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.
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.
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?