Delta Announces Sweeping Changes to SkyMiles Medallion Program
||:: Late-Breaking News
(Posted: Dec 11, 2002)
On Dec. 11, Delta released a list of SkyMiles program changes for the upcoming year that will provide plenty of watercooler discussion material for days and weeks to come.
The changes all apply to the SkyMiles Medallion elite program. And what a list of changes it is. Here is the condensed version:
- Medallion Qualification Miles -- a multiple of the distance traveled and fare class purchased -- will now be the sole criterion to determine elite status, replacing the segment and base mile qualification standards. First, BusinessElite and Business class passengers will earn Medallion Qualification Miles equal to two times the actual miles flown (or 1,000 Q-Miles on a minimum 500-mile flight), Coach passengers earn 1.5 times the miles flown, Discount Coach earn miles flown and deeply-discounted coach fares will earn half the miles flown. The qualification thresholds to achieve the various status levels will remain unchanged with Silver earned at 25,000 Qualification Miles, Gold at 50,000 and Platinum at 100,000.
- The price of upgrades, both in terms of cash and mileage redemption, will increase and upgrade redemption distance will decrease. Delta is reducing its upgrade award from 800 miles to 500 miles to "ensure that far fewer upgrades go unused and improve members chances of achieving an upgrade when requested." And the price increase on these new, lower mileage, upgrades is significant. Beginning May 1, 2003, members may purchase four 500-mile upgrades at a cost of $160 -- $40 more than the current cost of four 800-mile upgrades. And if you'd rather use miles to buy those upgrades, the cost is equally steep. Four 500-mile upgrades will cost 25,000 miles, as opposed to the 10,000 miles you would currently need to shell out for four 800-mile upgrades.
- Effective Jan. 1, 2003, Silver and Gold Medallion members will no longer earn complimentary upgrades upon qualification. North American Medallion Upgrades will also be discontinued at the start of the new year, though those earned by Dec. 31 will remain valid through their expiration date.
- On the plus side, beginning May 1, 2003, Medallion members will be able to use upgrades on all fares, including L, U and T fares, subject to availability on the day of departure. Members will also be able to use their upgrades on traveling companions. And, starting Jan. 1, 2004, Medallion members will have the option to earn 5,000 bonus SkyMiles for every 10,000 miles flown in lieu of the four 500-mile upgrades.
- Effective Jan. 1, 2003, SkyMiles members who purchase BusinessElite or Business Class fares will earn a 50 percent class-of-service bonus, up from the current 25 percent bonus offered.
- Medallion members who reach designated Medallion Qualification Miles thresholds will be privy to additional benefits such as the ability to give Silver of Gold status to a friend or family member and the option to carry over some of their Qualification Miles to apply to the next year's status.
- Finally, Delta is introducing two new long-term recognition levels. Members who achieve 2 million Medallion Qualification Miles over the course of their membership will be awarded Lifetime Gold Medallion status and those who earn 4 million Q-miles will receive Lifetime Platinum Medallion status.
Clearly, some of these changes will be well received by members (upgrades good on all fares, ability to upgrade a traveling companion) and some will be viewed less than favorably (price increase on upgrades and upgrades mileage reduction). Many of the changes, however, can only be judged as they relate to specific travel habits. But, whether these changes are praised or panned by members, it would certainly appear Delta has put a great deal of time and thought into its program and substantive revisions are probably unlikely.
Read Randy Petersen's take on the announced Delta changes at http://www.insideflyer.com. For more information on all of the Delta program changes, check out the following links:
SkyMiles Medallion Program Changes
SkyMiles Medallion Changes FAQs
Medallion Qualification Changes
Medallion Qualification Changes FAQs
Upgrade Program Changes FAQs
Additional Rewards & Recognition
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