Delta revises SkyMiles changes: more SkyClub visits, lower elite thresholds, better 1-time rollovers, vastly improved lifetime status

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Delta announced revisions to the drastic SkyMiles changes that led to many, many fliers (including yours truly) declaring that they’re done with Delta.  And while we knew that walkbacks to this plan were coming, Delta has made far bigger updates than I expected and some of them are pretty exciting.

Update 10/22/23: I’ve added FAQs to this post.  One of the most exciting answers for some of us is that MQM rollover status extensions will result in earning Choice Benefits. Hat tip to Eye of the Flyer for this and many other answers presented below.

a man holding a card with a plane in the background

Table of Contents

Overview

Delta has announced revised changes to Delta’s SkyMiles program.  Here’s a summary:

  • Credit card SkyClub access limits increased
  • Reduced Medallion Qualifying Dollar (MQD) requirements.
  • MQD Headstarts for Delta SkyMiles Platinum & Reserve cardholders
  • Enhanced Choice Benefits for Platinum and Diamond Medallion members
  • Better 1-time MQM Rollover options
  • Upgraded Million Miler status
  • No more earning MQDs from car rentals or hotels

Credit card Sky Club access limits increased

As previously announced, Sky Club access through credit cards will be limited beginning Feb 1, 2025.  Also as previously announced, $75K calendar year spend will earn unlimited access for the rest of that year and all of the next.

  • Delta Reserve cardholders will be limited to 15 SkyClub visit days (up from the previously announced 10)
  • Amex Platinum cardholders will be limited to 10 SkyClub visit days (up from the previously announced 6)
  • Multiple visits within a 24 hour period will count only once towards the limits listed above

Reduced Medallion Qualifying Dollar (MQD) requirements

Starting January 1st, 2024, MQMs, MQSs, and MQD Waivers will be gone.  Instead, to earn elite status for the 2025 elite year and beyond, you’ll need to earn MQDs.  The following table shows the updated new requirements compared to the old:

Elite Level 2023 MQD Thresholds 2024 MQD Thresholds
Silver Medallion $3,000 $6,000 $5,000
Gold Medallion $8,000 $12,000 $10,000
Platinum Medallion $12,000 $18,000 $15,000
Diamond Medallion $20,000 $35,000 $28,000

As you can see above, even though Delta has reduced the originally announced requirements, the MQD requirements are still going way up.  Silver MQD requirements increase by 67%; Gold and Platinum MQD requirements increase by 25%; and Diamond MQD requirements increase by 40%.

MQD Headstarts for Delta SkyMiles Platinum & Reserve cardholders

Delta SkyMiles Platinum & Reserve cardholders will get a “Headstart” of $2,500 MQDs each year towards elite status.  That will significantly ease the burden for those seeking status.  As reported first by Dan’s Deals (and confirmed by Eye of the Flyer), you’ll get $2,500 MQD Headstarts for each qualifying card you have. That means it is possible to earn up to $10,000 in MQDs by having both consumer and business Delta Platinum cards and both consumer and business Delta Reserve cards! Wow! That is enough MQDs for Gold status just for having the four cards and $50,000 in spend on one of your Delta Reserve cards would get you Delta Platinum status. Diamond status would require $180,000 in spend on one of your Reserve cards (again assuming that you had all four cards). These represent far easier paths to elite status than previously announced.

MQDs through Delta SkyMiles Platinum & Reserve spend

As previously announced, you can also earn MQDs with spend as follows:

Enhanced Choice Benefits for Platinum and Diamond Medallion members

Starting in 2024 for members who earn 2025 Platinum Medallion status or above, the following new Choice Benefits will be available:

  • MQD Accelerator: Accelerate your earning for the next Medallion Year with increased amounts of MQDs: $2,000 MQDs for Diamond Members and $1,000 MQDs for Platinum Members.
  • Delta SkyClub Individual Membership (Diamond Choice Benefit): Requires 2 Choice Benefit selections
  • More bonus miles:
    • Platinum Choice Benefit: 30,000 miles (up from 20,000)
    • Diamond Choice Benefit: 35,000 miles (up from 25,000)
  • Bigger travel voucher:
    • Platinum Choice Benefit: $300 voucher (up from $250)
    • Diamond Choice Benefit: $350 voucher (up from $250)
  • Wheels up flight credit

Better 1-time MQM Rollover options

Delta isn’t bringing back rollovers, but they are improving the options for those who roll over MQMs into 2024:

  • Convert to miles at a 2 to 1 ratio (unchanged)
  • Convert to MQDs at a 10 to 1 ratio (improved from the previously announced 20 to 1)
  • Members with MQM Rollover balances over 100,000 can also choose to extend their 2024 Medallion Status for 1 year per every 100,000 Rollover MQMs.

Upgraded Million Miler status

Delta is making major changes to their Million Miler status.  As previously announced, starting in 2024, Million Miler status will be earned entirely from distance flown.  What’s new here is that the level of status earned will be higher than before:

  • 6M+ from Diamond Medallion to Delta 360°™
  • 5M from Platinum Medallion to Delta 360°™
  • 4M from Platinum Medallion to Diamond Medallion
  • 3M from Gold Medallion to Diamond Medallion
  • 2M from Gold Medallion to Platinum Medallion
  • 1M from Silver Medallion to Gold Medallion

No more earning MQDs from car rentals or hotels

Delta had previously announced that members would earn MQDs from Delta car rental and Delta hotel bookings, but that plan has been discontinued.  Those who have already made plans, can still earn MQDs through October 31, 2023.

