To stay competitive, Delta Airlines, the world’s largest airline (by both fleet size and number of passengers flown per year), is making some changes to its frequent flier program. The changes to its program, called Skymiles, will affect only how elite status is awarded to its most loyal customers.
Currently, here’s how elite status is awarded, in its heirarchy:
Silver Medallion: 25,000 MQMs or 30 MQSs
Gold Medallion: 50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs
Platinum Medallion: 75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs
Diamond Medallion: 125,000 MQMs or 140 MQSs
MQMs are Medallion Qualification Miles, and MQSs are the Medallion Qualification Segments. For whichever tier of elite status desired, passengers must almost always fly the required amount of miles or segments to reach it.
The biggest change to their program is their new MQD system, or Medallion Qualification Dollars. Now, in addition to meeting either the required segments or miles flown, members must also meet an annual revenue/spend threshold for each tier, as follows:
Silver Medallion: 25,000 MQMs or 30 MQSs, AND $2,500
Gold Medallion: 50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs, AND $5,000
Platinum Medallion: 75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs, AND $7,500
Diamond Medallion: 125,000 MQMs or 140 MQSs, AND $12,500
Starting, on January 1, 2014, these changes will go into effect, which means that customers wishing to earn or retain elite status for the 2015 year must also meet the required MQD thresholds. Earning for the 2014 year is not affected, which means that now in 2013, customers need only earn the appropriate amount of either MQMs or MQSs.
Delta states that they are making these changes and adding this new requirement to “create an even more exclusive Medallion experience and make it easier for Medallion members to enjoy their benefits.” Basically, they are filtering out the travelers who may fly often but on only inexpensive flights, opting to only reward those passengers who “spend money” with them.
These changes to elite status with Delta seems to only be relevant for their customers based in the United States. Also, they give one option for getting out of the MQD requirement: if a customer does not meet the MQDs threshold, they can still qualify for Medallion status if they have earned the required MQMs or MQSs while spending at least $25,000 per year on their American Express Delta SkyMiles credit card.
There are numerous charges that will not count toward Medallion Qualification Dollars, such as government taxes, fees, and even their partner airlines, unless ticketed through Delta directly. This makes it much harder to earn elite status, because even buying tickets from their equal partners, KLM or Air France, will not count toward the yearly MQD spend requirement.
For more info and FAQ on Delta’s Skymiles program changes, visit the page HERE.