Rookie Wednesday – what counts toward MQM qualifying spend on Delta Reserve Credit Card

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RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.


I got an email from a reader the other day who ended up just short of the spend needed to get the bonus MQM’s for the year (don’t know about MQM’s or MQS’s? check this rookie post). He had calculated that he had just enough to make it, but after the statement generated he was short. What was the problem? The $450 annual fee DOES NOT count toward your spend for the year!

As you can see from my personal Delta AMEX Reserve card that I got as part of my latest credit card round, the item I purchased for $75 did count toward my 2012 spend, but not the annual fee. Since I got the card so late in the year, I did not even try to work on $30,000 in spend in one month; that is just too much for me. But, spending now, until 31DEC2013, will count even when my last statement closes on 05JAN2014 as it is all about the spend per calendar year.

Since we are talking about common misconceptions about these types of items let’s touch on a few more.

Q) Where is my buy-one-get-one-free certificate I get with the Platinum or Reserve cards?
A) You will see it at “My Delta” top right hand side at but keep in mind you DO NOT actually get it until you are billed your annual fee for year TWO of your cards. There is no certificate for year one.

Q) I hear the GOLD Delta buy-one-get-one-$99 certificate is gone. True?
A) Yes, as of 25JAN2013 this perk is going away. However, if you apply for the GOLD card on or before 24JAN2013, next year, when you pay your annual fee, you will get one last certificate according to AMEX.

Q) I have been told gift cards do not count toward your MQM spend. True?
A) Officially that is correct. In practice, it works fine. AMEX gift cards, Visa gift cards, Office Max gift cards, Vanilla reload cards – all – at this point, are posting and counting toward your spend threshold.

Q) I am still nervous about my statement closing after Delta issues the rollover MQM’s. Is there anything I can do about this?
A) This is a simple fix few think about. AMEX will let you pick ANY closing day you want. But, I would do it after FEB 1st as some times it will EXTEND the due date for an extra week or two; this is fine after FEB 1st, but not so good say on December 15th each year. For me I pick the 1st of each month. Some months it closes on the 2nd or 3rd but close enough.

Q) When I have met the spend where do I go to redeem them?
A) Also in my E18 Essentials tab I have this link to Delta to do that. You must be logged in to make it work. I also suggest NOT waiting to redeem them. There have been reports of AMEX auto depositing the points and if you wish to gift them to someone you should act as soon as your statement closes and you have access to the bonus MQM’s!

Q) Can I have two Delta Reserve cards and get better upgrades over just one?
A) Yes, you can have two Delta Reserve cards but NOT two personal. You can have ONE personal AND one business card. That is what I currently have. As to the other question, the answer is NO. In the same fare class, with all else being equal, the flyer with a Reserve card will get the upgrade over the one without. But, having two cards does not trump the one who has just one. Then other factors come into play like who purchased their ticket first.

Q) I was told I have to buy my ticket with my Reserve card to get the perks like upgrades and Skyclub access. True?
A) 100% FALSE. You should make sure at that you do see that you ARE a Reserve card member. As long as that is there you are all set and getting into the skyclub you just need your boarding pass & ID. Also, note that the Reserve card ONLY pays 2x points for buying Delta tickets while the American Express Premier Rewards Gold card pays 3x. So, if you have that card, store that as your default card to bill for tickets. (the graphic on the “My Delta” will not show the “right” card as you can see in mine it shows a PLAT DL card I do not have). But if you are trying to meet spend to get your bonus MQM’s for the year the Reserve may still be the best choice.

Lastly, and I have another post on the way as an update, I had an email update from BOB about the post regarding upgrading vs new card with your AMEX from GOLD→PLAT→RESERVE and the warning that you may not get the points or the reps may give you wrong info and then you are stuck. Well, guess what, even with promises from high level reps, things are NOT going as planned. You can see the restrictions on the Welcome bonus also above. For me, I will follow THIS advice when it comes to making it safe, simple & sure to get the new card bonus MQM’s when I need them! – René

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  1. If I have one business and one personal Delta Reserve card, can I get 120,000 MQMs if I spend $60,000 on each card?

  2. @Geoff – the other way around. Spend $120,000 on the two and get 60,000 MQMs and bonus RDMs too. This is one of the reasons the cards are worth the $450 fee each. Skymiles are worth at LEAST 1 cent each so you pay $900 two card but get $600 value back (not to mention 120,000 RDMs from spend) you are only paying $300 net for 60,000 MQMs! THAT is an amazing deal.

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