[Partner MQD Earnings Slashed Up To 75%] OUCH! Here Are Delta’s Massive 2024 Skymiles Program And Sky Club Access Devaluations For Elites, AMEX Cardholders, Basic Economy, And More

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Update, 9/14: In addition to raising MDQ requirements for status, Delta will also devalue MQD earnings on most fare classes for partner flying effective 1/1/24, though some fare classes will go up.

For example, partner MDQ earnings will change as follows:

  • AeroMexico:
    • Business class CDI goes from 40% to 30% of miles flown.
    • Full economy WY goes from 25% to 20% of miles flown.
    • Economy – BMU goes from 20% to 15% of miles flown.
    • Economy – HK goes from 20% to 10% of miles flown.
    • Economy – QLT goes from 20% to 5% of miles flown.
    • Economy – ENR goes from 10% to 5% of miles flown.
  • Air France/KLM:
    • Business class CDIZ goes from 40% to 30% of miles flown.
    • Premium economy WSA goes from 30% to 25% of miles flown.
    • Full economy YBM goes from 25% to 20% of miles flown.
    • Economy International – UK goes from 20% to 15% of miles flown.
    • Economy International – HLQ goes from 10% to 15% of miles flown.
    • Economy Europe – WPFUK goes from 20% to 15% of miles flown.
    • Economy Europe SAHLQ goes from 10% to 15% of miles flown.
  • China Eastern:
    • First class China P goes from 40% to 30% of miles flown.
    • Business class CDQI goes from 40% to 30% of miles flown.
    • Premium economy W goes from 30% to 25% of miles flown.
    • Full economy Y goes from 25% to 20% of miles flown.
    • Economy – MEH goes from 20% to 15% of miles flown.
    • Economy – KL goes from 10% to 15% of miles flown.
  • Korean:
    • Business class CDIR goes from 40% to 30% of miles flown.
    • Full economy YB goes from 25% to 20% of miles flown.
    • Economy – SEH goes from 20% to 15% of miles flown.
    • Economy –  K goes from 10% to 15% of miles flown.
    • Economy –  Q goes from 10% to 5% of miles flown.
  • LATAM:
    • Business class C goes from 40% to 30% of miles flown.
    • Premium economy W goes from 30% to 25% of miles flown.
    • Full economy YB goes from 25% to 20% of miles flown.
    • Economy – KM goes from 20% to 15% of miles flown.
    • Economy – X goes from 15% to 10% of miles flown.
    • Economy – NQ goes from 10% to 5% of miles flown.
  • Virgin Atlantic:
    • Business class CDIZ goes from 40% to 30% of miles flown.
    • Premium economy WSKH goes from 30% to 25% of miles flown.
    • Full economy YBV goes from 25% to 20% of miles flown.
    • Economy – LU goes from 20% to 15% of miles flown.
    • Economy – ME goes from 10% to 15% of miles flown.
    • Economy – NQ goes from 10% to 5% of miles flown.

Originally posted on 9/13:

Last week I wrote about my guesses for Delta’s 2024 program overhaul. For better or worse, it seems like they were very accurate.

Delta says that, “These changes will simplify how to earn Status, offer new and enhanced ways to earn Status and preserve the premium experience for our SkyMiles and Medallion Members.”

I suppose that’s one way of putting program devaluations.

Goodbye to MQM and MQS, It’s All About The MQD:

Starting on 1/1/24, Delta will no longer award MQMs (Medallion Qualification Miles) and MQSs (Medallion Qualification Segments), which are based on miles and segments flown.

Instead, Delta will only use a much simpler elite calculation of MQDs, or Medallion Qualifying Dollars. This will apply to Delta members worldwide.

That’s a page out of American’s playbook where elite status is tracked by one metric, loyalty points, though Delta’s version of this seems more complicated than American.

Goodbye to rollover MQMs:

That also spells the end of rollover MQMs, and on 2/1/24 if you still have rollover MQMs you’ll be able to convert them to MQDs or Skymiles.

Rollover MQMs will convert to MQDs at a 20:1 ratio or into miles at a 2:1 ratio, and you can choose to split those conversions between the 2 options in 25% increments. Those are pretty terrible conversion ratios though!

Earning MQDs from flights:

You’ll continue to earn 1 MQD per $1 spent on Delta tickets or based on miles flown and fare class for partner-issued tickets, just as you do today.

