Delta’s 2024 elite program: it ain’t pretty


Delta has officially released the news about changes to their elite program for 2024 and beyond.  YikesAs I predicted, they’re settling on a single metric for earning elite status: MQDs (Medallion Qualifying Dollars).  Also as predicted, they’re increasing the MQD requirements for each elite level.  Unfortunately, the increases are much higher than I predicted, especially for top tier Diamond status.  And for those of us rolling over a lot of MQMs into 2024, there’s good news and bad news.  The good news is that we’ll be able to convert those MQMs to redeemable miles or MQDs or both.  The bad news is that the conversion ratio to MQDs is bad… really bad.


Prior to 2024, Delta Medallion elite status required earning MQDs or an MQD Waiver and either MQMs (Medallion Qualifying Miles) or MQSs (Medallion Qualifying Segments).  Starting in 2024, all of that complexity will go away and Delta will settle on a single metric: MQDs.  The new MQD requirements are significantly higher than before, but Delta is at least introducing new ways to earn MQDs beyond paying for flights.  Beyond flying, you will now also be able to earn MQDs through credit card spend, Delta car rentals, Delta stays, and Delta Vacations.

Elite 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 new requirements compared to the old:

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

As you can see above, MQD requirements are going way up.  Silver MQD requirements increase by 100%; Gold and Platinum MQD requirements increase by 50%; and Diamond MQD requirements increase by 75%.

Earning MQDs


As always, MQDs will be earned for flights.  Each dollar spent on flights, except for taxes & fees, will earn $1 MQD towards elite status.  Basic Economy flights will not earn MQDs.

Delta Vacations

Delta Vacations bookings earn MQDs today for the flight portion of the trip, but starting in 2024 you’ll earn $1 MQD per dollar spent on the vacation package overall (less taxes and fees).

Delta Car Rentals and Stays

When you book a car rental through Delta Car Rentals or book a hotel stay through Delta Stays, you’ll earn $1 MQD per dollar.

Delta American Express Credit Cards

With Delta Reserve and Delta Platinum credit cards, you can earn an unlimited number of MQDs through spend, as follows:

Previously, $25,000 spend on a Delta Platinum or Delta Reserve card would earn a MQD Waiver, up to Platinum Medallion status; and $250,000 spend across one or more cards would earn a Diamond MQD Waiver.  With the new program, $250,000 spend on a Delta Reserve card will earn only $25,000 MQDs which is $10,000 MQDs short of Diamond status.

For those who are used to the old way of earning MQMs and MQD Waivers with Delta credit cards, there are a couple of things to note:

  1. No limits to MQD earnings from spend in 2024 and beyond.  Previously there were limits to how many MQMs you could earn from spend with each card.
  2. No gifting.  With MQM Status Boosts earned on Delta Reserve cards in 2023 and before, you could gift those MQMs to another person.  Starting in 2024, the ability to gift new elite earnings will be a thing of the past.

MQM Rollovers -> miles or MQDs

Excess MQMs earned beyond those required for the level of elite status acquired in 2023 for the 2024 elite year will rollover into 2024.  At that point, SkyMiles members must choose whether to convert those MQMs into redeemable miles or MQDs or both.  Here are the conversion ratios:

  • Rollover MQMs convert to MQDs at a ratio of 1 MQD per 20 MQMs
  • Rollover MQMs convert to redeemable miles at a ratio of 1 mile per 2 MQMs

SkyMiles members with rollover MQMs will be able to choose the method of conversion in 25% increments.  In other words, you can choose to have 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100% of your MQMs converted to MQDs and the rest will convert to redeemable miles.

If you don’t choose by December 31, 2024, all Rollover MQMs will automatically be converted to MQDs.

No MQD Rollovers

In the new program, if you earn more MQDs than required for the level of status you attain, the extra MQDs will be wasted.  Delta is not planning to roll over the extras.

Million Miler Status

Delta offers special status for “Million Milers”.  Previously, Million Miler status was based on MQMs earned.  Starting in 2024, it will be based entirely on distance flown.  All MQMs earned prior to January 1 2024 will count as miles flown regardless of how they were earned.

One new benefit of Million Miler status will be that your Million Miler status will increase the chance of complimentary upgrades more than it does today.  Million Miler status will become the 3rd consideration in placing you in the upgrade queue behind Medallion status and fare class.


For those who earn Delta Medallion status entirely from flying, it’s going to be much tougher to achieve the same level of status going forward.  MQD requirements have increased by a minimum of 50% (100% for Silver, 50% for Gold and Platinum, and 75% for Diamond).

For those who earn Delta Medallion status entirely through credit card spend, things look good at low levels of spend.  As long as you put your spend on a Delta Reserve card rather than a Delta Platinum card, the amount of spend required to earn Silver or Gold status is comparable to before.  The amount required for Platinum and especially Diamond status, though, increases substantially:

Elite Level through spend alone 2023 Spend 2024 Spend
Silver Medallion $60K Delta Reserve $60K Delta Reserve
Gold Medallion $110K: $60K Delta Reserve + $50K Delta Platinum $120K Delta Reserve
Platinum Medallion $150K: $120K on one Delta Reserve + $30K on another (one personal, one business) $180K Delta Reserve
Diamond Medallion $250K: $130K on one Delta Reserve + $120K on another (one personal, one business)
* this actually left you 5K short of the required MQMs unless you had enough rollover.
$350K Delta Reserve

The problem with the above analysis is that it doesn’t consider rollover MQMs.  Many of us have been able to rollover lots of MQMs from previous years and so the only spend required to reach as high as Platinum Medallion status was $25,000 to get the MQD Waiver.  Since rollovers won’t exist in the new program, elite status through spend will be even harder to achieve than shown above.

