Earning Delta's Elite Status With AmEx Just Got More Expensive

Get ready to whip out your American Express card a lot more often if you aspire to top frequent-flier status at Delta Air Lines Inc.

To get to Delta’s most elite Diamond Medallion status, customers are required to book a certain amount of flying, while spending at least $15,000 on those flights each year. But Delta provides a workaround for holders of its SkyMiles AmEx card that don’t make it to $15,000: they can qualify by charging at least $25,000 a year on the card, instead.

Starting Jan. 1, Delta’s making it 10 times harder to get that waiver by raising the card minimum to $250,000. The change is all about delivering on expectations for elite customers, says Delta on its Medallion program website, "so members can maximize elite benefits like complimentary upgrades and Delta Sky Club access.”

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