Delta has announced changes to airport lounge eligibility.

The changes make it harder for some travelers to get access to Delta Sky Clubs and achieve Medallion Elite status, which offers perks like early boarding, seat upgrades and lounge access. The first wave of updates will start being implemented on Jan. 1, 2024, and more changes will come on Feb. 1, 2025.

Starting next year, holders of American Express cards tied to Delta accounts will earn Delta Medallion miles based only on their spending with the company, instead of a mix of spending and flights. The model is similar to one adopted recently by American Airlines, per CNBC.

“We want customers to be able to receive status with activity beyond just air travel,” Dwight James, senior vice president of engagement and loyalty for Delta, told CNBC.

How will Delta’s new system work?

Cardholders will earn one Medallion Dollar for every dollar they spend on car rentals, flights, hotels and vacation packages booked thought Delta.

On other types of purchases, Delta SkyMiles Reserve and Reserve Business America Express clients earn one Medallion dollar for each $10 spent on the card. Those with platinum cards, on the other hand, earn one Medallion dollar for each $20 spent, per CNBC.

While Delta has said it’s simplifying its rewards system, the changes will make harder for many travelers to make it to the top status.

For a Delta Reserve card holder earning one Medallion dollar for each $10 spent on the card, it will take $350,000 in spending to earn Diamond status and $180,000 to earn Platinum status, per CNN.

Here are the new status requirements for Medallion Dollars, according to CNBC:

  • 6,000 Medallion Qualifying Dollars — Silver Medallion status.
  • 12,000 Medallion Qualifying Dollars — Gold Medallion status.
  • 18,000 Medallion Qualifying Dollars — Platinum Medallion status.
  • 35,000 Medallion Qualifying Dollars — Diamond Medallion status.

Second wave of changes

Starting in February 2025, holders of certain Delta-affiliated American Express cardholders will go from receiving unlimited visits to Delta Sky Clubs to as few as six visits per year, CNBC reported.

To access unlimited visits under future rules, cardholders will need to spend at least $75,000 over the course of a year, per CNN.

But Delta SkyMiles Platinum and Platinum Business American Express card owners will not longer be able to access airport lounges through their card. To enter a Sky Club, clients will either need to buy a club membership or choose the club membership perk through elite status with Delta, per CNBC.

“Some of the changes that we’re making ensure that we’re taking care of our most premium customers with our most premium assets, one of those being the Sky Club,” James told CNBC.