Why Delta Shouldn’t Lower 2021 Medallion Qualifications

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No, Delta SkyMiles update for 2021 didn’t get lost in the mail, in fact the airline has taken many steps to make earning status next year easier, plus they a “secret weapon” that neither American nor United offers.

For context, American Airlines lowered requirements for next year by 20% and United Airlines has lowered Premier requirements roughly 25%, however Delta Air Lines hasn’t made any adjustments for Medallion Qualification for next year.

You might be wondering why Delta hasn’t made any changes and the answer is they’ve already made several changes.

The biggest is that all Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) from 2020 will roll over into 2021. Delta was already the only airline to offer rollover for elite qualification miles, however they’ve previously announced that all MQMs will be carried over from next year. To clarify, that means MQMs earned in 2019 above the threshold that were already rolled over to 2020, will now be rolled over again to 2021.

As a Platinum Medallion, I’m currently at 85,000 MQMs with a majority of these carried over from 2019, as well as several thousand earned this year through credit card spending. In order to secure my status next year, I’ll just need to spend $25,000 on the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card to earn the MQD waiver.

Additionally, Delta announced Platinum and Reserve Delta SkyMiles Amex Card Members Can Earn 25% More MQMs in 2021.

Per Delta, With Status Boost, Platinum and Reserve Card Members can earn 25% more Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) for each spending threshold they meet. That means that in 2021, Reserve Card Members can earn 18,750 MQMs each time they spend $30,000 on purchases (up to 4 times) instead of the 15,000 MQMs they would normally earn, and Platinum Card Members can earn 12,500 MQMs each time they spend $25,000 on purchases (up to 2 times) instead of the 10,000 MQMs they would normally earn with Status Boost in a calendar year.  

Delta’s Secret Weapon: Last year, Delta introduced Reclaim My Status, as a tool that allows Medallions to essentially get back their Medallion status if it was lost due to a major life change. With Reclaim My Status, you get back your old Medallion for three months, and then have a reduced amount of flying during 90 days in order to earn it back fully.

Currently you’re eligible if your status was lost due to becoming a parent, including maternity, paternity, adoption or foster leave; recovering from serious illness; sustaining serious injury; changing jobs or careers; caregiving for a family member; or  getting a degree.

What Delta should do in 2022, is allow those who lost their status due to COVID-19 to be eligible to use the Reclaim My Status.

However, here’s How Delta Should Enrich SkyMiles Medallion Program with additional benefits:

  • Allow Cabin to Cabin Same-Day Confirmed for Gold, Platinum and Diamonds
  • Allow for Same-Day Standby for Medallions + 1 Companion
  • CLEAR Membership for Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Medallions
  • 2 Global Upgrades as Platinum Medallion Choice Benefit
  • Complimentary Gogo WiFi for Diamond Medallions

What are your take on the Delta SkyMiles program? Do you agree that there shouldn’t be any changes made to earning requirements? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments 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. Unless they rollover MQD’s, they’re going to lose 95% of their Diamond members. I have 100k MQM rolling over and can guarantee Platinum via CC spend, so why work so hard to retain Diamond when $15,000 in ticket spend is unrealistic for most during a pandemic.

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