I suspect that most people interested in Delta elite status will earn MQDs through a combination of flying and credit card spend.  Let’s look at how much spend is required for each elite level if you earn $3,000 MQDs per year through flying (I picked that number because it was the MQD requirement in 2023 for Silver Medallion status):

Elite Level through spend combined w/ $3K MQDs from flights Delta Reserve Spend
Silver Medallion $30K
Gold Medallion $90K
Platinum Medallion $150K
Diamond Medallion $320K

Now we see a more complex picture for those who earn $3K of MQDs from flying.  Those seeking Silver Medallion status will need to spend $30,000 on a Delta Reserve card (or twice that on a Delta Platinum card).  That’s $30K more spend than would have been required in 2023.  The spend needed for Gold status, though, is $20K less than the spend required in the old program (unless one had MQMs rolling over) and the spend required for Platinum is the same $150K as required before.  Diamond status, though, is still a much higher bar than before.

My Take

Ouch!  I’m currently sitting on over 400,000 MQMs in my account.  I had previously thought that I’d keep myself at Platinum status for many, many years simply by spending $25K each year on a Delta credit card in order to earn the MQD Waiver.  With the new program, that plan is completely out the window.  And I can’t even turn those MQMs into easy Diamond status next year.  At the terrible 20 to 1 conversion ratio, 400K rollover MQMs will become only $20K MQDs.  That’s $15K MQDs short of Diamond status!  So, unless I commit myself to earning $15K MQDs next year, all those rollover MQMs will simply get me one more year of Platinum status.  Boo!

For those who earn elite status from spend, there is some good news: there won’t be any reason to have multiple Delta cards going forward.  If you had multiple cards (one personal and one business, for example), you can feel good about cancelling at least one of those cards.  On the other hand, Delta Platinum cardholders will earn only half the MQDs from spend as earned with Delta Reserve cards.  If you’re a Delta Platinum cardholder and you plan to continue to earn status through spend, it will be absolutely necessary to switch to the Reserve card.  I suspect that many people will, instead, decide that seeking Delta elite status simply isn’t worth it anymore.

The one saving grace of all this is the hope that there will be far fewer elite members starting in February 2025.  If so, complementary upgrades should become easier to get.  Additionally, it seems to me that Delta is going to have to do more to incentivize earning high level elite status.  Last year they nerfed the Global Upgrade certificates available only to Diamond elites.  Will they do something next year to add value instead?  I think they’ll have to.

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[…] Delta announced their 2024 changes (see: Delta’s 2024 elite program — it ain’t pretty).  My plan for keeping Platinum elite status long-term was kaput.  All of my hundreds of […]


This seems awful. But two questions – 1.) currently, MQDs are quite odd for money spent on flights, where it is not 1:1 and based on some weird formula. Will this change with the new regime? 2.) for the lounge visits allowed for cardholders in 2025/beyond – are they additive, i.e. if I have both platinum and reserve card, would I get 16 visits? This lessens the blow a little bit. It’s just irritating because it’s a huge effort now (and breeds resentment toward Delta) to get what we easily got before. I think they are going to need to tweak it.


“The one saving grace of all this is the hope that there will be far fewer elite members starting in February 2025. If so, complementary upgrades should become easier to get.”

The world loves a dreamer, Greg. Lol!

(Delta doesn’t want you to get a complementary anything, especially an upgrade.)


Wow, what a devaluation of everything that kept me coming back to Delta and using the AMEX Reserve. I would like to see a new “value” put on the Reserve card as so many benefits are now lost since making Medallion Status got so much more difficult.

I’ve been Platinum Medallion for several years now. That’s ending in 2025 now. So many benefits from that status I’ll never see again.

I’m astounded by how many business flyers can’t even make status anymore. Makes me wonder, who is this suppose to benefit??? I’d be curious to see a poll on who will keep Diamond and Platinum that have it now.


Hi Andrew,
Been a platinum for several years but it will not happen any longer. I fly many miles but $$ wise I will never reach 18K even if I add the spending from my Delta Platinum Amex.
Solution: I switch to United already and will be a Platinum by the end of the year (already gold now) and I have applied for the United Club Visa (same price of the Delta Amex) which allows me to access all lounges for free

[…] passengers, formerly known as Delta elites, wondering where the comfort plus has gone. In a series of stone-faced announcements over the last two weeks, Delta let many of its ordinary, red-blooded road warriors know that, really, they were never that […]

King Barbos

This new program while it really is a kick in the crotch, it still is doable. It incentivizes spending on flights. With a 1-1 ratio you just need to spend 18K on flights and boom you are platinum. Delta 1 to Milan for wifey and I and we are 50% there. It’s cheaper than spending 180K on the Reserve. I think I’ll get Platinum again by doing half or 9K on flights and 90K on the Purple card. Done ✅

Last edited 8 days ago by King Barbos

Sad. I was literally thinking of flying my parents, brother, and girlfriend to and from Dubai next year as a gift, which would also serve in securing my annual status and us all traveling comfortably. Now that’s simply not happening or we’d fly emirates (in half the time mind you). Ahh, it was fun while it lasted.


