Delta Air Lines announced two exciting changes to its SkyMiles program. Beginning April 1, 2022, SkyMiles members will earn permanent Medallion Elite status points on Delta award travel booked through SkyMiles. In addition, high-spending travelers are no longer subject to mileage caps on expensive tickets. Here’s what you need to know about these two flyer-friendly changes to Delta.

Delta to permanently extend elite earnings for award travel

Airlines have gotten creative with getting travelers back in the air during the pandemic, from blocking middle seats to eliminating change fees. In March 2021, Delta introduced a unique, but initially temporary, earning option: earning elite status points through award travel. This promotion is so popular that Delta Air Lines is extending it through December 31, 2022.

Now, just a year after Delta originally announced this new earning opportunity, Delta has permanently extended earnings for Medallion Elite status for Delta Rewards travel.

Remember, SkyMiles award travel booked through a partner airline or Delta award travel booked through a partner program such as Virgin Atlantic does not earn Elite Status points.

SkyMiles members no longer have to pay out-of-pocket for flights to earn Medallion Elite status. There is no cap on how much you can earn from award travel. You can only earn Delta Medallion Elite status on award travel if you have enough SkyMiles.


This move solidifies Delta’s treatment of SkyMiles as another form of currency — you can use it for drinks in the SkyMiles lounge from your flight to your destination. While Delta dropped the odometer a few years ago, Delta’s Flash Deals allow you to find real deals.

How to Earn Delta Medallion Points on Award Travel

Delta Medallion award travel points work like earning cash tickets. However, you need to do some simple calculations to calculate your Medallion Qualifying Dollar earnings. Here’s how it works:

Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) are earned based on actual distance flown on award flights. You can use tools like Great Circle Mapper to find the distance between any two airports.

Medallion Qualifying Segments (MQSs) Earn one MQS per segment flown. This means that one of the benefits of needing to book connecting flights is earning extra MQS.

Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs) are calculated based on the amount of SkyMiles you use to book awards. Just divide the number of miles spent by 100 to get the total earnings for the ticket. This means 150 MQDs will be earned on 15,000 miles of award tickets. To calculate revenue for each individual flight, divide the cost by the total miles flown.


How to Increase Your Delta SkyMiles Balance

Now that you can earn permanent Delta Medallion Elite status points on award flights, the SkyMiles program just got even more valuable. There are many ways to earn Delta miles — including signing up for a new SkyMiles credit card or transferring points from a partner.

Current credit card offers include:


Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card: Earn 70,000 bonus miles when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card: Earn 90,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card: Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months.

Another way to earn Delta SkyMiles is to transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards. Earn 1,000 SkyMiles for every 1,000 member awards transferred. Please note that American Express charges a fee of $0.0006 per mile for the transfer of Delta SkyMiles points – up to a maximum of $99 per transfer.


Delta SkyMiles also partners with several hotel loyalty programs. The best option for most U.S. travelers is a 3:1 transfer from Marriott Bonvoy to the SkyMiles program. You’ll also earn 5,000 bonus miles for every 60,000 Bonvoy points you transfer. That means for every 60,000 Bonvoy points you transfer, you’ll earn a total of 25,000 SkyMiles points.

Delta removes mileage cap

Previously, Delta Air Lines limited SkyMiles earnings to 75,000 miles per ticket. Not only will Delta waive this cap in the future, but it will also do so retroactively, effective January 1, 2022. If you’ve been affected by this cap so far this year, Delta will issue additional SkyMiles to your account by April 1, 2022.

Previously, this seemingly arbitrary cap on mileage accumulation was standard on other U.S. airline mileage programs. However, it only affects travelers who buy expensive cash tickets.

Delta Diamond Medallion members can earn 11 Sky Miles for every $1​​ of base fare and airline-imposed surcharges. Therefore, even Delta Diamond Medallion members are only subject to this cap if they spend more than $6,818 on airfare. Regular SkyMiles members (who earn 5 SkyMiles per dollar) must spend $15,000 to reach the $75,000 income limit.

Removing the mileage cap helps Delta position itself as more friendly to business travelers and other premium travelers.

Bottom line

Delta just permanently extended Medallion Elite status earnings for Delta Rewards travel and removed the SkyMiles cap on earning SkyMiles on paid travel. It’s two flyer-friendly steps that will gradually improve the SkyMiles program for reward travelers and big spenders.


Jake Smith

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Jake Smith

He is the editor of Eragoncred. Previously, he was editor-in-chief of Eragoncred and a financial industry reporter. Jake has spent most of his career as a Digital Media journalist and has over 10 years of experience as a writer and editor.