I flew Delta to go see my parents this Monday through Wednesday. I have almost enough miles to bump me up to Silver Medallion status, which will be a first for me. Of course this is exciting for someone who’s never earned a status with an airline before since I thought it was only for the business world! After my most recent flight with Delta, I completely understand why they are switching to revenue based for their 2015 SkyMiles program.
I was sitting in the Minneapolis airport getting ready for my plane to depart to New York LaGuardia airport when the gate agent started announcing they’re ready to start boarding the plane. Naturally they asked for those needing additional assistance to board first. Next came First Class passengers, and then they announced those who have Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallion status can now board the plan. I’m not kidding you, it was pretty much the entire floor walked up to the gate. All I could think to myself was “THAT MANY people have Gold Medallion or higher status with Delta?” I immediately was discouraged with my Silver status that I’ll earn for next year. It looks like I may never see a free upgrade to First Class next year being I’m so low on the totem pole.
Earning miles traditionally
For a long time, customers purchasing a normal class ticket without any status always earned miles based on the distance they flew. If you flew 5,000 miles you earned 5,000 miles. Delta has now paved the way to base your miles earned off of how much you spend for your ticket and not the miles flown. Other airlines will most likely follow suit. United has already announced their revenue based miles program for 2015. American Airlines will most likely change their program after the merger with U.S. Airways is done.
Earning miles in 2015
Starting January 1, 2015, Delta will switch to revenue based. There are a number of factors that come into play to determine how many miles you’re going to earn for your flight. Here are the two major factors in my opinion:
- Do you have Silver, Gold, Platinum or Diamond Medallion status with Delta? If so, you’ll earn 7, 8, 9 or 11 miles per dollar spent on your ticket. If you’re purchasing a ticket as a non-elite member, then you’ll earn 5 miles per dollar spent.
- Depending on the fare class, you may earn more miles. (i.e. First Class and Business Class)
- Here’s a calculator on Delta’s site that will allow you to determine how many miles you’ll earn for your flight in 2015.
Why the change?
To keep it short and simple, here are the reasons why I think they switched. Delta will earn more money off revenue based miles since customers will have to spend more in order to earn that elite status. Another reason is probably because too many people were earning elite status with Delta. Finally, customers who scored low fares (i.e. a $200 flight to fly 6,000 miles) would be a cheap way to “fly” your way up to elite status. No longer will customers be able to hop on low priced flights to earn a ton of miles.
I know many are staying loyal to American Airlines because their program has yet to change over. That’s fine by me, because I plan on earning Gold Medallion status next year with Delta. Hopefully with the 2015 SkyMiles program there will be less people rushing up to the gate when they call out Gold, Platinum and Diamond.
How I plan on earning Gold Medallion next year
I carry the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business credit card. They also have a personal version of this card and I plan on applying for that in January, 2015. Each card offers 20,000 MQMs after spending $50k on each card annually. Therefore, if I can spend the required $100k across both cards then I’ll earn 40,000 MQMs. I’ll only need to fly 10,000 miles then with Delta in order to qualify for Gold Medallion status. This is doable for me, but there’s no way I’d be able to collect 50,000 miles on my own with the new 2015 SkyMiles program. Therefore, I hope by earning Gold status next year, I can go into 2016 with a lot less people walking on the plane before me.
One last thing to note about my departure flight from Minneapolis on Monday: My ticket was in Zone 1 , so I could board after all of the elite members (keep in mind Silver boards with the rest of Zone 1). I was quick to get in line as soon as the gate agent called Zone 1, but by the time I got to my seat I had to go 3-4 rows behind my seat in order to find an overhead bin available for my bag. Most of these people are carrying on what seems like full-sized suitcases and trying to cram them in the overhead bin! Either pony up and pay the luggage fee or get an airline credit card that will allow you a free checked bag. This is another reason why I want to chase after Gold status so I don’t have to deal with this. I know, #FirstWorldProblems