If you heard a deafening, “NOOOOOOOOO!” yesterday, that probably was the sound of thousands of miles, points and elite status enthusiasts lamenting the fact that they will now need to spend $250,000 on their Amex-Delta cards in order to have their medallion qualifying dollars (MQD) requirement waived to reach diamond medallion status. I did read some articles in which this was not clear and it seemed as if the $250,000 were the new MQD requirement. Well, that is the nature of this hobby, things change and sometimes without notice. I don’t think this is going to be good for Amex’s bottom line.
It’s as if Delta is taking advantage of its importance for Amex. Once upon a time, the Costco-Amex TrueEarnings card represented about 10% of Amex’s profits. According to what Delta’s CEO told analysts back in July, the ATL based airline has become the leading growth engine in Amex’s cobranded card arsenal.1As far as I know, Delta is the last of the legacy carriers that allows reaching status through credit card spend. This fact made Amex cobranded cards appealing to lots of people. The SkyInches might be closed to useless, but holding status might be valuable due to Delta’s superior product when compared with AA and UA particularly.
As we always try to see the positive side of everything, the good news for most of the people who will now need to either fly 125,000 with Delta and spend $15,000 on those flights is that you have options. It’s time to give status match a try. For those who would have spent $15,000 on Delta flights and reach diamond anyway, congratulations! Things might get even better for your kind, though I don’t think being diamond was the main source of joy in your life. If it is, well you have bigger issues than spending those $15,000 on Delta flights! Amex for its part should find ways to make those about-to-be-closed cards more enticing. Anyway, the lesson here is simple: if there is a loophole take it for a long as you can.