Delta SkyMiles Revenue Component in 2014: Medallion Qualification Dollars?

FlyerTalk member DLroads reports the supposed proposed changes which have been anticipated for the Delta Air Lines SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty program — to purportedly be effective as of January 1, 2014, which includes the addition of a revenue component known as Medallion Qualification Dollars — as shown below:

  • Beginning January 1, 2014, Delta Air Lines SkyMiles members residing in the United States — excluding Guam, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands — will qualify for Medallion status based on an additional threshold: how much the SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty program member spends annually with Delta Air Lines, which will be measured by Medallion Qualification Dollars, or MQDs.
  • Members must also meet the existing Medallion Qualification Miles or Medallion Qualification Segments qualification criteria.
  • The threshold ranges from $2,500.00 to $12,500.00 Medallion Qualification Dollars, depending on Medallion elite level — although details on the exact threshold amounts per Medallion elite level remains to be seen.
  • Alternatively, Delta SkyMiles credit card members can be waived from the new Medallion Qualification Dollars requirement if their eligible purchases total a minimum of $25,000.00 within the calendar year.

It is important to note that the way redeemable SkyMiles are currently earned is not changing.
Supposedly effective as of March 1, 2013, the Medallion Qualification Miles which Delta Air Lines SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty program members earn on select fare classes will change:

  • For flights marketed by Delta Air Lines, the bonus of Medallion Qualification Miles for First and Business F and J fare classes will double from 50 percent to 100 percent
  • Economy M fare class will no longer earn a bonus 50 percent of Medallion Qualification Miles, which will apply to tickets purchased on or after March 1, 2013

The above changes also will apply to equivalent fare-class tickets on flights marketed by Aeromexico, Air France-KLM, Alaska Airlines, Alitalia, and Virgin Australia, which will apply to travel flown on or after March 1, 2013.
The Medallion Qualification Miles earned on certain other flights marketed by airline partners will adjust for travel flown on or after March 1, 2013 — details by carrier will be posted at delta.com/partnerairlines if it is not already posted there when you read this.
Rollover Medallion Qualification Miles will remain in effect in the Delta Air Lines SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty program.
I will admit that the changes outlined above — should they become true — are not nearly as ominous as FlyerTalk members portended. The revenue component appears to have been designed to prevent SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty members from achieving Medallion elite status for too low of a cost — such as on a “mileage run” or “mistake airfare” as examples. The changes also seem to intend to better reward those customers based on how much they spend with Delta Air Lines, but without completely eliminating the loyalty component of earning Sky Miles Medallion elite status — even though the changes may ultimately reduce the number of Medallion elite level members of the Delta Air Lines SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty program.
However, there are still questions to be answered with this developing story, including but not limited to:

  • Will dollar spending thresholds roll over as well?
  • Are taxes and fees included as part of the spend?
  • How would spending with flights on joint venture partner airlines — if any — and SkyTeam partner airlines count?
  • Would the spend on code-share flights count towards Medallion Qualification Dollars?
  • Would it matter if it is a ticket coded by Delta Air Lines or a ticket coded by a different airline?
  • What exactly will be the threshold dollar amounts per Medallion elite level?
  • Are the above reported changes supposedly only the beginning — in other words, will there be more adverse changes to the Delta Air Lines SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty program that have not been mentioned as of yet?

I am reserving my thoughts until I know and understand the complete details of the final version of the changes supposedly to be implemented for the Delta Air Lines SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty program.

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