Delta is Making It Harder to Earn Status in 2023. Here Are Some Shortcuts. Delta is Making It Harder to Earn Status in 2023. Here Are Some Shortcuts.

Delta is Making It Harder to Earn Status in 2023. Here Are Some Shortcuts.

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Beginning January 1, 2023, Delta increased most Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs) thresholds to achieve 2024 Medallion Status — making it harder to earn Medallion elite status.

Whether you're trying to hit elite status thresholds by the end of 2023 or looking for ways to make it easier to offset increases, let's review the shortcuts to earning Delta Medallion elite status.

Overview of Earning Delta Medallion Elite Status

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 co-branded American Express cards, there are some workarounds for those who might not fly often enough to earn Delta elite status otherwise.

Delta Elite Status Requirement Changes for 2023

Delta has made various changes to its elite status program by increasing requirements, introducing new Choice Benefits selections, and making it easier for Medallion members to apply upgrade certificates.

Medallion Qualification Dollars Changes

Higher Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) thresholds will be introduced on January 1, 2023 to achieve Diamond, Platinum, and Gold status.

Delta has four different elite status levels, each with different requirements and benefits. These are the new status requirement changes to qualify for status in 2023 for the 2024 Medallion membership year:

  • Silver Medallion: 25,000 MQMs or 30 MQSs plus 3,000 MQDs — no change
  • Gold Medallion: 50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs plus 8,000 MQDs — an increase of $2,000 MQD
  • Platinum Medallion: 75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs plus 12,000 MQDs — an increase of $3,000 MQD
  • Diamond Medallion: 125,000 MQMs or 140 MQSs plus 20,000 MQDs — an increase of $5,000 MQD

New Delta Choice Benefits Selections

Delta made several new additions to the Choice Benefits Selections for Platinum and Diamond Medallion members. New additions for Platinum Medallion members include:

New additions for Diamond Medallion members include:

Easier Upgrade Certificate Capability

Diamond and Platinum Medallions will be able to request and apply their Global and Regional Upgrade Certificates online during booking instead of having to call in.

Benefits of Delta Elite Status

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.

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, 8x miles for Gold Medallions, 9x miles for Platinum Medallions, and 11x miles 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, gift cards, or the ability to gift status.
  • Flight upgrades — Diamond and Platinum Medallion members are eligible for upgrades to Comfort+ seating shortly after ticketing and upgrades to First Class beginning 120 hours before the flight. Lower-level elite members are also eligible for flight upgrades but with shorter time windows.
  • Waived fees — all elite members Silver and higher get waived baggage fees, 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 was one of the O.G. airlines offering a path to earn elite status without flying, primarily due to its suite of co-branded American Express 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 four cards that offer additional MQMs for meeting specific spending thresholds are the:

(Effective 1/1/24, the Status Boost benefit and MQD benefit will no longer be available, and there will be a new way to earn toward Medallion Status with the Delta cards – Learn more.)

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 the MQD waiver for Diamond Medallion elite status.

Effective 1/1/24, the Status Boost benefit and MQD benefit will no longer be available, and there will be a new way to earn toward Medallion Status with the Delta cards - Learn more.

We only focus on the MQM earnings in this chart. That's because you'll also earn 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 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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