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Rumor: Delta May Adjust Elite Status Thresholds

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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.



We have a little update to our post from last week in which René suggested Delta extend all Medallion members’ status for another year.

Reader David K. emailed us that “the Delta Diamond Medallion line (said) that they’re working on a solution for extending status for Diamond & Platinum Medallions due to COVID-19. They’re also looking to extend anyone on the ‘Reclaim My Status’ challenge. The agent said an announcement would be coming out soon. I’m currently on the challenge to regain Diamond, but my company cancelled all travel.” (Thanks, David!)

Last night, Rene and some other Medallions received an email that contained this bit:

With that in mind — and when the time is right — what might be fair for flyers and Delta when it comes to status this year?

Adjust Reclaim My Status

Delta introduced “Reclaim My Status” last year — a feature that gives a Medallions a status challenge when a “life event” interrupts their travel patterns. The airline says, “This includes things like becoming a new parent, changing jobs, going back to school, experiencing a medical issue, needing to take care of a friend or family member or another life event.”

The phrase Corona virus on a banner with blurred Chinese flag on the background.
(©iStock.com/Sinenkiy)

On one hand, Delta might (understandably) think No good deed goes unpunished and decide self-quarantining, government-imposed lockdowns, or other related circumstances qualify for Reclaim My Status.

Or this could be an interesting test of the feature.

Reduce the Elite Thresholds

IHG lowered their elite status thresholds. Would Delta do the same and knock down the MQD and/or MQM requirements?

Delta One 767 window seats

(Side note: if you really want IHG status, just get the IHG Rewards Club Premier MasterCard, which costs $89 a year and gives you complimentary Platinum status).

Along those lines —

Reduce the MQD Waiver

A few years ago, the Delta Amex spend waiver was raised to $250,000 for Diamond Medallion status. Perhaps Delta and American Express would consider lowering that to something like $125,000?

Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card from American Express

The coronavirus’ economic impact will be huge. Many businesses and people might not be able to meet spend requirements — especially a quarter-million dollars.

Increase MQM Bonuses on Flights

Delta should consider implementing what Alaska Airlines introduced — 50% elite mileage bonuses — when the dust settles.

  • Full-fare first (F) and business (J) tickets would earn 3 MQM instead of 2
  • Discounted first and full-fare economy (Y, B) would bring in 2.25 MQM instead of 1.5
  • Premium Select would net 1.8 MQM over the current 1.25
  • Main Cabin and Basic Economy tickets would earn 1.5 MQM

We know Delta wants to sell first class and premium seats; adding MQM kickers would go a long way.

Extend Upgrade Certificates

Marriott is extending Suite Night Awards through the end of next year. Delta would ingratiate themselves by doing the same with Regional (RUC) and Global (GUC) upgrade certificates.

Plus — Don’t Forget the Huge Delta Reserve Card Bonuses!

Delta and American Express are offering 20,000 bonus MQM to new applicants of both the Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express and Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card from American Express.

Each card offers 20,000 MQM to new cardholders who spend $5000 on purchases within three months of being approved. Consider those offers if you’re worried about falling short of MQM. (The offers expire April 1.)

What Ideas Do You Have?

What could Delta realistically implement to help Medallions with their status requirements this year? Please share your comments!

— Chris

Featured image: ©iStock.com/rypson

 

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.

19 Comments

  1. I think the best option is to just carryover your current status to next year. Depending on when travel starts moving back to normal, I also like the idea of reduced targets…that could potentially encourage an uptick in travel for those that want a status above their current level and may help bring in a few lost dollars.

  2. The only logical thing is to just extend for another year as if 2020 never happened. I’m sure the airlines would love to already forget this year anyway.

    How can you even consider bonuses and promotions when you either can’t or shouldn’t travel!?

  3. I agree, they should extend for another year. At the same time, once we are thru the worst, I plan to book trips and help support the travel industry to get them back on their feet.

  4. They should just extend everyone through next year. Does it really cost them that much? If the current state continues, my husband will be lucky to make silver this year.

  5. Larry Menter Reply

    And what about Delta/Amex Companion Certificates? Will they extend those deadlines as well?

    • @Larry Menter: Reader Eric G said certificates set to expire April through June were extended through December.

  6. Extending current levels would be nice. Also, extending the expiration date of our global upgrades would be really nice. I have 2 remaining that I just don’t see being used this year. One of them was return to me this after this weekend when I had to escape Europe before the Friday 13th midnight deadline. I reschedule my return flight that was scheduled 4 days post deadline, for Friday… I had to pay full fare. But, I got my certificate back already.

  7. What’s in it for these who already completed 2020 Diamond medallion requirements? 🙂

  8. HuntingtonGuy Reply

    Let’s hope reason and common sense prevail, both at Delta and Amex. Covid-19 was beyond any of our control and it’s effects on everyone remain to be seen. Businesses will crash, personal travel and spending interrupted and probably will be slow to rebound once the emergency ends.
    For both companies to show some gratitude to their customers…us…would be a wise business decision. To retain loyalty and help the rebound after the world seeks to return to normal, they should respect that we, as well as they were impacted by this thing.
    Whatever form the benefits/incentives take I hope they’d also include an adjustment to the Diamond spend requirements, many of us who are good and loyal customers simply cannot achieve the quarter mil spend and have effectively been locked out of a loyalty level we should be at least possibly able to reach.

  9. Current status should be extended for next year. Regional and Global Upgrade certificates should be given back if travel has to be canceled.

  10. On a related note, I received the Porsche treatment this morning in DTW. It’s only the second time ever as a Diamond Million Miler. It wasn’t even a tight connection, she drove me to the gate nearest the skyclub.

  11. I agree, extend our status through 2021 anything that expires this year should be given extra time to use.

  12. Greg howell Reply

    Delta automatically extended a companion cert that was set to expire in May.

  13. Barry Graham Reply

    I don’t think they should extend them throughout 2021. They should extend them an amount comparable to how long this disruption lasts. I like the MQD and MQD waiver reduction ideas.

    I also think that this is all pretty trivial in relation to everything that is going on right now and I think that was the message that Delta was trying to put across.

  14. Let me start by saying that my Delta status is now the least of my worries. Now I am focused on the well being of my family. Once all this chaos ends we will see what happens. I cancelled my family summer vacation so the GUCs that I have will not be used this year so hopefully they extend it. As far as status level, I haven’t travel much this year and don’t expect that to change. I currently have 89k MQMs that are basically from carryover plus the Delta Reserve card expenditures. I definitely won’t make it to 125k MQM nor spend $250k on my Reserve. I have been either Diamond or 360 in the last 5 years so hopefully they will consider something.

  15. I’m going to go against the grain and play the devil’s advocate: let this event cull the herd! SkyClubs are getting too crowded, upgrade queues are absurdly long, and upgrade certificates for popular routes cannot be confirmed until day of travel (no pre-selection of meal or seat assignment).

    On a side note, the agents can make exceptions and override an expired upgrade certificate… but they cannot extend the original expiration dates. So, save your certificate numbers and redemption codes in a handly place. They can retroactively apply them within reason.

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