In a recent announcement, Delta CEO Ed Bastian acknowledged that the airline had made some missteps with the changes to its SkyMiles Medallion program and lounge access. However, he also made it clear that the original changes were in line with the airline’s goals. While some adjustments will be made to address customer concerns, it is expected that more negative changes will follow in the future.
The following changes are directly from the Delta Newsroom:
1. Lowering MQD Requirements: Delta has reduced the higher MQD requirements previously announced. While the switch from MQMs to MQDs will still require more in 2023 for 2024, the thresholds have been reduced. Cardholders of Amex Delta Reserve and Platinum will now receive an automatic $2,500 MQD, making Silver Medallion status more attainable.
2. SkyClub Visits: Delta has recognized that many travelers have connections and, under the previous rules, would have used two out of their 10 annual visits for a Reserve card just to enter before each leg of a connecting flight. To address this, a visit now encompasses a full 24-hour period, meaning that a connecting flight with two visits will only use one “visit.” Additionally, the number of visits has increased from 10 to 15.
3. MQM Rollover: Delta now allows members to earn extra years of their 2024 program year-earned status for 100,000 MQMs per additional year. There is also an option to convert MQM Rollover balances into MQDs at a more generous ratio of 10:1.
4. Lifetime Status: Achieving 1 million miles now grants Gold Medallion status instead of Silver. However, since the status is no longer based on MQMs but on miles actually flown, it will be more challenging to reach Million Miler miles without the boosts from cards.
Delta has made the requirements for achieving Medallion Status in 2025 more accessible by reducing the number of MQDs for each tier:
– Diamond Medallion Status: $28,000 MQDs (down from $35,000)
– Platinum Medallion Status: $15,000 MQDs (down from $18,000)
– Gold Medallion Status: $10,000 MQDs (down from $12,000)
– Silver Medallion Status: $5,000 MQDs (down from $6,000)
Furthermore, members with certain Delta SkyMiles and American Express cards will receive an MQD Headstart of $2,500 for the current Medallion Qualification Year. MQDs can be earned through Delta flights, Delta Vacations packages, and purchases on eligible American Express cards.
In terms of Delta Sky Club access, there are increased benefits for select card members.
A visit to the Delta Sky Club now includes all entries within a 24-hour period, including departure city, connecting airports, and arrival at the destination. Delta SkyMiles Reserve and Reserve Business Card Members will now receive 15 visits per year, while Platinum Card and Business Platinum Card Members from American Express will receive 10 visits. Starting in 2024, Delta SkyMiles Platinum and Platinum Business American Express Card Members, as well as Basic Economy customers, will no longer be eligible for Club access.
For members with high MQM Rollover balances, Delta offers more generous options. Members can choose to put their MQM Rollover balances towards MQDs or miles. Additionally, special offers will be given to customers with MQM Rollover balances over 100,000 to extend their earned 2024 Status.
Delta is also providing more recognition and rewards for long-term loyalty. Million Miler Status will now impact Complimentary Upgrades, and Million Milers will receive enhanced complimentary annual Medallion Status.
For the 2025 Medallion Year, Delta will introduce several enhanced Choice Benefits options for Diamond and Platinum Medallion Members, including an MQD Accelerator, Delta Sky Club Individual Membership, increased bonus miles, and higher travel vouchers.
While these changes aim to address some customer concerns, it is important to note that Delta’s overall direction still aligns with its original goals. It is expected that there will be more negative changes in the future.