Earning MQDs from Delta card spending:

That’s all a huge negative compared to American, where all cards earn 1 loyalty point per dollar spent.

Earning MQDs from other spending:

Car rentals, hotel stays, and vacations booked through Delta will earn 1 MQD per $1 spent. That’s a much more spartan selection than what American awards loyalty points for.

Earning Elite Status will require many more MQDs:

MQD requirements starting on 1/1/24 will once again SkyRocket, though you will no longer need to earn MQSs and MQMs.

  • If you want top-tier Diamond status you’ll need to earn 35,000 MQDs, that’s up from 20,000 this year and 15,000 last year.
  • If you want Platinum status you’ll need to earn 18,000 MQDs, that’s up from 12,000 this year and 9,000 last year.
  • If you want Gold status you’ll need to earn 12,000 MQDs, that’s up from 8,000 this year and 6,000 last year.
  • If you want Silver status you’ll need to earn 6,000 MQDs, that’s up from 3,000 this year and last year.

Those are some massive increases! Delta is clearly telling their loyal flyers that they’ll need to spend a lot more on flights, or also start using Delta’s premium credit cards to earn status.

Goodbye MQD Waiver:

Effective 1/1/24 Delta is removing the MQD waivers for spending on their cards, which makes sense now that MQDs are the only metric being used, but it will make it much harder to earn status.

If you earn status only from flying, you’ll need to spend a whole lot more than before on flights to earn status.

Swipe your way to status:

That’s significantly higher than what American requires for swiping to earn status, namely $40K for Gold, $65K-$75K for Platinum, $105K-$125K for Platinum Pro, or $180K-$200K for Executive Platinum.

Of course, if you also fly Delta, those requirements will be lowered as you’ll earn MQDs from flights.

Million Miler Devaluation:

Delta will also stop awarding bonuses for higher fare classes for earning million miler status through MQMs. Effective 1/1/24 you’ll only earn 1 mile per mile flown towards earning million miler status. If you want to earn bonus miles towards million miler status based on higher fares through MQMs, you’ll want to complete that travel by 12/31/23.

On the plus side for million milers, they will move ahead of Delta Reserve cardholders and corporate customers to number 3 on the upgrade hierarchy.

Sky Club Access Devaluations:

In the future, it will be a lot harder to access Sky Clubs than it is now. That will be welcomed by many who have to wait in long lines to access Delta lounges, but it will also mean that some cardholders may no longer find it compelling to keep paying annual fees for diminishing benefits.

Starting on 2/1/25, Delta SkyMiles Reserve and Reserve Business AMEX Cardholders will receive 10 Sky Club visits per Medallion Year, which will run from 2/1/25-1/31/26. Cardholders will still receive their 2 annual guess passes as well. If you spend $75K in a calendar year you’ll get unlimited Club Access for the remainder of the Medallion Year and the following Medallion Year. Tracking begins 1/1/24 for the 2025 Medallion Year, so if you spend $75K by say, 4/15/24, you’ll have unlimited access through 1/31/26.

Starting on 2/1/25, AMEX Platinum and AMEX Business Platinum Cardholders will receive 6 Sky Club visits per Medallion Year, which will run from 2/1/25-1/31/26. If you spend $75K in a calendar year you’ll get unlimited Club Access for the remainder of the Medallion Year and the following Medallion Year. Tracking begins 1/1/24 for the 2025 Medallion Year, so if you spend $75K by say, 4/15/24, you’ll have unlimited access through 1/31/26.

Additional Reserve or AMEX Platinum users on those cards will each receive their own identical allotment of visits as primary members. If the primary member receives unlimited visits, then all additional Reserve or Platinum users will receive unlimited visits as well.

If you have multiple Delta Reserve or AMEX Platinum cards, you’ll be able to get those allotments of visits from each of those cards.

Effective 1/1/24, you won’t be able to access Delta Sky Clubs on Basic Economy fares, regardless of your entry method.

Effective 1/1/24, you won’t be able to access Delta Sky Clubs with Delta SkyMiles Platinum and Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business AMEX Cards. Previously this was an option for $39 and recently increased to $50 per visit.

Dan’s Quick Thoughts:

That’s a whole lot to digest!

Overall though, this will be a devaluation for pretty much everyone except people who will still qualify for the same status as they will appreciate fewer people in lounges or competing for upgrades, though it seems unlikely that these changes will move the needle very much. AMEX Centurion lounges have tried tweaking access rules, but have yet to solve the overcrowding conundrum.

