Delta Air Lines extended the elite status of all of its SkyMiles Medallion members yesterday for another year. Will American Airlines and United Airlines follow?
Delta Air Lines Extends Elite Status For All SkyMiles Members
Yesterday, Delta became the first major U.S. airline to extend status for a second year for all of its elite SkyMiles members. That means your current status will be valid through January 31, 2023. In addition, all Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) your earn in 2021 will be rolled over to 2022, to help you get a jump start on earning elite status in 2023.
Interestingly, this move comes as domestic travel is surging again, in many cases exceeding 2019 levels (though business travel has yet to fully return).
To reward those who made the effort and spent the money to re-qualify or qualify for status this year based upon actual travel, Delta will prioritize those elite members for complimentary, space-available upgrades. For example, a Delta Diamond member who earns elite status by flying will have priority over a Delta Diamond member who simply maintains status due to this extension.
Furthermore, those who are granted a status extension will not be able to select new Choice Benefits, including confirmed upgrade certificates, Sky Club access, or bonus miles.
Will American + United Follow Delta In Extending Elite Status?
Both American Airlines and United Airlines have already made it fairly easy for elite members to re-qualify for elite status. Thus, I’m not convinced either will offer an outright extension of status like Delta.
In the case of American, earning 2,000 elite qualifying dollars (EQDs) or spending $15,000 on a co-branded American Airlines credit card will be enough to extend your status for another year. While not a direct giveaway, that makes elite status qualification a rather low-hanging fruit.
In the case of United, lucrative quarterly promotions mean that only limited flying is necessary to maintain status. I’m already close to re-qualifying for status this year and have spent very little on travel compared to previous years.
While it is conceivable that both American and United will extend status, I find it less likely they will do so than Delta. If they do, however, I expect similar limitations with confirmed upgrades and potentially upgrade priority.
Delta’s note to SkyMiles members about the status extension was also couched in an apology about the long hold times this summer, almost as if the extension was compensation for such poor customer service. AA and UA have also not experienced hold times nearly as bad.
Delta became the first major U.S. airline to extend status for all elite members for another year. While it is anyone’s guess as to whether American and United will follow, I tend to think that American and United will instead continue to offer very lucrative and easy promotions to re-qualify rather than just giving it away.
Are you happy Delta Air Lines extended status for another year?