Rookie Wednesday: All the different kinds of Delta points!

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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.

points words

Time to go rookie and that is after all the point of rookie Wednesday anyway right? A week does not go by that I don’t get a question about points. What points are what and how do they spend etc. Let’s break them down and provide a reference for readers (I love being able to just send a link for an answer). Here we go.

  • Skymiles: These are the points you spend to get an award ticket. You earn them from flying (not so much in 2015) and from Delta AMEX cards Gold/Platinum/Reserve and from shopping portals like Skymiles shopping and SkyMall. You can also earn them from many other partners. Again, then you spend those Skymiles to buy an award ticket either as an award ticket or with Pay With Miles if you have a Delta AMEX card.
  • MQM or Medallion Qualifying Miles. These you DO NOT SPEND; in fact they are not spendable points. These are ONLY good for qualifying for status with Delta. You earn them from flying (This is still 100% the same in 2015) or from the Platinum/Reserve Delta AMEX cards and from a few select bonus promos each year. Again, you can NOT spend these for flying ever!
  • MQD or Medallion Qualifying Dollars. These are not really points at all. You cannot spend these either and all they do is work in combination with the MQMs to determine your medallion level. Just as a side point, you can avoid even having to worry about these kinds of points if you meet the MQD exempt spend level with a Delta AMEX card. It really is not that hard to do!
  • MQS or Medallion Qualifying Segments. Again not a spendable point. Each MQS is just a point toward status and is “basically” one flight up and down. These, in combination with MQDs, will help to determine a flyers elite status, but you cannot spend your MQS for anything.
  • MM or Million Miler points. These you cannot spend either, and are earned either from flying or other credit card and similar bonuses. They are basically a running total of your MQM’s earned in your lifetime, and the beauty of these is that once you reach one million you are gifted annually by Delta Silver Medallion status. Once you reach two million, Gold Medallion status. Once you reach four million, Platinum Medallion status. There are some other goodies, but this is the meat of the matter.
  • Skybonus points. These are the business rewards points that are earned mostly via flying and per dollar you spend on a ticket (with some bonus deals depending on many factors). These can be spent on award tickets as well as many other perks like upgrades and such. This program is independent from Skymiles and cannot be “combined” with Skymiles.
  • Crossover Reward points. This is a hybrid. Just to make this rookie simple, the points you earn, if you are part of the program, each Crossover Reward point you earn paying for SPG stays becomes a Skymile that you can spend for an award ticket or Pay With Miles as it is a Skymiles point once earned.
  • Membership Rewards points. OK this is cheating as these are not really Delta points but they ARE points you can send to Delta Skymiles i.e. they become Skymiles you can spend as you see above. There are many AMEX cards you can use that earn membership rewards points.
  • Starwood points. I am again cheating, but these points can also be sent to Delta and when you send 20,000 Starpoints to Delta they become 25,000 Skymiles that you can spend as again they are just standard Skymiles.

These are truly all the major Delta points. Yes, there are many other ways to earn Skymiles but I am already “pushing it” to include Membership Rewards and Starpoints in this post as both are not Delta points until you send them over to Delta and many anti-Delta folks will say both of the latter are wasted sending them to Delta in the first place. I do not completely disagree, but if you are a Delta flyer wanting to get just enough points for an award on Delta, it can be good value and even detractors will back me on that point (reluctantly)!

So there you are. You now have a clear understanding of all the different kinds of Delta points you can earn and just what you can do with them. Still have questions? Please ask away so the comments can include what I may have missed! – René

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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  1. René great post. Today I was picking up lunch at the local deli and noticed that the girl in front of me paid using a Delta credit card I’d never seen before. It said Delta Community Credit Union and had a picture of a Delta plane on the front. I’ve never seen this before and the CU’s website doesn’t provide any information on this product. Ever heard of this? Do you know if this earns SkyMiles or some other type of rewards points?

  2. Replying to Mitch and indirectly Rene, Delta Community Credit Union *used* to be specifically an employee-only financial institution. They’ve now since expanded their reach (hence simply “Delta Community CU”) and those living/working in 10 Georgia counties and hundreds of local and national companies and organizations make ANYONE eligible to join Delta Community. As a result, though there may be a tie-in on the DL employee side to move DCCU points or vice versa, any cardholder of a DCCU debit card can benefit from this third-party “Reward Points” programme that DCCU offers to all of its cardholders. The biggest plus of *MOST* credit union reward points is you can redeem points for airline miles with little or no blackout dates and those reward fares EARN miles.

  3. I clicked your link for Delta Amex cards, but I couldn’t find them. Could you check your link? Maybe you are linking to the wrong page? Or if they are on the linked page, can you tell me where on the page?

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