Last Chance to Improve Your Delta Status in 2022 and Beyond Last Chance to Improve Your Delta Status in 2022 and Beyond

Last Chance to Improve Your Delta Status in 2022 and Beyond

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It's the end of the year, and that means the window is closing to qualify for Delta Medallion Status. Delta made several positive changes for the 2021 qualification year that make it easier than ever to secure elite status. But many of these changes were temporary, so now is a great time to check if you can reach the next status level.

Participating in an airline's elite status program can make a big difference in your in-flight experience. Whether it's upgrades, complimentary food and beverage onboard, lounge access, priority boarding or waived baggage and cancellation fees, there's no doubt that frequent flyers have an incentive to improve their status levels. Like many frequent flyer programs, you earn Delta Elite status primarily through flying and spending money with Delta.

With Delta, you must earn Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) and Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs). Thanks to some of the Delta and American Express co-branded credit cards, there are some workarounds for those who don't fly that often. Keeping all that in mind, here is how you can earn Delta elite status in 2021.

Delta Elite Status Levels and Requirements

Delta has four different elite status levels, each with different requirements and benefits:

  • Silver Medallion: 25,000 MQMs or 30 MQSs plus 3,000 MQDs
  • Gold Medallion: 50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs plus 6,000 MQDs
  • Platinum Medallion: 75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs plus 9,000 MQDs
  • Diamond Medallion: 125,000 MQMs or 140 MQSs plus 15,000 MQDs

Status Requirement Changes for 2021

Many airlines waived or lowered the requirements for earning elite status in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Delta did not change the requirements for earning elite status. Instead, they provided a way to boost your progress towards various status levels.

  • You'll earn 50% more MQMs, MQSs, and MQDs, for all flights, including award flights
  • You'll earn 75% more MQMs, MQSs, and MQDs when purchasing a premium fare product, including first class, Delta One, Premium Select, and Comfort+.
  • Between April 1 and December 31, 2021, you'll earn MQMs, MQSs, and MQDs on Delta award travel, as well. You'll earn one MQD per 100 miles flown (one cent per mile), plus the 50-75% bonus.
  • You'll also get a 25% boost to MQMs earned via the Status Boost on your Delta co-brand card in 2021. That means Delta Platinum cardholders will earn 12,500 MQM and Delta Reserve cardholders 18,750 MQM at each status boost tier
  • All 2020 MQMs were rolled over to 2021
  • All 2021 MQMs are being rolled over to 2022

Also, remember that Delta has extended status for anyone who previously qualified. Your current Delta status will be valid through the 2022 member year, ending on January 31, 2023. However, if you don't have status that's being extended, then these are the requirements for earning in 2021.

Benefits of Delta Elite Status

Each status level comes with a different level of benefits. Generally speaking, every level of status has all of the benefits of each of the levels below it, as well as additional benefits. Benefits vary by level but include things like waived baggage and cancellation fees, priority boarding, lounge access, flight upgrades, as well as complimentary food and beverage service on board.

Here's a quick look at some of the benefits of Delta elite status:

  • Increased earning on Delta flights – 7 miles per dollar for Silver Medallion members, 8 miles per dollar for Gold Medallions, 9 miles per dollar for Platinum Medallions and 11 miles per dollar for Diamond Medallions.
  • Choice Benefits – Platinum Medallions earn 1 Choice Benefit and Diamond Medallions earn 3 Choice Benefits. These can be used for your choice of different benefits including Delta Sky Club memberships, Upgrade certificates, bonus miles, or the ability to gift status.
  • Flight upgrades – Diamond Medallion members are eligible for upgrades to Comfort+ seating right after ticketing and upgrades to First Class 120 hours before the flight. Elite members in lower levels are also eligible for flight upgrades but with shorter time windows.
  • Waived fees – all elite members Silver and higher get waived baggage fees, and Gold Medallion and higher also get waived same-day standby and confirmed fees.
  • Priority check-in and boarding – all elite members also get priority access to the ticket counter, help lines, and priority boarding.