Doesn’t seem like Delta cares if you stop using their card at the end of the coming years. OK, my MQDs are at $18,000 in September so I won’t make Diamond. I’ve already spent $75,000 for unlimited sky club access so why keep using the reserve card? Switch to a Marriott or Hilton Amex for the same card protections but an entirely different set of perks, or even their Blue Cash card. Redeemable miles just aren’t worth it alone to keep using the Skymiles cards IMO once you’ve maxed a status since they aren’t rolling any portion of unused MQDs. Curious what happens to the 360s…or (gulp) what it takes to earn that now!


Will award tickets earn MQD’s in 2024? It’s unclear.


I remember in the early 1990s, when Continental tightened up on many benefits, (CO also canceled service to many cities and ended their hub in Denver). The FF crowd were howling. Many did leave Continental, causing the airline to lose more money. This was after AA introduced the “Value Plan” for fares in 1992, which caused many competitors (including CO) to lose money. It also caused CO to re-enter bankruptcy. Gordon Bethune was brought in, in late 1994, to clean up the mess. One of the first things Bethune tackles is overhauling the FF program, “OnePass”. He turned Continental into one of the world’s most admired airlines. He wrote a book, “From Worst to First: Behind the Scenes of Continental’s Remarkable Comeback”.

Which makes me think that all the bean counters, may be very off in their calculations, of how many FF that Delta will lose? The MQD numbers are not incremental at all. The MQD for Silver is double. As a Silver, one gets very few upgrades. The free baggage and early boarding is not costing Delta that much money to cause it to double the qualification? Is there more to these changes than just meets the eye? Delta isn’t losing money so that isn’t the issue. Someone commented that these changes will cause competitors to change their FF programs. I am not so sure about that. AA has really attracted more customers with Loyalty Points.


I also have a business Delta AmEx and a personal along with a Business AmEx Platinum with 500,000 miles


So you are saying if I have 400,000 miles saved I’m our of luck or should use as many as possible in 2024?

Robert Alderson

As I understand it, the same rules apply for people like me who live outside the United States. This puts us at a huge disadvantage because we or the companies we work for cannot easily use US-based credit cards. Thus, my 10 years of Delta Diamond based on MQMs are worth very little going forward. Delta needs to decide whether it is a credit card company or an airlines. I have been loyal to Delta for 25 years and a couple of weeks ago became a Million Miler. I am very disappointed in Delta.


That’s easy. They are absolutely a credit card company. Every company eventually becomes some version of a management company or a bank (or both). The awards program is the most valuable part of Delta. They’re going to do everything possible to drive the selling of their points.


American’s AAdvantage and United’s Mileage Plus both have been described as more valuable than their airlines, but I have not heard/read the same about SkyMiles. I know Delta management considers their Amex miles as a huge revenue stream. But the vast majority, of us, do not hold SkyMiles in high regard. In 2008, Delta management sold their souls to Amex for miles to run/finance the company. In the last 5-6 years, using SkyMiles for premium cabins is near impossible (at reasonable redemption costs) compared to UA and AA.

These changes could be the death knell for low level FFs, using Delta. With the exception of JFK and ATL, Delta hubs are not in very large population centers. Can Delta be as profitable with only hub captives? I live in Central IL, Delta stopped service in my city in May 2020. And many small Delta cities still have reduced flights. In these same cities that Delta serves, passengers have to stop-over in a hub for their flight to their final destination. We stopped flying Delta because they don’t serve our airport. Why bother? If low level FFs (Silver & Gold) even begin to move away from Delta this makes these decisions, a very a foolish move. Everything in the airline business is incremental, it may take a year, but these elite decisions, will be incrementally bad for Delta.


I see what you are saying, but I don’t think you realize how normal people think. Most people don’t follow points and miles news. They might not even know about the changes to the Delta program outside of the email that Delta sent. They don’t realize how worthless Delta miles are. They only know that Delta is the most prestigious US airline, and that their credit cards are offered by AmEx, the most prestigious credit card issuer. It about the brand perception. They don’t understand the details they way that you and I do. I work a weekend service job and see a TON of people paying with Delta credit cards.

Furthermore, Delta is not just ATL. They have hubs in Detroit and SLC as well, and are highly competitive in Seattle and Los Angles. They also have minor hubs in a lot of secondary markets. They serve a lot more people than you probably realize.

Until the general public wakes up and realizes the poor value that they’re getting for their points, AmEx and Delta will continue to make crazy money off of the sale and distribution of miles. I mean, look at how many people still use AmEx MR for gift cards and statement credits, or use Chase UR for magazine subscriptions. The general public just does not understand the value of points.


My reply is not about the average, once, twice a year flyer. To make Silver/Gold requires quite a bit of spend/flying on Delta and its partners. Doubling those spend requirements is not a tool to retain customers.

As for my knowledge of Delta, I was a travel agent for 30 years, I know plenty about Delta. In travel selling, Delta is called the double connection carrier. If you don’t live in Delta hub, you will have to connect thru a Delta hub. Delta was my preferred carrier for years. Flying from Central IL, requires a commuter jet flight to a hub city, for all of the big 3 carriers. UA and AA mostly go to ORD, whereas DL usually goes to DTW. For years our DL flights went to MSP and DTW, then just DTW, and in May 2020, DL dropped our city. DTW and MSP are a lot easier to connect in, than ORD. What I’m getting at is, I flew Delta a lot in the last 20 years. I know the Delta hubs very well!

