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Last week, Delta Airlines’ CEO, Ed Bastian mentioned in a Q3 earnings call that the airline would be announcing roll backs to some of the extreme changes that the program made last month for Medallion status qualification in 2025 (status earning activity in 2024). Now those changes have been shared.
Changes to Qualification Thresholds
One of the biggest surprises that Delta initially revealed was that it was changing both the way that status was earned and the amount of Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) required increased substantially.
Currently, members need to earn both Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) or Medallion Qualification Segments (MQS) plus Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) (or reach a threshold of spend on their Delta-branded Platinum or Reserve American Express cards). Beginning January 1st, all SkyMiles Members will earn toward Status through only MQDs. Here are the initial qualifications that were announced:
- Silver Medallion: 6,000 MQDs
- Gold Medallion: 12,000 MQDs
- Platinum Medallion: 18,000 MQDs
- Diamond Medallion: 35,000 MQDs
Here are the new levels:
- Silver Medallion: 5,000 MQDs
- Gold Medallion: 10,000 MQDs
- Platinum Medallion: 15,000 MQDs
- Diamond Medallion: 28,000 MQDs
All of these were dropped by 20%. The revised thresholds are still 25% and 67% higher than what was required in 2023 to qualify for 2024 status.
Status Head Start
Delta is taking a page from United’s playbook by offering those holding status a head start to earn 2025 status. Eligible frequent flyers who are also cobranded credit card holders will receive 2,500 MQDs. In order to receive this bonus, members must hold Medallion status and a Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, or Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card.
Increase to Sky Club® Visits
Those holding Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express were outraged when it was announced that the unlimited visits that the cards provided were being cut down to 10 and six annually. Delta has not rolled this back to unlimited, but has increased the number of visits to 15 and 10. Additionally, all Sky Clubs® visited during a connecting itinerary (same-day travel) will no longer count individually. If I were traveling from Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) to Tampa International Airport (TPA) with a connection in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), I could visit all three with it only counting as one visit versus three. Unlimited Sky Club® access can be earned after spending $75,000 on an eligible card in a calendar year. Cardmembers may also purchase Sky Club® access for $50 per day after using their free days. Delta is also bringing back the option for Medallion members to purchase individual Sky Club® memberships for $695.
New Choice Benefits in 2025
Choice Benefits are awarded annually to Platinum and Diamond Medallion members upon qualification. Here are the new selections:
- MQD accelerator: 2,000 MQD bonus for Diamond Medallion members or 1,000 MQD bonus for Platinum Medallion members.
- Delta Sky Club® individual memberships will be available for Diamond Medallion members (this requires two Choice Benefits).
- 35,000 bonus miles for Diamond Medallion members and 30,000 bonus miles for Platinum Medallion members (these are both 10,000 miles higher than the present benefit) .
- $350 Delta Travel Voucher for Diamond Medallion members and $300 for Platinum Medallion members (this represents a $100 and $50 increase, respectively).
- A Wheels Up flight credit (amount has yet to be revealed).
None of these are particularly exciting, but they’re additional choices or incremental improvements that cannot be totally knocked.
Improved Lifetime Elite Benefits
Delta’s Million Miler program was announced to change next year as well where only actual butt-in-seat miles earned would count towards lifetime status. That has not changed, but the status offered at each level has improved. Here are the new offerings:
- 1 Million Miler: lifetime Gold Medallion (this is being increased from Silver Medallion and matches United’s Premier Gold offering)
- 2 Million Miler: lifetime Platinum Medallion (this is being increased from Gold Medallion and matches United’s Premier Platinum offering))
- 3 Million Miler: lifetime Diamond Medallion (this is being increased from Platinum Medallion and matches United’s Premier 1K offering)
- 4 Million Miler: lifetime Diamond Medallion (this is being increased from Platinum Medallion and is lower than United’s Global Services offering)
- 5 Million Miler: lifetime Delta 360°™ status (this is being increased from Platinum Medallion and matches United’s Global Services offering)
- 6 Million Miler: lifetime Delta 360°™ status (this is being increased from Diamond Medallion and matches United’s Global Services offering)
Changes to Rollover MQD
With Delta removing Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) from the qualification requirements, rollover MQMs are also going away. They’re still not going to be a thing and will be converted to either SkyMiles (at a 2:1 rate) or to Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs) at a 10:1 rate. This was initially announced at a 20:1 rate. Additionally, members with huge MQM balances will be awarded with one bonus year of status (at your current level) for every 100,000 MQMs.
Anthony’s Take: While these changes make some of the initial gutting of the program a little easier to swallow, they’re still more restrictive than in the past and Delta has made it clear that the initial changes were not a mistake. We should expect levels to continue to rise in the future. I’ll keep flying Delta since I enjoy the experience (which is what the airline intended all along).
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