Delta Adds Lifetime Diamond Medallion Status

Delta Adds Lifetime Diamond Medallion Status

31

The Delta SkyMiles program has just made a significant improvement to its lifetime status program.

Delta improves million miler lifetime status program

Delta gives Medallion members the opportunity to earn lifetime status based on the cumulative number of Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) earned over a member’s lifetime. This even includes MQMs earned through co-branded credit cards.

Up until now it has only been possible to earn lifetime Silver, Gold, or Platinum Medallion status, while it’s now possible to earn lifetime Diamond Medallion status. Here’s how the Delta SkyMiles lifetime status program now works:

  • Earn lifetime SkyMiles Silver Medallion status after earning one million lifetime miles
  • Earn lifetime SkyMiles Gold Medallion status after earning two million lifetime miles
  • Earn lifetime SkyMiles Platinum Medallion status after earning four million lifetime miles
  • Earn lifetime SkyMiles Diamond Medallion status after earning six million lifetime miles

It’s cool to see lifetime Diamond Medallion status finally being something that’s offered, though admittedly this requires an incredible amount of loyalty. Diamond Medallion status ordinarily requires 125,000 MQMs per year, so you’d need to qualify for that status for roughly 48 years to earn lifetime status.

Of course a few people will earn it much faster than that, since some road warriors way over qualify for status. Perhaps some Diamond Medallion members earn 300,000 MQMs per year, but even those people would need to qualify for 20 years to earn that lifetime tier. Yowzers.

Delta SkyMiles is now offering lifetime Diamond Medallion status

How does this compare to lifetime status at other airlines?

While this is an awesome change, it doesn’t impact the order in which I rank lifetime status programs at the “big three” carriers in the United States — United is best, followed by Delta, followed by American.

For context, here’s how the United MileagePlus lifetime status program works:

  • Earn lifetime MileagePlus Premier Gold status after earning one million lifetime miles
  • Earn lifetime MileagePlus Premier Platinum status after earning two million lifetime miles
  • Earn lifetime MileagePlus Premier 1K status after earning three million lifetime miles
  • Earn lifetime MileagePlus Global Services status after earning four million lifetime miles
  • On top of that, if you’re a million miler you can nominate a companion to receive the same status that you maintain; so if you’re a million miler and also a Premier 1K, a companion could receive Premier 1K status as well

This is awesome, since you can earn higher elite tiers much faster, you can even earn invitation only lifetime status, and you can also share your status with a companion.

Lastly, here’s how the American AAdvantage lifetime status program works:

  • Earn lifetime AAdvantage Gold status after earning one million lifetime miles
  • Earn lifetime AAdvantage Platinum status after earning two million lifetime miles

As you can see, this is pretty lousy — you can’t even earn Platinum Pro or Executive Platinum lifetime status.

United MileagePlus’ lifetime status program continues to be the best

Bottom line

Delta SkyMiles has just improved its lifetime status program, as you can now earn lifetime Diamond Medallion status after racking up six million MQMs. That’s a lot of MQMs — equivalent to earning Diamond status for 48 years — but I’m sure this will make some people happy.

Now it’s American’s turn to make some major changes to its lifetime status program, which is so uncompetitive.

What do you make of Delta’s new lifetime Diamond Medallion status? Any OMAAT readers qualify?

(Tip of the hat to Rene at Eye of the Flyer)

Conversations (31)
Newest comments are displayed first.

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.

Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. Bruce M

    Hat's off to those who have flown 6M miles, they deserve the extra status. That said, your competitors grant gold status to 1M. You might consider that as well.

  2. David

    Delta should get the word out. They should advise their upper tier passengers where they stand, and how to achieve the next step. Don't bury it in other marketing, COVID, etc information. The problem with many websites is navigating through the garbage.

  3. Fran P

    British Airways and American Airlines are code share partners. If you book through AA website but fly on BA, do you get miles credited to your AA awards account?

  4. Randy

    As pointed out CC MQM count - so you could get an extra 40K, 60K, 120K if you maximize CC spend and have multiple DL CCs.

    So if you fly DL alot and spend upwards of 120 to 240K on your DL CC - you can get the Lifetime in shorter time.

