Two (of Three available) Choice benefits for an executive membership which allows for access of you and two guests.

    If you have one of the cards above that grants you access anyways, you must only use one choice benefit to get the executive membership.

    Hope that helps!

  7. I’m surprised to see Nick posting here again so soon, only five weeks after his widely-panned review of the new United lounge at LAX. Remember the post? He brought his “support” dog into the club, took umbrage at hints that it wasn’t really welcome, criticized breakfast before it was put out, and missed signs identifying the coffee. I thought he’d want to hide his head in shame for at least three months after that memorable display of ignorant entitlement.

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