fbpx

Advertiser Disclosure

delta plane

Delta Makes Big Changes to SkyMiles Medallion Status, Sky Club Access

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.

After rumors swirled for weeks about looming changes to the Delta SkyMiles program and Sky Club access, it's now official.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2024, the way in which you will qualify for Delta SkyMiles Medallion Status is getting a major overhaul. And if you hold a co-branded Delta SkyMiles American Express credit card, big changes are coming to your Delta Sky Club access.

Delta was set to announce the changes tomorrow, Sept. 14, but a notice of the changes appeared on Delta's corporate travel website, Delta Professional, late Wednesday afternoon. The post was swiftly taken down, but The Points Guy has since confirmed the news.

Read on for a breakdown of the upcoming changes.

 

delta sky club program changes

 

Changes Coming to Delta Medallion Elite Status

As it stands today, there are two building blocks to earning Delta status: Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) and Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs). You need to earn a certain amount of each to reach every level of Delta status from Silver to Diamond Medallion.

 

delta medallion status requirements

 

But starting on January 1, 2024, to earn Delta status, both frequent Delta flyers and SkyMiles cardholders only have to worry about one metric: Medallion Qualifying Dollars, or MQDs.

For the status year 2025, starting on Jan. 1, 2024, Delta flyers will earn only MQDs, and will no longer earn Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) or Medallion Qualifying Segments (MQSs) – a measure of how many miles you've flown or how many flight segments you've taken.

According to The Points Guy, you'll earn 1 MQD per $1 spent on the ticket price for a Delta-marketed flight operated by Delta or a Delta partner airline.

In addition to booking Delta flights to earn MQDs, travelers will soon be able to earn MQDs through purchases on their Delta SkyMiles American Express Cards. Here's how spending will earn MQDs.

  • If you hold the *delta reserve card* or the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express card, you'll earn 1 MQD for every $10 you spend.
  • If you hold the *delta skymiles platinum card* or the Delta SkyMiles Business Platinum card, you'll earn 1 MQD for every $20 spent.
  • You'll earn 1 MQD per $1 spent on completed car rentals booked through Delta.
  • You'll earn 1 MQD per $1 spent on completed hotel stays booked through Delta.
  • There will be no path to earning MQDs for spending with the *delta skymiles gold card*.

 

Existing Rollover MQMs

For years, Delta has allowed SkyMiles members to roll over any MQMs that were above and beyond the highest level of status they had achieved. So for example, if you earned 60,000 MQMs – enough for Gold status and also met the MQD requirement, you could roll over 10,000 MQMs towards achieving status for the following year.

But starting with the new Medallion year on Jan. 1, 2024, travelers with rollover MQMs from 2023 for the 2024 Medallion year will be able to convert those MQMs into MQDs or into SkyMiles. The airline says that process will happen in early next year, and sadly, rollovers will be phased out starting next year.

If you want to turn those existing MQMs into SkyMiles you'll be able to do so at a rate of 2:1. Meaning 200,000 rollover MQMs would get you 100,000 SkyMiles. Converting MQMs into MQDs can be done at an abysmal rate of 20:1. Those same 200,000 MQMs would get you 10,000 MQDs. That isn't even enough to earn Gold status with the new requirements.

If you want to do some combination of both when you covert these, you'll be able to do so in the following amounts:

  • 100% redeemable miles, 0% MQDs.
  • 75% redeemable miles, 25% MQDs.
  • 50% redeemable miles, 50% MQDs.
  • 25% redeemable miles, 75% MQDs.
  • 0% redeemable miles, 100% MQDs.

 

New MQD Requirements for Earning Status

How many MQDs will you need to earn for each level of status? Starting with the 2025 Medallion status year, Silver status can be earned with 6,000 MQDs, Gold with 12,000 MQDs, Platinum with 18,000 MQDs, and Diamond with 35,000 MQDs.

 

Delta 2024 status MQD requirements

 

Here's how that stacks up to the MQD requirements that currently exist today:

 

Medallion Tiers 2023 MQD Thresholds2024 MQD Thresholds
Silver3,000 MQDs5,000 MQDs
Gold8,000 MQDs10,000 MQDs
Platinum12,000 MQDs15,000 MQDs
Diamond20,000 MQDs28,000 MQDs

 

As you can see, MQD requirements are going up substantially. Technically it's now possible to earn Delta status just from spending on a credit card, but it's going to require a ton of spending with both Delta and on Delta American Express credit cards.

For example, a Delta SkyMiles Platinum cardholder would need to spend $120,000 on non-Delta spending each year for Silver status. That's assuming they didn't earn any MQDs from spending money with Delta. A Delta SkyMiles Reserve cardholder would need to spend $60,000 on non-Delta purchases for the same Silver status.

