After Delta’s evisceration of elite qualification rules for next year, announcing the end of earning status by miles and flights flown; moving entirely to dollars spent; and increasing the amount of spending required for status substantially, as well as severely restricting access by premium credit card customers to its lounges, Delta acknowledged that they had moved ‘too quickly’ by ‘pulling the band aid off all at once’ and promised to moderate their changes for the coming year.
New Elite Status Requirements
They’ve now announced new qualification rules. It’s still “qualifying dollars only” but the increases are not as steep.
New Limits For Credit Card Club Access
Instead of limiting premium co-brand Amex Reserve customers to 10 Sky Club visits per year, and Amex Platinum cardmembers to 6 visits per year, unless the cardmember spends $75,000 on their card per year, Delta’s compromise is:
- Reserve cardmembers get 15 visits per year, with a visit including all entries on a single day (so connecting flights use only one visit even if entering multiple clubs).
- Platinum cardmembers get 10 visits per year, with multiple lounge visits in a single day also counting just as one use.
- After maxing out the benefit, additional visits can be purchased for $50 per day.
Improved Lifetime Elite Benefits
To keep lifetime status members from defecting they’re improving lifetime status-earn and will make it a more significant upgrade tie-breaker.
- 1 Million Miles goes from lifetime Silver to lifetime Gold (matching United)
- 2 Million Miles goes from lifetime Gold to lifetime Platinum (matching United)
- 3 Million Miles gets lifetime Diamond (matching United)
- 5 Million Miles gets lifetime 360 status (United offers Global Services at 4 million)
They’ll calculate million miler levels using flight miles going forward, but honor existing million miler totals that were earned via qualifying miles (from credit card, bonuses etc).
Not As Stingy Converting Rollover Qualifying Miles
Members with ‘rollover qualifying miles’ – extra qualifying miles above and beyond the status they’ve earned – can convert those into redeemable miles or qualifying dollars. Delta’s conversion rates were shockingly bad when the changes were announced – 2 to 1 for turning them into SkyMiles (even though qualifying miles have historically been worth more than SkyMiles) or 20 to 1 for qualifying dollars.
Instead of converting rollover qualifying miles at 20:1 into qualifying dollars, as previously announced, they’re improving the ratio to 10:1. Along with reducing the qualifying dollars required for status earned in 2024, this is more reasonable.
Additionally, anyone with rollover qualifying mile balances over 100,000 will receive offers to extend their status.
New Choice Benefits Coming For 2025
For 2025 – not this coming year – there will be new Choice benefits offers, including the ability for Diamonds to pick $2,000 qualifying dollars and for Platinums to pick $1,000 qualifying dollars, making status earning a little bit easier in lieu of other benefits.
Additionally, Diamonds will again be able to select Sky Club membership for two choice selections.
There will be a Wheels Up statement credit offers; increased bonus miles on offer (35,000 for Diamonds and 30,000 for Platinums) as well as increased Delta travel vouchers of equivalent value to those mileage amounts at a penny per point.
What’s Next For SkyMiles?
Delta has been clear that the changes they made were not a mistake. They just had a marketing challenge. They shouldn’t have gone all the way, all at once. In fact, they even shared that they have plans to go even further than what they’ve announced.
Members sticking with the SkyMiles program get a temporary reprieve from the most drastic of changes, though it will still take more flying to earn the same status, unless also spending heavily on the most premium Delta Amex cards, and we can expect Delta to go farther soon.