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Delta Should Extend Medallion Elite Status for ALL for 1 Year Due to Coronavirus — Plus FREE Flight Changes All of 2020!

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


I have CANCELLED all my booked flights for 2020 (not just on Delta) — and do not plan to go near an airport anytime soon. It is simply not worth the risk and fyi I am a Delta Million Miler and Diamond Medallion for 2020 and have already qualified for Delta Platinum Medallion for 2021 . But I will not place myself inches away from someone who may have coronavirus.

Oh, I know Delta is doing the mandated cleaning (and more), even chemically fogging some jets, to keep them safe-ish. But that is the jet – not the people on board.

Delta is not doing enough IMO.

They are, in a strictly business move, offering folks who buy NEW tickets a chance to change them free. If you are sick and want to change an old ticket (unless to a few limited international locations) – pay the change fee, sucker. (To be fair, the other airlines are being just as fee-nasty as Delta with these waivers / non-waivers).

What Delta should do is simply write off change fees as an income source for all of 2020. If they want folks to fly, offer 2020 as fee-free waiver year. That may motivate folks again to buy tickets and allow those who do not want to fly NOW to move their flights later in the year.

But you and I both know Delta is not going to take this bold move – right?

There is one more mega huge “Keep Climbing” worthy thing Delta should do if they want to look to the future and earn back the money lost this year – reward elites who may not be fly much during 2020 due to the Coronavirus. How?

Right NOW extend everyone for one year!

Yep. Simply extend everyone who has any level of status for 2020 to not expire on 1FEB2021 but to move the expiration to 1FEB2022.

Why do this? Clearly this virus mess is impacting everyone everywhere. Yes, I know the airlines are hurting. They will soon have to park jets due to lower demand. Heck, they even have to fly empty jets just to keep their landing slots. All of this is costing them big bucks.

Having said that, extending status will cost Delta very little and when this thing is all over and folks start flying again, are they not going to remember something like Delta going out of their way to reward those who have been loyal in the past to keep being loyal for 2021?

Do I think Delta will do this?

No!

Rather, they will go the grab-all-the-cash-we-can route and when the end of the year chance to sell us MQMs and MQDs rolls around the prices will be even higher than the beyond bat crazy $5000 top price tag for last year. I would love for them to prove me wrong.

What do you think? Would this be a wise move by Delta to keep elites happy next year when flying, presumably, returns to normal? What about waiving change fees for all of 2020? Good idea or should they stick it to us because they can? – René

 

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.

20 Comments

  1. I think the status extension is a great idea… prob won’t happen so will require some creative spend and mileage runs. Or a status-free 2021.

  2. Maybe I’m dreaming, but many of us have already requalified, with status valid till 1/22 and tons of rollover MQMs to spare. So, extension of status wouldn’t help, but a preservation/extension of rollover MQMs sure would.

  3. My mom was due to fly to Florence, Italy at the end of the month. Delta waived her change fees but she’s still left holding a credit of $1300. She’s 80 years old so the chances of her using that credit are slim to none. I wish delta would allow her to give that credit to someone in our family so $1300 doesn’t just go down the drain.

  4. I agree the extension is a great idea. I think Delta should extend the Medallion Elite Status. (I’m Diamond now)
    This Coronavirus is beyond our control.
    I was going to take a lot of trips this year again, but due to this Coronavirus, We’re taking this one trip in 2 weeks (domesticaly) and this will be it for the year. I may cancel at the last minute.
    I’m playing it day by day with the updates from the media and http://coronavirus-realtime.com and https://ncov2019.live/map and https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ The sites listed state they are up to date with the information.
    I won’t be doing the mileage runs like I usually do this year.

  5. Rolling over 2020 status is a great idea. But rollover everything – MQMs, MQDs, and MQSs. Those of us who have already reached Diamond or Platinum for 2021 or manage to do so before years’s end, should be given an extra set of Choice Benefits.

  6. At risk of playing devil’s advocate, how would they make any extension fair for those who have travelled this year?

    • @Mark and others – IMO it would be a wise business choice and it will not penalize those who have already earned it (other than the fact there may be more elites).

  7. So you cancelled your trips for the next 8 months without knowing the situation that will be in place next week or next month? There are no waivers past April right now unless international and even if Delta will work with their elites outside what is posted it just seems a bit over the top to me.

    • @Leo – The virus will be a mess all year long and the pain is just starting here in the US.

  8. Hopefully there will be some type of adjustment. I can easily make Platinum with banked MQMs and the AMEX waiver. I would be happy if I was bumped up one level to Diamond to maintain the status I have had for the last 5+ years. Alternatively, Delta could go back to allowing the AMEX waiver to be used to achieve Diamond with $25K in spending, or something higher but a lot less than $250K.

