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To reach elite status, airlines often require you to fly a certain level of miles or segments in addition to spending a certain amount on their airlines. For example, to reach Delta Diamond status, you have to fly 125,000 MQMs (Medallion Qualification Miles) or 140 MQSs (Medallion Qualification Segments) AND you have to spend $15,000 MQDs (Medallion Qualification Dollars) or receive an MQD waiver qualification.
A lot of people climb the Delta status tiers with co-branded cards that earn them MQMs and/or earn MQMs through flying but don’t spend $15,000 MQDs each year. Instead, they would put their spend on American Express co-branded Delta cards since they allowed a waiver of the MQDs when you spent $25,000 in a year. Spending $25,000 for everyday expenses in a year is much easier for many people than spending $15,000 on Delta/some partner flights.
Now Delta has supped this waiver qualification (for Diamond elite status) on the co-branded cards to $125,000! The waiver amount for statuses up to Platinum remains at $25,000.
In a statement to Business Insider, a Delta Air Lines spokesman said:
“Feedback from Diamond Medallion Members drove Delta’s Diamond MQD Waiver adjustment. The goal is to enable those who fly and spend most with Delta to better enjoy their Diamond Status benefits including Complimentary Upgrades and the Delta Sky Club experience.
“The Medallion Qualification Miles, Segments, and Dollars required to reach Diamond Status aren’t changing and the $25,000 MQD Waiver can still be used to achieve all of the best-in-class benefits of Platinum, Gold, and Silver Medallion Status.”
As someone who does not care for Delta this has no effect on me but it’s sure to make many American Express cardholders unhappy and won’t help American Express with those interchange fees that they depend so heavily on from their Delta cards. Still, for Delta elite Diamond members who don’t depend on the waiver this is actually great news, since it will mean fewer top-tier elites which should result with more upgrades and fewer visitors in Sky Club lounges.
The new changes will go into effect January 1, 2018.
H/T: Business Insider
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.