Delta Raising Medallion Qualifying Dollar Thresholds in 2015

Oct 9, 2014

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In yet another bold move to undermine its frequent flyers, Delta is increasing the amount of Medallion® Qualifying Dollars you’ll need to spend in order to qualify for elite status starting in 2015 for 2016 Medallion qualification.

New Delta MQD Requirements.
New Delta MQD Requirements.

Delta is increasing the MQD requirements for earning 2016 Medallion status, which is based on flights flown between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015, as follows:

  • Silver Medallion MQDs increasing to $3,000 (Previously $2,500)
  • Gold Medallion MQDs increasing to $6,000 (Previously $5,000)
  • Platinum Medallion MQDs increasing to $9,000 (Previously $7,500)
  • Diamond Medallion MQDs increasing to $15,000 (Previously $12,500)

However, the Medallion Qualifying Dollar waiver will still remain at $25,000 or more in eligible purchases on a SkyMiles American Express credit card in the qualification year, such as the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express.

Delta is increasing the Medallion Qualifying Dollar thresholds.
Delta is increasing the Medallion Qualifying Dollar thresholds.

My Take

This announcement is on the heels of a long list of moves that, in my opinion, are not frequent flyer friendly. Delta claims this move is intended to add “exclusivity”, but clearly if they wanted that, they’d get rid of the spending waiver on the Delta Amex cards. These moves (especially limiting Membership Rewards transfers to 250,000 per year) are clearly being made to increase the number of Delta American Express cardholders. That’s fine, but let’s call it like it is- this means it’ll be harder to qualify for status, and frankly I don’t see any additional perks/benefits that will make it worth jumping through these extra hoops.

Delta is free to do as they wish, and so are consumers. I have to say I’m happy I dumped Delta last year for American. Clearly changes are coming to the American/US Airways program, especially as they move to combine frequent flyer programs in early 2015. Until then, I’d recommend giving Delta feedback on these recent changes via Facebook and Twitter, and taking your business elsewhere if you feel like there’s another program that better rewards you for your loyalty.

As a reminder, over the last year, Delta has chiseled away their SkyMiles program by implementing tons of negative changes for frequent flyers. They’ve announced Mileage Accrual Based on SpendingAdditional Revenue Requirements for Medallion StatusReduced SkyClub Guests and Increased FeesTightened Their Same Day Confirm PolicyBlocked Access to ExpertFlyerLimited Partner Transfers to SkyMiles, and are Removing Medallion Upgrades on Basic Economy Fares. Loyalty should go both ways, but these recent moves from Delta show anything but loyalty to SkyMiles members.

What are your thoughts on Delta’s latest “enhancement” to the SkyMiles program?

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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