We are less than 3 months away from all our hotel, airline and other elite programs resetting to zero. Well, that is not quite correct. One of the BEST parts about SkyMiles (some say one of the ONLY good parts left) is that elite points called MQMs rollover if you have at least met the minimum requirements for Silver Status that includes 25,000 MQMs for the year AND either having spend $3,000 in MQD spend or earned exempt status from spending $25,000 on Delta AMEX personal and / or business cards!
- Considering your MQM balance & strategies to consider
- Should I go for Delta Diamond Medallion Status
- Should I go for Delta Platinum Medallion Status
- Should I go for Delta Gold Medallion Status
- Should I go for Delta Silver Medallion Status
I am in great shape as far as that goes. I met the MQD exempt status in 18 days this year. I will again earn my MQD exempt status before the current medallion year ends on 1FEB16 (that is via spending in Jan16). I also will rollover more that 125,000 MQMs so I will meet the qualification for the 2017 medallion year almost instantly. But everyone is not in this “comfortable” position, so what should you do?
Let’s start with a question from a reader that just came in to “Ask Rene“:
“I am a [Delta AMEX] platinum card holder currently. I am looking to obtain Medallion status with Delta to compliment my reward tickets and regular fare tickets experience. My goal is to upgrade and also select better seats. My head is spinning with all the options and Amex is not much help with this. It seems to me that the reserve is the easiest way to achieve a higher Medallion status. What is your opinion on this? I charge a ton of stuff each year in excess of a few million each calendar year. Please let me know your thoughts.” – RenesPoints reader John
John, you touch on a bunch of great questions that work with today’s topic. One of the big reasons for a frequent, and maybe even not so frequent, Delta flyer to have Platinum (PM) or Diamond (DM) Medallion status is for the perks it gives you when burning your SkyMiles. As a PM+ you get free award changes, all you want, up to 72 hours before flight. This is a HUGE perk and a reason alone to be elite and especially so if you have a boatload of SkyMiles to burn up. Let’s look at the next question from John.
All of us want more upgrades. Delta wants to sell all the upgrades from under us. Heck, keep in mind one of the absolute top people in SkyMiles all but told us in the DELTA SKY magazine that if you are a Diamond and want domestic upgrades you had better burn your most valuable Choice Benefits for Regional Upgrade certs. Folks, that speaks volumes to me as someone “plugged-in” to Delta. We do all know there a great many factors that determine your upgrade shot for any given flight but if you still want a shot at a decent upgrade percentage you should reach for at least PM status or consider pushing up to DM. Let’s move on.
I understand your head is spinning and Amex does not make all the options clear to you when it comes to Delta cards. Personally, I think all the Delta Air Lines choices to all but decimate the SkyMiles program have not been appreciated by Amex. Just a personal opinion, but my guess is it’s a right one. Anyway, unless you are reading this post today, that is, 5OCT15 you should check if the rules have not changed again. The current situation is this:
- Personal Delta Gold, Platinum and Reserve cards are all 3 unique products
- You can only get the new card bonus for EACH card once in your lifetime.
- If you upgrade or downgrade personal Delta Gold, Platinum and Reserve cards that counts as your once in a lifetime for both the current card and the upgraded or downgrade card so no bonus ever again for either card – EVER
- You can hold each and all of the cards at once.
- Business Delta Gold, Platinum and Reserve cards are all 3 unique products
- You can get the new card bonus if you have canceled a card, waited 365+ days, and get the card again.
- If you upgrade or downgrade business Delta Gold, