fbpx

Advertiser Disclosure

delta sky club holidays

Head Spinning? When Changes to Delta Status, Sky Clubs & Credit Cards Kick In

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. For more information check out our Advertising Disclosure.
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Over the past few months, Delta has announced a slew of big changes to how travelers earn elite status with the airline, get into its exclusive Sky Clubs, and most recently to its co-branded SkyMiles credit cards. While some changes have already gone into effect, others won't impact travelers for several years – if at all.

But the volume of changes – and differences in when they actually take effect – has left even the savviest frequent Delta flyers confused. When will Sky Club access actually change? When will you be on the hook for higher annual fees on your Amex cards? And when do those new benefits kick in?

Spoiler alert: Some of these changes won't take effect for nearly another year … while others are already in place.

Read on for a timeline of Delta's latest changes and what they might mean for you.
 

 

When Are Delta Medallion Status Requirements Changing?

Delta has four tiers of elite status: Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond. Each status tier gives you access to different perks from priority boarding and free bags to complimentary upgrades.

For years, Delta customers had to fly and spend a certain amount each year to earn Medallion status. But to earn Medallion status in 2024 and beyond, all that matters is how much you spend – either with Delta or its partner airlines, on one of Delta's co-branded American Express credit cards, or a combination of the two.

Here's the most important thing to remember: These changes don't impact the Medallion status you've already got for 2024 – just how you earn status for 2025.

Airline status is typically earned during the previous year, so status for 2024 was earned in 2023, and status for 2025 is earned in 2024. You have from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 each year to meet all the requirements for Delta status.

As of Jan. 1, 2024, travelers only earn Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs) – and that's all you'll need to reach Medallion status. You'll no longer have to worry about Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) or Medallion Qualifying Segments (MQSs): Those metrics measuring how far you fly and how many Delta flights you take are a thing of the past.

The number of MQDs you'll need to reach each tier of Delta status has also changed, and not in a good way. After Delta walked back some of its changes, here's how many MQDs you need to earn between Jan. 1, 2024, and Dec. 31, 2024, to qualify for 2025 Delta SkyMiles Medallion status. 
 

Medallion TiersMQDs Required for 2025 Status
Silver5,000 MQDs
Gold10,000 MQDs
Platinum15,000 MQDs
Diamond28,000 MQDs

Once you earn it, you get those benefits for the rest of that year and the entire following year. So if you earn enough MQDs for Delta Gold status this year, you'll have that status all the way through January 2026 – since Delta's Medallion Status year technically restarts Feb. 1 each year.

Here's how you can earn those MQDs:

  • You'll earn 1 MQD per $1 spent on the ticket price (excluding government imposed taxes and fees) for a Delta-marketed flight operated by Delta or a Delta partner airline.
    • Basic Economy tickets are not eligible for earning SkyMiles or earning MQDs towards Medallion and Million Miler Status.
  • If you hold the *delta reserve card* or the *delta reserve biz card*, you'll earn 1 MQD for every $10 you spend.
  • If you hold the *delta skymiles platinum card*, or the *delta platinum biz card*, you'll earn 1 MQD for every $20 you spend.
  • You'll earn 1 MQD per $1 spent on Delta Vacations package bookings.
  • There is no longer an MQD waiver for meeting a spending threshold on the Delta Platinum and Reserve credit cards.
  • There is no path to earning MQDs for spending on the *delta skymiles gold card*.

So for example, you could book and take $5,000 worth of Delta flights in a calendar year to earn enough MQDs for Silver status – a bit more than that, actually, as government taxes and fees you pay on every plane ticket don't count toward MQDs. Otherwise, you could spend $25,000 on a Delta SkyMiles Reserve card (plus the card's MQD Headstart benefit) and earn that same status.

Or you could do a combination of the two.

 

Feb. 1, 2024: Bonus MQDs for Select Cardholders

Delta Platinum and Reserve cardholders get an automatic 2,500 MQDs every year to give them a headstart towards earning Medallion status. With either card, that's puts you already halfway towards earning Silver status.

If you've got both cards, or the business versions, you'll get 2,500 MQDs for each card that includes this benefit. That means if you have both the Delta SkyMiles Platinum and Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business Card in your wallet, you've already got automatic Silver Medallion status locked up for this year and all of 2025.

 

Feb. 28, 2024: Convert Your Rollover MQMs

Did you fly a lot with Delta last year? Delta is giving frequent flyers one last chance to make use of their “Rollover MQMs”

Beginning Feb. 28, you'll be able to convert those excess MQMs – anything above and beyond what you needed for your status this year – into either MQDs or SkyMiles … or even use them to extend your Delta status for an extra year (or more).

You'll be able to convert your rollover MQMs at the following ratios:

  • SkyMiles: 2 rollover MQMs = 1 SkyMile (i.e. 200,000 rollover MQMs would get you 100,000 SkyMiles)
  • MQDs: 10 rollover MQMs = 1 MQD (i.e. 100,000 MQMs would get you 10,000 MQDs)

If you're an ultra-frequent Delta flyer with at least a balance of at least 100,000 MQMs, you can extend your high-level Medallion status for an extra year (or more). You'd need to trade 100,000 MQMs for an extra year of status – and if you've got several hundred thousand rollover MQMs, you can lock in several years of automatic status with each 100,000-MQM sum.

Just be sure to make your selection by Dec. 31, 2024, otherwise else your entire batch of extra MQMs will automatically be converted into MQDs.

Read more: Did Delta Actually Make Earning Medallion Status … Easier in 2024?

 

When is Delta Sky Club Access Changing?

Delta is making it harder to get into its Sky Clubs for those getting lounge access via a premium travel rewards credit card.

Here are the dates to keep in mind.

 

Jan. 1, 2024: No More Sky Clubs for Delta Platinum Cardholders, Basic Economy

  • Travelers with the *delta skymiles platinum card* or the *delta platinum biz card* can no longer access the Sky Club unless they purchase a Sky Club membership. Previously, these cardholders could purchase a day pass to the Sky Club for $50 and bring in guests for an additional $50.
  • Travelers who booked a Delta Basic Economy ticket can no longer access the Sky Club at all, regardless of any credit card they have.

 

Feb. 1, 2025: Capped Sky Club Visits for Premium Credit Cards

The biggest change of all for Sky Club access takes effect next year.

While it's no doubt tough to go from unlimited Sky Club access to 10 or 15 visits a year, note that those visits are measured in days. Come Feb. 1, 2025, a Delta Sky Club visit will include all entries within a 24-hour period after first Club entry, including your departure city, connecting airports and arrival at your destination.

That means you could visit multiple Sky Clubs in the same day when making a connection or a same-day flight and still count as just one of your 10 or 15 annual visits. You could even technically visit multiple Sky Clubs on separate calendar days and still have it count as a single visit, so long as they're in the same 24-hour period.

Why Feb. 1 and not the beginning of the year? These limits are per “Medallion Year” which runs from Feb. 1 to Jan. 31, instead of a traditional calendar year. You know, in case all of this wasn't confusing enough already.

So if you hold at least one of these cards, don't race out and cancel it just yet. You'll still get unlimited complimentary Sky Club access for the remainder of this year and all the way through Jan. 31, 2025. 
 

Delta Sky Club Minneapolis Concourse G  

Want unlimited complimentary Sky Club access in 2025? You can get it by spending $75,000 on a personal or business Delta Reserve card within a Medallion Year. For 2025, that means you'll need to spend that amount between Jan. 1, 2024, and Dec. 31, 2024.

Read more: Recent Delta Sky Club Changes Have Your Head Spinning? Here’s How to Get In

 

When are Delta SkyMiles Credit Card Fees Increasing?

To rub more salt in the wound, Delta is also raising the annual fees on their most popular SkyMiles credit cards while adding some new perks, too.

But when you'll be on the hook for these new, higher annual fees depends on when you opened your Delta card. These are the dates to keep in mind.

 

Feb. 1, 2024: Higher Fees for New Applicants

These hefty fee increases are already in effect. If you open a new Delta card today, you'll pay the following annual fees:

Nothing is changing if you hold the no-annual fee *delta blue*: That remains free.

