Many travel loyalty programs offer the ability to earn lifetime elite status. Ordinarily elite status has to be earned on an annual basis, so it sure is nice to be able to not worry about requalifying for status anymore.
I’ve written in the past about lifetime hotel elite status, including with Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy, and World of Hyatt. When it comes to airlines, I’ve covered Alaska Mileage Plan lifetime status, American AAdvantage lifetime status, and United MileagePlus lifetime status.
Now let’s take a look at Delta SkyMiles lifetime status. Delta has completely overhauled its lifetime elite status program as of 2024, so we’ll cover everything you need to know.
In this post:
How to earn Delta SkyMiles lifetime status
With Delta SkyMiles’ million miler program, members can earn lifetime status for all elite tiers, though you better be ready to be loyal for a very long time. Delta recently adjusted the miles that count toward lifetime elite status:
- Through the end of 2023, Delta’s lifetime elite status was based on the number of Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) that you earned through all means; this could include MQMs earned through flying with Delta or partner airlines, as well as MQMs earned through spending on Delta’s co-branded credit cards
- As of 2024, Delta is only counting eligible miles flown on Delta toward million miler status, so miles earned through any other means no longer count
- However, Delta is honoring all existing lifetime mileage balances, and they’ve been converted to the new metric at a 1:1 ratio
So while Delta has made it much harder to earn lifetime elite status, the program has also made lifetime elite status much more rewarding. Below I’ll share the million miler elite thresholds that apply as of 2024, which are incredibly lucrative.
Lifetime Delta Gold Medallion status (one million miler)
Those who achieve one million miler status in the Delta SkyMiles program receive Gold Medallion status for life. On top of that, members receive a special gift for passing the threshold.
Lifetime Delta Platinum Medallion status (two million miler)
Those who achieve two million miler status in the Delta SkyMiles program receive Platinum Medallion status for life. On top of that, members receive a special gift for passing the threshold.
Lifetime Delta Diamond Medallion status (three million miler)
Those who achieve three million miler status in the Delta SkyMiles program receive Diamond Medallion status for life. On top of that, members receive a special gift for passing the threshold.
Lifetime Delta 360 status (five million miler)
Those who achieve five million miler status in the Delta SkyMiles program receive Delta 360 status for life, which is Delta’s invitation-only elite status. On top of that, members receive a special gift for passing the threshold.
Delta SkyMiles lifetime status FAQs
While the above is a basic rundown of Delta’s million miler program, let me answer some of the common questions people may have about the program.
Can you earn lifetime Delta status with credit card spending?
As of 2024, credit card spending no longer counts toward lifetime status. Up until recently, credit card spending made up a significant portion of how many people qualified for lifetime status status. However, that’s no longer the case.
How can you check your Delta million miler status progress?
You can check your progress toward Delta million miler status by logging into your SkyMiles account. On your account summary page you’ll see your progress toward million miler lifetime elite status.
Do Delta million miler miles expire?
Miles toward million miler elite status don’t expire, which is to say that you can continue to rack up miles slowly toward lifetime status. Unlike other elite miles, they don’t reset each year.
Also keep in mind that these are completely separate from redeemable miles, as you can’t use million miler miles toward anything. It’s simply a tally of how many eligible miles you’ve earned over the lifetime of your membership.
Is Delta million miler status worth it?
Is it awesome to be rewarded for long-term loyalty with lifetime status? Absolutely. But in my opinion it’s never worth significantly changing your behavior in order to earn lifetime status. Why?
- Airlines can change qualification rules at any time for lifetime elite status, even if you’ve spent the past 20 years trying to earn it
- Airlines can change elite benefits at any time, so the perks of elite status can change considerably even after you earn lifetime status
- While the airline industry is more stable than decades ago, there’s always the risk of the airline going out of business, merging, etc.
So it’s awesome to earn lifetime elite status, but it’s not worth significantly going out of your way to earn it, in my opinion.
How does Delta’s million miler program compare to others?
Compared to American and United, I’d say Delta’s million miler program is right in the middle in terms of value:
- American’s million miler program is the worst, as you can only earn up to AAdvantage Platinum status
- United’s million miler program is the best, as you can not only earn lifetime Global Services status, but you can also give elite status to a companion
With the changes to Delta’s lifetime elite status program, I’d say Delta is more closely aligned with United than American, but the program still isn’t quite as good.
Delta Air Lines has a million miler program, whereby SkyMiles members can earn lifetime Gold, Platinum, Diamond, or Delta 360 status. While the status has historically been earned based on the total number of Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) earned, as of 2024, it’s based on flown miles only.
Lifetime elite status is a great reward for being loyal over a long period of time, but it’s not worth going out of your way to earn, in my opinion.
Are any OMAAT readers lifetime Delta SkyMiles elite members? If so, what has your experience been like?