How to Earn Delta Elite Status in 2021

How to Earn Delta Elite Status Without Flying

Delta is one of the best airlines to get elite status without flying, primarily due to their suite of co-branded American Express credit cards. If you have the ability to spend heavily on your credit cards, then it's certainly possible to get even top-tier Diamond Medallion Delta status without ever stepping foot on a plane.

The 4 credit cards that offer additional MQMs for meeting specific spending thresholds are the:

Here are some of the ways you could earn Delta Medallion status from Delta cards:

Earn Medallion Status using Delta SkyMiles Credit CardsCredit Cards and MQM Required
Earn Silver Medallion Status (25K MQMs)One-Card Strategy
• 30,000 MQMs - $60K annual spend on Delta Reserve
Earn Gold Medallion Status (50K MQMs)One-Card Strategy
• 60,000 MQMs - $120K annual spend on Delta Reserve
Multi-Card Strategy
• 20,000 MQMs - $50K annual spend on Platinum Delta Amex
• 30,000 MQMs - $60K annual spend on Delta Reserve
Total: 50,000 MQMs/$110,000 spend
Earn Platinum Medallion Status (75K MQMs)Multi-Card Strategy
• 60,000 MQMs - $120K spend on Delta Reserve
• 15,000 MQMs - $30K spend on Business Delta Reserve
Total: 75,000 MQMs/$150,000 spend
Earn Diamond Medallion Status (125K MQMs)Multi-Card Strategy
• 10,000 MQMs - $25K annual spend on Platinum Delta Amex
• 60,000 MQMs - $120K spend on Delta Reserve
• 60,000 MQMs - $120K spend on Business Delta Reserve
Total: 130,000 MQMs/$265,000 spend
This would surpass the required $250,000 in spending to get a MQD waiver for Diamond Medallion elite status.

You'll also get an MQD waiver for Silver, Gold, and Platinum status if you spend at least $25,000 on any Delta American Express card in a year. In order to get an MQD waiver for Diamond status, you'll need to spend at least $250,000 in a calendar year.

The Bottom Line

Delta elite status, like all airline elite statuses, can certainly be lucrative if you are a frequent flyer. Delta, perhaps more so than any other airline, makes it possible to earn elite status without flying. One thing to keep in mind is that elite status is only as useful as the time you spend flying to enjoy it. If you are not flying often enough to qualify for status organically, you might consider how useful that status is for you. There is an opportunity cost to the money that you spend earning MQMs or MQD waivers. This money could be spent earning other miles or cash back with other credit cards.

Still, there's no denying that it's good to have options. The ability to earn MQMs or an MQD waiver through credit card spending can be especially useful if you need a little extra help to reach the next elite status level. Once you have your elite status and all those SkyMiles, make sure to check out our 9 best ways to use Delta Skymiles.

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  • I have found Delta Platinum status to be very pleasant. There is a big difference between Platinum and Diamond so I’ll just remain as a Platinum. I was able to take advantage of the extra bonus towards maintaining Platinum this year. It’s going to be tough when they go back to their old status requirements.

  • Just announced changes to Basic Economy status and mileage earning are brutal. Typical Delta. SMH…

  • Bastante interesante lo que indica aquí!

  • Delta status would be great to have if travel ever opens up

  • While its good that you can earn status without flying, I dont think you should go for it since you dont really fly enough to enjoy the status.

  • If spending requirement is not an issue, and if I work to earn Medallion status before end of year, my status would last until Jan 31, 2023, right?

    If I earn status in March 2022, then I’d have status until Jan 31, 2024, right?

    Help me understand! Thank you in advance!

    • Tommy – correct. Delta’s “status year” gives you status through the end of January of the following year. Anyone with status right now will see it rolled over through 2022 / ending January of 2023. If you would earn status at some point in 2022, it will last through January of 2024, as you said.