“Delta Air Lines is undergoing significant adjustments in how customers can attain elite frequent flyer status and is introducing stricter access criteria for many American Express cardholders to enter the airline’s airport lounges. These changes reflect the evolving landscape of luxury in the realm of air travel.
Starting January 1st, customers will now achieve Delta Medallion status exclusively based on their spending, rather than a combination of spending with the airline and the number of flights taken. This new approach mirrors a model previously adopted by American Airlines earlier this year.
Offers a range of privileges
As passenger spending with the airline and co-branded credit cards has surged in recent years, major airlines have continually raised the requirements for attaining elite status. This status offers a range of privileges, including early boarding, upgrades to first class, and access to airport lounges.
Dwight James, Delta’s Senior Vice President of Customer Engagement and Loyalty, stated, ‘We want customers to be able to receive status with activity beyond just air travel.’
In the coming year, Delta customers will earn 1 Medallion Qualifying Dollar for every $1 spent on Delta flights, car rentals, hotels, and vacation packages booked through the airline.
However, the earning ratio is different for dollars spent through co-branded American Express cards. Members of Delta SkyMiles Reserve and Reserve Business American Express cards will earn 1 Medallion Qualifying Dollar for every $10 spent on the card, while Delta SkyMiles Platinum and Platinum Business American Express Card Members will earn 1 Medallion Qualifying Dollar for every $20 spent.
Ooption to bypass this limit
In addition to changing the way elite status is earned, Delta is also introducing new limitations on access to its Sky Club airport lounges for certain American Express credit card holders. Overcrowding issues have prompted this move.
Starting February 1, 2025, American Express Platinum and Platinum Business cardholders will be granted six lounge visits annually, unless they spend $75,000 on the card within a calendar year. Meanwhile, Delta SkyMiles Reserve and Reserve Business cardholders will have access to 10 Sky Club visits per year, with the option to bypass this limit by also spending $75,000 annually.
Delta SkyMiles Platinum and Platinum Business American Express cards will no longer provide club access as a card benefit. However, customers can still gain entry by purchasing a club membership or if they hold elite status with Delta, which permits them to select a club membership as a perk.
Dwight James noted that these changes were made in collaboration with American Express. Delta had previously implemented measures to address overcrowding in its lounges, including restricting employee access and raising membership prices for regular customers.
In response to increasing demand, Delta and its competitors are actively expanding and modernizing their lounge facilities to accommodate more customers. For instance, United Airlines recently unveiled a 35,000 square-foot club at Denver International Airport, the largest in its network, after opening a 24,000 square-foot club at the same airport earlier in the summer.”