I knew that the general idea of Delta’s new elite requirements seemed to follow United and AA’s lead (see: Delta’s 2024 elite program – it ain’t pretty), but until I started crunching the numbers I didn’t realize that Delta must have literally copied United’s numbers and then applied a few tweaks. Let me show you what I found…
MQDs = PQPs + 20%
Take a look at this. Except for top-tier Diamond status, Delta’s new MQD requirements are exactly 20% more than United’s PQPs.
|Elite Level||United PQP Requirements||Delta MQD Requirements||Difference|
|Silver||$5K||$6K||Delta is 20% higher|
|Gold||$10K||$12K||Delta is 20% higher|
|Platinum||$15K||$18K||Delta is 20% higher|
|Top Tier||$24K||$35K||Delta is 46% higher|
It’s pretty blatant, isn’t it? I bet when Delta first determined the requirements they penciled in $24K x 1.2 = $28,800 for Diamond, but then decided to multiply by 1.2 again to get to 34,560, and then they rounded off to $35K.
Credit Card Spend Matches Perfectly
Here’s where it gets even more interesting. United offers 500 PQPs per $12K spend on a number of credit cards. So, even though there are caps on how many PQPs you can earn (unless you have the old Presidential Plus Card), we can project how much spend is required to earn each status level if there were no caps and if you earn status entirely through credit card spend. Check this out:
|Elite Level||United Card Spend||Delta Platinum Card Spend||Difference|
|Top Tier||$576K||$700K||Delta is 22% higher|
The credit card spend required for Silver, Gold, and Platinum are exactly the same!
Here, obviously Delta wants to encourage people to get and put spend on the Delta Reserve card because with that card you can earn status with half the spend shown above.
Coincidence? No way
I don’t think there’s any way that it can be coincidence that Delta’s new requirements for the first three levels of elite status track perfectly with United’s. I would have expected Delta to put more thought in this, but instead we can plainly see where they got their inspiration and their detailed numbers.