As frequent flyers, staying updated with loyalty program changes is essential to maximize benefits. Delta’s SkyMiles Program has recently undergone some significant changes, aiming to simplify the experience for its members. Here’s how the SkyMiles Program changes affect your future travels with Delta.
A Simplified SkyMiles Program Approach
What Delta refers to as a shift towards a simplified version of its award-winning SkyMiles Program is now centered around Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs). MQDs will be the sole qualifier for Medallion Status. This credits loyalty based on spending. Whether you’re collecting MQDs through flights, Delta Vacations experiences, car rentals, or the MQD Boost benefit from select American Express Cards, it’s essential to know how these MQDs can be leveraged.
Earning Your 2024 Medallion Status
The upcoming changes won’t affect your Medallion Status for 2024. Any status you earn this year (2023) will count towards 2024. The modifications will take effect in 2024 and influence the Medallion Status for 2025.
Options for Rollover MQMs
SkyMiles Members can breathe easy as they won’t lose any Rollover MQMs accumulated. Starting early 2024, members can convert their Rollover MQMs accrued in 2023 into redeemable miles, MQDs, or a mix of both. The airline will send email notifications to qualifying members on the conversion process. Delta will also update the My SkyMiles page and the Fly Delta app with a guide to converting MQMs.
Updates for Million Milers
Delta is also revising its Complimentary Upgrade process in 2024. Those with Million Miler Status will see a boost in priority for Complimentary Upgrades, being placed in the third priority position. Moreover, starting January 1, 2024, Million Miler Status will be determined through lifetime flight miles, discontinuing the MQMs calculations. However, Delta will continue tracking your flight miles. Reaching the 1 million flight miles mark will still earn you an invitation to the Million Miler Program.
Changes for Delta SkyMiles American Express Card Members
Delta SkyMiles American Express Card Members should note that the MQD Waiver and Status Boost benefits will be discontinued after Dec. 31, 2023. Instead, there will be a new MQD Boost benefit for select cards.
MQD Earning for Members Outside the U.S.
A significant update for SkyMiles Members outside the US is that they can now earn Status through MQDs. Previously, members earned status via MQMs or MQSs. From January 1, currency conversions to USD will be standard; every $1 USD will translate to $1 MQD.
What’s the Whole Point of Points?
Frequent flyers should familiarize themselves with these updates to ensure they are optimizing their rewards and benefits with Delta.
From the beginning, airline loyalty programs were designed to contribute to airline profitability. Airlines can be expected to adjust their programs to ensure they continue to profit. Exclusivity adds value to members as the miles, points, and other airline loyalty currencies buy better experiences. That’s the nature of the game for airlines and members alike. It’s a delicate balance between making loyalty valuable or just a commodity.
More Exclusive Lounge Access
One of the changes making waves is Delta’s new, more exclusive lounge access policy for the Delta Sky Clubs. As the airline explains, this is to preserve the premium experience of their upgraded lounges.
Starting February 1, 2025:
- Delta SkyMiles Reserve and Reserve Business American Express Card Members will have 10 Club visits per year.
- Platinum Card® and Business Platinum Card® from American Express Card Members will have 6 Club visits per year.
- Members can get unlimited Club access after spending $75,000 on eligible purchases on their Card in a calendar year.
- This access will be valid for the current year and the following year.
- The spending tracking begins on January 1, 2024, for the 2025 Medallion year.
Starting from January 1, 2024, Delta SkyMiles Platinum and Platinum Business American Express Card Members and Basic Economy customers will not be eligible for Club access.
These changes aim to balance the popularity of the Clubs with the premium experience they offer guests. While some will miss lounge access, those who access the lounge will appreciate less crowding. Delta Air Lines has invested heavily in club enhancements. That includes new lounges in Boston, New York-JFK, Minneapolis, Newark‘s Terminal A, and Kansas City Airport.