Delta Air Lines published upcoming changes to the SkyMiles program earlier today. Whether it was deliberate or an error, the page has since been taken down from Delta’s website. But not before an astute Flyertalker captured the details, as shown below.
[Updated 1/17: Delta has indeed announced the MQD portion below this morning]
Earning Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs)
Beginning March 1, 2013, the MQMs SkyMiles members earn on select fare classes will change.
For Delta-marketed flights, the MQM bonus for First/Business F and J fare classes will double from 50% to 100%. Economy M fare class will no longer earn a 50% MQM bonus. This change will apply to tickets purchased on or after March 1, 2013.
The above changes also will apply to F-, J- and M-equivalent fare-class tickets on Aeromexico, Air France-KLM, Alaska, Alitalia and Virgin Australia-marketed flights. This change will apply to travel flown on or after March 1, 2013.
The MQMs you earn on certain other partner-marketed flights will adjust for travel flown on or after March 1, 2013.
Please note that the way you currently earn redeemable miles is not changing.
Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) – Coming Next Year
Beginning January 1, 2014, SkyMiles members residing in the United States (excluding Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) will qualify for Medallion status based on an additional threshold – the member’s annual spending with Delta, which will be measured by Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs).
Members must also meet the existing Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) or Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs) qualification criteria.
The threshold ranges from $2,500-$12,500 MQDs depending on Medallion level.
Alternatively, Delta SkyMiles Credit Cardmembers can be waived from the new Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) requirement if they make at least $25,000 in Eligible Purchases within the calendar year.
First on the MQM side, it actually makes sense to me to reward full-fare first and business class fliers with large bonuses, particularly on the elite qualification side of the equation. Giving F- and J-class ticket purchasers a 100 percent MQM bonus would lead the big three U.S. airlines. United’s PQM bonus is currently 50 percent and American doesn’t give a bump in elite qualifying miles, but does provide 1.5 elite qualifying points per mile under their system.
Removing the third-most expensive coach M-class fare MQM bonus of 50 percent isn’t particularly bothersome as the airline’s main focus is predominantly on full Y-B fares in economy. I say this, of course, as someone who rarely (if ever) buys a ticket that expensive.
What’s most interesting to me is that Delta isn’t reducing either MQMs or redeemable miles earned on the lowest fare classes, if these are indeed the only planned changes for the remainder of 2013 and the 2014 program year. I would have assumed U.S. airlines would lower the earn rates there at the same time as adding an annual revenue requirement. This would bleed-out elite ranks faster for the lower-spend “over-entitled” fliers like myself.
And regarding the revenue requirement, is it time to “move” to Canada (or Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands or anywhere else globally) for some Delta elites as the new MQD concept applies to only 50-stater U.S. residents? The spend threshold for each tier ranges from $2,500 to $12,500, probably something like this (my total guess) [Updated 1/17: And I was wrong on the Plat tier amount, it's confirmed at $7,500]:
- Silver Medallion: $2,500
- Gold Medallion: $5,000
- Platinum Medallion: $9,000 $7,500
- Diamond Medallion: $12,500
United’s rumored, yet unrealized changes for the 2012 program year also had a spend requirement I blogged about in 2011. The proposed levels were:
United Airlines Rumored Spend Requirements From 2011
Yeah, I know it’s still Premier 1K, but “Diamond” was speculated at the time as the top level.
And now might be the time to get a Delta credit card if you don’t already have one. The MQD requirement will allegedly be waived if you spend at least $25,000 in eligible purchases each year.
It remains to be seen what the actual changes will be, but I’m certain they’ll be announced this year, as I blogged about yesterday. Here’s the link to the ever-growing Flyertalk thread discussing the possible changes.
Delta fliers: Is this a big deal to you?
The First Airline in 2013 to Change to a Revenue-Based Frequent-Flier Program Is…
My Thoughts on the Rumored United MileagePlus Changes
Looking Back at 2013 and What’s Ahead in 2013