Yes, Delta/Amex realizes in marketing their CCs, that the majority of cardholders are not FFs. These cardholders just see the total miles and probably have no current redemption plans. But as for getting over-sized value from SkyMiles? Yeah, not happening. Yeah, the infrequent flyer is very gullible. They are usually looking for the cheapest fare. They are not looking for award flights in DeltaOne, to Europe. By the way, Hawaii is still the dream destination for many miles collectors.

The changes Delta recently made for 2024, concern frequent flyers, not casual flyers. Frequent flyer miles are a cash cow for all the airlines. When financial analysts calculate the value of the Big 3 carriers, they always estimate that FF programs as their most valuable assets. For example, AAdvantage was the only profit center for AA, for many years. These Delta changes to elite status and SkyClub access don’t fundamentally affect the value of a SkyMile. That value is determined by one’s redemption.

What is debatable is whether Delta wants low level frequent flyers? From these changes in earning elite status, I think that is very questionable.


I know so many people who put 100% spend on Delta because they are loyal and like the “benefits” without flying much. Pull out the card proudly at dinner and speak fondly of their companion certificates. Great marketing by Delta and will likely result in more profits and higher spend from those customers which are the target demographic for the change.

The changes are not for us in the game, nor are they for frequent flyers. Good bye Delta it’s been a good run.


Been a platinum for several years but it will not happen any longer. I fly many miles but $$ wise I will never reach 18K even if I add the spending from my Delta Platinum Amex.
Solution: I switch to United already and will be a Platinum by the end of the year (already gold now) and I have applied for the United Club Visa (same price of the Delta Amex) which allows me to access all lounges for free


There will undoubtedly be a tweak at the end of year one just like AA.

Chaz LS

@Greg Why does your spend on credit card chart use two different credit cards to achieve status? I think there’s no longer any limit on MQD credit for spending on any single card (and I tested on Delta’s “estimator”). I think having more than one card will now depend mainly on how much one values the Companion Certificate on the extra cards one keeps. (If keeping extra DR cards, the extra SkyClub visits may add a bit of value also.) My first thought is that I will keep one Delta Reserve card only.

Chaz LS

Never mind my question. I see now that the 2024 column removed the use of 2 different credit cards. The rest of my comment still stands.

Mitsu Hadeishi

I think you didn’t touch on one of the worst changes to the program: the new program limits SkyClub visits to 6/year for Platinum card holders and 10/year for Reserve card holders. I fly Delta at least 12 round trips a year, and I often want to visit SkyClubs on layovers as well as on arrival. This change means I will often “run out” of SkyClub visits long before the year is out. I’d already been considering switching my loyalty to American and that is my current plan, if I can make the routing work out. Yes, the AA Executive card has a high annual fee that isn’t really offset meaningfully, but it provides unlimited Admiral’s Club visits and AA miles are MUCH more valuable for international travel.


The concept is that you get the perks you earn. Delta/Amex have established criteria for the various perks. Including lounge access. Earn unlimited access by spending $75k on an eligible card. In either case, something needs to happen with respect to lounge overcrowding and some will lose access. C’est la vie.

Mitsu Hadeishi

Thanks, Greg.

I think the problem is that this seriously penalizes frequent business flyers while keeping SkyClub access for casual flyers more or less intact. Many business travelers may fly 2, 3, 4 times a month (sometimes short-haul and therefore not lucrative in terms of MQDs), and we really have a use for a SkyClub during layovers. A single round trip with a layover could burn 4-6 of those visits in one trip. Casual travelers (who are almost certainly the vast majority of people in the Clubs and the main reason for the overcrowding) are still going to have unfettered Club access, but business travelers are faced with likely having to buy BOTH a SkyClub membership and ALSO carrying and spending a ton on a Reserve card to even attain status at all, much less retain the status they have.

A SkyClub membership is $695 and you get zero additional perks for that. Then to get status you probably ALSO need to shell out $550 for a Reserve card. That’s $1250 for unlimited SkyClub access plus some decent shot at status, plus one companion pass that is difficult to use. The math looks pretty grim for business travelers.

Contrast this with AA, which charges $595 for unlimited Admiral’s Club access, but it includes a ton of perks, status accelerators, at least $200 or so worth of credits (bringing the effective cost down to $400). So basically you get unlimited lounge access for $400, with a bunch of perks that make earning status faster and easier, plus lots of other AA advantages for checkin and boarding. A MUCH better deal.

My personal issue is AA doesn’t serve the West Coast as well as Delta so it’s a less attractive airline to switch loyalty to. However, I just grabbed an Executive card and got an instant status match to Platinum Pro from Globalist and will try it out for the rest of the year (I don’t have much if any reason to fly Delta more this year since I’ve already hit Silver Medallion and I’ve got no shot at Gold anyway).

Mitsu Hadeishi

(And it sort of goes without saying that spending $75K on a Platinum or Reserve card is a terrific waste of money. You can get so much more than SkyClub access for that level of spend. I would MUCH rather allocate my personal spend to a WoH card.)

Raj Dash

Been a NWA and eventually a Delta traveler. When I traveled weekly for work in my five state area and racked up the $$ I only made gold despite $36K in spend (company credit card per policy). Now I was enjoying the last three years. But now I see my 65k of rollover miles for next year won’t amount to beans. I fly to India mostly.
Next year will be looking at Emirites, Luthtansa and others. I don’t like this upcoming program at all.


