Well, since my “On MQDs and Whatnot” post, Delta has made it official, SkyMiles will be switching to a kinda-sorta revenue based earning program. Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) are coming to a SkyMiles profile near you in 2014. In addition to your normal Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) or Segments (MQSs), you will need to spend a certain amount of money on Delta tickets to qualify for status. Here’s how it looks:
Silver Medallion = $2,500 MQDs and 25,000 MQMs or 30 MQSs
Gold Medallion = $5,000 MQDs and 50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs
Platinum Medallion = $7,500 MQDs and 75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs
Diamond Medallion = $12,500 MQDs and 125,000 MQMs or 140 MQSs
Let’s talk about what Delta got right. First, they’re giving plenty of notice on this change. It doesn’t become effective until January 1, 2014 for the 2015 program year. Second, I think these revenue requirements are reasonable. Finally, I like the fact that Delta is acknowledging that its co-branded credit card customers matter by waiving MQD requirements if you spend at least $25,000 dollars on your Delta Amex card. Better yet, if you have more than one Delta Amex product, the combined spend counts toward meeting the $25,000 dollar threshold. I have debated how I feel about ancillary revenues not counting toward MQD requirements. Bags, change fees, drinks, etc. are all revenues that flow to Delta. I have decided that I am at peace with not counting these items as I’m not sure that on a “per customer” basis, they really contribute to making a customer profitable.
I firmly believe that the other big programs are heading this way soon. I’ve heard that a big airline is reaching out to Delta top tiers with a status match on the spot. We’ll see how that pans out. I’ll bet 5 bucks that airline and all the others are rolling out a similar requirement within a year, maybe two.