Delta is calling this a “simplified path to earning status.” While that may be true in the sense there is only one metric to now focus on (MQDs), the path to actually earning it is going to get much more difficult.

 

Sky Club Access Changes for Cardholders

Along with the changes to earning Medallion status Delta is also restricting Sky Club lounge access for Delta SkyMiles American Express credit cardholders.

Starting on February 1, 2025, *delta skymiles reserve* cardholders will be capped at 10 Sky Club visits per Medallion year (Feb. 1 to Jan. 31). The same goes for Delta SkyMiles Reserve business cardholders.

Currently, travelers with either of those cards or *amex platinum card* were given unlimited Sky Club access. But according to reporting from The Points Guy, Amex Platinum cardholders will be restricted to just six Sky Club visits per year starting in 2025, a huge hit for the credit card with an annual fee of $695 (see rates & fees) that boasts unparalleled lounge access worldwide.

Both cards currently provide unlimited access to the Delta Sky Club.

If you have more than one of these cards – like the Delta Reserve and the Amex Platinum, for example – your annual visits will be added together, meaning you'd get 16 total trips to the Sky Club in a given year.

 

delta sky club austin

 

With either of those cards, you can earn unlimited Sky Club access when you spend at least $75,000 in a year on that card. Doing so will give you unlimited Sky Club visits for the rest of that year and the following status year.

One Delta SkyMiles card is getting shut out of Sky Clubs completely, too. If you have the *delta skymiles platinum card*, you'll no longer be able to access the Sky Club. Right now, Delta Platinum cardholders can buy their way into clubs for $50 per visit, but that opportunity will evaporate in the new year.

There are new restrictions for basic economy flyers as well. Starting next year, you'll no longer be able to get into Delta Sky Clubs if you're flying on a Delta basic economy ticket – even if you have a credit card that grants you access.

 

Bottom Line

Delta is making huge changes to both its SkyMiles Medallion Program and Sky Club access starting early next year.

 

Thrifty Traveler reporter Gunnar Olson also contributed to this story.

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.

39 Responses

  • Great Summary.

    Amex Platinum has been significantly nerf recently:

    1. Huge Increase in Additional Authorized Users ( 3 for $179 to $ 199 EACH).

    2. No Guest Passes to Centurion Lounges ( except you exceed $75k annual expenses charged to Amex)

    3. Now the limitation to Delta Sky Clubs.

    • To clarify.under #2…”no FREE guest passes”. You can get guest passes to the Centurion Lounge…you just have to pay for them unless you hit the $75k spend threshold

  • What would you guesstimate the % impact on people getting status will be? As an ATL based Delta flier a few less would help me on upgrades.

  • As much as I love flying Delta (I am PHL based but won’t touch AA), this hurts. I also have the DL-branded platinum AMEX card and this leaves me wondering why I should even keep it, or just downgrade back to a gold card. Not happy about not being able to use the lounge anymore. Does anyone have a good answer/solution for this?

  • This is very disheartening for loyal Delta customers. It will be interesting to see if travelers start to explore other airlines and options. I’ve been a dedicated Delta flyer for over 25 years and have enjoyed the benefits of the Sky Miles program. I’m shocked at the changes for visits to the club after the enormous investment of renovation and new clubs, i.e. O’Hare terminal 4 and MSP near G20. With most major changes, the airline still listens to its frequent fliers so I urge everyone to weigh in and make your opinion heard at corporate.

    • I made silver this year, and it will probably be a one off. I did it by frequently flying with Delta this year. I wont get any status with the same money spent next year. I never used the clubs, but would like to at times. Most of the time my flights dont coincide with there hours of operation. In my opinion you get a airlines credit, because travel with that airline constantly. You already have some status with them. If I had a card with a $695 annual fee that loses benefits. The benefits are the whole reason I would have this cards in the first place. I would stop using it. I would downgrade the card to lower fee or tier card. Or close it all together. They are make cardholders move to someone else. They will alienate their loyal customer base, who have money to spend. There are other airlines out there, and other travel cards available.

  • I’ve been a solely Delta flyer for 10 + years and I have an AMEX Platinum but after this news I’ll be looking at other options for flying and as a credit card. I suspect Delta is about to lose a very large amount of their loyalty.

  • Thank you Delta! I’m a casual flyer (Delta One) and I’m all for these changes. The lounge access in particular should be for passengers flying premium cabin on longer international routes. The credit card granted access has enabled everyone under the sun access, along with their families. At the last couple of visits to the Delta SkyClub it looked like the departure gate at a Southwest or Spirit flight. For those of you who are threatening to cancel your Delta Amex, I can assure you that Delta simply does not care.