Delta’s miles are worth significantly less than other airline miles as they offer few aspirational values, and now it will cost more to earn status on Delta than it does with other airlines. Delta is betting that their loyalists will stick with them anyway, though their operations are still nowhere near as good as they were before COVID. Delta’s phone agents are also harder to reach and offer poorer service than they did before the pandemic. And while most airlines and hotel chains offer excellent service via Twitter/X, Delta is an outlier in not providing much service there.

However, Delta prides itself on running excellent operations with more on time flights and fewer cancellations than its competition, which is how they justify being stingy with other benefits.

Of course, the alternative isn’t just earning status with competitors, it’s becoming a free agent and flying on the airline that makes the most sense for each trip. With elite upgrades becoming more difficult on all airlines, status has become more expensive to obtain and less rewarding than it was in the past.

Delta wants its passengers to fly them and spend more on their co-brand AMEX cards, but spending on Delta cards carries a massive opportunity cost compared to spending on other cards that offer 2 hybrid miles per dollar or 2% cash back that aren’t subject to Delta’s near-constant devaluations.

What do you think of these changes and will they change your loyalty to Delta?

HT: Gvann, via DDF and TPG

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100 Comments On "[Partner MQD Earnings Slashed Up To 75%] OUCH! Here Are Delta’s Massive 2024 Skymiles Program And Sky Club Access Devaluations For Elites, AMEX Cardholders, Basic Economy, And More"

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They rot!


Now waiting for United and American to follow suit and devalue 🙁


And still, Delta is the only airline flying between North America and Israel which has 18″ wide seats in economy.

nate nate

If you passed Bar Or, you should be able to fit in a United 17.3″.


Delta keeps changing and making it worse for their loyal customers. At one point they will regret it.

John Nguyen

Loyal customers don’t need points. Just pay cash and be done. Only the non-loyal customers care about points value.


I have been a delta gold member for years through flying combined with spend waiver , this new system will make it impossible for me to earn status . bye bye DELTA ! I’m now a free agent


The spend waiver will be much higher, but you can combine it with the flight miles. The rollover is what always kept me at Platinum. That hurts.


Don’t know about delta, but I do know it’s written very clear. Thanks for that.


Personally, I’m most unhappy with not being able to use their lounges on a basic economy ticket. DL is not my primary airline, but I have an AMEX plat card, and I sometimes buy their basic economy fares or basic economy award tickets. If I can’t use their lounges with these fares, I am less likely to fly Delta.


Living 25-30 min from JFK, and 30-35 min from LGA, I have been a “free agent” for a while, and somehow Delta is the one I fly more than any other airline, with AA a distant 2nd.


So there isn’t much point in the Delta Gold card anymore, but I will probably switch to the Reserve from the Platinum. As someone who flies exclusively Delta about 10-15 times a year, this is a killer. Probably going to change to a free agent flyer.


I used to be Gold with Delta but stopped caring about status when it became super hard to score upgrades. I now book directly into domestic first on the best flight using Amex MR and get 35% back for having a Biz Plat. For international I do my homework and book J awards by transferring Amex MR or Chase UR to the relevant airline.


Spend $35K on Delta tickets and I get Diamond? Must all tickets be for myself?


Any idea if this will apply to those of us who live outside the US (and haven’t had to meet an MQD threshold?)?

Delta hub

Thanks Dan I think you covered most of it wondering Can you earn dollar spend on more than one card ? Say you have multiple businesses so not all your spending is on one card ? (Previously you could not earn MQM’s on two business reserve cards )


The basic economy exclusion and new cap on entry makes my Amex biz plat much less compelling to keep.


Yes, the changes are quite atrocious. In my case however we fly regularly Delta in Y out of LGA/NYC because frankly they have better deals in Y, and with more nonstops to places I want to go to within a 6 hour radius, than any of the other majors. So from that POV Bastien is right : the network and performance matter more to me than lounge access etc…

Ed Travel

Flying China Eastern or KLM business class gives you a ton MDQs, do you know if that will continue to be the case after 2024?


Will be interesting to see if Matmid awards will be the better prop on Delta flights


can i bring a guest into the delta lounge with my amex platinum and have it count for 2 visits or is it restricted only to the cardmember


@Dan I have had Delta Diamond for years, mainly thanks to living in EY and clocking many miles to fly back and forth to the US. If I typically spend $10-$15k per year on Delta flights, how can I keep Diamond status? Just with the Amex spend supplement?
Also what is the best way for my to protest or complain about the changes and will they listen?


