In what is no doubt the most shocking news since Lance Armstrong admitted to doping, Delta has finally announced a long rumored revenue based frequent flyer program. While I feared a revenue based frequent flyer program would be the worst thing to happen to the industry in a while, it actually doesn’t look that bad.
Starting January 1, 2014, Delta will start counting Medallion Qualifying Dollars MQDs), which will count towards the 2015 Medallion program. So kudos to Delta for the advance notice at least.
The good news is that it’s not nearly as bad as it could have been. Instead of going strictly revenue based they’ll still require you to earn status the old fashioned way (on miles or segments), and add a new requirement to spend what translates to an average of 10 cents per mile on status. That’s not unreasonable nowadays given how high airfare is, and I have to assume a vast majority of elites are already spending that amount.
That requirement can be waived by spending at least $25,000 per year on a Delta SkyMiles American Express credit card, which seems like a reasonable alternative.
Assuming they don’t devalue their award chart by switching to a revenue based redemption chart, I don’t think this is all that bad.