From Silver to Diamond, Delta will automatically give every Medallion status-holder an automatic one-year extension of their current status, becoming the first major U.S. airline to give its most loyal flyers a break.
The extension means that whatever status Delta flyers currently hold now won't expire until at least January 2022. The airline will also automatically roll over any Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) – a critical building block of earning Delta status – earned this year into next year, making it easier to earn status for 2022 and beyond. Unfortunately, Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs) will not roll over.
Have an unused companion certificate, the “buy one, get one” tickets earned from cards like the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card or the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card? You'll get an extension, too. Certificates that expire between March and June can now be used by Dec. 31, 2020. Those with expiration dates between July and April 1, 2021 will get an extra six months to be used.
Airlines have been hammered by requests to extend status as coronavirus has grounded almost all travelers, making it all but impossible for many. Status has to be re-earned each and every year to keep benefits like free upgrades, baggage, priority boarding and seat selections, and more.
Read more: Is Delta Medallion status really worth it?
As massive waves of cancellations flooded call centers last month, Delta and other airlines asked loyal flyers for more time to work out how they would handle status for 2020 and beyond.
“While our focus is on keeping customers and employees safe and healthy today and always, you are a part of the Delta family and we know how important these benefits are to you,” Sandeep Dube, Delta’s senior vice president of customer engagement and loyalty, said in a statement. “That’s why as coronavirus continues to dramatically impact travel across the globe, you don’t have to worry about your benefits – they’ll be extended so you can enjoy them when you are ready to travel again.”
Delta continues to shine throughout the darkness of this coronavirus pandemic.
Time and time again, the airline has acted first with customer-friendly moves, forcing competitors like United and American Airlines to follow suit.
It was the first major airline to offer free change or cancellation on previously booked flights – not just new tickets. It allows free cancellation even for tickets booked with SkyMiles, waiving the usual $150 fee to get your miles back.
Travelers struggling to get through to change or cancel will automatically get eCredits after skipping or missing a flight through April – a move that American Airlines quickly copied. And most recently, Delta extended the validity of many of those eCredits to last more than two years.
In short, Delta has continually set the bar high for how airlines should treat their flyers during this crisis.
But Delta is the first major U.S. airline to do so. And this broad extension of status, with no caveats or hoops to jump through, fits in with how they've treated flyers from the start.
And that's not just a win for Delta flyers, but for U.S. travelers as a whole. It forces the likes of American, United, and others to follow suit … because at this point, they can't afford not to.
Bravo to Delta for continuing to lead. From the automatic extension of status to rolling over MQMs to make it easier to earn status in the future, these are generous moves that reward loyal flyers at a time when there's no chance to be loyal.
Lead photo courtesy of Chris Lundberg via Flickr