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Earlier this year, Delta made a positive update to its Million Miler elite status program by giving flyers the chance to lock in its top-tier SkyMiles Diamond Medallion status for life (albeit for the life of the program, not the life of the traveler) so I thought that I’d take the chance to go over the criteria for earning Delta lifetime elite status and to show how Delta’s offering compares to the offerings from United and American Airlines.
Delta Million Miler Elite Status Criteria
Up until late July this year, Delta only offered flyers the chance to earn lifetime Silver, Gold, and Platinum elite status but, as of 23 July 2021, lifetime Diamond medallion status became an achievable objective as well.
To enjoy the various lifetime elite statuses that Delta offers, these are the criteria that a Delta flyer has to meet:
- Delta Lifetime SkyMiles Silver Medallion status – One million lifetime miles
- Delta Lifetime SkyMiles Gold Medallion status – Two million lifetime miles
- Delta Lifetime SkyMiles Platinum Medallion status – Four million lifetime miles
- Delta Lifetime SkyMiles Diamond Medallion – Six million lifetime miles
4, and 6 million lifetime miles may seem like huge targets to have to hit to earn worthwhile lifetime status with Delta (and they are!) but because the miles needed to earn staus don’t all have to come from flying, the targets are not quite as daunting as they may first appear.
Earning Delta Medallion Qualifying Miles
Delta awards flyers with Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQM) every time they book and fly a qualifying flight with Delta or with one of its MQM-qualifying partner airlines but it also allows customers to earn MQM through spending made on their Delta co-branded credit cards and through some of the welcome bonuses that the cards offer.
Right now, for example, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card (review) is offering, as part of its welcome bonus, 50,000 bonus redeemable miles, a $100 statement credit, and 10,000 MQM when a successful first-time applicant spends $3,000 on their new card in the first 3 months of card membership (terms apply). The MQM on offer here would count towards Delta Million Miler status.
In addition to this, some of Delta’s Amex co-branded cards offer something called a “status boost” which gives cardholders the opportunity to earn bonus MQM for the spending they put on their card and these MQM would also count towards Delta’s Million Miler status targets.
The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, for example, ordinarily offers cardholders 10,000 MQM for every $25,000 they spend on their card in a year (up to a maximum of 20,000 MQM – terms apply) and these MQM would move a cardholder closer (albeit only a little closer) to whatever their next Million Miler target is.
Note: In 2021, holders of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card can also earn an additional 2,500 MQMs after making $25,000 in purchases, up to 2 times (terms apply).
How Delta’s Million Miler Targets Compare to United & American
All three of the US legacy carriers offer their flyers the chance to earn lifetime elite status of some kind but the elite status levels that are available vary from airline to airline.
Lifetime Elite Status Requirements:
An in-depth discussion of the various options offered by the 3 legacy carriers is probably best left for another article but even a cursory glance at what the airlines have published shows that United’s lifetime elite status program is the more generous of the three.
It is now possible to earn four levels of lifetime elite status with Delta through qualifying miles earned from flying, from select credit card welcome bonuses, and from spending made on select credit cards. Even with the help of some generous credit card deals the 6 million miles needed to earn lifetime Diamond Medallion status is going to be a tough target for most people to reach, but it’s still nice that lifetime Diamond Medallion status is something that Delta now offers.