Delta flyers who want to reach SkyMiles’ ultra-elite Diamond Medallion status have to fly 125,000 qualifying miles or 140 segments annually, and they have to rack up at least $15,000 in spending (i.e., Medallion Qualifying Dollars or MQDs) on Delta and its partners. Or they can avoid that last requirement by spending a certain amount on a Delta American Express credit card.
But that so-called “MQD Waiver” for Diamond status will soon be a lot harder to achieve.
Currently, the waiver requires spending $25,000 a year on a qualifying credit card. But as of January 1, that minimum spend will jump to an eye-popping $250,000 in a calendar year for aspiring Diamond Medallion elites. That might be OK if you’re planning to make a down payment on a new house with your card, but it’s quite a stretch for just about anyone else.
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Showing a talent for understatement, the carrier said on its website that “We understand this is a significant increase.” But it noted that the minimum annual card spending level for earning a MQD Waiver toward its other elite levels (Platinum, Gold and Silver Medallion) will remain at $25,000. And it reminded members that the change will not affect their 2017 efforts to gain Diamond status for 2018.
Why such a huge bump in required spending to gain a waiver from the Diamond MQD requirement? Delta really doesn’t explain that. All it says is: “This qualification change will allow us to deliver on expectations for Diamond Medallion status so members can maximize elite benefits like Complimentary Upgrades and Sky Club access.”
Outrage over the move has become frothy on social media:
— DailyTravelTips (@DailyTravelTips) September 26, 2017
TravelSkills reader ES comments: “It would be $250K overall on the Delta/AmEx card to get a waiver, or $15,000 on tickets. For me, it means I won’t be using the Delta/AmEx card exclusively anymore.”
On our TravelSkills Facebook page, reader JD said: “This is good news to the passengers that put in the miles (apposed to buying miles). They fly a lot and want those upgrades!”
To see the announcement and some FAQs about the change, click here, then click into Medallion Program Updates.
What about you, readers? Will this change affect your plans to reach 2019 Diamond status?