HomeAirline LoyaltyDelta SkyMilesHow to earn Delta Lifetime Medallion Elite status

How to earn Delta Lifetime Medallion Elite status

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Back in 2021, 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) and that was a surprisingly positive move for Delta to make. But how do you earn lifetime Diamond Medallion status?

Delta Million Miler elite status criteria

Up until the middle of July last 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 – 1,000,000 lifetime miles
  • Delta Lifetime SkyMiles Gold Medallion status – 2,000,000 lifetime miles
  • Delta Lifetime SkyMiles Platinum Medallion status – 4,000,000 lifetime miles
  • Delta Lifetime SkyMiles Diamond Medallion – 6,000,000 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 status 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.

Historically, for example, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card (review) has occasionally offered new cardholders the chance to earn 10,000 MQM as part of its welcome bonus and those MQM 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. These MQM would also count towards Delta’s Million Miler status targets.

The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, for example, 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.

*Basic Economy tickets are not eligible to earn credit towards Medallion Status.

How Delta’s Million Miler targets compare to United & American Airlines

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:

Tier Names:

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.

Bottom line

It’s currently 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 to have that option open.

Featured image courtesy of Delta

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