Guide To Delta SkyMiles Lifetime Million Miler Status

Guide To Delta SkyMiles Lifetime Million Miler Status

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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. I now wanted to take a look at the lifetime status tiers offered by major airlines in the United States, starting with Delta SkyMiles (check out my separate posts on lifetime status with Alaska Mileage Plan, American AAdvantage, and United MileagePlus).

How to earn Delta SkyMiles lifetime status

With Delta SkyMiles’ million miler program, members can earn lifetime status with all published elite tiers, though you better be ready to be loyal for a very long time.

Delta’s lifetime elite status is based on the number of Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) that you earn 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. Let’s go over the elite tiers that can be earned.

Lifetime Delta Silver Medallion status (one million miler)

Those who cumulatively earn one million MQMs in the Delta SkyMiles program receive Silver Medallion status for life. On top of that, members receive a special gift for passing the threshold (you used to be able to choose from a variety of gifts, but nowadays it’s typically just a Delta gift card).

Lifetime Delta Gold Medallion status (two million miler)

Those who cumulatively earn two million MQMs in the Delta SkyMiles program receive Gold Medallion status for life. On top of that, members receive a special gift for passing the threshold, which is typically a Delta gift card.

Lifetime Delta Platinum Medallion status (four million miler)

Those who cumulatively earn four million MQMs in the Delta SkyMiles program receive Platinum Medallion status for life. On top of that, members receive a special gift for passing the threshold, which is typically a Delta gift card.

Lifetime Delta Diamond Medallion status (six million miler)

Those who cumulatively earn six million MQMs in the Delta SkyMiles program receive Diamond Medallion status for life. On top of that, members receive a special gift for passing the threshold, which is typically a Delta gift card. Interestingly lifetime Diamond Medallion is still pretty new, as it was only introduced in 2021.

Other million miler rewards thresholds

As you can see, your status isn’t elevated by one tier with every million miles, but rather at three million miles and five million miles, there are no status upgrades. At those thresholds you still receive a gift, which is once again nowadays typically a Delta gift card.

Earn lifetime Delta status for all published elite tiers

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?

Credit card spending does contribute towards your lifetime status, since some co-branded Delta credit cards earn MQMs. While you’d have to spend a lot to earn Delta status exclusively through credit card spending, it can contribute towards that total.

Can you earn lifetime Delta 360 status?

Delta 360 is Delta’s invitation-only elite tier. Unfortunately there’s no way to earn this status for life.

How can you check your Delta million miler status progress?

You can check your progress towards Delta million miler status by logging into your SkyMiles account. On your account summary page you’ll see your progress towards million miler lifetime elite status.

Do Delta million miler miles expire?

Miles towards million miler elite status don’t expire, which is to say that you can continue to rack up miles slowly towards 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 towards anything. It’s simply a tally of how many MQMs 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 earn lifetime Global Services status, and you can also give status to a companion

The big benefit of Delta’s million miler program is that all elite miles earned with the program count towards lifetime status, which isn’t the case with American and United.

Even credit card spending counts towards lifetime Delta status

Bottom line

Delta Air Lines has a million miler program, whereby SkyMiles members can earn lifetime Silver, Gold, Platinum, or Diamond status. The status is earned based on the total number of Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) you earn, whether that’s through travel on Delta or a partner airline, or through credit card spending.

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?

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  1. Pamela Lightsey Guest

    I do not see how to check your miles earned towards million miler status. I see my skymiles but according to this article the two are not the same. I asked a Delta rep how many miles I had earned towards million miler status and she gave me my current skymiles numbers. If the two are not the same, I’ve long ago made million miler status. If they are the same then those occasions where I redeemed miles to purchase tickets actually worked against that goal.

  2. Femi Odediran Guest

    Is it true that you get lifetime status on a tier if you maintain that status for 10 straight years?

  3. Glenda Johnson Guest

    I don't know why on earth this would come up in my news feed. Now that I'm here let me share from a little person issue with Delta and their double standards. I had to cancel my reservation a week ago due to me contracting COVID during the holidays. My reservation was for myself and my teenage daughter who had to return to college in GA. My issue is being penalized for cancelling my flight...

    I don't know why on earth this would come up in my news feed. Now that I'm here let me share from a little person issue with Delta and their double standards. I had to cancel my reservation a week ago due to me contracting COVID during the holidays. My reservation was for myself and my teenage daughter who had to return to college in GA. My issue is being penalized for cancelling my flight for the same reasons Delta left thousands of people stranded and without ways to get to their destinations during the biggest holiday of the year. Who penalized Delta for their cancellations? Delta is able to penalize their customers with no limitations, no guidelines, and whatever they see fit as a cancellation penalty for those of us who can only afford the budget ticket. If I am purchasing the budget ticket that should tell Delta that I am on a limited budget and don't have expendable funds so that they can have the right to penalize me $100 for a $109 dollar ticket. That is a 92% penalty for one ticket. Did Dekta pay each customer that they left stranded, and abandoned a 92% restitution fee on top of getting them to their destinations without them occurring any expenses? Who will hold Delta accountable, the way they held me accountable for catching COVID and being responsible about affecting fellow passengers. I had to send my daughter by herself and I paid an extra $29 for a seat just so she wouldn't be in the back of the plane along with paying for a check luggage fee of $30. Only for her to be told by an agent that they didn't see the charge on their end and because her luggage was 7lbs over she had to pay $100. So, she is 18 year old college student trying to get back to her studies and not put up a fight. So her ticket went from $109 to $278 for a one-way ticket. Now I'm charged 255% markup to get daughter back to school without stressing her out even more. I am a widow trying to fulfill a promise that my husband and I made to give every one of our kids a higher education. I will do all that can to assure my daughter continue her education. What I will not do is allow Delta to make me feel that my money doesn't count and my issues aren't important because we budget flyers keep your company afloat more than your Million Milers!