 

Feb. 1, 2024: New Benefits for Everyone

To take the sting out of these new, higher annual fees, Delta added a slew of new perks to these cards while improving some existing benefits – especially for top-tier Delta Reserve cardholders.
 

delta card upgrade  

These new benefits are already available. Whether you're a current Delta cardholder or you open a new card today, these are the new benefits you can use right now, in addition to existing benefits like free checked baggage, priority boarding, and more:

 

New Delta Gold Card Benefits

  • $100 Delta Stays Credit: Earn up to $100 in statement credits each year when you make a Delta Stays prepaid hotel or vacation rental booking on the Delta Stays platform. These credits reset each calendar year, so you've got until Dec. 31 to put it to use.
  • Earn a $200 Delta eCredit: You'll now get a $200 credit to use toward Delta flight purchases when you spend $10,000 or more in a calendar year. Previously, Delta Gold cardholders would only earn a $100 Delta eCredit for that same spending threshold.

 

New Delta Platinum Card Benefits

  • $150 Delta Stays Credit: Earn up to $150 in statement credits each year when you make a Delta Stays prepaid hotel or vacation rental booking on the Delta Stays platform. These credits reset each calendar year, so you've got until Dec. 31 to put it to use. Business owners with the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card get $200 a year.
  • $120 Rideshare Credit: Get up to $120 in statement credits (doled out in $10 monthly installments) a year when you use your card to pay for a ride with Uber, Lyft, Curb, Revel, or Alto.
  • $120 Resy Credit: Get up to $120 in statement credits each year (doled out in $10 chunks each month) when you use your card to pay for eligible purchases via Resy, Amex's restaurant reservation platform. This is also a use-it-or-lose-it benefit: Any unused balance won't roll over to the following month.
  • New Annual Delta Companion Certificates can now be used for Main Cabin roundtrip travel to destinations throughout the U.S. (including Hawaii, Alaska, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico) as well as many destinations in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. Previously, you could only use companion certificates on flights within the mainland U.S.
    • Any current companion certificates you've got won't benefit from this expansion, sadly: A Delta spokesperson confirmed that only companion certificates issued after Feb. 1, 2024, can be used on flights outside of the mainland U.S.
  • Join the complimentary upgrade queue: Even if you don't have Delta Medallion status, your Platinum Card now makes you eligible for complimentary upgrades to Delta One (within the U.S.), first class, and Delta Comfort Plus on tickets purchased on or after Feb. 1, 2024. But based on how Delta determines its upgrade order, any upgrades will be a long shot – and unavailable if you bought a Delta basic economy ticket.
  • Hertz Five Star Status: Get complimentary Hertz Five Star elite status upon enrollment

 

New Delta Reserve Card Benefits

  • $200 Delta Stays Credit: Earn up to $200 in statement credits each year when you make a Delta Stays prepaid hotel or vacation rental booking on the Delta Stays platform. These credits reset each calendar year, so you've got until Dec. 31 to put it to use. Business owners with the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card get $250 a year.
  • $120 Rideshare Credit: Get up to $120 in statement credits (doled out in $10 monthly installments) a year when you use your card to pay for a ride with Uber, Lyft, Curb, Revel, or Alto.
  • $240 Resy Credit: Get up to $240 in statement credits each year (doled out in $20 chunks each month) when you use your card to pay for eligible purchases via Resy, Amex's restaurant reservation platform. This is also a use-it-or-lose-it benefit: Any unused balance won't roll over to the following month.
  • Annual Delta Companion Certificates can now be used for economy, Delta Comfort Plus, and first class roundtrip flights to destinations throughout the U.S. (including Hawaii, Alaska, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico) as well as many destinations in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. Previously, you could only use companion certificates on flights within the mainland U.S.
    • Any current companion certificates you've got won't benefit from this expansion, sadly: A Delta spokesperson confirmed that only companion certificates issued after Feb. 1, 2024, can be used on flights outside of the mainland U.S.
  • Sky Club Guest Passes: Cardholders get four one-time guest passes to bring a friend or family member into the Sky Club each year – up from the two-a-year passes previously.
  • Join the complimentary upgrade queue: Even if you don't have Delta Medallion status, your Reserve Card now makes you eligible for complimentary upgrades to Delta One (within the U.S.), first class, and Delta Comfort Plus on tickets purchased on or after Feb. 1, 2024. But based on how Delta determines its upgrade order, any upgrades will be a long shot – and unavailable if you bought a Delta basic economy ticket.
  • Hertz President's Circle Status: Receive complimentary top-tier Hertz President's Circle elite status upon enrollment.

