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Delta Increases Elite Qualification Requirements

With minimum spend levels in place, elite status in Delta’s SkyMiles program will already cost you. Next year, it will cost you even more.

Currently, elite status is awarded on the basis of elite-qualifying miles or segments, plus elite-qualifying spend (Medallion-qualifying dollars, or MQDs, in Delta-speak).

To earn elite status in 2016, the mileage and segment thresholds will remain the same. But the minimum-spend levels will rise, as follows:

  • Silver increases from $2,500 to $3,000
  • Gold increases from $5,000 to $6,000
  • Platinum increases from $7,500 to $9,000
  • Diamond increases from $12,500 to $15,000

In short, to earn elite status for 2016, SkyMiles members will have to spend 20 percent more during 2015. (The spend requirement is waived for those charging $25,000 or more on a Delta SkyMiles credit card.)

The elite spending increase is the third customer-unfriendly change to SkyMiles announced just this month. Other program devaluations include the discontinuation of round-the-world awards, and the elimination of elite upgrades on the airline’s cheapest fares.

And of course, this is all taking place against the backdrop of SkyMiles’ conversion, on January 1, from a mileage-based program to a spend-based program.

Bottom line: Next year’s SkyMiles program will be very different from today’s.

Reader Reality Check

Will you remain engaged with the new SkyMiles program?

This article originally appeared on

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