Delta Air Lines just announced changes coming up to its SkyMiles program as well as Sky Club access policy. Not only the airline is changing how you earn your status, but the requirements will increase significantly.
Delta SkyMiles is Simplifying Elite Status
Starting January 1, 2024, Delta is simplifying its SkyMiles Program, with Medallion Qualification Dollars serving as the only qualifier for Medallion Status. This perhaps is the largest frequent flyer program overhaul with the termination of “Elite Qualifying Miles” and “Qualifying Segments.”
The new earning requirement will kick off for the 2025 program year which means members will earn elite status with the new qualification between January 1, 2024 – December 31, 2024.
So how will the Medallion Qualifications change for each tier? Here are the new changes:
SkyMiles Silver Medallion status will require 6,000 MQDs (from 3,000 MQDs)
SkyMiles Gold Medallion status will require 12,000 MQDs (from 8,000 MQDs)
SkyMiles Platinum Medallion status will require 18,000 MQDs (from 12,000 MQDs)
SkyMiles Diamond Medallion status will require 35,000 MQDs (from 20,000 MQDs)
As you can see, the increase in elite status requirements is pretty steep with the Silver Medallion now requiring double the Medallion Qualification Dollars. This would increase the spending on Delta flights much more in order to reach the next tier.
SkyMiles Members Living Outside of the U.S. Will Earn Status via MQDs
Up until now, SkyMiles members with non-US addresses can earn status relatively easily as Delta did not include MQDs. Unfortunately, this will be changing as of 2024 too.
Starting January 1, SkyMiles members with non-US addresses will have one united tier qualification with MQDs. The foreign currencies used to purchase Delta flights will convert to USD at the standard exchange rate and will then convert from $1 USD to $1 MQD.
How do you Earn Medallion Qualification Dollars?
Medallion Qualification Dollars or MQDs are earned based on your annual spending on Delta flights and on many partner flights. It is calculated based on the percentage of distance flown and fare class.
You will earn one MQD per dollar spent on Delta flights
For partner airlines, you will continue to earn MQDs based on the fare class and distance flown
For car rentals, hotel bookings, and Delta Vacations bookings, you will earn one MQD per dollar spent as well
Convert Medallion Qualification Miles to MQDs or Redeemable Miles
On February 1, 2024, SkyMiles Members will be given a one-time choice of converting any Rollover MQMs earned during 2023 to redeemable miles, MQDs, or a combination of both. Here is how you can convert to:
You can convert rollover MQMs into MQDs at a 20:1 ratio
You can convert rollover MQMs into redeemable miles at a 2:1 ratio
Keep in mind that this is a one-time choice for MQMs earned in 2023.
Delta Adjusting Million Miler Status Requirement
Another drawback of the SkyMiles program is how members will reach Million Miles status. Beginning January 1, 2024, miles toward Million Miler status will be calculated through lifetime flight miles and no longer through MQMs.
To reach Million Miler status, members now need “butt-in-seat” miles flown without fare class bonuses
Existing Million Miler balances will convert to a 1:1 ratio
Million Milers move up to third position in complimentary upgrade priority
Delta Sky Club Access Changes In 2024
We all know Delta’s Sky Club is facing serious overcrowding issues even with access policy changes. Now, the airline will further limit access by introducing a couple of changes.
From January 1, 2024, passengers on Delta’s “Basic Economy Class” will no longer have Delta Sky Club access
Medallion members who purchase annual Sky Club Membership will still have access to the Sky Club
Most of the changes affect those who have complimentary access via Delta’s co-branded credit cards.
Why is Delta Shifting to a Spending-Based System?
The biggest reason why Delta Air Lines SkyMiles program is using cash spent, and not miles flown, for elite status qualification is because of credit cards. This is because legacy carriers rely large percentage of their profits from frequent flyer programs, especially, from co-branded credit cards.
Dwight James, S.V.P. of Customer Engagement and Loyalty and CEO of Delta Vacations describes:
“Delta is on a multi-year journey to transform our SkyMiles Program by building a portfolio of options for customers to grow their membership with Delta beginning as soon as they join the program.”
“Our Members will earn status the way they want to – not only along their travel journey, but also in their everyday lives.”Dwight James, S.V.P. of Customer Engagement and Loyalty and CEO of Delta Vacations
Dwight James, S.V.P. of Customer Engagement and Loyalty and CEO of Delta Vacations
Delta Air Lines has announced major changes to its SkyMiles Program, with Medallion Qualification Dollars serving as the only qualifier for Medallion Status. The requirements for each tier have also increased significantly as you would need to spend $6,000 on Delta flights in order to reach the Silver Medallion up to $35,000 for the Diamond Medallion.
Moreover, Delta has introduced more restrictions with regard to its Sky Club access policy. This includes the removal of Basic Economy Class tickets from lounge access as well as adding limits to access for co-branded credit cardholders.