What is the fastest, simplest & most reasonable Delta Mileage Run before year end?

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One year ago this month I got my personal Delta AMEX Reserve card. Why? I knew I could not spend $30,000 by 31DEC2012 to get the spend bonus points but I could get the 10,000 bonus MQMs with the first purchase.

There are so many who don’t understand all the in’s & out’s of the Delta AMEX Reserve card so I wanted to break it down and tell you why this can be one of the, simplest, most reasonable Delta Mileage Runs you can do from home without flying. Maybe not as much fun as a run, but just so easy. I also want to use this post as a Q&A catch all post as so many ask the same questions over and over again.

Let’s start with the basics. There are two Delta AMEX Reserve cards. One is a personal card and one is a business card. You can hold them both at once and if you would want to you could apply for both at once. Both cards offer the same benefits and perks. Both have the same yearly fee. As far as Delta Air Lines perks they are the same card. Now from a business perk side this card has other perks, but that is not the focus of this post as we are Delta focused here.

One of the KEY things you must understand is AMEX views ALL the Delta cards as the “same” card on either the personal side and then again on the business side. I can say this and I again get questions so sorry for making this so painfully clear:

DeltaGold=DeltaPlatinum=DeltaReserve – Personal

and

DeltaGold=DeltaPlatinum=DeltaReserve – Business

What this means is if you have ANY of the Personal Delta cards, you CAN NOT get the new card bonus for the other two. This does NOT mean you can not get the Business card and get the new card bonus. That is UNLESS you do have the any of the Business Delta cards, then, you CAN NOT get the new card bonus for the other two. I hope this is clear as I don’t know any other way to say it more clearly.

Lastly, you must wait 365+ days, after you cancel any of the above, before you can get the new card bonus for any of the 3 again. This is the same rule for the personal or business card.

Now that we have that out of the way let’s break down why this card is such a good mileage run option. Either the personal or business card gives you “10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles and 10,000 bonus miles after first purchase“. 10,000 Skymiles are worth, if you use the Pay With Miles to buy a ticket, 1 cent each. I am not saying you should do this but just to show the value. The card does come with a $450 yearly fee but if you take the $100 value you are getting in Skymiles off the price you are down to $350 all-in fist year. That fee divided by 10,000 MQMs and you are at 3.5CPM or Cents Per Mile to get the 10,000 elite miles. That is a good mileage run price for the points and you don’t have to spend two days of your life on Delta jets flying back and forth transcon!

ein amex

Another question is I don’t have an EIN or TIN number. Can I still get this card? You bet. A sole proprietor may or may not have an EIN number. That is fine. You just leave this box blank if you are a sole proprietor without an EIN. The next page of the business app will ask for your SSN. Another question is does my business have to make money to get the card? No, as your total income as a sole proprietor will be considered. There are many advantages of having a business card not least of which is being able to keep your charges separate.

Now if you are looking at this as a mileage run from home, you have spent the annual fee money for the MQMs. But look at all the other perks you get for a year for “free” that is no extra charge than what you have spent.

  • Skyclubs access for you, your family or two guests
  • Access to more low level seats
  • More upgrades over a flyer in the same fare class without the card
  • 2x points on all Delta tickets paid for with the card
  • A free bag for you and 8 more on your reservation
  • Zone 1 boarding for you and those on your reservation
  • Buy One Get One Free certificate in 1st or coach class YEAR 2

That is a very nice perk list that you get on top of the bonus MQMs and Skymiles. Then, next year, you have until 31DEC2014 to spend either $30,000 or $60,000 to get another 15+15,000 MQMs and 15+15,000 bonus Skymiles. Not just that, if you can spend at least $25,000 in 2014 you will be MQD that is the new Medallion Qualifying Dollars EXEMPT in 2014. That alone is another HUGE perk of getting either or both of these cards as the total spend on either or both is included for MQD exemption.

