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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!
Table of Contents
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!
|Silver Medallion||6,000 MQD|
|Gold Medallion||12,000 MQD|
|Platinum Medallion||18,000 MQD|
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|
|Silver Medallion||6,000 MQD|
|Gold Medallion||6,000 MQD|
|Platinum Medallion||9,000 MQD|
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
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|
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
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
- 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!
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.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months
In Chase branch: 70k Points after $4k spend in 3 months ( make appt with banker –Information about this card has been collected independently by Monkey Miles. Card issuer is not responsible for the information or accuracy.)
Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards
- 3x on dining
- including eligible delivery services for takeout
- 3x on select streaming services
- 3x on online grocery purchases
- (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
- 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
- $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
- The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
- 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 Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
- Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
- Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
- No foreign transaction fees
- Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
- Primary rental car coverage is my favorite
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.
Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.
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.