In early October of 2022, Delta Air Lines announced a range of changes to the Delta SkyMiles frequent flyer program. The most impactful of these changes comes in the form of increased Medallion Qualifying Dollar (MQD) requirements for Gold Medallion status and higher. Starting in January of 2023, frequent flyers will have to spend more money on eligible flights to reach the brand's top tiers of elite status.
The Delta SkyMiles program is also offering new choice benefit selections for Delta Platinum and Diamond members next year, as well as easier upgrade certificate eligibility. Since the higher MQD thresholds are bound to impact frequent flyers the most, here's a summary of those changes plus details on how you can sidestep the program's MQD requirement altogether.
Higher MQD earning thresholds for elites in 2023
Starting next year, hopeful Delta SkyMiles elites will have to earn $8,000 in MQDs to achieve Gold Medallion status, $12,000 in MQDs to earn Platinum Medallion status and $20,000 in MQDs to achieve Diamond status. No changes are proposed to the requirement for Silver Medallion status.
MQDs, which are based on the amount you spend with the airline, are just one of the factors that determine Delta elite status. Other factors include Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) and Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs). To achieve status, you need to meet both an MQD requirement and either an MQM or MQS requirement.
As you can see in the chart below, the changes in the MQD spending thresholds are substantial. Those who want to earn Gold status need to spend $2,000 more, while Diamond status members need to spend an additional $5,000.
Elite status tier
2022 MQD requirement (for 2023 Delta status
2023 MQD requirement (for 2024 Delta status)
|Silver||$3,000 or MQD waiver||$3,000 or MQD waiver|
|Gold||$6,000 or MQD waiver||$8,000 or MQD waiver|
|Platinum||$9,000 or MQD waiver||$12,000 or MQD waiver|
|Diamond||$15,000 or MQD waiver||$20,000 or MQD waiver|
What does this mean for Delta SkyMiles members?
The increased spending thresholds for the highest tiers of elite status will likely benefit the brand's most loyal customers. The move should weed out some infrequent flyers and low spenders who managed to earn status in the past. This could mean better seat upgrade prospects for Gold elites and higher, since fewer members will be competing for upgrades.
Either way, these changes won't impact your 2023 Delta Medallion status. The higher thresholds come into play in 2023, and will affect members trying to earn status for 2024.
Delta SkyMiles members can easily track their spend and MQDs on the status tracker available within their SkyMiles account or Delta's mobile app.
How to sidestep the new spending requirements
For those who find the MQD requirement difficult to reach, Delta offers the same workaround as from previous years: Delta flyers can earn a MQD waiver by signing up for an eligible Delta credit card. An MQD waiver invalidates the minimum spending requirement for elite status altogether.
Note that this option still comes with a substantial spending requirement. You have to spend $25,000 or more in eligible purchases during the calendar year with an eligible Delta SkyMiles credit card to earn the waiver. Also, you still have to meet the MQM or MQS requirement for the level of status you want to earn.
That said, it is possible to earn elite status with Delta without flying at all, by spending a lot on a Delta card within a year. This is due to the Status Boost benefit offered on some Delta cards. With Status Boost, you get the chance to earn MQMs just for credit card spending alone.