Ever since Delta implemented MQDs or Medallion Qualifying Dollars, that is minimum spending with Delta to keep your status, on top of MQMs or Medallion Qualifying Dollars, they have also allowed exemption via two methods.
One is you don’t live the USA. Now if you would rather not move to say Europe (or risk having your account shut down for just saying you live outside the USA), then the other very popular choice each year is to spend $25,000 on a Delta AMEX card(s)<-LINK. Any of them work and if you happen to have personal and business cards it is the combined spending from both that counts. If you have additional users on your primary account, their spending counts toward your exempt total.
But just what DOES count. The T&C are very specific, but most of us should know that in real world tests the facts on the ground are not always just the same as what is spelled out. Last year I tested a bunch of different kinds of spending and am going to do that same again this year since it is a new year and things may have changed. At the end of each item I will label it as CONFIRMED or PENDING or NOT-WORKING. My statement does not close till after the 1st next month so I will update this post throughout the month and after the 1st of February as the results post as well as my chart on Delta.com (often times spending does update on Delta.com more than once a month). So here we go:
- AMEX personal gift cards starting at shopping portals. This is one of the best choices to me. You can order cards with your name on them and then either spend them, purchase other things like VDGCs or take them direct to Redbird if you have a Target near you. Results = CONFIRMED
- AMEX business gift cards starting at shopping portals. I broke out only because this year this is coding differently on AMEX. I expect it will be just the same as the above. Results = CONFIRMED
- VDGCs or MCDGCs at stores. Buying Visa or MC Debit Gift Card that can have a PIN set and then loading them to BlueBird at Walmart is a great choice for me. Results = CONFIRMED
- Buying Delta e-Gift cards. This will NOT code, or has not in the past, coded for 2x Skymiles as a ticket purchase. But it has counted as yearly spend and that is the point of the post. Results = CONFIRMED
- Lending to Kiva.org via Paypal. If you can have your money tied up for 3-6 months at a time and earn nothing other than the spend (there is a VERY tiny risk of loss), then this is a good choice. Results = CONFIRMED
- Buying Walmart gift cards. There really is only one good reason to do this. You are somewhat lazy and don’t want to start buying AMEX gift card but have a SAMS CLUB you shop at and want to use your AMEX card there. So, you buy Walmart gift cards with your AMEX and then spend the gift cards at SAMS (they are almost always right next door). Results = CONFIRMED
Things to keep in mind about all of these choices and more. We have all year, that is charges for everything must POST before 31DEC2015 to count as spend just like every year. There is no problem prepaying some things just to get your spend up if you need it, now if you like, or later in the year. For example, want to pay your cable bill for 6 months you can do that and you will just have a credit for a while on your statement. The charge will post NOW and count for this billing cycle. I am not saying your Delta AMEX card is the best choice for your cable bill as other cards pay higher points – but it is just an example that does work. Same goes for other bills that you can prepay for a few or many months should you so chose to do so (or set them to auto-bill to your Delta AMEX card over the year).
I have already talked about paying your tax bill with your AMEX and have no need to reconfirm this one as it has worked for many years without any issues and you can see THIS post to see if that is a good choice for you. EDIT: I made an estimated quaternary tax payment and this now is also: Results = CONFIRMED
There are also other choices that I have no interest in trying or testing. There are things like “square” or other similar ones that you can accept payments on your phone for some set fee or even variable fee. There are real problems with all of these methods / choices. The first and foremost is they cost too much in fees to be worthwhile. Next, you tend to get shut down quickly if you are only running charges on one card (yours) or only a few cards (yours and say your wife’s card on your account).
The bottom line is you are “ONLY” talking $2,084 a month posted to your Delta AMEX card(s) each month to be MQD exempt. With so many choices that can and do work, IMO, no one should ever have to worry about this part of keeping and meeting whatever Delta status level you are shooting for. – 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.