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Delta Announces Major Status Earning Changes for the Rest of 2021

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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.


Surprise! Delta dropped a huge announcement this morning about Medallion status earnings through the rest of 2021.

(Like, I want to check the U.S. Geological Survey website to see if these registered on the Richter scale. 🙂 )

Delta will boost MQM, MQS, and MQD earnings on Delta flights — including award travel — by at least 50%. (And yes, you read that correctly: award flights are included.) Plus, some Delta Amex credit card benefits are being extended into next year.

They also touted their safety and care standards, cool website tools, and some other stuff. But here are the things we know you really want to know 🙂 .

May Day! Middle Seats Being Unblocked on May 1

In a move that didn’t surprise us at all, Delta announced they will no longer block middle seats for flights departing as of May 1.

MQM, MQS, and MQD Earnings

Here’s what Delta said about earning MQM, MQS, and MQD:

Effective April 1 through December 31, 2021, SkyMiles members will earn:

  • At least 50% more MQM, MQS, MQDs on Delta flights. Inclusive of:
    • Paid tickets
    • Pay with Miles
    • Delta Vacations packages
    • Award Travel
    • Miles + Cash tickets
  • An additional 25% (75% total) on all premium cabins:
    • Delta One
    • Delta Premium Select
    • First Class
    • Delta Comfort+
    • Upgrades purchased after initial ticket purchase (using cash or miles) are included.

Delta adds that for “April 1-May 15, 2021 travel, bonus MQMs, MQSs and MQDs will be retroactively credited to your account by May 31, 2021. If you don’t see them immediately after your flight during this time period, know they’ll be credited soon. Bonuses are only applicable to earning Medallion Status, redeemable miles on Delta flights remain the same.”

Plus, the changes apply to Reclaim My Status and Status Challenges.

I’m guessing that Delta will not automatically rollover MQM, MQS, or MQD like they did for everyone or extended status as they did last year. (Rollover MQM for Medallions should still be intact; business as usual there, as far we know.)

Instead, you’ll actually have to fly and/or rack up spend on Delta Amex cards to earn status for the 2022 Medallion year.

Limited time offers for the Delta American Express cards.

Delta Amex Credit Card Benefits Extended

Cardholders of most Delta American Express cards got some good news. (Sorry, Delta Blue Amex folks.)

Delta Gold Amexes

Delta SkyMiles Gold cardholders (personal and business) who earn a $100 Delta Flight Credit from January 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021 will have the expiration date extended to June 30, 2022.

Delta Platinum Amexes

Delta SkyMiles Platinum cardholders (personal and business) with unused Companion Certificates as of March 31, 2021 or Companion Certificates issued from April 1, 2021 to May 31, 2021 will have the expiration date extended to book and fly by June 30, 2022.

Delta Reserve Amexes

Delta SkyMiles Reserve cardholders (personal and business) with unused Companion Certificates as of March 31, 2021 or Companion Certificates issued from April 1, 2021 to May 31, 2021 will have the expiration date extended to book and fly by June 30, 2022.

Plus, unused Delta Sky Club One-Time Guest Passes issued from January 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021 will have the expiration dates extended to June 30, 2022.

Final Approach

I certainly appreciate the Flight Credit, Companion Certificate, and Guest Pass extensions. Because I was none too happy about having a bunch that looked as though they’d go unused. But I’m glad Delta extended them for a reasonable amount of time.

The elevated MQM, MQS, and MQD earnings are pretty great, I must say. But that assumes people are willing to travel before government health agencies give their OK. And who knows when that will be?

But for people ready to travel, these present some very interesting possibilities. Especially during April with middle seats still blocked. Basic Economy mileage runs, anyone? (Now would be a wonderful time for you to sign up for our Elite Mileage Run alerts.)

 

Featured image: ©iStock.com/Ryan Fletcher

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.


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18 Comments

  1. Details at this point seem scarce, very interested in hearing more.

    But among other things, are they basically saying we are earning MQS/MQMs on award travel?

    • Yeah, that’s sort of the broad strokes we read. But I think, Bill, there are A TON of possibilities for earning status. In our minds, this really is a game-changer, even if it’s temporary.

      But, yes, Delta is saying MQS and MQM can be earned on award travel. Unreal.

  2. Hi Chris! Thanks for covering this so quickly with a detailed write up.

    Are you certain that Basic Economy tickets – including basic economy award tickets – qualify for the boost?

    The Delta website that has the terms of this promotion does not mention basic economy either way, however the tables they use in the examples start at main cabin…

    Could you or Rene please reach out to a contact at Delta to confirm whether Basic Economy is included in this, given that it is very vague and not explicitly called out anywhere in their release? Thank you.

    • Hi, Matthew. On this page, Delta states in the Terms and Conditions:

      “Promotional Period: April 1, 2021 – December 31, 2021

      Offer: SkyMiles Members (“Members”) will receive a 50% bonus of Medallion Qualification Miles (“MQMs”), Medallion Qualification Segments (“MQSs”) and Medallion Qualification Dollars (“MQDs”) on paid and Award Travel tickets booked in Basic Economy or Main Cabin on flights that are both marketed (flight number begins with ‘DL’) and operated by Delta, Delta Connection® carriers or Delta Shuttle® (“Delta Carriers”) and are flown during the Promotional Period.” (Bold mine.)

  3. So what I want to investigate now is how many miles they will need for upgrades on my domestic flights that I have coming up. I won’t hit spend requirements for Diamond (already platinum through next year), but I can get some nice MQMs to carry over towards Diamond when I can do the international partner mileage runs again!

    • If there’s purchasable upgrade space available, it should give you the option in your itineraries to buy up there — and show you how many miles it’ll cost.

  4. All I want to know at this point is what is the spend requirement for Diamond?

  5. There have been many MQM runs shared and racking up miles is fairly easy to maneuver. The real challenge is the MQD, even with the bonus for the balance of the year. It appears first class and biz class tickets are needed to make the cut. The other option is $250k+ on a DL Amex but that’s hard to get to even with things like property tax. Is there an article on alternative methods to rack up MQD or the CC route?

  6. Barry Graham Reply

    The Delta web page about this goes into a lot of detail and answered pretty much all of my questions. My frustration with this is that this was announced now when I have already bought my international tickets for later this year which could have helped a lot more towards MQD than they will. Had a I known this was coming, I would have made different choices about Pay with Miles vs Award tickets vs cash and also with regard to using Virgin Atlantic for my flights (these do not count for MQD even if they have a Delta flight number and were bought through Delta).

  7. If “people are ready to travel..?”

    I believe that is the purpose of the promotion – to induce medallions to take risk and book/fly NOW even though there’s increased danger of catching covid because we’re not blocking middle seats anymore. Also IMO, it softens the 12/31/21 impact of NO MORE covid status extensions.

  8. Barry Graham Reply

    The chances of catching COVID when you are wearing a mask is one in a millon, probably not much less if you are not wearing a masks. There is not an increased danger of catching COVID because of lack of blocking middle seats. Delta was doing this to make people feel more comfortable and I applaud them for that (especially since I was a benefactor several times – although for me it was an empty seat next to me in first class and although it did make me feel safer the biggest benefit was the extra room). People are going to have to get over their anxiety. It is hard to fly or to do anything you haven’t been doing for months because you’ve been told it’s unsafe, and suddenly it isn’t unsafe when nothing much has changed.

  9. After screwing Atlanta African Americans they should be happy to stay in business. BTW, why are they continuing to fly from ATL at all??? They need to shut it down and go to a better state like Colorado.

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