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

March 31, 2022
3 min read
Delta planes on the ground in LAX
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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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Medallion earning on award travel now permanent

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

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.

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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 image by (Photo by Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023