    • Oh so you’re special! A casual Delta one user! Well some of us fly on Delta dozens of times a year and we have our American Express Delta reserve card so we can use the lounges! So you your special little once a year Delta flight you think you’re more important than regular flyers do you? I think not!

  • I can’t imagine why I would keep my Delta Amex Platinum card with these changes… it completely devalues the card with a (not cheap) annual fee

  • I feel like the hardest hit to me would be the economy seat piece. I hardly ever buy above economy so I can fly more often, but disqualifying anyone for that seems extremely awful. I’ll definitely be downgrading my AMEX platinum because of this.

  • THIS IS HORRIBLE BUSINESS PRACTICE.

    I have been a loyal delta medallion flyer, even through COVID. But these changes can only be marked for what they they really are – greed. Increasing the buy in for all levels to something that cannot be sustained in a shrinking economy is just business as usual for this airline and for AMEX. I’d imagine no one will be interested anymore now that the buy-in for platinum medallion is effectively $180k MQD (18,000×10) in purchases or a mixture of flying and buying. Diamond went from 250k MQD to now 350k (35,000×10)? What in the actual heck are these fools thinking. Most airlines offer lounges now.

    And these fees on these cards with CAPPED uses on lounges? Paying $550 annual “memberships” to be told you can only access them 10 times in a year? Are you kidding me? Imagine a gym doing this. Nobody is going to fork over these fees to have little to no value.

    AMEX AND DELTA – hear my words, many of us will switch to other co-branded cards and airlines. /mic drop/

    • I’m definitely no longer going to pay my 500 plus dollars a year for my reserve, I’ll downgrade to a gold, in reality the food at the lounge absolutely sucks! Also I don’t drink so that’s no big deal. I’ll have to try out some of the nice restaurants in the airports! No thanks on the lounge and they’re shitty food.

  • I miss the days when we had more competition. With just 3 big airlines now it is a matter of time the other two will follow. I guess Delta knows that too many people are flying these days for this to significantly impact their business. It only impacts us that used a combination of dollars, miles, segments and credit card spend to keep our status. I am disheartened.

  • Thank Dwight James and Ed Bastian for this – I guess Ed was upset he only made $9.7M last year, down from $12.4 the year before, surely this will not help his bottom line – I plan to move to Amex platinum as it will be impossible to now get silver status

  • As someone who currently only ever get status from spending, yes this move sucks. But i’ll probably keep my platinum Delta AmEx to keep earning FF miles. If they change that? Adios!

  • I don’t understand this. If you are a loyal Delta flier (I’m Platinum) and travel a lot you may still be able to earn status but the 10 visits a year to the Club is ridiculous – I may do 10 visits in a month so $550 becomes a lot for one month’s access. I guess I can spend $75k but why would I when the fee is so high and interest rates are highest of all my credit cards. Delta had a problem with overcrowding but now all these lovely new clubs will be empty. They are penalizing the very people who use their airline the most.

  • So as a DM that flys 140+ segments a year, but can only book main cabin, this is insulting. Diamond has gone from $15k to $20k to $35k in TWO years!!! I’m currently at 111 segments and $25.5k spend. Benefits have constantly been devalued, and now to get to DM, you have to spend almost double PM requirements, and more than double from two years ago. Delta isn’t about loyalty now, they are about who buys D1. I have enough rollover MQMs that even with the terrible redemption, I’ll have a good boost to 2025. After that, I’ll probably only get to PM. Imagine spending $30k on flights on one airline and not be considered top tier.

    • That’s the infuriating part. Still on second tier status after spending twice as much as would have gotten you the highest status two years ago. It is NOT about the number of trips or miles flown, simply how much money do you spend on your flights or credit cards. That is so disheartening. I will literally pay more to NOT fly Delta & be insulted. I have taken international trips on inferior Delta planes at higher cost. Never again.

    • I agree. I’m over it all. I use my Reserve card for everything! I spend roughly 60k per year! Now, that isn’t good enough. I dropped down to Gold Amex card. I’ll keep my business Platinum for a little longer. Loyalty does not matter!! Time will tell.

  • Next year when it’s time to renew my Delta reserve American Express card I’m going to downgrade to a cheaper card and I think I’ll try out some other airlines. I mean it’s just like anything cruise ships trips to different countries it’s always nice to go somewhere new or try something different I guess I’ll have to try out these other airlines. I have family in South America and I travel there four or five times a year I’ve always used Delta even though I found better rates on other airlines I did it just for the points and miles. But now I can try some other ones

  • I dropped my Delta Skymiles Reserve Card last night to Gold. I almost went the to skymiles Blue Card😡 I have the Platinum Amex card too. I might keep it for clear and TSA. I’m simply disappointed!!
    I will still fly Delta and open my options for other airlines. I am officially Team unhappy.

