Delta SkyMiles is changing the way members earn Medallion status effective Jan. 1, 2014. From that date forward, Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) will be part of the status program requiring a minimum spend level for members to qualify for Medallion elite-level status in addition to the required Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) or Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs) currently used to determine status.
A spokesperson for Delta commented, “The move follows an industry trend of rewarding customers based on dollars spent …”
Medallion Qualification Dollars will include the base fare and applicable surcharges but will exclude taxes and fees. Flights must include the DL airline code or for other airlines ticketed through a Delta channel (featuring a ticket number beginning with 006).
“These changes are a result of considerable research that we’ve conducted including conversations with hundreds of customers, many of whom expressed a desire to see the Medallion program truly target our best customers,” said Jeff Robertson, vice president, SkyMiles. “Adding a revenue component to the SkyMiles Medallion program ensures that our most valued customers receive the best program benefits and a more exclusive experience.”
Status for the 2015 Medallion program will be determined in the following way:
Silver will be obtained when spending $2,500 and earning 25,000 MQMs or 30 MQSs; Gold when spending $5,000 and earning 50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs; Platinum when spending $7,500 and 75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs and the highest status, Diamond, will be obtained when spending $12,500 and earning 125,000 MQMs or 140 MQMs. If you have a U.S. Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express and spend $25,000 of eligible purchases within a calendar year on the card, the MQD requirements will be waived.
Beginning before the changes go into effect, members can track their progress toward Medallion status at the My SkyMiles dashboard at delta.com. For more information about the changes, visit the FAQs at http://www.insideflyer.com/link/?8183
Another change, starting March 1, 2013, is that Delta SkyMiles is changing some of the MQM bonus levels on certain fares. F and J class fares will increase to a 100 percent MQM bonus and M class fares will no longer receive an MQM bonus. Y and B fares will remain at the current level, receiving a 50 percent MQM bonus. This change will go into effect for flights on or after March 1, 2013.
Bottom line: These new status requirements are for customers who reside in the U.S. only and will not affect status earned in 2012 for the 2013 Medallion year or status earned in 2013 for the 2014 Medallion year. Delta is giving members notice far in advance of the change. As expected, many SkyMiles members are not happy with the status requirement changes, while others see them as either not such a big deal, or even a benefit that might allow them easier access to upgrades. Almost everyone agrees that mileage runs are basically out as a means to get status–you’d need to spend at least $.10 per MQM–not exactly a number mileage runners look for. This will also affect elite rollover miles–members will no longer be able to travel a lot in one year, have their MQMs rollover to the next to qualify–they will now have to supplement those MQMs with the required MQDs–and MQDs will not rollover.
The MQM earning rates for partner airlines, changing on March 1, represent some rather hefty reductions for some flights, especially with Asian partner airlines. For example, first class flights (F, P) on China Eastern will earn 100 percent MQMs, down from 150 percent; business class flights (C, O, Z) will be 75 percent, down from 130 percent and you’ll find similar reductions on other partner airlines.