Delta SkyMiles members can earn MQM’s (Medallion Qualifying Miles), Medallion bonus miles, priority check in & boarding (Gold/Platinum/Diamond), and access to GOL’s Smiles lounges (Gold/Platinum/Diamond) in GRU and GIG when flying internationally in either GOL or Delta starting on January 29, 2013. You can read more about this partnership from Delta’s press release.
GOL’s Diamond Smiles members have access to Sky Priority benefits when flying Delta. Diamond Smiles members also have access to Delta’s SkyClub’s in Atlanta, Detroit and New York.
Delta made a strategic investment of $100 millions in GOL back in December, 2011. GOL bought the Smiles program from the Varig after the carrier had filed for bankruptcy and ceased operations. The Smiles lounge in Sao Paulo is very small and already extremely crowded as it is used by many airlines.
The earning of MQM’s and Medallion bonus miles on GOL flights is welcomed addition. The lounge access in Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro is not worth a lot as GOL only operates few international flights.
When traveling in Brazil, I have actively booked away from GOL and rather used Tam due to benefits associated with the Star Alliance Gold status. I guess that this deeper relationship with Delta and GOL, due to Delta strategic investment, means that I no longer need to avoid this carrier.