To get Diamond status on spending… does it need to be the main card holder to spend the whole $350k, or does that include the additional card holders spending?


Are they the only airline you can get top status just with spending and no flights? I would think that’s part of their strategy and I like it


This is a killer.
I fly to to New York from Israel about 20 times a year. I was able to split that between Delta and ElAl and easily get Diamond on Delta and platinum on ElAl, especially with rollovers.
Now I’m not going to be close…
@Dan, any guess if the codeshare with ElAl and Delta will share status?


Very clearly written, Thank you


I love their service as a DTW flier, but there is no point in chasing Silver for $60k spend and 60k Delta miles, or Gold for double that, instead of earning on a better card and just paying for bags and upgrades. Will likely drop Reserve card too.

Free agent time it is! Will probably fly DL for business travel and book the cheapest non-Spirit flight for personal.


With AA it is quite tempting to shift a lot of various types of spending to them (flights, car rentals, portals, hotels, credit card spend, etc.) and it was probably a smart move.

With Delta, it is tempting to spend zero with them now in any form or shape.


Questions for Delta:

1) I recently bought the (more expensive version of the) Authorized User for my Delta personal Reserve Card for my husband, so he could access the lounge with me. What happens with that?

2) I am a Platinum Elite medallion member. I have the Delta personal Reserve card, both the personal and business Platinum cards, and the Gold business card. My husband is an AU on my personal Reserve, personal Platinum, and business Platinum cards, and he has both Gold cards, personal and business. Do we retain whatever benefits we already have through the end of 2024 such as lounge access and upgrades, or do we lose them now?

For Dan: which cards do you recommend for us to keep, which to give up, and how to do that? Thanks


FORMER Diamond for many years here; dropped to Platinum this year when they devalued the Global Upgrade certs; will drop to Silver next year since I’ve stopped flying Delta internationally… free agent and haven’t missed Delta a bit. Buh bye!


I think this is going to backfire on them in a big way. As a platinum elite out of NY who spent 150k on my Delta business platinum and Reserve cards last year, I’ve already become disillusioned with Delta. I haven’t flown them once this year, nor charged a single dollar to either of my cards because of pricing and not wanting to earn skymiles after seeing how they devalued international biz class awards. I agree that their superior operations were worth a premium in post-covid world where competitors were limping and cancelling flights at high rates. But the revenge travel is likely done now, and competitors have narrowed the gap with more regular operations. It’s a no brainer for me to completely walk.


It hasn’t got a lot of attention, but I believe that AA’s operation is now as good if not better than DL’s. You can get unlucky with any US airline — especially when there’s bad weather — but if you look at Flight Aware you will almost always see AA now cancelling fewer flights than DL. There are still a few small things I like better about flying DL over AA (including the fact that their lounges have better food), but operations-wise, DL has no material advantage.


DL does have a class of international service, Premium Plus, that has a price point between premium economy (“Comfort+”) and their lie flat seating, and ehich reclines more and has an extending footrest. I haven’t seen this elsewhere, and it’s a nice compromise for trips to Israel for those of us who can’t sleep without reclining more than in a coach seat but can’t afford a business/first class seat.


I upgraded from the Delta business gold card to the reserve this year to help earn status, if with these changes it will become unattainable for me to earn status next year, does it make sense to downgrade my card back to gold to save on the annual fee? Maybe go for the amex platinum or the new venture x business as an alternative premium card.
What do you think?


This just killed my loyalty to them. I fly an average of 3 times a month but only domestic. I was my reserve card for the waiver. If I can’t get comfort when I fly ill switch to American, their requirements are easier to achieve.
I refuse to play their game!


Dan , do you predict that the Amex Platinum will receive more perks in 2024 now that the Delta Sky club access was reduced to 6 visits ?


They’ll prob just raise the price again! Inflation! But hey they added WSJ so all is well in the world!


I wouldn’t be surprised if in or around 2025 they cap the “free” visits to the Centurion Lounges for most current US Amex Plat cardholders with perhaps an exception for big annual spenders and also maybe those who pay for a premium option or upgraded card type between Platinum and Centurion.


Any word on when they’ll announce further information on there partnership with elal?

Joel Rosenberg

@dan I’m thinking of converting my Delta platinum card especially after this devaluation which doesn’t make sense to keep even chasing silver what should I convert it to ?