Saw a sign at United club, Denver that if you have a day pass, you are not welcome. I was flying first class so they made an exception for me. The club was packed. United card gives 2 day passes on a Chase card. Oh well !


I think that on the Delta Reserve, this gives the seldom mentioned first class upgrade benefit more likely to clear since theoretically there will be less elites on the upgrade list.


This has very much a “new Coke launch” feel to it…


Man- I was really surprised to see how much spend is required to even be lowly silver. I think we’ve become spoiled with the post Covid rollover situation. For example- my husband who doesn’t fly much but took 2 Europe and 1 Asia trip in 2020 has been platinum since then and will be next year (due to mqd waiver) But he never was before.
My take- I’ll give up status. I live in atlanta so I’ll still fly delta domestically. I’m not going to be herded like cattle on southwest and low cost carriers are not in the cards for me. Delta still does offer a superior onboard experience and I’m not going to fuss to the point that I connect flying united or American when I can fly direct on delta. Internationally I’ll use transferable points.
As far as credit card goes- I think the delta Amex plat is still worth having for 15% off reward tickets and more than pays for itself w the companion ticket. With zero status main cabin 1 and free checked bags may also come in handy. However spending on the card no longer makes sense. Nonetheless there will be the delta loyalists who don’t play the points and miles game who will spend their way to status (if they can afford it). Any time I have a points and miles convo w my atlanta people, they are just so stuck on delta and can’t look past it. I don’t see that changing. I’m so curious how spend on the cobranded cards will change if at all.

Raj Dash

You may be right. My Dad is a 3 million miler. But I can’t see this new program helping any loyalists. It seems so one sided.

Kim M

For those of ditching Delta loyalty and Delta Amex cards due to these changes, please consider and article comparing United vs American loyalty programs — which one provides the most value of those two? I have miles in both, and I am definitely changing my loyalties, the question is to which one. I know they both are spending based programs, but they seem to have much more attainable limits. Would love to hear your thoughts on that.


Kim and PJM, you are representing your company well, you are both good Delta Airlines employees. Anyone who flies a lot knows this is horrible. But I do applaud you for being that loyal employee. Jerry said it best, you will see many more people dropping Delta AMX because there is no reason to use it. Get a Hilton, Marriott or Chase card.


@pjoseph 100% agree. That’s what I said. No reason to spend on the card but if you have no status plenty of reasons to hold the card namely main cabin 1 instead of main cabin 4 or whatever. I work for a credit reporting agency for your information and churn the crap out of chase cards 🙂

Larry S

I have had the same impressions as others and agree completely with NK3. Been Platinum for 7 or 8 years and will likely switch to UA and not fly DL at all next year. I live in a mid-sized city that is served equally by the three major airlines.

I’ll be downgrading the DL Reserve to a non annual fee version and focusing on UA. With biz travel, lounge access is a non-negotiable factor for me, and DL is now only marginally better than UA on CS and reliability. Their SVP of Customer Engagement and Loyalty (Dwight Jones) just got this one wrong–unless their goal is to have fewer customers and less revenue. I think he is convinced that people are coming to DL because their travel portals and product are better, but he is not seeing the whole value picture. None of these changes will motivate people to use DL vacations, DL portals, or fly DL. Just no value because the bar is too high.

I feel sorry for anyone based in Atlanta, and if I worked for UA or AA, I’d be aggressively recruiting DL elites in Seattle, SLC, NY, and LA.

I do chase status for one reason: the customer service line. Waiting minutes over hours has saved me time and again, so I am going to switch to UA because I’ll be able to make Platinum there. I don’t find value in the upgrades because the airlines work so hard to sell them, and I can take or leave the other perks. GUCs and RUCs are nice, but I would not chase status just for them.

My recommendations to DL would have been:

  1. Eliminate SkyClub access for AmEx Platinum and Biz Platinum. Those cards have moved farther from travel, and AmEx now runs their own competing lounges. And, the widespread adoption of the AmEx Platinum is a large contributor to lounge over-crowding.
  2. Keep unlimited SkyClub Access for DL Reserve–on par with how UA and AA handle their tip tier cards.
  3. Offer a much better MQD rate on DL card spend- something like 1 MQD/$3 on DLR and 1 MQD/$5 on DLP spend. This would allow a DLR spending $30K to have 10K MQD and be able to reach Gold or Platinum with a much more reasonable level of travel spend on Delta.

One last thought is that DL has a history of rolling out draconian changes and then backing off a little to quell the uproar. I hope that is what happens here. It is also not a bad business strategy–come out with something severe. Then, by backing it off a little (to where they probably wanted to be in the first place), those who were most negatively impacted will actually feel grateful and listened to–possibly even inducing a subconscious need to reciprocate with continued loyalty.

We’ll see. I am already booking my mileage runs for UA to keep my matched status from DL (will be helpful when I travel on them next year), and the UA Club card is already back in my wallet.


Delta has put attaining any meaningful status so. Far out of reach that even those that were “sold the hope” of getting to status under the old system, now can clearly determine there is no hope of getting to status come 2024 and cut up there cards. Delta will lose out incremental spend of the masses in exchange for the astronomical spend of a few.


