Delta SkyMiles Medallion elite status will be harder to earn in 2023, for those looking to qualify for status for the 2024 program year.
Delta Medallion revenue requirement increasing
In order to earn Delta SkyMiles Medallion elite status:
- You need to earn a certain number of Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) OR Medallion Qualifying Segments (MQSs)
- You also need to earn a certain number of Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs) OR you can get a waiver by spending money on a co-branded Delta Amex card
Currently Delta SkyMiles Medallion elite requirements are as follows:
- Delta Silver Medallion requires 25,000 MQMs OR 30 MQSs AND 3,000 MQDs
- Delta Gold Medallion requires 50,000 MQMs OR 60 MQSs AND 6,000 MQDs
- Delta Platinum Medallion requires 75,000 MQMs OR 100 MQSs AND 9,000 MQDs
- Delta Diamond Medallion requires 125,000 MQMs OR 140 MQSs AND 15,000 MQDs
- You can get an MQD waiver for spending on Delta credit cards — all tiers require $25,000 of spending per year, except Diamond Medallion, which requires $250,000 of spending per year
As of 2023, Delta SkyMiles will be increasing how much you need to spend in order to earn status:
- Delta Silver Medallion will require 3,000 MQDs (no change)
- Delta Gold Medallion will require 8,000 MQDs (an increase of 2,000 MQDs, or 33%)
- Delta Platinum Medallion will require 12,000 MQDs (an increase of 3,000 MQDs, or 33%)
- Delta Diamond Medallion will require 20,000 MQDs (an increase of 5,000 MQDs, or 33%)
- There will be no change to how many MQMs or MQSs you need to earn
- You earn one MQD for each eligible dollar spent on a Delta ticket, not including taxes and fees
- As you can see, Silver Medallion status spending requirements aren’t changing, while spending requirements for other tiers are increasing by 33%
- You can continue to get an MQD waiver for spending on Delta credit cards — $25,000 of spending per year will get you a waiver for Silver, Gold, and Platinum Medallion, while $250,000 of spending per year will get you a waiver for Diamond Medallion
Delta claims these are the “first Medallion qualification change affecting multiple tiers since 2015.” Here’s how Dwight James, Delta’s SVP of Customer Engagement and Loyalty, describes these changes:
“These limited SkyMiles Program changes are a necessary step toward both preserving and improving the customer experience for our most loyal and engaged Members. The travel and loyalty landscape has changed considerably since we last made changes to the earn qualifications of multiple membership tiers. We are continuing to invest in the customers who invest in us so those Members experience the best of what Delta has to offer—with our new Choice Benefits, our premium and transformed Delta Sky Clubs, and our expansion of the use of SkyMiles as currency throughout the journey.”
Delta rolling out new Choice Benefits
Delta has also announced that Diamond and Platinum Medallion members who qualify for 2024 Medallion status (in 2023) will be able to select from an expanded slate of Choice Benefits starting February 1, 2023. New Choice Benefits include the following:
- Diamond and Platinum Medallion members with the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card, or Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business American Express Card, can choose a statement credit for their card — $500 for Diamond Medallion members or $200 for Platinum Medallion members
- Diamond Medallion members will receive two Gold Medallion gift statuses per selection, while Platinum Medallion members will receive two Silver Medallion gift statuses per selection
- A Delta Vacations Experience (flight and hotel) — $500 for Diamond Medallion members and $400 for Platinum Medallion members
- An MQD “head start” for the next Medallion year — $1,000 MQD boost for Diamond Medallion members and a $500 MQD boost for Platinum Medallion members
- Increasing the Delta Travel Credit Voucher to $250
- A $250 sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) contribution
My take on Delta Medallion program changes
During the pandemic, Delta was probably the most generous US airline when it came to extending status. So it’s interesting to see the airline now also being the first to increase elite requirements as we see an increase in travel demand. In reality I don’t think this will do much to thin elite ranks.
Rather this is clearly part of Delta’s effort to make sure that a vast majority of SkyMiles Medallion members are also using a Delta Amex card. The Delta and Amex partnership is worth billions of dollars, and really Delta has pretty smartly used its loyalty program as a way of drumming up spending on co-branded credit cards.
It’s pretty obvious that this is the motive, given that nothing else about elite status qualification is changing — the airline is just increasing the revenue requirement for status, since this is also the requirement that’s easiest to get around with credit card spending.
Of course I’m not a fan of this change, and I find it strange to be doing this at a time when business travel is still way down. But you have to view this through the Delta SkyMiles lens, which is different than the approach taken by other airline loyalty programs. Heck, on some level I’m surprised Delta even lets members earn elite status without credit card spending!
Delta SkyMiles is making it harder to earn elite status in 2023, for 2024 qualification. The revenue requirement for Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Medallion elite status will be increasing by 33%. Meanwhile the number of miles or segments required isn’t changing, and there continues to be an opportunity to get a revenue requirement waiver by spending on a Delta Amex credit card.
On the plus side, Delta is improving Choice Benefits, which should be rewarding for many Platinum and Diamond Medallion members.
What do you make of these Delta SkyMiles Medallion qualification changes?