  • With lounge access, is it a full day entry/pass on the itinerary like American Airlines Admiral club access? Ex: Flew AA with a layover. Was able to purchase a pass at the first airport, use it on the connecting airport, and again at the final airport on the same day. It all counted as one entry/pass/payment.

    Does or will Delta be the same or will each airport (first, connecting, and final) be considered a new entry?

  • Been a loyal Delta flyer for 30+ years with either Diamond or Platinum status for the past 10 years flying mostly international in economy and also nearing to be a 2 million miler. Also hold the Delta Amex Platinum card for several years. Given these changes, Skymiles should rename itself to Skydollars. It is no longer a frequent flyer program but a frequent spending program with discounts for your level of spending.

    This was the last straw. Of course, others like United and American will probably follow soon in Delta’s footsteps but until then, it is time to do a status transfer to United and give them a try. And of course, to heck with my Amex card since it is going to be worthless from now on.

  • While the new program is a shock, It is about time that Delta makes a change that makes Diamond status mean something, as too many fliers earned Diamond status too easy. There were two many Diamonds and this will help thin them out. I also feel that giving more status (for upgrades) to Million Milers is a bonus and should have been done a long time ago. I have been a loyal Delta customer for 30+ years, and have almost 5 million miles and yet would not get an upgrade, this new system should reward those of us that have Million Mile status. I also am in favor of the new skyclub requirements.

  • I’m hoping that American will capitalize on this and make some offers to switch! I’ve been a loyal Delta customer since the Northwest Airlines days and have slowly but steadily been increasing my status and reward miles. I’m wondering what benefit I will even get for flying Delta in 2024, other than free checked bags, the occasional upgrade and better seats in the main cabin (some of which are benefits of the fancy and expensive AMEX, which I also question the value of continuing usage).

  • So am I missing something? The only way to earn MQD’s with my DA Amex Gold will be by using it for DA ticket purchases? Everyday spending won’t get me a damn thing?

    • That’s correct. But as it stands today, the Gold card doesn’t help you earn towards status either. Only the Platinum and Reserve offer an MQD waiver and bonus MQMs for hitting it.

  • I cancelled my AMEX DAL Reserve and AMEX DAL Platinum card on 09/18/23. The AMEX Delta Reserve Representative kept telling me about the “Companion Pass” and other benefits. I explained that I was well aware of the benefits! The AMEX Representative then asked me; “Sir, is there anything American Express can do to retain you as a Delta Reserve card customer?” My reply: “Ask Delta Airlines! Due to the restructuring of the Skymiles program in 2024, it does not make sense to retain this card and I’m sure that thousands of other card holder will be closing their accounts as well…please cancel and close my account.

  • This latest Skymiles “benefit” resulted in mailing the letter I’ve wanted to send the last couple years:

    Dear Mr. Bastion and fellow Delta executives,
    Wow, I wanted to first thank you for my many years of traveling on Delta. I’ve been wanting to write a letter to you for some time now. Since early in my career over 40 years ago, I chose Delta for nearly all my personal flights and business flights. As a million miler and Diamond Medallion for probably 10 years, I have enjoyed using Delta services as our exclusive way of air travel.
    I also want to thank you for making my choices for future travel so much easier! Despite typically being a higher priced airfare, I would still choose Delta for the additional perks of the Skyclub and working my way towards keeping a high medallion status…Now your latest update emailed this week renders my ~150K of rollover MQMs utterly useless, and the huge increase in MQDs will result in my elimination from future Platinum and Diamond Medallion opportunities. And you didn’t stop there! You are also limiting my future utilization of the Skyclub.
    I used to market Delta’s extraordinary service to my employees and peers, including your flights very rarely having issues/delays unlike many other airlines. Sadly, nearly every Delta trip I have taken in the last 3 years have suffered from significant delays or cancellations of flights due to mechanical issues. I can no longer continue to promote what used to be an exclusively superior record. I spoke to one of your captains after one such cancellation, and he echoed the same sediments. Another good friend is a recently retired Delta flight attendant, she has also relayed her disappointment in the changes to Delta’s service and as a company.
    With 2.1 million Skymiles in my account, we will continue to fly Delta for some time when SkyMiles use is valuable, but not by spending money on the airline or the branded credit card that will not be renewed next year. While the value of Skymiles is now one of the worst in the industry, I’m hoping I’ll get some return on my many years of investment before you decide to dwindle their value even further. For paid flights, Delta will no longer be my preferred choice of airline. In fact, it will fall toward the bottom of the pile, as there are many airlines providing better options at lower prices.

Leave a Reply

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

Get Free Flight Alerts

Cheap international and domestic flight deal email alerts

Get Cheap Flight Alerts