Delta Increasing Amex MQD Waiver to $250,000 for Diamond Medallion Status

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Delta Air Lines has quietly announced a new change for those who qualify for Diamond Medallion status on the airline. Currently to qualify for Delta Diamond Medallion status you need to earn 125,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles or 140 Medallion Qualifying Segments, as well as spend $15,000 MQDs or earn the MQD Waiver from spending $25,000 on one of their co-branded cards.

Starting in 2019, in order to receive the Delta MQD waiver, you’ll now have to spend $250,000 on a Delta co-branded credit card to earn this.

Per Delta SkyMiles News and Updates,

We are always looking for ways to improve the Medallion experience by listening to your feedback. Because we want to ensure our most well-traveled Members can take full advantage of all the benefits of Diamond Medallion Status, a change is being made to how Members qualify for 2019 Diamond Medallion Status.

Starting January 1, 2018, the Medallion Qualification Dollar (MQD) Waiver for Diamond Medallion Status is increasing. The MQD Waiver for Diamond Medallion Status is currently earned by spending $25,000 in eligible purchases in a calendar year on a SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express. It is being adjusted to $250,000 in a calendar year.

This qualification change will allow us to deliver on expectations for Diamond Medallion Status so Members can maximize elite benefits like Complimentary Upgrades and Delta Sky Club® access. This update will not change how Members earn 2018 Diamond Medallion Status.

Additionally, effective January 1, 2018, the Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card will no longer be eligible for the MQD Waiver. However, if you have another Delta SkyMiles Credit Card with the MQD Waiver benefit in addition to your Delta Blue SkyMiles Credit Card, Eligible Purchases made on the Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card will continue to count towards the MQD Waiver.

Love racking up the Delta Miles?

If you are looking for more ways to earn Delta miles, consider The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card or The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card.

Bottom Line

When you look at the competition, United Airlines doesn’t allow their co-branded cardholders to earn their EDQ waiver for their top-tier 1K status, so I’m not at all surprised Delta has decided to make earning Diamond Medallion status more restrictive.

With this change, I would like to see Delta add some more benefits for Diamond Medallions, and I feel that we may see some new changes coming before 2019, even though nothing has been announced yet. Whether it be fee waivers, more upgrade certificates, Choice Benefit changes, I’d be surprised if something isn’t added to offset making it harder to earn this status.

Will Delta see a decrease in the number of Diamond Medallions? It’s likely, but it may just mean there are more Platinum Medallions out there. Is this a negative change? It depends on how you currently qualify for status. If you’re a corporate flyer spending $15K+ a year on Delta, then you’ll be pleased with this change as there will be fewer Diamonds you’ll be competing with for upgrades.

What are your thoughts on these changes to earning Diamond Medallion status? Feel free to comment below!

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed.

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  1. Not quite sure how this rewards ‘well-traveled’ members because someone could fly 1,000,000 miles in 1 year on delta without coming close to spending $250K. Do they think we’re all idiots? Why don’t they just call it what it is – they want to make more money off arrangements with credit card companies independently of anyone traveling on their airline. This increased threshold doesn’t reward well-traveled customers in any way.

  2. Absurd! $250,000 spending – Delta you are nuts! 10 times the spending on the card!!!! You could have made it 50k or even 100k but 250k is nuts. After this year I am going to see what other airline will match my status or give a challenge and Delta we will be done.

  3. Delta Sucks! I have been a DM for 8 years — but get more upgrades on American Platinum than I do flying DL out of NYC and LA a lot. I hate DL and will terminate all company travel on them next year.

  4. Delta must be crazy. The program already is too confusing. This makes it worse. I’m a Diamond member from which I get virtually no benefits. Flight attendants usually are excellent. Planes often have not been properly cleaned. All in all this was a stupid decision, patronizing explained.

  5. I am a Delta Diamond flyer and I am disgusted. It’s offensive that they believe anyone other than the 1% can afford $250,000. It’s outrageous , flat out insane. Go to $75,000. I could have wrapped my head around that. This is going to isolate them as an organization and deplete their loyal bases. I have the Amex and I am canceling first of the year. Bye Delta.

  6. I was initially shocked but after half a second reflection it occurred to me that I just got a delta card last September anyway and have been Diamond for 8 years (7 without the Amex spend) and I crossed the 15,000 MQD mark before I crossed the 25,000 Amex mark this year anyway (I have to put business travel on corp card so I can’t use my Delta Amex for a lot of spend)…

    How many people fly the miles or segments without spending 15,000? I’d think this would only shave off about 5% or less of the Diamond count but maybe I’m drastically incorrect.

  7. HAHA… They say “Most Well Traveled Flyers”… but this has NOTHING to do with loyalty or travel miles… ONLY money you have to spend. Why don’t they just call it “Millionaire class”, or just have you bring along a IRS W2 and give the best seats to those who make the most money!???

  8. Another way to think about this is if all of us Diamond flyers become Platinum – there will be far fewer Diamonds so our status could stay the same – just means more upgrade at the platinum level because there won’t be many Diamonds left!

  9. Not sure what Delta is thinking. Why demote some of your best flyers? For me, that’s 50k in miles (and who knows how much revenue) I will not need to fly on Delta, so I can go to other airlines that might have cheaper fares. What business model are they using that tells its customers, go fly someone else????

  10. As a Diamond, I feel this change is disrespectful and demeaning to those loyal flyers that still chose Delta over other airlines even when Delta was not the best deal available.
    Delta really should feel ashamed for treating some of it’s best customers this way.
    Loyalty got kicked in the… teeth!

  11. Lol, Don’t cry and rely on your company to get you Diamond status because they spend 25K + on a credit card, Just Fly the MQM’s and spend the 15K in MQD’s and you will be Diamond, United does not offer it on their top tier so why should Delta… Your loyalty should be with Delta not American Express…..Reward the members who reach it

  12. I just became Diamond Medalion and it would be my last. I would understand if it was 2x or 3x increase but 10x is too much and I will close my expensive American expresss card and now will use another airline so I can have two middle level elite status. This might be the better choice for me. Very bad decision by both Delta and Amex.

  13. Delta communicated this message in a very rude and insensitive way “we listened to our customers”.
    Its very insulting and many of us that have ‘carried’ this airline and helped it flourish as loyal Delta customers over the last 5-10 years. Many of us fell just short of the $15k MQD for Diamond Status, so we used the credit card $25K spending to get us to the Diamond threshold. I would remind everyone that Delta promoted these credit cards by the way and also made money on them.

  14. Well Delta , I guess it is goodbye. I could see spending maybe 50,000 but 250,000 is ridiculous. I will cancel the delta reserve card as well as now it does nothing for the 450 per year.
    Way to go delta

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