  5. Michael Bach

    It has taken me about 10 years per million miles flown. That includes a reasonable combination of SYD and JNB trips, those which accumulate the most flight miles per segment, over the last 35+ years.

    What was pure about million miler status was that it started as a "miles flown only" measurement. So, it's really disappointing to see the addition of credit card spending.

    My view: create a Delta credit card spend loyalty...

    It has taken me about 10 years per million miles flown. That includes a reasonable combination of SYD and JNB trips, those which accumulate the most flight miles per segment, over the last 35+ years.

    What was pure about million miler status was that it started as a "miles flown only" measurement. So, it's really disappointing to see the addition of credit card spending.

    My view: create a Delta credit card spend loyalty measure so that the people who actually feel they are getting value from these credit cards can boast about their loyalty to Delta. Delta makes more money on activity associated with credit cards than most parts of their operation, save for maybe bag fees.

    Keep the flown miles metric pure. And, give lifetime Platinum at 3 million, not 4 million. At 32'ish years of Plat / Diamond status annually, that flier ought to be able to enjoy Plat status for their retirement years.

    The blind spot for DL is that it's a major disincentive to be bumped down to Gold or lower and fliers will simply open up to other options, cancel their DL credit card when that happens.

    Most who hold an airline loyalty credit card missed a major opportunity to reset it by not canceling when pandemic began. Instead of watering down benefits, airlines would have added perks so they could further collateralize them to get loans.

  6. Josh G.

    The lifetime status levels can be changed at any time. They can be removed without notice.

    Imagine that Delta suddenly has a huge influx of Platinum Medallions. They would want to reward the folks who are contributing to them, particularly at premium fares. If it comes down to earning status for current revenues or rewarding status for prior revenues...guess who wins.

    They could do that in a number of ways. They could create new tiers...

    The lifetime status levels can be changed at any time. They can be removed without notice.

    Imagine that Delta suddenly has a huge influx of Platinum Medallions. They would want to reward the folks who are contributing to them, particularly at premium fares. If it comes down to earning status for current revenues or rewarding status for prior revenues...guess who wins.

    They could do that in a number of ways. They could create new tiers which keep lifetime status but restrict the benefits. For example, remove the Regional Upgrade Certificates or lower priority for upgrades. They could remove or limit upgrades.

    But if push comes to shove, they'll reward the active high revenue customers.

    I have lifetime Platinum status on American which has already been devalued by Platinum Pro. My upgrade priority which I assumed would always be just below Platinum Executive is devalued. Now the complimentary upgrades on Alaska are only available to Executive and Pro. Upgrades are limited to 500 miles or less. They are unlimited for Executive Pro.

    This works out well for American as lifetime members have limited benefits while current revenue passengers are incentivized to increase EQMs from 40,000 to 60,000 ans EQDs from $4,500 to $7,000.

    The big prize is oneworld Emerald with lounge access. That's a massive win.

    Otherwise, lifetime Platinum with two million miles is now much less worthwhile.

    Delta will do the same, sooner or later, one way or another.

    Lifetime status is a bit of a con.

  7. Douglas Fehan

    I have 1.4 Million miles on Delta and been Platinum for years...I can't even board early...a Million miles with them = Jack Sh*t.

  8. NYC_Flyer

    It's really not that easy to compare programs. As far as I know:

    1. All United miles have to be on United metal. Only actual flight miles count, not PQMs.

    2. Delta counts MQMs, not miles. Delta also counts non-flying MQMs.

    3. American also counts only actual flight miles, not EQMs.

    But I agree that American's lifetime status program is the worst.

    1. Randy

      Again AA is worst - but there are many AA fliers with over 6MM, and even a few up at 75K MM. These people earned it from CC churn and manufactured spending back when that was possible, since AA used to count credit card spend.

      I suspect AA doesn't have the records to separate the EQM from CC going back to the early 1980s. So how could AA give out higher MM status with many...

      Again AA is worst - but there are many AA fliers with over 6MM, and even a few up at 75K MM. These people earned it from CC churn and manufactured spending back when that was possible, since AA used to count credit card spend.

