Delta Diamond Choice Benefits: Which to choose and when

Delta Diamond Choice Benefits -- Delta elite status includes choice of 3 Diamond Choice Benefits (I love Global Upgrade Certs!)Delta’s top tier Diamond status isn’t easy to get, but it it comes loaded with perks.  Among them is the ability to choose three Choice Benefits each year.

Choice Benefits page link

The normal way to find the Choice Benefits page is to log into your Delta account on Delta.com and click around until you find it.  Alternatively, you can click here to jump directly to the Choice Benefits page.

Which Diamond Choice Benefits are worthwhile?

Here’s my biased list, sorted in order of preference:

  • Upgrade certificates: 4 Global, or 8 Regional, or 2 Global AND 4 Regional.  I love the global upgrade certificates.  Consider that we often see dirt-cheap flights to Europe.  You could buy dirt-cheap economy tickets, but still fly in lie-flat business class (Delta One) by applying these certificates.  Often you’ll have to wait-list for the upgrade, but my wife and I have had nearly 100% success in clearing the upgrades so far.  Note that upgrade certificates cannot be used with Basic Economy fares or with Award tickets.
  • Delta Sky Club Individual Membership. If you don’t have a Delta Reserve or non-Delta Amex Platinum card then this is a valuable option for gaining free access to SkyClubs when flying Delta.  Note that this membership does not allow you to enter unless you’re flying Delta same-day (Delta imposes the same rules on those with credit card access).
  • Gift Gold status.  To achieve Gold status, some people go to great lengths with end of year mileage runs, or they pay Delta outrageous prices for an end of year status boost.  This is a great alternative.
  • Delta Sky Club Guest Options:
    • Delta Sky Club Guest Pass (Credit Card Access).  Many get access to Delta SkyClubs when flying Delta thanks to having either Delta Reserve or non-Delta Amex Platinum cards.  This benefit lets you bring in up to two guests.
    • Delta Sky Club Executive Membership.  With Executive Membership you can guest in up to 2 people per visit.  If you don’t already have an Individual Membership, Delta will charge you two Choice Benefits to get Executive Membership.
  • 25,000 Bonus Miles. If you have a Delta credit card, then you can use miles to pay for flights at a value of 1 cent per mile, so this benefit is worth at least $250 in flights.  If you book award flights, it is often possible to get 1.3 cents per mile or better value.  At 1.3 cents per mile, 25,000 miles is worth $325 in award flights.  One cool feature of this option is that you can optionally gift the miles to someone else.

And then there’s this, which I do not recommend:

  • $200 Travel Voucher or retail gift card.  Choose either a $200 Delta travel voucher which expires in 1 year or a $200 Tiffany & Co gift card.  In my opinion most people would be much better off taking 25,000 bonus miles since they’re worth at least $250 off flights.

Pick more than one

If you really like a particular Choice Benefit, you may be able to select the same benefit multiple times.  Here are the Choice Benefits where you’re allowed to pick more than one:

  • Gift Gold status.  You can gift Gold status to up to 3 people by spending all 3 Choice Benefits on this option.
  • 25,000 Bonus Miles. If you want 50,000 or 75,000 miles you can apply multiple Choice Benefits.  You can also keep 25K or 50K for yourself and gift the rest.
  • $200 Travel Voucher or retail gift card.  Please don’t.

When to choose what?

All Choice Benefits must be selected by the time your earned status expires.  That translates to the end of January, two calendar years after you earned status.  For example, if you earned Diamond status in 2019 for the 2020 calendar year, then your status is good until January 31, 2021.  You must select all of your Choice Benefits by that date or you’ll lose them.  It’s important to understand though that some of the options are useless if you wait until the last moment to pick them.  Sky Club access options and gifted elite status expire when your earned elite status expires (Jan 31 on the second year after status was earned).

Benefits to choose as soon as possible

The following benefits are only valid until your elite year is complete (i.e. through January 2021 for those who earned Diamond status in 2019):

  • Gift Gold status
  • Delta Sky Club Individual Membership
  • Delta Sky Club Guest Options:
    • Delta Sky Club Guest Pass (Credit Card Access)
    • Delta Sky Club Executive Membership

Benefits worth waiting for

Some benefits are good for a year from the time they are selected:

  • Upgrade certificates: These are good for a year after they are selected.  So, wait until you’re ready to book a flight that you want to upgrade.  Note though that if your upgrade is wait-listed, it is good to get on that list as soon as possible in order to have upgrade priority over others.
  • $200 Travel Voucher: I don’t recommend this option, but if you pick it against my advice, then wait until you really need it.  The voucher expires after a year.

Benefits that can be chosen any time

These options have no time constraints regarding when they must be used:

  • 25000 Bonus Miles
  • $200 retail gift card: I don’t recommend this option

My choices

I usually pick the following Choice Benefits:

  • 4 Global Upgrade Certificates
  • Delta Sky Club Guest Pass (Credit Card Access)
  • Gift Gold Status

If I decide at any time that I don’t need the Sky Club guest pass option or that I no longer want to gift Gold status to my son, I’ll choose 25,000 miles instead.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

Regarding comments: Comments posted at the bottom of Frequent Miler pages and posts are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

3
Leave a Reply

avatar
3 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
3 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
3 Comment authors
Jerry b UdellJB San DiegoGene Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
Notify of
Gene
Guest
Gene

I am surprised by your choices, especially 4 GPUs. With all the mileage options available from better airlines, why would anyone want to fly DL, UA, or AA on international flights? I use DL for domestic flights, so I pick 8 RPUs.

JB San Diego
Guest
JB San Diego

OMG!…you’re kidding me, right?

Jerry b Udell
Guest
Jerry b Udell

What choices do you recommend if you are Delta Platinum?