I hope you can see that if you are looking to book a mileage run before the end of the year, and can not seem to find a good price from your home airport, and you don’t have time to take 2 or 3 days off, then simply getting either the personal or business Reserve card is a good option – René
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Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.

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23 comments

  1. Hey Rene…just upgraded from Plat to Reserve and with that the first purchase bonus is only 5,000 MQM. Question: How quickly does it post to Delta? If not quickly may need an additional MR!

  2. @Linda – they may NEVER post. I am not a fan of AMEX upgrades as you are hit an miss about getting points this way. Reps may say anything but you just have to hope they do post.

  3. Thanks for the DEFINITIVE post!
    Would Delta double up on the companion ticket? I.E., I currently have personal DL Plat (and plan on keeping it), but if I got the biz DL Reserve, would I be getting 2 companion tickets/year moving forward?

    Also, if I have personal DL Plat and get biz DL Reserve, do I have to purchase the DL tickets on Reserve to get higher upgrade priority? Or do they just “see” that I have a Reserve, and automatically get priority regardless of which credit card actually makes the purchase?

  4. @Levi – GREAT questions. You only get 1 BOGOF cert per card per year. Since you don’t get it until year two it would be very hard to score both. Possible but very unlikely. You DO NOT have to pay with the card it just has to show up on your MY DELTA. I suggest putting it in as at the “first” payment card and remove any old ones for a while to make sure it shows correctly!

  5. I’m 271 miles from Silver and already have the Biz Gold, I think I’ll just buy a cheap ticket to Chicago from MSP and then return using Rapid Rewards. Total cost would be about $90 + whatever I value the Rapid Rewards at (I have a lot to burn).

  6. Rene, I have a Delta Plat personal card that I got in Dec 2013. I remember reading that you recommend rotating between personal and business cards every other year to get the new card bonus.

    So based on this strategy, I should close my personal account and get the business reserve so that next year I can get the new card bonus on the platinum in 2015?

    Dont you lose the free companion ticket?

  7. So Rene, if I got both the Reserve cards in January, and spent $60K on them both, I’d end up with 80,000 MQD and platinum status, right?(10K sign-up x2, 15K+15K x2) Would have to start flying in the years after, but still that’s a nice way to start for someone who doesn’t actually fly much. Based out of MSP, so Delta and Southwest are our main airlines to fly.

  8. @Joe – I think you meant DEC2012. Sure you can do the back and forth. Yes, if you do not hold the card until about 1 month after the year two fee bills you DO miss out on the BOGOF cert. It is up to you what you want more. Now you could wait till the cert is issued and then decide what you want to do.

  9. Thanks Rene. Do you have a post comparing the Delta reserve vs Delta Platinum Amex card? Trying to figure if I should pay for the $450 annual fee. Thanks!

  10. @Joe – to me, as you can see from my TWO Reserve cards, the perks WAY are worth the extra few hundred for year one! (maybe downgrade one card year two).

  11. Rene, if one already has a SkyClubs membership and one adds the Reserve card, does getting the Reserve card add months onto ones membership? Thanks!

  12. Since this year I will be earning Diamond the hard way (expect to end with 141-145 segments), I will be getting this card after Jan 1 since the MQM’s will not help me at all this year and I would have none to roll over. Next year hope to qualify based on miles!! Thanks Rene!

  13. So, I have the Plat Business and want to move up to the reserve. I have read your posts about the fallibility of the upgrades so I am wondering what to do. Can I apply for the Reserve as a personal card, but use it for business? I don’t want to miss the opportunity for the MQD’s and I will likely spend $60,000 next year. Suggestions?

  14. Rene, if I pay the $10 fee for a free ticket with my husbands reserve card (I’m using his ff points) do I get a free checked bag?

  15. I skid the UG from personal plat to res and DID get the 5k MQMs. They posted at the end of the statement cycle.

  16. Rookie question: My SO is $27 away from FC. Her credit isn’t good enough to get any AMEX cards. Is there some other spending she can do besides another flight?

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