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Delta gets stingier with SkyMIles

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Delta Airlines has just announced another change to its frequent flier program, and some members are not happy about it.

Delta has made it tougher to reach elite status in its SkyMiles program, the level that guarantees you earlier boarding, first class upgrades, and other perks.

The airline announced this week that SkyMiles members, starting in January 2014,  will now have to spend a minimum amount of dollars, as well as fly a certain number of miles, to reach "Medallion" status, its name for elite level.

What Is Changing

The Silver Medallion level, the entry level for the Medallion program, will now require you to spend $2,500 on tickets, in addition to earning 25,000 miles in any given year.

The Gold Medallion level will require $5,000 in spending, along with earning 50,000 miles in a year.

Platinum and Diamond requirements rise as well.

However, if you have a Delta SkyMiles credit card from American Express, they will waive the fees, as long as you spend $25,000 in qualifying purchases that year.

Why the New Rules?

The website The Consumerist says too many SkyMiles members were earning Medallion status, so the airline decided to up the requirements. With so many people Medallion members, getting a seat upgrade has become tougher in recent years.

Delta says as much in its rules page, saying they are creating "an even more exclusive Medallion program."

USA Today, meantime, says other airlines and hotel chains are toughening their loyalty rules as well.  It says with so many travel chains giving away miles by the thousands through credit cards and promotions, too many people have reached elite status....which makes it less elite in the end.

As always, don't waste your money.

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