Jerry, excellent point. I didn’t think about that. I have been using my Delta AMX at Hilton for the 3X airline miles. After reading your comment, I just signed up for the Hilton AMX program, excellent start up bonus and tons of points for booking my hotel using my Hilton AMX. Just another way Delta is going lose AMX dollars.

A guy named Mike

In summary:

1) The Delta Platinum just got crushed ($20 spend for 1 MQD, lol nope)
2) Its better to pay for a SkyClub membership than get an Amex Platinum (only 6 visits) or Delta Reserve (10 visits) if you are a medallion and lounge access matters to you.
3) The quickest way to get status is to pay way too much on a Delta Vacations package.


You do need to have status of some kind to buy SkyClub membership under the current rules, so anyone who isn’t certain they will meet the Silver requirements by flying each year would still want to consider the Amex if they do know they will use a lounge at least 6 times a year.

A guy named Mike

I did say ‘if you are a medallion’. Regular SkyMiles members aren’t called Medallions.


Does this mean that having status gives zero boosting to maintaining it? You just earn more sky pesos? Are Million MIler Miles also not bonused by status or fare class?


That’s the perk they’ll introduce in 2025 when their numbers fall off a cliff in q3 ‘24 and q4 ‘24.
Silver 10% mqd bonus
Gold 20% mqd bonus
Plat 30% mqd bonus
Diamond 50% mqd bonus


So no status boost for reaching certain spending thresholds?


Nothing announced yet but it’s possible since we do know they are planning to announce new Choice Benefits in 2024 and perhaps other changes to status benefits generally.

Depending on what Delta and AMEX’s metrics look like, I could imagine down the road a Reserve Card holder earning a bonus $1000 MQD for each $30K spent in a year. Fairly similar to United and AA’s cards.


right but before my $30k spend would equate to 15,000 MQM’s (20% of current platinum status) and that $1,000 MQDs equates to just 5.5% of the 2025 platinum requirement, if math is correct. I’ve been a reserve holder for 6 years, but now there’s just no point in having it. Unless I’m missing something. I get Delta needs to increase the thresholds, but this is insane.


I think AMEX and Delta do want to cut the number of high-level status holders altogether (so ostensibly there is real value in achieving it) and also the maximizers that they are likely losing money on.


Nice status writeup… now for another article JUST on the Sky Club nerfs, lol

Are those who travel for work/business on Delta going to just do the spend on an Amex Plat in order to get unlimited lounge visits and 5 MR per $?


In business school you study why companies lose their most financially important customers and how that moves downstream to other top customers. I believe Delta Airlines will experience this. This year, I will reach around $32,000 MQD’s. This is the most I have flown. Delta sent me a report, 95% of my purchases were premium seats, mostly first class.

Delta said, use our ‘travel services” to earn MQD’s. Example, Hilton Hotel in Chicago, my corporate rate (CR), I selected a business day night, CR was $228 a night, Delta travel services was $348 a night. This year I stayed at the O’Hare Hilton 10 nights (Hilton guy and I am usually 75 – 100 nights a year) that would be over $1,200 more to use Delta travel services just to earn MQD’s. I am 100% positive if an Delta Employee spent $1,200 more, just one hotel to earn points, that person WOULD BE FIRED, AND SHOULD BE.

Delta, you just became generic. I started flying Delta 3 ½ years ago and quickly became Diamond. Their people are nice, and First Class is nice too. Before that I flew United Airlines, and their First Class is very nice too. You add that Delta devalues their miles (points) for a free trip, then who cares which airline you fly.

I understand they want to make people at the elite level, (In their words, be special), and they want to drive more cash through their AMX (again, their words), by using their travel services, which are much higher priced, see example above. 

Our CEO sent out a quick memo asking for feedback about this program. Our CEO allows us to book our own travel or have our admin book it. We have 273 employees who travel a lot for our firm. A few years ago, 86% flew Delta, last year it was 67% who flew Delta. She (our CEO) wanted to know out of the 180 or so leaders who fly Delta, how many would be loyal to them now? The number was stunning, only 23 said they would continue to fly Delta, they just put Diamond too far out of reach.

Regarding me, count me as one who will now not be loyal to Delta anymore. This is be another “Business School” case study, in how to lose your most loyal customers.  


“ Delta said, use our ‘travel services” to earn MQD’s. Example, Hilton Hotel in Chicago, my corporate rate (CR), I selected a business day night, CR was $228 a night, Delta travel services was $348 a night. This year I stayed at the O’Hare Hilton 10 nights (Hilton guy and I am usually 75 – 100 nights a year) that would be over $1,200 more to use Delta travel services just to earn MQD’s. I am 100% positive if a Delta Employee spent $1,200 more, just one hotel to earn points, that person WOULD BE FIRED, AND SHOULD BE.”

Excellent point.


Very well said! And wow – quite revealing on how many of the business travelers at your company will quit being loyal and confirms what I had suspected would happen. Will be a 2025 bloodbath for delta and they’ll come crying to the gov for a bailout and rolling out all sorts of promos and status match challenges. Burned bridges are hard to rebuild though. Rip Delta!


Did they make any mention of rollover MQDs for the upcoming years?
For instance, if you make platinum and have 20,000 MQDs will the extra 2,000 rollover into 2025?


Better off spending on Bank of America with Platinum Honors and getting cash back moving forward I think

Raj Dash

At this point there will be a lot of folks looking at other cards and determining what makes the most sense. It won’t be Amx Delta Plat.


