This Is One of the Most Coveted Airline Elite Statuses for Frequent Fliers — and How to Earn It

Your guide to unlocking Delta's top-tier medallion status.

<p>Courtesy of Delta</p>

Courtesy of Delta

Like many carriers, Delta Air Lines has a frequent flier program to reward its most loyal customers. The Delta SkyMiles Loyalty Program has four elite status tiers: Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond — the latter is the highest. (There's also one "secret" tier above Diamond called Delta 360°, but membership is by invitation only.)

As a Diamond Medallion, passengers receive perks such as complimentary upgrades, free checked bags, priority seating, waived fees for ticket changes, and bonus award miles (called SkyMiles) on Delta flights. They also qualify for complimentary CLEAR Plus membership.

To earn any kind of status with Delta, whether that's Silver or Diamond, travelers must first register for a free SkyMiles account. Then, they have two buckets to fill: a flight requirement and a spend requirement. Both must be completed within a calendar year to qualify for status the following year. For example, you must fill both buckets by the end of 2023 to qualify for status during the 2024 Medallion Year. (Delta's Medallion Year runs longer than a standard year. It starts immediately once you qualify, spans a whole calendar year, and ends at the end of January of the following year. So, the 2024 Medallion year would end on January 31, 2025.)

Here’s how much you need to fly and spend to earn Delta Diamond Medallion status.

Delta Diamond Medallion Flight Requirements

In terms of flying requirements, frequent fliers must hit one of two benchmarks within a calendar year: Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQM) or Medallion Qualifying Segments (MQS).

Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQM)

To achieve Diamond status, SkyMiles members must earn 125,000 MQMs in a calendar year. MQMs are typically earned by flying on Delta or a SkyTeam partner flight — the number of MQMs received for each flight is determined by the distance flown, with bonuses for bookings in premium cabins (First, Premium Select, and Delta One). MQMs are not earned on basic economy fares.

MQMs can also be awarded as "Status Boost" bonuses for SkyMiles members who hit certain spend thresholds with a qualifying Delta SkyMiles American Express Card. The exact number of MQMs and the spend threshold depend on the specific card but range from 10,000 for every $25,000 spent in a calendar year (up to twice a year) to 15,000 MQMs for every $30,000 spent in a calendar year (up to four times a year). You can learn more about the eligible personal cards here and the eligible business cards here.

Delta’s SkyMiles program also allows you to roll over MQMs above the threshold of your elite status level from the previous year. So, if you achieved Delta Diamond Medallion status in 2022 for the 2023 Medallion Year with 150,000 MQMs — 25,000 MQMs above the Diamond threshold — those 25,000 MQMs will be rolled over into your flight requirement bucket for the 2024 Medallion Year.

Medallion Qualifying Segments (MQS)

SkyMiles members must fly 140 segments — single flights — on Delta or SkyTeam partners to tick the MQS box for Diamond status. If you book a flight with a layover, your one-way journey would contain two segments, as you’re taking two separate flights. As with MQMs, MQSs are not earned on basic economy flights.

Delta Diamond Medallion Spend Requirements

As with the flight requirements, SkyMiles members must hit one of two benchmarks for spend within a calendar year. There is one exception: if you live outside of the U.S., the spending requirement is waived. 

Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQD)

SkyMiles members must earn $20,000 MQDs in a calendar year to achieve Diamond status. On Delta flights, MQDs are awarded for the price of the flight, minus taxes and fees, at a rate of one MQD per dollar spent. MQDs are not earned on basic economy tickets, but they are earned on Award Tickets (tickets booked with SkyMiles) at a rate of one MQD per 100 SkyMiles.

On SkyTeam partner flights, MQDs are earned as a percentage of miles flown, with different percentages for each fare class — they range from 5 percent to 40 percent of miles flown. This means that on some flights, you may earn more MQDs than the ticket is actually worth in cash.

MQD Waiver

If you hold an eligible Delta SkyMiles American Express Card and spend $250,000 on that card in a calendar year, Delta will waive the MQD requirement to earn Diamond status.

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