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In early 2013 Delta SkyMiles announced that they would be adding revenue requirements for earning status starting with the 2014 program year.
Instead of just having to earn 25,000-125,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles for earning status, you’d also have to spend a minimum of 10 cents per mile pre-tax on those flights ($2,500-$12,500).
Ultimately there were two ways to get around these revenue requirements:
- Spend a minimum of $25,000 on one of Delta’s co-branded credit cards
- Register your SkyMiles account somewhere other than the US
Not surprisingly, United quickly followed Delta’s move, and added a similar revenue requirement.
That was only the start of Delta’s “innovation,” though. Earlier in the year they announced that starting in 2015 they would begin awarding redeemable miles based on how much you spend on a ticket as opposed to how many miles you fly. Instead of earning one mile per flown mile, you’ll be earning five miles per dollar spent. Not surprisingly, United matched that as well.
Delta SkyMiles will be raising revenue requirements for 2016 status
While under the current system you have to spend an average of 10 cents per mile in order to qualify for status, Delta SkyMiles will be raising the revenue requirement in order to qualify for 2016 status (meaning for spend in 2015) by 20%:
- MQDs required for Silver Medallion increasing from $2,500 to $3,000
- MQDs required for Gold Medallion increasing from $5,000 to $6,000
- MQDs required for Platinum Medallion increasing from $7,500 to $9,000
- MQDs required for Diamond Medallion increasing from $12,500 to $15,000
I guess we shouldn’t be surprised, but in a way you’ve gotta love the approach Delta takes. They do what they want when they want, and no one’s gonna stop them. I mean, they might as well be a phone or cable company based on how much love they’re showing their customers.
The most surprising part of these changes
Here’s the part that really surprises me. As I mentioned above, you can waive the spend requirement by putting $25,000 of spend on a co-branded Delta SkyMiles credit card. Apparently nothing is changing when it comes to that. That’s really surprising, since I figured they’d either:
- Increase the amount of spend required
- Not allow credit card spend to get a revenue waiver at all status levels — for example, at United no amount of credit card spend will get you a revenue requirement waiver for Premier 1K status
This is especially surprising since in 2015 Delta will start limiting the number of points you can transfer from partner programs to SkyMiles. I figured they’d have a similarly unfriendly change for those getting revenue requirements waived through credit card spend, though it seems not.
So it seems they’re only selectively telling the credit card companies to bugger off. I suppose they have a bigger incentive to make sure that their co-branded credit card business is healthy.
Delta flyers, how will these changes impact your travel patterns and/or loyalty to SkyMiles?
(Tip of the hat to The Points Guy)