Off topic but what happened to tracking the $300 travel credit on the CSR card? I’ve been trying to find it on the Chase web site but can’t find it.


Never mind. I finally found it.


It amazes me how airlines once found frequent flyer programs a way to drive loyalty to the now current bain of their existence. Whether it is the airlines or the hotels, it seems Hyatt is about the only one that considers its loyalty program to be good. If one is in a market primarily served by Delta, this is really bad news. If I were a business traveller I would be avoiding Delta. Maybe consumers should pull a Bud Light on Delta. The changes at Delta benefit no one but Delta.


Avoid delta and then what. All US airline going to be the same


This is Delta being Delta: a leader in customer-unfriendly changes to a frequent flyer program. Delta would be betraying its character if it were not to devalue the program and get or stay ahead of the industry curve in devaluing the program to try to shake more money out of the customers and signal to other airlines it’s ok for them to follow and devalue their frequent flyer programs more too.

This is what we get for the government — including the corporate-apologist courts — allowing so much market consolidation and concentration that it’s far too easy for corporations to play this monkey see monkey do game while tossing monkey feces at the consumers.


A few observations:

  1. The MQM conversion can give people either a soft landing or parting gift. If you choose the MQDs, but your spending does not change, it could bump you up for a single year. Or you could just take some miles if you leave the elite hamster wheel. For myself, I am leaning to the second option.
  2. No shortcuts if you are already elite. With the AA Loyalty point setup, if you are already elite, you earn more miles & loyalty points when spending money with AA, so when you are already elite, it is (slightly) easier to earn elite status again. Nothing like that here.
  3. For million milers, you could skip a year with less of a penalty. Before, you needed to earn at least Silver Medallion status to rollover MQMs. Now, you could switch airlines for a couple years, with no real penalty. I am going to hit MM status next month, so that means next year I would have to hit $12k MQD to see any incremental benefit. I probably will use this as an opportunity to try out AA or Alaska.
  4. The Delta Shopping Portal is still not a priority. The earning rates for the Delta portal have always seemed to be somewhat lower than Alaska and United, and often much lower than AA. It never seemed like they valued it like AA did. For that reason, it is not surprising that Delta did not integrate this into the elite earning program like AA did.
  5. If you are rolling over MQMs, there can be a small rebate on award tickets through the end of the year. I have a few award flights coming up, and it is kinda nice to know for every 1000 MQM I earn, I will get 500 miles back next year.
  6. This just seems a lot less fun than the AA revamp. Is it just me who thinks this? The AA revamp created buzz, and encouraged engagement, even with people who previously never thought about AA status. Maybe I am wrong, but I do not see any new people being drawn to Delta by these changes. But that was probably the point.

P2 and I have been Diamond medallion for years (since 2016, I think?). It used to be a lot of fun, with a lot of surprise and delight moments. But they continually moved the goal posts for elite qualification, while also making cuts to the benefits. In my household, we have said multiple times that we were going to give up on chasing status. These cuts are almost a relief, because it makes it a whole lot easier to make a clean break. I understand why they made that cuts, and I probably was never a Diamond they made a huge amount of money off of anyways.

David Hamann

Amazing response.


NK3. This is great. Thank you for taking the time to write this out.


Good analysis. I genuinely think AMEX and Delta may want to cut the number of status holders- especially Platinum/Diamond and the maximizers with regard to card benefits.

So they don’t see a need to offer as good an opportunity to earn/boost status as AA and MasterCard arguably provide. They likely view a good chunk of current people as minimally profitable if at all and wouldn’t mind if they just downgraded to Delta Gold (same award ticket discount and bag/boarding perks, but no access to status through card spend).

phil G

oh man, theres no way i can hit diamond now….been diamond for 4+ years with rollover…..there usually some kind of exception for intl members….know if there is any thing in there to save us or now we also have the same spend requirements?



I’ll spend my $35K flying AF business, Singapore, Emirates and Qatar and enjoy truly excellent products! After 2MM & Diamond status, Delta will see $0 from me. Cards will be cancelled before January.

Larry S

I’ll be downgrading or cancelling my DL Reserve as well as soon as the annual fee comes due. Not sure on the AmEx Platinum and Biz Platinum. Still get a lot of value from them independent from DL.

Raj Dash

I am totally agreeing with you. I have had exceptional experiences w Emirites the few times I flew them. So now I will find ways to use them in international trips and just use Delta when they are the only choice (I live in Mpls, so domestic flights often the case).


What a total nightmare to those of us trying for status yearly and to again within 1 year increase the speeding so outrageously is offensive to their frequent fliers !!! Also to limit to ??? 10 visits per year is a real kind in the face to those spending $695.00.. AMEX what is wrong with you abusing your clients so horribly??? hope there is a lot of kickback from the loyal Amex and Delta troops…

A guy named Mike

The Amex Platinum and Delta Platinum are both huge losers in this. My Delta Platinum might get cancelled even in a retention year because there is no point in spending on it and the companion pass is pretty unusable outside of undesirable flight times and limited destinations.


Apart from the grim news it does make an interesting metric for what they calculate top tier to be worth to them. $250k spend at probably 1.5% back to them (rest goes to bank) means they want ~$3750 cash for too status.


$350k spend for diamond.


This is a real bummer. I’m based out of ATL and I have been Diamond for years. I spend ~$25K on flights each year. I’m on the road a lot, and many of my tickets are in the $300 range for round trip. $35K would be a real stretch for me.