      I suspect AA doesn't have the records to separate the EQM from CC going back to the early 1980s. So how could AA give out higher MM status with many people (those with AA LT Plat) earned it from Credit Card spend. Many bloggers and flyertalk participants earned it on CC spend and sign up bonus (ie 100K) and churn on those bonuses.

      Continental (now part of UA) was only able to get history of miles flown and EQM earned (since it was tracked in the old days) from old backup tapes that their IT company happened to have. Took CO a year for the IT company to process the tapes and provide the total for all past years and establish a baseline.

    2. Tom

      AA could get around part of this by limiting lifetime status to those who qualified at each level

  9. Corby

    I have flown 1.7 million miles with delta and feel worthless now that I don’t travel as much.

  10. Stuart Llitel

    Way to high of a number for Diamond lifetime. Are you kidding?

    Signed a Diamond flier every year since Diamond has been a level and prior to that almost a full decade of Platinum when that was highest... What do I get now for all that and a four million mile CURRENT balance? HEADACHES!

    BTW RUMOR I hear is Air France and KLM is if you are a status for 10 years in a row...

    Way to high of a number for Diamond lifetime. Are you kidding?

    Signed a Diamond flier every year since Diamond has been a level and prior to that almost a full decade of Platinum when that was highest... What do I get now for all that and a four million mile CURRENT balance? HEADACHES!

    BTW RUMOR I hear is Air France and KLM is if you are a status for 10 years in a row without exception, you get that status lifetime.. OK maybe 10 years is low, how about 15? I mean Remember Diamond is only 13(??) years old... and if you know the original Diamond card said: "Charter Member"... Yes Charter member to a plastic card that broke from too much use as that and an upgrade certificate will get you 50th in line on a delta flight! Right now I have over $2000 in Delta credits, 8 world wide GLOBAL upgrades and cant use any of it!

  11. Jim

    Part of the reason I switched from United to Delta is that their elite status program includes partners. In normal times, I did a lot of international flying, and United gave me bupkis for flights on Lufthansa or Ethiopian, even when they were UA codeshared! Whereas Delta gives me qualifying miles & qualifying dollars for flights on any of their partners - from Aeroflot to Vietnam Airlines.

    So, yes, 6 million miles on planes that...

    Part of the reason I switched from United to Delta is that their elite status program includes partners. In normal times, I did a lot of international flying, and United gave me bupkis for flights on Lufthansa or Ethiopian, even when they were UA codeshared! Whereas Delta gives me qualifying miles & qualifying dollars for flights on any of their partners - from Aeroflot to Vietnam Airlines.

    So, yes, 6 million miles on planes that says "Delta" on the side, is very difficult to do. 6 million miles including partners less so. But let's be real - lifetime top-tier status *should* be difficult.

  12. JAMES THERRIEN

    All these lifetime programs are a crok'sht!! I'm 30K away from Delta Million Miler and that's with 20 years of travel 30x a year. I could care less about Silver Status for life as it gives you basically nothing in terms of upgrades. Also, I hope you don't think a $200 gift is an acceptable award for tens of thousands in revenue you gave them and over 2500 hours in the air.

  13. J J

    To be fair, United and American require you to fly on their metal and earn 1 qualifying for each flown. Delta gives a cabin bonus and also includes partner airlines counting toward lifetime status. Delta shines in this regard.

    1. Eskimo

      It's good for Delta, not for you. It gets you in their honey pot.

      I know a person who exclusively spend on their Amex Reserve card to earn Diamond but actually flies less than what it takes to qualify for Silver. And a few more who are barely above Gold requirements but spend 250k+ just to get Diamond.

      Those junkies still flies in coach, while they redeem credit card miles for friends and family to fly business. So dumb.

  14. Terry Fischer

    Delta is being ridiculous! They need to better align on an attainable 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 million miler model. I planned to hit 3 million MQMs in 3 - 4 more years and this is not giving me any reason to continue with Delta.

  15. Tom

    Yesterday I got an email from Delta confirming my recent million-miler status. The gift was a $250 non-expiring Delta gift certificate I can use for any Delta flight. This sure beats the former luggage gift: I always travel with a backpack.

