Delta Extends Frequent Flyer Status and Other Benefits Through January 2023

And it promises to improve call center wait times

Delta masked ticketing agent with passenger

Courtesy of Delta Air Lines

Remember when everyone stopped drinking Corona beer early on in the pandemic? Well, it's Delta Air Lines' turn to sweat in the "we-share-a-name-with-something-bad" hot seat. As the Delta variant of COVID-19 becomes an increasingly worrisome problem, travel companies are bracing for impact. But in what might be an attempt to win over customers' loyalty before a potential travel slowdown, Delta (the airline) has made a powerful PR move: it's become the first major U.S. airline to extend elite status for frequent flyers for the 2022 Medallion year.

"Your loyalty to Delta has never been more important, and we’re committed to earning it as we move into the recovery and beyond," wrote Delta CEO Ed Bastian in a letter to customers.

Every Delta elite who currently holds Medallion status in 2021—many of whom took advantage of last year's status extension—will continue to retain elite status through Jan. 31, 2023. Any existing Global and Regional Upgrade Certificates, which are benefits for Diamond and Platinum Medallion members, will have their deadlines extended through that date, too.

But wait, there's more!

If you do earn Medallion status this year, you'll be awarded extra benefits—namely, you'll receive higher priority on the upgrade list as compared to Medallion members who simply extended their status. And you'll also be able to select new Choice Benefits. (While not made clear in the announcement, we assume this means that elites who extend their status will not be able to select Choice Benefits in 2022, which is a major bummer.)

And as for Delta's current award travel promotion, which allows passengers to earn Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) and Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs) flights booked with miles, that's being extended till the end of 2022, too.

Now, non-elites are also able to reap some rewards with Delta's latest announcement.

"With the influx of travelers coming back after more than a year at home, our agents on the phone and at the airport have experienced an unprecedented level of questions about travel policies and schedule changes," wrote Bastian. "That has resulted in significant wait times, which is why we’re rapidly adding staff and leveraging new technology to serve you in a timely manner."

We're totally on board with this kind of Delta variant.