While airline loyalty programs have become increasingly irrelevant to average travelers, flyers who are still able to attain elite status are doing just fine. Delta loyalists are a case in point.
Beginning this month, members of Delta’s SkyMiles program who qualify for 2018 top-tier Diamond elite status are entitled to choose three (versus two previously) Choice Benefits, from a menu that includes upgrade certificates, Delta Sky Club memberships, Delta Sky Club guest passes, the ability to gift status, bonus miles, gift cards, and Global Entry application vouchers.
In addition, 2017 and 2018 Diamond members can now make their choices at any time during the year, rather than being limited to choosing all options at once.
The extra perk is somewhat offset by the elimination of complimentary Sky Club access as a tier-wide benefit, which will now be included among the Choice Benefits options.
Achieving Diamond status is neither easy nor cheap. Qualifying requires a combination of 125,000 miles or 140 flights plus spending $15,000 on airfare or charging $25,000 to the Delta-branded credit card.
Reader Reality Check
Do you have elite status? Was it worth achieving?
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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.
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