American Express SkyMiles Card Diamond Waiver Increased to 250,000 Medallion Qualification Dollars by Delta Air Lines

“I am speechless. This is the biggest FU to come from DL in quite some time. AMEX platinum card is now worthless. I’ll likely cancel it and shift my card spend over to my AA card. If DL wanted to thin the herd this was a good way to do it” is what FlyerTalk member SOBE ER DOC opined in this discussion. “It’s clear my loyalty to DL is one-sided. Not any more.”

Ever since earning miles in the SkyMiles program became based on revenue instead of distance flown back in 2015, an exemption has been offered to customers who hold an eligible variation of the American Express card from Delta Air Lines in the form of a waiver with a minimum spend of $25,000.00 — but for members of the SkyMiles program who want to earn Diamond Medallion elite level status, the minimum spend waiver increases by ten times the amount starting in 2019.

American Express SkyMiles Card Diamond Waiver Increased to 250,000 Medallion Qualification Dollars by Delta Air Lines

Effective as of Sunday, January 1, 2018, the minimum amount of Medallion Qualification Dollars required to earn Diamond Medallion elite level status using the SkyMiles credit card issued by American Express will be $250,000.00 per calendar year

…and that does not include the cost of the annual fee of the credit card itself, fees, interest charges, balance transfers, cash advances, purchases of travelers’ checks, purchases or reloading of prepaid cards, purchases of other cash equivalents, returns and credits — all of which do not count as eligible purchases towards the waiver.

However, eligible purchases by additional credit card members on the eligible credit card of the basic credit card member will count toward the eligible purchase threshold. Eligible purchases will be combined across multiple eligible credit cards of the basic credit card member if those credit card accounts are linked to the same SkyMiles membership account number.

The change was designed for those members of the SkyMiles program who earned Diamond Medallion elite level status to be better able to take full advantage of all the benefits. “We are always looking for ways to improve the Medallion experience by listening to your feedback”, according to this announcement posted at the official Internet web site of Delta Air Lines, “This qualification change will allow us to deliver on expectations for Diamond Medallion Status so Members can maximize elite benefits like Complimentary Upgrades and Delta Sky Club® access. This update will not change how Members earn 2018 Diamond Medallion Status.”

The minimum requirement for the Medallion Qualification Dollar waiver to attain Platinum, Gold or Silver Medallion elite level status during the qualification year will remain at $25,000.00 of eligible purchases with an eligible SkyMiles credit card issued by American Express.

The Blue SkyMiles Credit Card Just Became Bluer — For You

If you hold the Blue Delta SkyMiles credit card from American Express, the bad news is that this credit card will no longer be eligible for the Medallion Qualification Dollar waiver effective as of Sunday, January 1, 2018 — but if you have another SkyMiles credit card which includes the Medallion Qualification Dollar waiver benefit in addition to your Delta Blue SkyMiles credit card, then eligible purchases with the Blue Delta SkyMiles credit card will continue to count towards the Medallion Qualification Dollar waiver.

Eligible Credit Cards For the $250,000.00 Medallion Qualification Dollar Waiver

Credit cards which are eligible for the Medallion Qualification Dollar waiver include:

  • Delta SkyMiles Credit Card
  • Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card
  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles
  • Delta Reserve Credit Card
  • Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card
  • Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card
  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card
  • Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card from American Express
  • Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card — but only through Saturday, December 31, 2017

Reaction

“I am cancelling my Reserve and getting the Delta Blue card”, FlyerTalk member LAStotheWorld lamented with resignation. “I will enjoy Diamond through the end of 2018 and then I will just play the field after that. It was a fun ride, Delta.”

Although the majority of FlyerTalk members who posted to this discussion at least 1,383 times viewed the new policy pertaining to the waiver as a negative “enhancement”, not everyone is upset by it. “Good Change” is what FlyerTalk member Love_Travel posted. “Good for delta and all Delta travelers.”

Other FlyerTalk members are generally neutral about this new policy — such as FlyerTalk member ND76, who is neither happy nor angry or upset: “As long as I have pre-check, get a free checked bag and lounge access on SkyTeam partners, I’ll be OK. I won’t travel as much as I currently do, but on the trips I take to the west coast, I’ll use FCM deals when I feel that I need F seating.”

René deLambert of René’s Points claimed victory as per the headline of this article: “Thank You readers – we WON! Delta Diamond MQD waiver ‘only’ $250,000 for 2019 Medallion year. I AM THRILLED!”

Regardless of which credit cards you use or how much you engage yourself in what is known as manufactured spending, a quarter of a million dollars is a lot of money to spend for just about anyone — regardless of how much the new requirement reduces the number of people who achieve Diamond Medallion elite level status — which is why the majority of the people are not happy by this news, to say the least…

…but is it really a victory?

Summary

Important to note is that the Medallion Qualification Dollar requirement of $15,000.00 by flying as a passenger on qualifying flights remains unchanged — along with the minimum amount of 125,000 Medallion Qualification Miles or 140 Medallion Qualification Segments — and perhaps the change in the Medallion Qualification Dollar waiver for holders of eligible SkyMiles credit cards may be an incentive for customers to fly more often as passengers aboard airplanes operated by Delta Air Lines.

Also, the Medallion Qualification Dollar waiver increase has no impact on any of the other benefits offered by eligible SkyMiles credit cards.

If you have an eligible SkyMiles credit card issued by American Express and you want to achieve Diamond Medallion elite level status for 2018 with the current $25,000.00 Medallion Qualification Dollar waiver, you still have until Saturday, December 31, 2017 to do so — but this will be the last year to do so.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

2 thoughts on “American Express SkyMiles Card Diamond Waiver Increased to 250,000 Medallion Qualification Dollars by Delta Air Lines”

  1. Eric says:

    Dollars (what you need to spend to get an MQD waiver) and MQDs are not the same thing.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      True, Eric; but I think that most people can agree that 250,000 Medallion Qualification Dollars is still a rather enormous amount — even with bonuses thrown in…

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