    This raises another interesting option. If I end up flying hardly at all this year, am I better off not reaching the $25K waiver and not spending 75,000 MQMs for 2021 Platinum Medallion status? I could use “Reclaim My Status” to get three months of Diamond status in early 2021 and apply the 75,000 MQMs for 2022 Platinum status, which I could also use in 2021 until I make Diamond again. Is this a good option, or am I missing something?

  9. I rolled over 95,000 MQM. Could still get to 125,000 Diamond Level. Would think after 10 years of Diamond Status in a row they would waive the MQD spend of $15,000.

  10. Barry Graham Reply

    The virus won’t be with us all year, but I still like the idea of extending for a year. It’s not true to say that it won’t cost Delta anything, though. For those of us that won’t be canceling our plans, it is an added expense to give free upgrades, gift cards or whatever we chose from our choice benefits, for another year, without the corresponding revenue from our travel. It’s also not accurate to look at change fees simply as a source of revenue. They are there to compensate for the reduced fares that we get in return for a less flexible ticket. If they charge the lower fares and don’t charge change fees, while suffering from reduced revenue from less traffic as a result of the virus, that would be a sure way to go back into negative revenue mode (although it might happen anyway with all that’s going on now), which is bad for morale of employees and bad for airplane safety.

  11. All my miles are for work going to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Vietnam and Taiwan 4-5 times a year. I had 2 scheduled trips so far but all flights were canceled and not even available for potential departure till April 20 as of now with no guarantee of that opening up. 2 more possibilities to fly over therefor business in fall, but who knows the situation at that time. Delta should extend the status for one more year!

  12. Spoken like a true liberal. That’s an entitlement position. At some point, it just becomes part of the travel adventure.
    As much as I would like to keep my status, Delta doesn’t owe it to their customers for an event which is out of their control. They are probably dealing with customers like yourself on a one-on-one basis. Exceptions will be made and probably for squeaky wheels but it is unlikely the norm for everyone.
    I’ve kept my upcoming international trips to the U.K.. Two weeks ago I returned from Dubai after the Celebrity Constellation had to turn around due to outbreak of coronavirus in singapore. Celebrity rerouted passengers or allowed guests to have free phone calls and free wi-fi to rebook travel plans.
    Trip insurance rates will probably surge. Who wins? This entire pandemic scare will likely scar the industry but signs will fade in a short period. Take advantage of the low rates now as we will see increases across the board to make up for quarterly dips.

  13. There are two different issues at play here:

    – Use of 2020 Medallion benefits (earned in 2019)
    – 2021 Medallion qualification (during 2020)

    The first should be easy to handle. Say in an optimistic scenario air travel returns to near normal in the summer after 3 months of disruption, then 2020 Medallion status could simply be extended by 3 months until April 31, 2021. In a worse scenario where travel disruptions last a year, 2020 Medallion status could be extended a full year to January 31, 2022. The extension should equally apply to redeemed Choice Benefits (Upgrade Certificates, SkyClub Membership, gifted Medallion Status), and Travel Vouchers with expiration dates.

    As for Medallion qualification flights during 2020, for a 3-month disruption the qualifying window could also be extended by 3 months to March 31, 2021, but this could get confusing as flights during those 3 months would count towards both 2021 and 2022 Medallion status. A full year extension of the qualifying window, in the case of a 12-month disruption, would be much easier to implement. Alternatively, for a 3-month disruption, the MDM/MQS/MQD requirements could be reduced by 25% in 2020.

    Either way, once travel starts returning to normal, it would be prudent for Delta to adopt a reasonable and comprehensive revised Medallion benefit and qualification policy, because handling each Medallion member on a case-by-case basis would be both less fair and enormously laborious.

  14. Extending status – AWFUL idea
    Waiving change fees – GREAT idea
    (Read the fine print, current waivers are still very restrictive, such as “one time”)
    Allow passing credit within the family – GREAT idea

  15. I’m glad some people have already requalifica but some of us pay for their own travel not companies and it’s a bit harder to be intentionally loyal when it’s your own money.

    I agree with you Rene but who knows what will happen.

  16. Pingback: Airline Change and Cancellation Information Due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – Touring Tony %

  17. Shouldn’t this count as a “life event” for purposes of Delta’s Reclaim My Status program? I’ll certainly lose my Diamond status on Jan 31, 2021, but I should be able to apply to earn it back and get 3 months as a complimentary Diamond to do so. Hopefully we won’t be talking about Coronavirus in February 2021!

  18. Any announcement of medallion status waivers now would undermine 2020, post virus travel. Why travel rest of the year to retain status when you don’t have too? Any (don’t hold breath) waivers will be announced in January 2021.

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