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Delta slashes Alaska Medallion Qualifying Mile earning April 1st

by on Mon March 9, 2015 • 3 Comments


While Delta released a glowing press release today talking about new 10,000 mile one-way awards, and retroactive awarding of Medallion Qualification Dollars on most partners, the release glossed over a big, though not entirely surprising cut.

Starting April 1st,  Medallion Qualification Mile (MQM) earning on Alaska Airlines flights will be slashed.

Before, all Alaska tickets earned a minimum of 100% of miles flown as Medallion Qualification Miles.

Now, most discount fares will earn fewer than 100% Medallion Qualification Miles.

And no Alaska flights will earn Medallion Qualification Dollars at all, as Alaska is now a ‘Tier 4’ rather than ‘Tier 1’ partner previously.

Here’s the rundown of Medallion Qualifying Mile earning as a percentage of miles flown…

First: F

  • New: 200%
  • Old: 200%

First: P

  • New: 200%
  • Old: 200%

Economy: Y

  • New: 125%
  • Old: 150%

Economy: S

  • New: 100%
  • Old: 150%

Economy: B, M, H

  • New: 100%
  • Old: 100%

Economy: Q, L, V

  • New: 75%
  • Old: 100%

Economy: K, G, T, R

  • New: 50%
  • Old: 100%

Most leisure fares will now earn just 50% MQMs, while many business travel fares will earn just 75%.

Many Seattle based fliers have already made their decisions and moved to earning with Alaska MileagePlan, which offers 100% or better elite qualifying miles on all fares and still earns flight miles based on the distance you fly, rather than the dollars you pay for your ticket.

This makes it even more compelling for holdouts to either switch to Alaska entirely, or avoid Alaska if trying to earn SkyMiles Medallion status.

Given the war for market share in Seattle, a move like this isn’t surprising, but its puts Delta’s best customers into the firing lines and wins no points for being upfront and honest about changes.

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3 thoughts on Delta slashes Alaska Medallion Qualifying Mile earning April 1st

  1. Anonymous

    Wow understanding mileage plans sure is confusing. I need an interpreter and a college degree majoring on the subject to understand it all.

  2. Mike

    i haven’t been able to get a straight answer from Delta- does this apply to 006 tickets already purchased, for travel after April 1? The diamond desk says Delta would never retroactively, but I don’t see it mentioned anywhere that they won’t. Thoughts?


      @Mike – They’re saying all tickets are impacted, regardless of purchase date. Pretty bad way to handle it.


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