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Back in January, Delta announced that it would be adding a revenue-based component to elite qualification, and this morning Delta announced on Flyertalk, that Medallion Qualifying Dollars will be displayed on delta.com starting today.
If you log into your Delta account, you can now view your 2013 Medallion Qualifying Dollars on your Account Activity page and My SkyMiles page at delta.com. The Medallion Qualifying Dollars requirement won’t begin until next year, but to give you an idea on how much you’ve spent with the airline, they are making it available a few months early.
As a reminder, starting in 2014, US based Medallion members will need to buck up and either spend $25,000 dollars a year on a Delta American Express credit card or spend the following amount of money in addition to accruing regular Medallion Qualifying Miles / Segments:
Also see my previous post on Determining What Spending Counts Toward Medallion Qualifying Dollars to know what exactly will qualify. Going through my tickets from this year, it does look like Delta vouchers, Gift Cards, and Choice Benefit vouchers do count toward the Medallion Qualification Dollars, so if you have a lot of vouchers to use, these will count.
$2,500 in spend for Silver is reasonable, but $12,500 for Diamond can be a pretty big chunk of change for those of us who don’t fly paid business class regularly. While Delta is trying to attract high-value customers, I don’t see the addition of real benefits (like valuable systemwide upgrades, for example) to actually attract those customers from other airlines.
I think the real impetus about this move is to encourage more Delta Medallions to carry a co-branded American Express credit cards so they can hit the $25,000 spend threshold to be exempted from MQDs. The exclusivity comment is also interesting, because last year Delta gave away 25,000 MQMs (enough for silver status) during several different promotions last year, so this new move to cull the elite ranks is interesting.
Clearly they’ve crunched the numbers and calculated that the increased spend (and money from American Express) will outweigh the “discount elites” that jump ship to another airline. I haven’t made a final judgement about this new set-up yet, but my feeling is that with the recent mileage requirement increases of some premium international awards, Delta is going to alienate some elites – whom it is now potentially forcing to accrue redeemable but not elite-qualifying SkyMiles via credit card – by then devaluing those miles.
I personally don’t like using an airline co-brand card, because I don’t like to put all of my miles and points in one basket. That’s why I prefer transferable points. For instance, I may fly American a lot, but I accrue tons of Chase points, which I can then redeem on United, Southwest, British Airways, Hyatt, etc. That way, I have lots of options when it comes time to redeem and I can see which partner’s award chart best suits my needs.
At least for now we’ll all have a better idea of how the new MQD system will work before it goes into place for 2014 elite qualification on Delta.