Delta Air Lines aims to reclaim loyalty exclusivity with changes to SkyMiles

Delta Air Lines SkyMiles changes will make it harder for people to access lounges
Jay Fog /

Delta Air Lines has announced that it has made changes to the way its SkyMiles loyalty program members will earn status in 2025.

According to the airline, from January 1, 2024, Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQD) will be the only way for passengers to qualify for Medallion Status. As such, members of the SkyMiles loyalty program will not have to track Medallion Qualification Miles (MQM) or Medallion Qualification Segments (MQS).

At the same time, Delta Air Lines said it is “increasing Members’ ability to earn those MQDs not only through Delta and partner-operated flights, but also via Delta rental cars and stays booked through”.

Additionally, Delta Vacation experiences and an MQD Boost benefit with select Delta SkyMiles American Express cards will also increase MQD earning opportunities.

“Delta is on a multi-year journey to transform our SkyMiles Program by building a portfolio of options for customers to grow their membership with Delta beginning as soon as they join the program,” Dwight James, the senior vice president of Customer Engagement and Loyalty of Delta Air Lines and chief executive officer (CEO) of Delta Vacations, said.

James pointed out that the change will allow customers to earn loyalty status more independently, including in “their everyday lives”.

Medallion Status is split into four categories: Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond. For passengers to have earned those levels in 2023, they had to earn $3,000, $8,000, $12,000, and $20,000 MQDs, respectively, in addition to having 25,000, 50,000, 75,000, or 125,000 MQMs, respectively.

Alternatively, they could have had 30, 60, 100, or 140 MQSs, respectively.

Now, the thresholds will be as follows:

  • Silver Medallion: $6,000 MQDs
  • Gold Medallion: $12,000 MQDs
  • Platinum Medallion: $18,000 MQDs
  • Diamond Medallion: $35,000 MQDs

According to Delta Air Lines, passengers earn $1 MQD per $1 spent on a ticket on its or partner airlines’ flights. The sum excludes taxes and Basic Economy fares.

Preserving the premium experience

Delta Air Lines will also be introducing changes with regards to accessibility at its lounges, called Delta Sky Club, across its network airports.

This change is part of the airline’s “continued efforts to help preserve the premium experience in the airline’s popular lounges”.

Firstly, “Delta SkyMiles Reserve and Reserve Business American Express Card Members will receive 10 Club visits per Program year”, while American Express Platinum Card® and the Business Platinum Card® will get six visits annually.

If these members wish to have unlimited access, they can do so by spending $75,000 “in eligible purchases on their eligible Card in a calendar year”. Subsequently, they will earn unlimited access for the remainder of the program’s year (ending on January 31, 2024) and the next full program year.

From January 1, 2024, Delta SkyMiles Platinum and Platinum Business American Express Card Members and those customers traveling in Basic Economy, will not have access to the airline’s lounges.

Delta Air Lines already introduced measures to reduce crowding at its lounges in November 2022. At the time, the airline said Delta Sky Club had experienced a monumental year, with a number of openings and expansions, which resulted in record-breaking visitor numbers.

“A byproduct of Delta Sky Club’s widespread popularity is visit growth that has outpaced Club capacity — resulting in frustration for some customers who find themselves waiting in lines or searching for seating once inside,” Delta Air Lines said in an announcement, adding that changes would be introduced for 2023.

At the time, James said that while the carrier was “thrilled” by the popularity of its lounges, its goal was to “balance the popularity of the Clubs with the premium service and atmosphere for which they were designed – and that our guests deserve”.

As such, the company updated the access policy “to help preserve premium experience”. Additionally, it introduced a real-time occupancy tracker, prioritized entry for the airline’s most loyal customers, as well as expanding/renovating its Delta Sky Clubs throughout the United States (US).

Related Posts

AeroTime is on YouTube

Subscribe to the AeroTime Hub channel for exclusive video content.

Subscribe to AeroTime Hub