Airlines Credit Cards Guides News

All about the Benjamins baby! Delta massively changes SkyMiles program to MQD only

a stuffed animal on a counter

We may receive a commission when you use our links. Monkey Miles is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com and CardRatings. This relationship may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Monkey Miles is also a Senior Advisor to Bilt Rewards. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.


Think inflation is something you’re just dealing with at the grocery store or pump? Think again. Delta has completely overhauled the way you will earn status with the airline going forward and it’s all about those greenbacks. A lot of greenbacks.

Delta has followed American Airlines down the path of revenue only, dollars spent, requirement for status. In a lot of ways, this makes sense. Airlines make more money off their loyalty programs than people actually flying, so they want to incentive and reward those who spend more, not fly more. And…Delta is requiring that you spend A LOT if you want to be rewarded with status in their airline. The way they calculate spend is called MQD or Medallion Qualifying Dollar.

That spend can come from multiple sources: flights, hotels, car rentals, and of course their credit cards.

Speaking of which, lounge access is being slashed across all the Delta Amex cards as well as for the Amex Platinum and Amex Business Platinum.

Let’s check it out!

a stuffed animal in an airplane

What are the Status Tier Requirements?

The have blown the ceiling off the MQDs required for Platinum and Diamond Medallion status. You’ll now need to earn a whopping 35k MQD to achieve Diamond. Wow!

For 2025:

Silver Medallion 6,000 MQD
Gold Medallion 12,000 MQD
Platinum Medallion 18,000 MQD
Diamond Medallion 35,000MQD

For a frame of reference, here is what it was for 2024

Silver Medallion 3,000 MQD
Gold Medallion 8,000 MQD
Platinum Medallion 12,000 MQD
Diamond Medallion 20,000MQD

And 2023

Silver Medallion 6,000 MQD
Gold Medallion 6,000 MQD
Platinum Medallion 9,000 MQD
Diamond Medallion 15,000MQD

How can I earn Delta MQDs now?

  • Flights = 1 MQD per $1 base fare dollar spent ( no taxes and fees )
  • Delta Vacations = 1 MQD per $1 spent  ( no taxes and fees )
  • Cars, Hotels, etc = 1 MQD per $1 spent

a teddy bear on a table in an airplane

How will Delta American Express Cards earn MQDs?

The MQD waivers are gone. It used to be that the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card or the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card would give you a MQD waiver, up to Platinum status, when you spent $25k a year on the card, and if you spent $250k, you’d get a Diamond waiver. Those are gone and you’ll earn MQD at the following rates.

Delta credit cards will earn MQDs at the following rates:

$10 USD spent on Delta Amex Reserve Credit Cards 1 MQD
$20 USD spent on Delta Platinum Amex credit cards 1 MQD

a screenshot of a card
Starting 2/1/25 the access rules for Credit Cards that come with Delta SkyClub access are changing

Currently there are a few cards that come with access to Delta SkyClubs

  • Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
  • Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card
  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • The Business Platinum® from American Express

a bar with a person behind it

Amex Platinum and Amex Business Platinum – 6x

Starting on Feb 1st, 2025 lounge access will be limited to 6 times per year

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve and Business Reserve-  10x

Starting on Feb 1st, 2025 lounge access will be limited to 10 times per year

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum +  Business Platinum – 0x

Starting on Feb 1st, 2025, you will know longer be able to pay for access

What happens to rollover MQMs?

If you’re sitting on rollover MQMS, which I’m sure a lot of your are, you will have the option to convert them into either MQDs or Delta SkyMiles

20 MQMs 1 MQD
2 MQMs 1 Delta SkyMile

However, you can’t just convert at whim. You need to convert in 25% increments. For instance, if you had 100k rollover MQMS you’d need to decide how you want to split them up.

  • 50,000 MQM to SkyMiles = 25000Skymiles
  • 50,000 MQM to MQD = 2500 MQD

or

  • 25,000 MQM to Skymiles = 12,500 Skymiles
  • 75,000 MQM to MQD = 3750  MQD

and so on and so forth.

Million Miler Changes

Delta extends lifetime benefits to their “Million Miler” members. This will now be based on how many “butt in seat” miles you fly. So, whatever your number is currently, will be converted into “Miles Flown” and going forward you will earn another Million Miler mile based on the number of miles you actually fly. In the past, MQMs were counted. Todd O has flown 14 Million Miles so he is a lifetime Diamond Medallion regardless of how they are counted, but wow…6 million flown miles are now needed!

a screenshot of a graph
Delta Million Miler

 

Overall

This is a seismic shift and honestly, status just isn’t worth chasing when it comes to US based airlines. I’ll likely credit my Delta flights to Virgin Atlantic or FlyingBlue.

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

a blue credit card with blue lines and white text

Learn More

Affiliate LInk

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card


4.8
4.8/5
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based including Hyatt, Southwest, United, IHG, and Marriott.

Welcome Offer

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 

Annual Fee

$95

Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
    • That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠
  • 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Travel℠
  • 3x on dining, including eligible delivery services for takeout & dining out
  • 3x on select streaming services
  • 3x on online grocery purchases
    • (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit via Chase Travel℠
    • The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
  • 2x on all other travel
  • 10% Anniversary Bonus
    • Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel℠ and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver ( primary ), purchase protections, etc.
  • Points are transferrable to 14 Ultimate Rewards partners
  • Redeem in Chase Travel℠ for 1.25 cents per point
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
    • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver is my favorite
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024
  • $95 Annual Fee

We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.

Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back.

Main Cast: 

Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.

Supporting Cast:

Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on. 

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is exceptional starter card and offers transferrable Ultimate Rewards, and pairs well with other Chase cards.

If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex®  and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash® , Ink Business Unlimited® you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners

Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

10 Comments

  • […] weeks ago, Delta surprised the world with an absolute gutshot of a devaluation to their program. The response was nasty. Comments on my Instagram, TikTok, etc did not sugar the pill and once […]

  • […] couple of weeks ago Delta made draconian changes to their SkyMiles elite program, credit card benefits and eligibility, and as a consequence many are singing the #ditchDelta tune. […]

  • Bernd September 21, 2023

    Greedy bastards!

  • […] on earth is going on? First, Delta drops a bomb on their SkyMiles loyalty program by telling customers they don’t care how much you fly Delta, but rather how much money you […]

  • Cols September 16, 2023

    Am I doing this math correctly? To get Silver status, only relying on AmEx platinum spend, I will need to charge $120,000 on the card. At that price, it’s cheaper to skip status and buy premium cabin tickets each time you travel.

  • Zack September 14, 2023

    If there is no MQD bonus based on card spend like there was for MQM’s then the reserve card = canceled. Will just keep Amex plat for lounge access.

  • JJ September 14, 2023

    Wow… I know a lot of Delta guys are going to be pissed! I have a delta reserve card that I spend around $75k-90k a year on. What card should I switch to? I basically put all my expenses (work and personal) on my card. A lot of my work expenses are restaurants.

    • Miles September 22, 2023

      The reduced lounge access doesn’t start until 2/25 and it really comes down to what you’re looking to achieve with the card and spend. With your dining spend for biz I’d certainly consider an Amex Business Gold since it earns 4x on the top two categories each month ( one of which is dining ) and you can always transfer Amex MR into Delta SkyMiles should you wish to do that. There are also huge welcome offers for biz gold; However, you would have 0 lounge access with that card. Which airport do you frequent most?

  • Miles September 14, 2023

    The 1 MQD/$10 is for Reserve cards. The Platinum cards earn at a worse rate!

    • Miles September 14, 2023

      Updated! Thank you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.