Why Delta's $250,000 MQD Waiver is Good, According to Some Diamond Medallions
Delta shocked the frequent flyer world on Tuesday when it announced that it will be increasing the Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQD) waiver spending requirement for Diamond status tenfold to $250,000 instead of the current $25,000. We got plenty of emails from outraged Delta flyers immediately after the change was announced. However, as the dust settled, there were several readers of The Points Guy, along with industry experts, who expressed satisfaction at the change.
At the heart of the airline's decision is a desire to make sure that only its most valuable customers — those who spend the most money with the airline — are the ones that most often secure complimentary upgrades to premium cabins. TPG Senior Points and Miles Contributor Richard Kerr summarized why this move is actually positive for Delta's most loyal Diamond Medallions: "Diamonds in 2018, who earn either the $250k waiver or $15,000 MQDs, will be [a smaller] minority and rewarded more for their monetary loyalty to Delta. Thinning the herd to reward only those that earn you more money is a right business decision."
Many TPG readers echoed Richard's sentiment, both in the comments section on yesterday's post and on Facebook. Take a look at what some Delta flyers (mostly Diamond Medallion members) had to say, below. One reader pointed out that Diamond is Delta's most exclusive level of status, and should be treated as such.
One Diamond Medallion stated that there was often a problem where Diamond members who actually met the 125,000 MQM and $15,000 MQD requirement would get passed over for upgrades in favor of Diamonds who simply met the $25,000 MQD waiver requirement with a Delta co-branded card from American Express.
Another loyal Delta flyer is happy that the new MQD waiver spend requirement for Diamond status will cause a decrease in the number of Diamond members, which should improve upgrade chances for flyers who meet the MQM and MQD requirement.
Another reader is happy that the ranks of the Diamond members will be reduced, which could perhaps lead to lesser crowds at the gate when Diamond and other Medallion members are called to board.
Note that as of January 1, 2018, flyers will still need to rack up at least 125,000 MQMs, which is no small feat. To some Diamond Medallions, this change will separate the flyers who truly deserve the status from those who get a big advantage from being able to spend $25,000 on a Delta co-branded Amex card. We don't know how many Diamond members were able to earn the status without spending at least $15,000 on Delta flights, so it remains to be seen whether this change will actually thin out the crowd of top-tier members or not — though a group of Delta loyalists is confident that it will.