  4. Steven Green Guest

    I attained Million Miler status in about 8 years in the 90's. Truthfully, at that time in addition to miles a host of other spending counted toward the million. Yet, my lifetime miles (only) are now above 1,350,000. Absolutely agree with those who have found the status means nothing to Delta. An AMEX platinum Delta card provides almost the same benefits as Silver Medallion. My flying has been reduced because of semi-retirement and Covid. Nevertheless,...

    I attained Million Miler status in about 8 years in the 90's. Truthfully, at that time in addition to miles a host of other spending counted toward the million. Yet, my lifetime miles (only) are now above 1,350,000. Absolutely agree with those who have found the status means nothing to Delta. An AMEX platinum Delta card provides almost the same benefits as Silver Medallion. My flying has been reduced because of semi-retirement and Covid. Nevertheless, Have begun mostly flying United up front and enjoying the experience.

  5. Bill Berditzman Guest

    As is usually the case with these writers, they have the information WRONG. Delta's million miler status is ANNUAL, not LIFETIME. That means that Delta can change the program and you will not receive the status for lifetime. Please get your facts straight.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Correct.

      Unlike other airlines, Delta actually uses the term "million miler status" and "complimentary Medallion status" as two separate things.

      So the biggest elephant in Atlanta is they can always change their 6 million miler status to a complimentary Silver Medallion at any year they wish.

    2. Michael Abraham Guest

      Of course, any airline that claims “lifetime” anything reserves the right to change the “lifetime” ANYTIME they chose — and the benefits may change accordingly.

      Milllion-miler is a threshold, not a status. Once you’ve reached it, you get to keep the ribbon (Whoopie!) whether you travel another mile or not.

    3. Dixieboz Guest

      My card reads “Lifetime” on it. Are you saying it is really just “Annual”?

  6. C. J. Guest

    I am a Delta Two Million Miler/Lifetime Gold, and have been Diamond each year for many, including all during the pandemic. Can’t see any benefits to Lifetime status, though maybe it is overshadowed each year by the higher earned status. The lifetime status adds nothing significant to the Delta experience.

  7. Joel Guest

    Is there anyway to check your current total miles earned?

  8. Michael Rigdon Guest

    I am a Delta 2 million miler a 3rd of my way to the 3rd million. I love Delta but million milers for the most part are ignored. I am so sick of being thanked for my gold medallion status when anyone can get an American Express card and become a gold member. No mention of my Million Miler except for the occasional on board thank you. I feel Delta should grant their million milers lifetime sky club access.

  9. Santastico Guest

    I used to be Delta360 before the pandemic and have kept Diamond status since. I crossed the 1MM MQM threshold during the pandemic and got absolutely nothing other than luggage tags. Pretty lame from Delta.

  10. Lin Guest

    Does the MQM from credit card count toward million miler status or the one flown only?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Lin -- All MQMs, including those earned through credit cards, count.

  11. Bill Guest

    As a lowly Silver my 1.8 million miler status does not influence my carrier choice. Maybe if Delta gave us a “running start” for higher level status I would be more likely to book DL. If I could reach gold with 25,000 for lifetime silver plus 25,000 of MQM this year then an actual benefit would exist.

  12. Bgriff Guest

    It's not really the total picture to say that Delta's MM is worse than United's, since Delta's benefits are objectively much worse but it's also much, much, much easier to earn than United's, when you consider the very limited definition of what counts toward earning UA's MM status vs. Delta's.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Bgriff -- Fair, and I added a note to that section to point out that miles towards million miler status are counted differently between programs. I do still think United's program is more lucrative for million miler status, though.

  13. Jan Guest

    A million miles is a lot of flying to score a lifetime 50% chance to get a comfort+ seat on a main cabin fare.

    For someone like me who can’t get status on a company’s dime, life’s too short to be loyal to one airline.

  14. Brian Guest

    The United companion status for Million Milers is a truly nice benefit. You can also revoke it and give it to someone else later, which I always felt was a subtle nod from the United brass to how the personal lives of high frequency travelers often play out.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Pamela Lightsey Guest

I do not see how to check your miles earned towards million miler status. I see my skymiles but according to this article the two are not the same. I asked a Delta rep how many miles I had earned towards million miler status and she gave me my current skymiles numbers. If the two are not the same, I’ve long ago made million miler status. If they are the same then those occasions where I redeemed miles to purchase tickets actually worked against that goal.

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Dixieboz Guest

My card reads “Lifetime” on it. Are you saying it is really just “Annual”?

0
Femi Odediran Guest

Is it true that you get lifetime status on a tier if you maintain that status for 10 straight years?

0
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