Delta Sky Club Credit Image David Andrews
Delta Sky Club Credit Image David Andrews

Key Points

  • Delta revises its SkyMiles and Sky Club programs following backlash, lowering elite status requirements and easing Sky Club access restrictions.
  • New Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQD) requirements are reduced but still higher than current levels. For example, Silver Medallion now needs 5,000 MQDs, down from the initially proposed 6,000 MQDs but up from the current 3,000 MQDs.
  • While Delta has backtracked, these changes are likely temporary. Achieving elite status remains challenging, leading to questions about the long-term benefits of loyalty to Delta.

In a rare move, Delta Air Lines is walking back on some sweeping changes to its SkyMiles and Sky Club programs after receiving considerable backlash.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian confirmed the airline’s U-turn, highlighting that this decision is driven by customer feedback. While this alleviates some concerns, it’s worth noting that achieving elite status will still be more challenging than before.

Delta Sky Club Credit Image Apf Mike
Delta Sky Club Credit Image Apf Mike

Revised Elite Status Qualifications

Table: New vs Old vs Current Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs) Requirements

Status LevelPreviously AnnouncedRevisedCurrent
Silver Medallion6,000 MQDs5,000 MQDs3,000 MQDs
Gold Medallion12,000 MQDs10,000 MQDs8,000 MQDs
Platinum Medallion18,000 MQDs15,000 MQDs12,000 MQDs
Diamond Medallion35,000 MQDs28,000 MQDs20,000 MQDs

Delta SkyMiles Reserve and Platinum Card holders also get an added 2,500 MQD head start for the elite qualification year.

While Delta has scaled back its earlier plans, it still demands more MQDs than current requirements for elite status.

More Lenient Sky Club Access

Delta is tempering its Sky Club access restrictions:

  • A single 24-hour visit now allows access to multiple Sky Clubs.
  • SkyMiles Reserve Card members get 15 visits/year; Amex Platinum Card holders get 10, an increase from the earlier 10 and six, respectively.
  • Additional visits can be purchased for $50 per person.
Delta First Class Credit Image  Emily & Kenny
Delta First Class Credit Image Emily & Kenny

Options for Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQM) Rollover

Delta is providing more generous rollover options for MQMs:

  • MQMs can be extended for an additional year for each 100,000 rollover MQMs.
  • Conversion rates from MQMs to MQDs are improved from 20:1 to 10:1.
  • MQMs can also be converted into redeemable SkyMiles at a 2:1 ratio.

New Choice Benefits

Delta is introducing new Choice Benefits for Diamond and Platinum Medallion members, including MQD accelerators, re-introduction of Sky Club memberships, and increased bonus miles and travel vouchers.

Takeaway

Delta is retreating on its earlier sweeping changes, albeit not entirely. The airline received negative feedback strong enough to induce some revisions.

However, this is likely a temporary reprieve, and Delta still intends to move in its originally planned direction. With these adjustments, loyalty to Delta still poses challenges and begs the question: Is it worth it?

Delta has revised its SkyMiles and Sky Club changes, softening the initial blow. However, the airline still aims for stricter rules in the long run, making it essential for flyers to reevaluate their loyalty to Delta.

What are your thoughts on the changes? Feel free to leave a comment below.


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