Delta has been a leader during the pandemic in extending elite status, but those days are officially over.
- If you want top-tier Diamond status you’ll need to spend $20,000 on flights (MQDs) in addition to flying 125K miles (MQMs) or 140 segments (MQSs), up from $15,000. You can waive the Diamond flight spending requirement if you spend $250,000 on Delta credit cards.
- If you want Platinum status you’ll need to spend $12,000 on flights in addition to flying 75K miles or 100 segments, up from $9,000. You can waive the flight spending requirement if you spend $25,000 on Delta credit cards.
- If you want Gold status you’ll need to spend $8,000 on flights in addition to flying 50K miles or 60 segments, up from $6,000. You can waive the flight spending requirement if you spend $25,000 on Delta credit cards.
- If you want Silver status you’ll need to spend $3,000 on flights in addition to flying 25K miles or 30 segments, unchanged. You can waive the flight spending requirement if you spend $25,000 on Delta credit cards.
That’s a 33.3% increase to earn top-tier status, a status that was recently devalued to make its upgrade certificates much less valuable than American’s or United’s.
On the plus side, Delta continues to award MQDs, MQMs, and MQMs on award tickets, so for example a 100,000 mile award redemption would earn 1,000 MQDs and MQMs based on the distance flown.
Delta members whose primary residence is outside of the US don’t need to meet the MQD spending requirement.
Delta will also offer the following choice benefits for Platinum and Diamond members:
United’s elite spending and flight requirements for 2022 were similar to Delta’s:
I’d expect that United will raise those requirements for 2023 to at least Delta’s levels, if not all the way to pre-pandemic levels. By the first quarter of next year, airlines should have a handle on how much travel has recovered and can offer another starter bonus as they did this year should it be needed.
American is the real wild card here, as they ditched all flight spending requirements in favor of loyalty points, which means you can earn top-tier status from credit card spending, though you won’t get systemwide upgrade certificates unless you have 30 flight segments. Luckily, award segments qualify for that.
You need to earn 30K loyalty points for Gold, 75K for Platinum, 125K for Platinum Pro, and 200K for Executive Platinum.
I think that they will keep those levels at least for another year as members adjust to the game changing loyalty scheme, but if they have too many elites they can certainly raise those levels by 20-30% to thin the herd.
Do you try to earn airline elite status or do you just book the best option for each flight?