Like many folks, it looks like I will have to settle for Platinum or consider switching loyalty to AA (which feels dumb living in Atlanta).


Too much opportunity loss there, even living in a DL hub & flying frequently.


Welcome to free agency, you’ll find lots of options out of ATL. I’ve been doing this the last few years and its now the rare exception to fly DL.

Raj Dash

I think Southwest has options out of ATL because they bought ATA or someone a while back. I have on a few occasions bought last min tix to ATL from MSP. Direct flights often much less$


Southwest has a lot of options out of ATL, although of course sometimes Delta is the better choice because of more flights or direct flights. But being a free agent between the two airlines in ATL should work out well because between Chase SW Priority card and SW selected as my airline with Amex Platinum I can get early check in or A1-15 boarding most of the time with SW and hopefully have enough Delta lounge tickets for occasional Delta flights. Time will tell whether I will ever be able to get inside the door of the upcoming Centurion lounge.


Can you write about flying partner airlines as a (maybe better) way to get MQD? I keep seeing it being mentioned on reddit, but unclear what the advantage really is.


Aeromexico W class is a sweet spot.


Hi Greg, can you provide an updated valuation for Delta Diamond Elite Status? What are the most valuable benefits you receive from status and how much would you pay for those benefits?

A guy named Mike

Kind of interesting that your article shows a $1,700 incremental value of diamond over platinum and if you apply a 1% opportunity cost to the $170,000 Delta Reserve spend to move from the bottom of platinum to diamond, that is basically what you are paying.

It feels like they are agreeing with you.


They move closer to United and Americans model, but with 10-50% higher thresholds depending on incoming status and tier. They better start offering tangibly better benefits to justify it.


Delta Elite program changes are very bad. I was hooping that they rollout a program similar to AA. That’s will be a game changer, but only by MQD and the huge increase in MQD requirements seems to be difficult to earn status.

One of the new changes you didn’t mentioned is the changes to Delta SkyClub Access. The Delta Reserve Card has been significantly devalue with 10 passes per year.

Amex Platinum Cards also get nerfed with restrictions on Delta SkyClub Access.


Well I have to say I am pretty happy with my choice to give up Delta Diamond and fly Exclusively as American EXP. One thing I like about both American and Delta’s changes is doing away with segment based qualifications. That sucked when we were incentivized to take a layover (or two) instead of the direct flight. Happy those days are over.


End of the road for Delta Plat for me. P1 and P2 will qualify this year from rollover and 25k of spend. Next year I’ll likely pivot back to AA. Not thrilled about having to do so.

A guy named Mike

Yeah, my Delta Platinum might be dead even though I am up for retention. An illusion of a chance at status is a pretty difficult to use Companion Pass aren’t doing it for me.


I haven’t seen mention of this anywhere, but it essentially means award travel earns zero now. Right? I enjoyed the ability to knock out MQMs on those long distance / low points Delta operated flight redemptions!


Ok thanks! I never even paid attention to the MQDs on award travel since I would always hit MQD waiver. I guess that’s better than nothing!

I see Priority Pass lounges getting busier than ever since people will probably be much more intentional with their Sky Club passes (better clubs, longer layovers, etc).


award travel currently also earns MQD.


buy delta skyclub annual pass might be an option if fly a lot delta


I assume credit card welcome offers will be boosted in the next few weeks. One silver lining at least.


FWIU these changes don’t affect the award program so the miles from the increased sub aren’t necessarily devaluated.

Is that right?


Probably, for now. As usual Delta gives no warnings to devalue.


So these moves are technically a win for the Skypesos program. If people move away from flying and spending DL they will be forced to improve the program. Besides for the fact that there will be less people competing for J seats.


You will have 325k MQMs right? As 75k will be used for 2024 status. Or am
I getting that wrong?


@Greg, so what is your plan moving forward? Will you put spend on one AMEX CC beyond next year to earn status? 400,000MQM reminder to finally be a free agent.


Can you write more about the 2.62% cash-back strategy? I mean why would Delta believe that someone will spend $350k on a Delta card? if you spend that amount on a Venture X that is 700k points, you know how many business class tickets I can get with that.


There’s a lot of people who don’t work the system like those of us who read this blog do.

I had to laugh when I heard a sports radio host I know tell his producer that he (producer) was leaving money on the table compared to the host’s combination of Skymiles and Marriott points from Amex cards.


Bofa Cash unlimited or premium rewards earns 1.5x on everything. Combined with bofa preffered rewards you get a 75% boost to rewards earned on first party(not cobrand) rewards. So 1.5*1.75=2.625% on everything. Different criteria for personal/biz checking/investment accts and respective CC’s.


And you can get an additional 20% discount or so, if you have their Bank of America Premium Rewards Elite Card


Can you expand upon this statement? Discount on what exactly?


If you have the Bank of America Elite card then the points are with 20% more or I believe the flights booked use 20% less points. So I just say it’s a 20% discount to book through Bank of America travel portal. If you earn 2.625 cash back plus additional 20% discount when you book. I hope that makes sense


Ah I see! Thanks!


If this doesn’t turn him into a free agent, nothing will.

A guy named Mike

His home airport is DTW, so Delta has a huge built in advantage for his case that they don’t have in other markets.

Delta is 57% of the market, American is 4%, United is part of the 12% in ‘other’.