Negative Changes to Delta SkyMiles Program and Sky Club Access
Delta Air Lines has “simplified” the way you earn Elite status, and the amount of spending required. And by simplified, we mean “changed for the worse”. On top of that Delta is also restricting lounge access for cardholders.
The airlines explains these changes by saying that “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.” Dwight James, S.V.P. of Customer Engagement and Loyalty and CEO of Delta Vacations also adds that “our members will earn status the way they want to – not only along their travel journey, but also in their everyday lives.”
So let’s see what the changes are.
Only MQDs Matter
Starting Jan. 1, 2024, Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) will serve as the only qualifier for Medallion Status. SkyMiles Members will no longer need to track Medallion Qualification Miles or Medallion Qualification Segments. That is indeed simpler.
The airline is adding the ability to earn those MQDs not only through Delta- and partner-operated flights, but also via Delta rental cars and stays booked through Delta.com, Delta Vacations experiences and an MQD Boost benefit with select Delta SkyMiles American Express cards.
So how can you earn MQDs? Delta customers will earn 1 Medallion Qualifying Dollar for every $1 they spend on Delta flights, car rentals, hotels and vacation packages booked through the airline.
Delta SkyMiles Reserve and Reserve Business American Express card members earn 1 Medallion Qualifying Dollar for every $10 spent on the card, while Delta SkyMiles Platinum and Platinum Business American Express Card Members earn 1 Medallion Qualifying Dollar for every $20 spent.
Status for 2024 is earned in 2023. These changes are first applicable in 2024 toward 2025 Status. In early 2024, SkyMiles Members will be given a choice of converting any Rollover MQMs earned during 2023 to redeemable miles, MQDs, or a combination of both.
Medallion Status Requirements
So now that we know how you can earn MQDs, let’s see how much you need to earn starting next year, so you can reach your desired status for 2025.
These are the new requirements:
- Silver Medallion – 6,000 MQDs
- Gold Medallion – 12,000 MQDs
- Platinum Medallion – 18,000 MQDs
- Diamond Medallion – 35,000 MQDs
Multiply those numbers by 10 or 20 to see how much you would need to spend on your Delta SkyMiles Reserve or Delta SkyMiles Platinum cards.
Delta is also cutting Delta Sky Club access for American Express Card Members in what it says is an effort “to help preserve the premium experience in the airline’s popular lounges.” This confirms the rumors we wrote about last month.
Starting Feb. 1, 2025, Delta SkyMiles Reserve and Reserve Business American Express Card Members will receive 10 Club visits per Program year. The Platinum Card® and the Business Platinum Card® from American Express Card Members will receive six Club visits per Program year.
If you have one of these cards, you will now need to spend $75,000 in eligible purchases in a calendar year to have unlimited Club access for both the remainder of the current program year (which ends on January 31) and for the next full program year. Spend tracking begins Jan. 1, 2024, for the 2025 Medallion year.
But wait, there’s more. Beginning Jan. 1, 2024, Delta SkyMiles Platinum and Platinum Business American Express Card Members and those customers traveling in Basic Economy, regardless of card type, will no longer be eligible for Club access.
Capital One Venture X Business earns 2X miles on everyday purchases plus up to 10X in bonus categories. You also get access to Capital One lounges plus an annual travel credit & anniversary bonus. Right now you earn bonus_miles_full.
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