So a few people have asked us about the Delta SkyMiles changes that is coming out with major changes as of January 1, 2015, so we are going to write a post providing a few highlights and comments on the upcoming changes to the program.
Earning Structure and Qualifying for Elite Status
Below is the current (2014) earning structure:
(Medallion Qualification Miles = MQMs)
(Medallion Qualification Segments = MQSs)
(Medallion Qualification Dollars = MQDs)
Earn 25,000 MQMs or 30 MQSs and spend $2,500 MQDs
Earn 50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs and spend $5,000 MQDs
Earn 75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs and spend $7,500 MQDs
Earn 125,000 MQMs or 140 MQSs and spend $12,500 MQDs
This has already been a devaluation in the program by requiring MQDs that was not in place before. Basically they are requiring travelers to spend a minimum amount of money with the airline before qualifying for elite status.
In terms of the 2015 changes, there is another devaluation coming, where earning MQMs will be based on the price of the plane ticket. The earning ratios are as follows:
General Members – earn 5 points per $1 spent
Silver Medallion – earn 7 points per $1 spent
Gold Medallion – earn 8 points per $1 spent
Platinum Medallion – earn 9 points per $1 spent
Diamond Medallion – earn 11 points per $1 spent
Earning points at the above rates will be slower than the current earning rates. As a result, it will be much more difficult to attain elite status because of the spend requirements. Bonus points and other ways to earn points will not count toward the elite status calculations.
No blackout dates, One-Way Awards, Points + Cash
You will be able to redeem for award flights with no blackout dates.
You can now redeem for one-way at half the numbers of points needed for a round-trip award (now starting at 12,500 points) for travel with Canada and the United States (excluding Hawaii). One-way reward flights were not an available option previously.
Furthermore, you will be able to pay for a flight using a combination of points and cash, which was not available before.
There are positives and negative changes to the program. In short, the bigger change affects mostly travelers who value elite status. For less frequent travelers, no blackout dates and one-way award are all positive changes to the program.
For all changes, there is going to be a pro and con perspective. The negatives are quite obvious, make it more difficult to attain elite status discourages people from trying and most likely Delta will lose some business over such a move.
Conversely, I believe that making it more difficult to attain elite status makes the elite status more valuable. In return, hopefully they will improve the elite statuses so that there is more incentive to attain those statuses, otherwise, we’re better off spending money on another airline.