Hat tip: The Points Guy

The Points Guy and others had some interesting posts Wednesday afternoon about what appeared to be an accidental early release to Delta.com of the details on a new “revenue based” SkyMiles program. As you might imagine, there are also some spirited discussions taking place at Flyertalk and Milepoint. Highlights of the possible changes include:

Beginning March 1, 2013, the Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) SkyMiles members earn on select fare classes will change:

For Delta-marketed flights, the MQM bonus for First/Business F and J fare classes will double from 50% to 100%, and Economy M fare class will no longer earn a 50% MQM bonus. This change will apply to tickets purchased on or after March 1, 2013.

The above changes also will apply to F-, J- and M-equivalent fare-class tickets on Aeromexico-, Air France-KLM-, Alaska-, Alitalia-, and Virgin Australia-marketed flights. This change will apply to travel flown on or after March 1, 2013.

Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) – Coming Next Year

Beginning January 1, 2014, SkyMiles members residing in the United States (excluding Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) will qualify for Medallion status based on an additional threshold – the member’s annual spending with Delta, which will be measured by Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs). Members must also meet the existing Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) or Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs) qualification criteria.

The threshold ranges from $2,500-$12,500 MQDs depending on Medallion level.

Alternatively, Delta SkyMiles Credit Cardmembers can be waived from the new Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) requirement if they make at least $25,000 in Eligible Purchases within the calendar year.

Where does MJ stand on this?

First, I am taking a wait and see attitude as to whether or not this actually happens. Second, if it does, as long as these are the only changes on the earning side, it will not change my flying patterns as they currently stand. I carry a Delta Amex card, so the spend requirements for MQDs will not impact me. Even if I didn’t carry the card, rest assured, Delta will be getting $2,500 in travel spend out of me and that is only going to rise now that I have relocated to Atlanta. Frankly, there is something I find compelling about connecting loyalty from branded card spend with loyalty from flying. I also can’t help but wonder if tying spend at some level to Medallion qualification might possibly impact some of the 75+ upgrade lists in a good way as well? OK, maybe not enough to matter, but it’s a nice thought.

I have also seen some write that these changes are just part of the program, and that we haven’t heard anything on the redemption side just yet. While that is technically true, I would opine that SkyMiles became a revenue based redemption program with the advent of 3-tier awards a few years ago. We’ll see if more change is coming on that side of things. In the meantime, I will be flying Delta almost exclusively for the foreseeable future.