International borders have been closed for much of the year. Many destinations are still closed. While a lot of offices will open in the fall, and business travel has been gradually recovering, the most lucrative airline customers who qualify for elite status on international business class trips have been grounded.
Each airline has taken steps to address their shrinking elite ranks. United has stacked promotion after promotion. American has promotions to earn status under reduced requirements or a way to bypass status-earning by flying completely. Now Delta has made its move.
Delta already bonused all travel towards elite status and made award trips count too. Now they’re throwing in the towel, more or less, and calling 2021 another wash as they don’t want to risk losing elite members who may again be valuable customers.
That’s why as of today, if you have Medallion Status, you can continue to enjoy it through Jan. 31, 2023, along with any Global and Regional Upgrade Certificates you may have. For those currently traveling to achieve or maintain Status, you will be further recognized for your loyalty with enhanced benefits and continue earning at an accelerated rate. We’re also extending the ability for Award Travel to count toward Status through Dec. 31, 2022.
- Status extension current elites keep status for the 2022 elite year (although Platinums and Diamonds do not get new choice benefits)
- Status miles earned this year roll over so the miles you’re earning will help qualify for 2023 status
- Award travel will count towards status next year, too this innovation offering will be in place next year, so leisure travelers can keep spending their miles and not forgo status – Delta thinks this will be needed even with the rollovers clearly (the current dominant Covid-19 variant is named Delta of course)
- Upgrade certificates extended, both global and regional, for travel through Jan. 31, 2023.
- Extra benefits for earning status this year This one is wonky because it devalues the status of those who are getting extended: members who earned 2022 status rather than having their status extended will clear upgrades ahead of elites at the same tier whose status was extended.
I pointed out recently that with as easy as American Airlines has made keeping status for next year they need to do more to encourage flying. Delta has figured out how to do just that – rollover miles and upgrade priority – albeit at the expense of those who don’t requalify. I’d rather see big bonus promotions.