Delta makes Medallion earning on award tickets permanent, removes mileage earning cap

Mar 31, 2022

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Delta is making a handful of positive changes for SkyMiles members — particularly for elite status members and big spenders. These changes make it easier for members to earn elite status and earn SkyMiles on expensive tickets.

Let’s take a closer look at these changes and what they mean for Delta frequent flyers.

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In This Post

Medallion earning on award travel now permanent

Delta plane being loaded on tarmack
Elite status earning on award tickets is now permanent. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Last year, Delta started awarding Medallion Qualification Dollars, Medallion Qualification Segments and Medallion Qualification Miles on award flights. This was later extended through the end of 2022, but Delta just announced that this will be a permanent benefit.

As a refresher, you earn MQSs based on segments and MQMs based on the length of your flight in miles. On award tickets, MQDs are earned at a rate of 1 per 100 SkyMiles redeemed. This means that a ticket that costs 10,000 SkyMiles would earn 100 MQDs.

Do note that only Delta-issued and -operated award tickets are eligible to earn elite status metrics. This means that a Virgin Atlantic award ticket would not be eligible to earn elite status.

Related: How to redeem Delta SkyMiles for maximum value

No earning cap on paid tickets

Inside business class cabin on Delta Airlines
Big spenders can now earn more SkyMiles on paid tickets. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

Additionally, Delta is removing the 75,000-SkyMile earning limit on paid tickets, effective immediately. Members who exceeded the cap in 2022 will have the extra miles credited to their accounts retroactively.

That said, you will have to spend a lot to actually exceed this limit. Those without elite status earn 5 SkyMiles per dollar on paid tickets and top-tier Diamond Medallion elites earn 11 SkyMiles per dollar, before taxes. This means you’d have to spend $15,000 on a Delta ticket as a non-elite member or $6,818 as a Diamond Medallion to hit the maximum.

Related: Your complete guide to the Delta SkyMiles program

Bottom line

These two changes are great news for Delta frequent flyers. They will make it easier to earn or reearn status, especially if you spend on a Delta cobranded credit card and redeem your SkyMiles for flights. Likewise, those who often fly on expensive paid tickets will appreciate the ability to earn an unlimited amount of miles on flights going forward.

Despite Delta awarding elite status metrics on award tickets since 2020, no other airlines have yet followed suit. It’s great to see Delta make this industry-first policy permanent. Delta is also the first airline to remove mileage caps on paid tickets.

Featured photo by Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

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More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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