Sky Club Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

When do I lose unlimited Sky Club visits due to simply being a cardmember?

February 1, 2025

Can Delta SkyMiles Platinum cardholders get into Sky Clubs?

No.  Delta SkyMiles Platinum Cardmembers can no longer pay for Sky Club access as of January 1, 2024.

Please note that the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card is not at all comparable to the Platinum Card from American Express (the latter of which does offer Sky Club access).

If I have multiple Delta Reserve and/or Amex Platinum cards, will I get more complementary Sky Club visits?

Yes.  Visits are additive across your cards.  So, for example, if you have both the Delta Reserve card and an Amex Platinum card, you would be eligible for 25 visit-days per year.  Similarly, if you have two Delta Reserve cards (one personal and one business, for example), you would be eligible for 30 visit-days per year.  Delta says that the card member “must present the applicable Card at the time of entry into the Sky Club.”

Can I use some of my allocated visits to guest people into the Sky Club?

No.

Can I pay to bring in guests?

Yes.  Eligible cardmembers (Delta Reserve and Amex Platinum) can pay $50 per guest per visit (up to two guests, or spouse/domestic partner and children under 21).

What happens with authorized user cards? Do they get their own 10 Sky Club visits per year (Amex Platinum cards) or 15 visits per year (Delta Reserve)?

Yes, authorized user cards and employee cards that offer Sky Club access will have their own allotment of visits each year: 10 visit-days per year with additional Amex Platinum cards, and 15 visit-days per year with additional Delta Reserve cards.

Can I pay to get into the club after using up my visits?

Yes.  Eligible Card Members may purchase additional Delta Sky Club Visits (including Grab and Go) at a per person rate of $50 per day.

What happens with authorized user cards once the primary cardholder has spent $75,000? Do authorized users also get unlimited Sky Club access?

Yes.  Once the primary account has earned unlimited access with $75,000 spend, additional cardholders will also get unlimited access.  This does not apply to fee-free additional cardholders such as Companion Platinum Cards on Consumer Platinum Accounts and Additional Gold and Additional Business Expense Cards on Business Platinum Accounts.

To get unlimited Sky Club visits, does $75K have to be spent on a single card or can it be distributed across multiple cards?

All $75,000 must be spent on a single card account (inclusive of spend on authorized user cards of that account).  H/T Eye of the Flyer.

Medallion Elite Status Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are the new MQD thresholds for elite status permanent?

No.  It is very likely that Delta will increase the MQD requirements in future years.

Is the MQD Headstart a one-time feature or ongoing?

This is a permanent new feature of Delta Reserve and Delta Platinum cards.  H/T Eye of the Flyer.

If I have two qualifying cards, will I really get Silver status automatically?

Yes.  Two qualifying cards such as a consumer Delta Platinum and a business Delta Platinum card will result in getting $5,000 MQDs automatically each year.  With the 2024 MQD thresholds, that will be enough for Silver status.

If I have four  qualifying cards, will I really get Gold status automatically?

Yes.  Four qualifying cards (consumer Delta Platinum, business Delta Platinum, consumer Delta Reserve, business Delta Reserve) will result in getting $10,000 MQDs automatically each year.  With the 2024 MQD thresholds, that will be enough for Gold status.

Are MQDs earned from credit card spend giftable?

No.  Prior to 2024, MQMs earned from Delta Reserve card status boosts are giftable to others.  With the move away from MQMs to MQDs, we have lost the ability to gift status earnings to others through credit card spend.

When is the deadline to choose how to use my MQM rollovers?

12/31/24

Will I get Choice Benefits from extended status through 100K MQM Rollovers?

Yes.  Delta considers these “earned status” and so Platinum and Diamond elites will “earn” Choice Benefits.  H/T Eye of the Flyer.

I don’t have very high level status now.  Can I instead extend status that I earn in 2024?

No, status extensions are based on your 2024 elite status.  That means that it is based on status earned in 2023 for the 2024 elite year.

If I get to 2 Million Miler status or higher, will I get Choice Benefits that match my lifetime Platinum or Diamond status?

Yes.  H/T Eye of the Flyer.

I already have Million Miler status.  Will my lifetime elite status level be boosted according to the new rules?

Yes.  For example, if you are currently a 1 Million Miler with lifetime Silver status, your lifetime status will be boosted to Gold Medallion status.

My Take

Wow, I’m shocked at how far Delta went in rolling back changes.  First, for those who use credit cards to access SkyClubs, the increased limits and the change to “days” from “visits” will make a huge difference.  Not everyone will be happy, but it certainly changes the equation in how valuable the Delta Reserve and Amex Platinum cards will be for getting into Sky Clubs.

I expect that long-term high level elites (like me) will especially find a lot to like in the latest announcement.  I especially love two things: upgraded million miler status (I’m currently a 1 million miler) and the ability to convert each 100K rollover MQMs to a year of status.  With around 400,000 MQMs rolling over, This means that I can keep Platinum status for four more years with no effort and then my Million Miler status means keeping Gold status from then on.  Not bad!

For those who don’t have million miler status or lots of rollover MQMs, the $2,500 MQD credit card “Headstart” will go a long way towards easing the sting of increased MQD requirements for elite status.  Additionally, the new MQD Accelerator Choice Benefit can make another big dent in the requirements for re-upping status.

I’ll be writing more about the changes in the coming days as I absorb the news.  For now, though, it’s looking like Delta may just have done enough to get me back into fanboy mode.  Convince me I’m wrong.  Please.

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