  16. Bgriff

    You should note that what counts toward lifetime status is very different among the three, so they are not really comparable. United has the best benefits but the hardest to earn -- only butt-in-seat miles on United metal counts, no partner flights, class of service bonuses, or other sorts of PQMs (not that PQMs exist for anything else any more). Delta has the least benefits and the highest thresholds, but is also the easiest to...

    You should note that what counts toward lifetime status is very different among the three, so they are not really comparable. United has the best benefits but the hardest to earn -- only butt-in-seat miles on United metal counts, no partner flights, class of service bonuses, or other sorts of PQMs (not that PQMs exist for anything else any more). Delta has the least benefits and the highest thresholds, but is also the easiest to earn, since all MQMs count, including partner flights, credit card bonuses, and promo MQMs like are being given away this year.

  17. John

    Lifetime Platinum @ AA effectively devalued with the insertion of Platinum Pro above it.

    1. Eskimo

      Wait until they add Executive Pro, Executive Platinum Pro, and Diamond above your Platinum.
      Lifetime cashcow for AA.

  18. Arizona Dads

    I passed 2MM mikes right before pandemic. Before I selected a “gift” the program was suspended and Delta posted a message stating they would email us when the program recommences. That message was also on their website die a good 18 months.

    As if this new announcement, any reference to the Gift program and its temporary suspension appear to be removed.

    Anyone know what’s going on?

    1. Santastico

      I am on the same boat. In reached 1MM miles while being a Delta360 member. Got absolutely nothing for that achievement.

  19. Santastico

    Totally gave up chasing status. I fly with airlines and stay at hotels that suits my needs. I am close to 2MM MQMs with Delta and never got a gift for achieving 1MM miles and don’t expect getting anything when I reach 2MM. It is just a business relationship.

    1. moe

      you sure you didn't get email the choose your gifts, if you use gmail it will show up in junk or ads.... I got one every time I get 1mm.... I also remember getting hand written note at 500m to encourage me to keep going lol

    2. Santastico

      Yes, I never got anything. I even called Delta to ask and the confirmed the gift program was on hold and they would notify me once they started again. It was 2 years ago and still nothing.

    3. Josh G.

      I just look for the lowest premium fare I can find for medium- and long-haul flights.

      With the Centurion lounges opening seemingly everywhere, there isn't a lot I need.

      Sure, irregular ops can be a problem but a paying customer is treated well enough.

      Premium check-in and expedited security are part of the package and I don't spend sleepless nights hoping my upgrade clears.

  20. FNT Delta Diamond

    This is nothing more than a PR stunt aimed at getting good press for Sky Miles after constant devaluation. The reality is very few if anyone will ever earn 6 million lifetime miles. Come on. Who's to say that Delta will even be here in 20 years?

    1. Eskimo

      What concerns me more isn't Delta existence in 20 years. But what is Diamond in 20 years or is it even the highest tier. For all I know, It could be Delta 360 as a published tier, then a Delta 720 and the highest is Delta 1080. Or Benefits that is no different than Gold today. With Gold in 20 years might be instantly when you join.

      Chasing lifetime status these days is a fools...

      What concerns me more isn't Delta existence in 20 years. But what is Diamond in 20 years or is it even the highest tier. For all I know, It could be Delta 360 as a published tier, then a Delta 720 and the highest is Delta 1080. Or Benefits that is no different than Gold today. With Gold in 20 years might be instantly when you join.

      Chasing lifetime status these days is a fools errand. Loyalty wasn't like 30 years ago.
      Just determine the benefit year by year. Switch if they are no longer good. If it's good for 20 consecutive years, your lifetime is just a consolation bonus.

Featured Comments Load all 31 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.

Tom

AA could get around part of this by limiting lifetime status to those who qualified at each level

Sam

Not a big fan of Delta

Bruce M

Hat's off to those who have flown 6M miles, they deserve the extra status. That said, your competitors grant gold status to 1M. You might consider that as well.

Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,523,713 Miles Traveled

25,807,500 Words Written

28,675 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT