Skift Take

Delta has revised the changes to its Skymiles loyalty program that sparked a backlash. The update still relies on money spent - but with lower thresholds.

Delta has revised the changes to its Skymiles loyalty program that sparked a backlash when they were announced in September. Those changes shifted the key metric to build loyalty: The new emphasis would be on money spent.

That’s still the case with Wednesday’s change, but with lower thresholds. Here are the numbers Delta released for so-called Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs):

Medallion2023Initial ChangeRevised Oct. 18
Silver$3,000 $ 6,000$5,000
Gold$8,000$ 12,000$10,000
Platinum$12,000$ 18,000$15,000
Diamond$20,000$ 35,000$28,000
Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs)

To earn these MQDs, members can fly with Delta and other partner airlines, spend on eligible Delta co-branded American Express Credit Cards. MQDs can no longer be earned through spend on car rentals, hotel stays or vacation rentals.

Delta also eased the limits on Sky Club visits it had put in place in September. For example, it said Wednesday that SkyMiles Reserve American Express card members would have 15 days of access, up from 10.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian acknowledged in late September that the airline had “moved too fast” and that it would make changes.

Bastian said the initial change was driven by a big increase in higher-tier loyalty members during Covid that the airline couldn’t serve. “We have so much demand for our premium product and services that are far in excess of our ability to serve it effectively in terms of our assets,” Bastian said. That included offerings like Delta One Sky Clubs, upgrade certificates and other perks. 

Delta said it had not seen a drop in bookings or credit card usage with its co-branded American Express credit card, which generated $1.7 billion in the third quarter. Delta said it is on track to generate $7 billion in credit card-related revenue in 2023.

*Correction: This article has been updated to reflect MQDs can no longer be earned through spend on car rentals, hotel stays or vacation rentals.

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Tags: amex, credit cards, delta, delta skymiles, loyalty

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