For Delta Air Lines‘ SkyMiles Medallion members, that status just extended another year. The carrier announced today that member status for the 2022 program year will not be lower than it was in 2021. This is the second consecutive year the carrier chose to extend status in its frequent flyer program.
We know traveling looks different than it did before the pandemic. No matter what your situation has been throughout the past year, we want to do all we can to make your return to travel seamless and rewarding.– Dwight James, S.V.P. of Customer Engagement & Loyalty and CEO of Delta Vacations
In addition to rolling over status for another year, the company announced several other updates for the 2022 program year. Most notably, Members who earn Status in 2021 will receive additional benefits over those whose status was extended.
Starting Feb. 1, 2022, those who earned 2022 Status will clear for Complimentary Upgrades ahead of those at the same tier level whose Status was automatically extended. Platinum and Diamond Medallion Members who earned Status will be able to select Choice Benefits. Extended status Platinum & Diamond members will not receive Choice benefits next year.
Other benefits include:
- Medallion Status for 2021 will be automatically extended for the 2022 Medallion Year.
- All Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) will roll over to 2022 to qualify for 2023 Medallion Status – for the second year in a row.
- All Members will continue to earn toward Status on Award Travel through Dec. 31, 2022 – extended an extra year.
- All Global and Regional Upgrade Certificates will be extended for travel through Jan. 31, 2023.
- All current Delta 360 Members will be able to enjoy their exclusive Membership in our annual, invite-only program for an additional year through Jan. 31, 2023. All Delta 360 Members will be able to select Diamond Choice Benefits.
For Delta co-brand American Express cardholders an additional set of extensions will be offered:
- Delta SkyMiles Gold Card Members who earn a $100 Delta Flight Credit between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2021, will have the expiration date extended to Jan. 31, 2023.
- Delta SkyMiles Platinum and Reserve Card Members with unused Companion Certificates as of July 31, 2021, or Companion Certificates issued between Aug. 1, 2021, and Dec. 31, 2021, will have the expiration date extended to book and fly by Jan. 31, 2023.
- Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card Members with Delta Sky Club One-Time Guest Passes issued between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2021, will have the expiration dates extended to Jan. 31, 2023.
While many travelers undoubtedly will celebrate the extension of status, the move – especially this early and with the slower Fall season just around the corner – does raise some questions about just how strong the recovery is for airlines. Is business travel really coming back over the next couple months??
If the more frequent fliers are really coming back, do they need the status extension? And if they are not yet, does this open an opportunity to “shop around” with other airlines that might be a little cheaper or more convenient or offer a non-stop flight where Delta does not?
It also raises the question of whether American, United, and others will match. Each airline will see its elite membership numbers differently, of course. But lemming-like behavior among this type of policy is all too common. And the lack of long-haul, international service returning has to be a big blow for those elite ranks.
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