Black Twitter is up in arms over Delta’s changes to its loyalty program, and it’s hilarious

OPINION: The airline made major changes to its lounge-access rules as well as how points are earned in its loyalty program. Here are the funny jokes and an explainer of sorts. 

A Delta Airlines is seen at its terminal at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on April 13, 2023 in Austin, Texas. Delta Airlines recently made changes to its loyalty program that upset many of its customers. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

I absolutely love Black Twitter. 

I know, I know. Apartheid Clyde changed the name of the site to X. We all know this.

But what we also know is that unless it’s an official reference in an article, a reference in which I have to acknowledge that I know the real name of the website is now X, we are all going to keep calling it Twitter. 

His mama named him Twitter; I’mma call him Twitter.

So as I was saying, I love Black Twitter. 

As a collective, Black people have a way of taking a big news item and turning it into a running comedic commentary for days on end. 

It could be something huge like the queen of England dying or something minor but still newsworthy like the Popeyes chicken sandwich. Whatever it is, Black Twitter is going to make the situation completely hilarious. Mixed in there will be some apt commentary and how said event may or may not impact the Black community as a whole. 

We are not a monolith, and we are guaranteed to be full of varied and entertaining responses. 

Such has been the case with the recent announcement made by Delta Airlines. 

In case you missed it, Delta Airlines made drastic changes to both the way you earn points in its loyalty program and who can access its Sky Club airport lounge. 

To sum it up, certain American Express Platinum cardholders who enjoyed unlimited access to the airport lounges while flying Delta will now be limited to six visits per year and the co-branded Amex Delta Reserve cardholders will be limited to 10 visits per year. Both sets of cardholders will be able to unlock unlimited access by spending $75,000 on their cards within a single calendar year.

Furthermore, those who buy tickets in basic economy can no longer access the lounge even if they have the American Express Platinum or any other premium card.

Additionally, earning loyalty points will now be based solely on the amount of dollars you spend with the airline and not the number of miles you fly. 

Baby, they are rioting in the Black Twitter streets over this. 

The general consensus seems to be that Delta is doing this because too many Black people got Amex cards and began using them to access the various airport lounges. Others are of the belief that this also has a lot to do with class; the Amex cards provided a level of access to people who may not have had access to lounge services before. 

Said Twitter user pritzypans, “When black people started using Amex it made the whites uncomfortable… just say that. They can’t have their little white only free meals & drinks without seeing black faces anymore and it’s disturbing @Delta @AmericanExpress.”

There was even more commentary in the tweets:

I weighed in with my own thoughts as well. 

And while I say that mostly in jest, the reality is Delta is not attacking Black people with this decision, but the Black people who were enjoying lounge access will be affected. 

It’s important to note that these changes are being made by Delta, not American Express. 

It should also be noted that airport lounge overcrowding has been an ongoing issue over the last few years since people began traveling again after the pandemic.

The lounge access changes honestly aren’t that big of a deal for the casual traveler. Is it classist to shut out basic economy customers? Probably, and cutting them off from the lounge isn’t the only thing Delta is doing that looks classist. 

Frequent flyer miles are huge in the travel industry. I am a champion airline points collector, and I love cashing them in; I know I am not alone in this. 

Delta has decided to make it a lot harder to gain elite status in its program. 

CNN explains those changes here:

The airline has historically awarded elite status to members who earn a set number of MQDs and Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQM) or Medallion Qualifying Segments (MQS). MQDs are earned based on the cost of your ticket, MQM is based on miles flown and MQS is based on the number of flight segments you take.

Those chasing elite status can waive the MQD requirement for Silver, Gold and Platinum Medallion status by spending $25,000 on premium Delta credit cards. Diamond Medallion requires spending a whopping $250,000 to earn an MQD waiver.

But this all changes next year. Starting Jan. 1, 2024, the airline will axe the MQM or MQS requirement and only require travelers to meet an MQD requirement. These requirements will be significantly higher than year’s past and — even worse — the MQD waiver will no longer be offered. This change comes just a year after the airline increased MQD requirements for Gold, Platinum and Diamond Medallion status.

Under the new rules, you will need to accrue $6,000 MQD to reach Silver Medallion status; $12,000 MQD to reach Gold Medallion status; $18,000 MQD to reach Platinum status, and $35,000 MQD to reach Diamond status. 

The idea behind this is to get people to spend more money in Delta’s portal. They want customers to not just buy airline tickets, but to also book vacations, hotel rooms and rental cars through the Delta portal and with their partners.  

This set of changes makes it even harder to gain status, and it will really hurt those customers who are loyal to Delta and are trying to reach elite status. As one TikTok user put it, “I have been so Delta loyal.”

She showed her Delta account where she has almost 150,000 miles accumulated and over $14,000 MQDs earned. That currently qualifies her for Diamond status in Delta’s program, but that will change under the new rules.

“According to them, I am no longer going to be somebody who is worthy of going into the lounge more than like 10 times,” she added. 

At the end of her video, she encourages everyone with the same concerns to reach out to Delta and complain in hopes that the company will rethink their decision. 

That may not be a bad strategy. 

At the end of the day, Delta is making a business decision that makes something it has called “elite” even more elite. 

As a corporation, they are telling all of us, you can either get down or lay down. 

Monique Judge is a storyteller, content creator and writer living in Los Angeles. She is a word nerd who is a fan of the Oxford comma, spends way too much time on Twitter, and has more graphic t-shirts than you. Follow her on Twitter @thejournalista or check her out at

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