Current Delta Reserve cardholders are also getting a few extra treats from Delta. If you opened your Delta Reserve card before Feb. 1, 2024, you should already see an extra 1,000 MQDs in your account which, combined with the 2,500 MQD Headstart bonus they'll get at the start of every Medallion year, means you already have a total of 3,500 MQDs towards earning Delta Medallion status for 2025.

Delta is also giving current Reserve cardholders a free $100 flight credit to use towards a trip in 2024. This flight credit will be deposited in your SkyMiles account on April 2 – you should be able to find it under the “Certificates, eCredits, & Vouchers” tab.

These are both one-time benefits, meaning you won't get them again in 2025.

 

May 1, 2024: Higher Fees for Renewing Cardholders

Already have a Delta card in your wallet? When you'll be on the hook for the new annual fee depends on when your card is set to renew, no matter which card you hold.

  • Renewals May 1, 2024, and onwards will pay the new, higher annual fee.
    • Delta Gold: $150
    • Delta Platinum: $350
    • Delta Reserve: $650
  • If your Delta card renews before May 1, 2024, you will pay another year at the lower rate.
    • Delta Gold: $99
    • Delta Platinum: $250
    • Delta Reserve: $550

Read more: As Fees Rise, Is It Time to Cancel Your Delta Amex Card?

 

Bottom Line

Delta made a slew of changes to earning status, entering Sky Club lounges, and its co-branded American Express credit cards over the last few months.

Some of these changes are already in effect, while others won't impact travelers until later this year or even until as far out as 2025. And if you aren't planning to earn Delta status or you don't hold (or plan to open) a Delta credit card, these changes won't really affect you.

 

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.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

18 Responses

  • >Want unlimited complimentary Sky Club access in 2025? You can get it by spending $75,000 on a personal or business Delta Reserve card within a Medallion Year.

    Can’t you just pay like $700 and get a SkyClub membership from Delta?

  • Will my 100,000 SkyMiles still count as 100,000 SkyMiles for purchasing award tickets in 2024 even though I don’t have Medallion status?

  • Quote: “And if you don’t already have Delta status and aren’t planning to try to get it, those specific changes won’t really affect you.” This is what most people should keep in mind.

  • So, Gold delta am ex cards flying Comfort Plus or higher, cannot access the sky clubs without a paid membership in 2024 and beyond? How about remaining 2023 travel season?

    • Hi Josephine. That is correct but this isn’t a new change. That has been the case since 2019. Gold SkyMiles Delta credit card holders do not have a path into the Sky Club unless they get it from the ticket they purchase.

  • Once you hit the 6 or 10 complimentary visits for the year, are you able to just pay per visit? Or are you just straight up not allowed in once you hit that limit?

  • Would the 6 club visits be for the primary Amex Platinum card holder or would 6 club visits be for each primary and each additional card holder

  • I have the Skymiles Reserve card. In 2025, if my wife and I go to the sky club, is this regarded as 2 visits out of my 10? She is an authorized user and she has the free platinum card. Also, what if I upgraded her card and pay the additional $175, does she also get 10 visits?

    • Hi Jason, as long as your wife is an authorized user on the Reserve, she would get 10 of her own visits. She would need to be a paid authorized user on your Platinum card to get six visits from that card. Free authorized users won’t get any lounge access privileges.

  • Like other said, this is turn the Delta credit card products into a coupon book. If you use all the benefits, you can get the money back pretty well. It’s the limit of the skyclub access that hurts the most. That was the number one reason to pay for an AMEX Platinum.
    Going to have to decide what credit cards to keep and which ones to ditch in the new year.
    The free flight to Hawaii on the companion ticket with a Delta platinum is a great deal though.

  • My 53359 MQM will convert to 26778 sky miles on 02/28/2024. Will these sky miles count towards million miler status? I am 17000 miles short of 2 MM.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *