Delta announces status-reclaiming program for elite members

Delta announces status-reclaiming program for elite members

Earlier this month, Delta Air Lines announced its customers will be able to extend their elite status if they have a major life event that prevents them from flying enough to keep it. With this move, Delta became the third North American carrier to allow its elite members to extend their status; however, with more perks than the Alaska Airlines and Air Canada programs.

While the other two airlines focus more on giving such benefit to new parents, Delta’s new policy allows members to regain their elite status not only for becoming new parents, but also when recovering from a serious illness or injury, changing jobs and/or career, going back to school, caring for an ill family member, including the possibility to have it granted for other reasonable requests as well.

Sandeep Dube, senior vice president for customer engagement and loyalty, said that “there was very clear feedback from our members that after a life event happens, getting back to travel can be quite stressful… Our members want to get back to the same level of travel experience that they had prior to the life event.” Delta’s requirements include:

  • New parents will have to commit to traveling again if they request a one-year-long break (Alaska’s and Air Canada’s policy allow it just by asking)
  • After this break, former elite status holders will need to petition on Delta’s website and may need some supporting documentation. Once the request is granted, Delta will reinstate their elite status — but only for three months
  • During those three months, customers will need to prove they are serious about resuming travel by flying a certain number of miles and spending a set amount of money. Once they do that, they’ll receive a much longer extension

Dube claims some may abuse the system, but said that Delta expects to be liberal within those three months. Prior to the announcement, Delta considered following the example of the other two carriers and make it available for their same reasons; however, Dube said that “everybody has a different circumstance that leads to travel disruption. Trying to box people in and leaving people out was not the right idea. We wanted to take care of all who face a life event, not just some of them.” Medallion passengers who would like to receive the benefit are required to fill out a form ( stating the reason why they are unable to meet the elite status requirements. The airline will evaluate each request and approval will be awarded on a case-by-case basis.

Sources:, “Delta to Make It Easier to Keep Elite Status after a Major Life Event” by Brian Sumers. May 08, 2019, “Delta Introduces Status-Reclaiming Program for Medallion Members” by Michael B. Baker. May 08, 2019, “Delta just made it easier to reclaim elite status after a major event” byAdam Luehrs. May 9, 2019