Delta Airlines tried just about everything to help flyers reach their goals of elite Medallion status in the SkyMiles loyalty program this year, but in the end, it was the Delta variant that won out.

Despite allowing tickets booked with miles to count, and a variety of other promotions, Delta clearly feels like there was more to lose, than gain, by letting accounts fall by the wayside, and everything from status to vouchers and credit card perks will extend out for another year.

Delta Extends Medallion Status

Anyone presently holding Medallion status in the Delta SkyMiles program, whether Silver, Gold, Platinum or Diamond, will automatically have their frequent flyer status extended until January 31st, 2023. Upgrade certificates will be extended automatically to the same date.

Delta was among the most aggressive, or generous, of all global airlines in trying to give SkyMiles members ways to maintain status this year, but in the end, travel did not rebound as hoped, at least with frequent travelers.

Delta Airlines still has an ongoing promotion where flights qualify for status faster, and flights booked with points count too, so if you’re looking to move up the tiers, there’s no reason not to do so.

Interesting Enticement To Get More Delta Upgrades

Delta could’ve just dismissed complaints that there’s no point in bothering to maintain status in the interim, but they were impressively smarter than that.

To entice people to maintain status organically, anyone who qualifies on their own in 2021 for Medallion status will have priority over other members of the same elite tier, who did not. So if two Gold medallions with all other things being equal come head to head for one seat, the one who qualified before the other will get the seat.

This is a fantastic way to incentivize people not to give up on the dream, or to reach for a new tier, despite ongoing restrictions and headaches. Delta also sends a clear note to flyers that it’s hellbent on keeping them, in a time when many are questioning loyalty all together.

Time For Other Airlines To Follow?

The US was broadly more open to travel than most countries during the pandemic. US travelers were never forbidden from traveling internationally, even as select bans from the EU and UK remained in force for non residents, citizens or visa holders.

Travel to “easy” destinations including Mexico, Hawaii and anywhere with a beach proved massively popular, and to some extent, airlines couldn’t fly big enough planes to cope with the leisure travel demand.

But that’s not business travel, and most people who hit top tier elite status and spend $25,000 plus a year on flights are traveling on at least a hybrid of business and leisure.

For loyalty programs in Europe or the UK, it’s hard to imagine that another elite status extension wouldn’t be in the works, and the same could be said for other US airlines. If US airlines have been dependable in any way over the last decade, it’s in their undying love to copy each other, and love of US government support.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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1 Comment

  1. Good info to know as I am currently an American Airlines frequent flyer and they have yet to take this approach. Hopefully this will “nudge” them a bit to do so. Please let us know what else you might find out from AA and other US airlines.

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