Have been flying delta loyally jfk-tlv round trip a few times a year for the last few years. These new changes are a disaster.
Btw is there any way we can get #GoodbyeDelta trending on Twitter or reddit
Maybe that’s the only way to get them to stop with this nonsense


Just wrote to Delta:

I want to register my strongest protests against the new Delta status policies announced today. This is a slap in the face as someone who has been working for well over a decade for million miler status and is finally in reach (817K), and is also a massive disloyalty to flyers such as myself who have been Platinum for a decade. I doubt this complaint will change anything, but I must protest. Delta is acting in very bad faith to loyal customers who have felt loyal, proud and built a relationship with this company over many years. Ouch.


I’m out. El Al has gotten much better and this makes it even more attractive. Bye bye Delta


I’m a Delta Reserve cardholder. If I fly on a first class ticket and use the SkyClub will that still count as 1 of my 10 visits per year?

Texas Totty

Now that Delta’s lotus cookies are kosher something had to go!


I don’t have a Twitter account. Can someone PLEASE take a screenshot of all these Delta loyalists saying this is the last straw and a send it to Delta’s Twitter? I would love to see Dan post their reaction…if they care.


Regarding the Club visits, for a frum jew, almost no value.
A lot of food, and nothing kosher.


But if you are KLM Gold which translate to Skyteam Elite plus and flying on Klm light fare l you will be able to enter Delta Lounge as the elite perk. Correct?


I generally don’t fly DL so the limit of entry with Amex Plat doesn’t effect me much.
Would not be surprised if entries decrease in the future.

We used to have Admirals Club Access & United Club Access. Soon we will be without Delta SkyClub Access.


Sat next to one of the people in the Delta Premium department. They said Delta was averaging charging $1.31 for what other airlines were charging $1.00. So, Delta has already collected the data that they are a premium player and people are willing to pay. This is less of an experiment and more a sure thing with the previously collected fare data.


I am not sure I am ready to ditch them quite yet. It does not seem as if the other major airlines have as generous a change/cancelation policy. That still has some value. I


Did they make it harder to status match to Delta as well?


Sorry but this is a good thing. Half the plane seems to have some kind of status now with credit cards and other giveaways. You never get an upgrade and the lounges are totally overcrowded. It needs to be harder to retain so you can actually enjoy some of the benefits.


You can only enjoy your benefits when other people don’t get benefits too?


I don’t have status anywhere, but from what I read, yes. When you can almost never get access to upgrades or lounges because the system has 3x as many people trying to access as it was designed for, it defeats the point of status. Limiting how many people get status/access therefore increases the value of the status/access. It’s airports and planes – they can’t magically triple the size of their footprint, which leaves the only option decreasing their usage.


fair argument but does not answer why its fair to devalue without notice.


perfect timing -my Amex Delta Gold card annual renewal fee was due. Bye bye!


I was a loyal Delta customer BECAUSE OF the lounge access I got through my Amex Platinum. I fly a lot for work so 6 visits would barely last me a month. With this change, I will start to be a free agent and find whatever flight makes the most sense. I will also be cancelling my Platinum card before the 2025 renewal and moving over to either Chase Sapphire Reserved that gives me almost the same perks at a cheaper price point, especially when adding other users. This isn’t only going to be a big loss for Delta but also for Amex.


I posted a comment on the recent AA post about whether or not it’s worth charging your way to status with AA. At the end of the day, with the right cards, you can hit AA Platinum after just $50K in charges (obviously even less if you actually take flights and use the shopping portal and other partners). Simply no comparison. $50K won’t even get you Delta Silver.


Assuming the SkyClub entry restrictions are only applicable to U.S. issued Amex Platinum, like with the Centurion lounge $75K guesting? Yet another pro for the $320 Israeli Amex Platinum!


I’m silver and a loyal member good service and extra bag. You just ran me out of your loyalty and I’m getting rid of my miles. Bye bye Just say the truth and say you’re raising your silver and gold requirements and screwing the customer.


Where do you see the rate to which the rollover mqm will transfer to miles/mqd?
I see it on the blogs but not on any delta page


A bunch of my non-Medallion and Silver Medallion DL flying family and friends don’t really care about upgrades as they just book the premium cabin space they want. The consequence is that my Plat and Diamond Medallion relatives booked in economy end up often being further back in the flying DL buses. Elite status really doesn’t matter like it used to matter, but the lounge access situation may cause them to change their ways a bit.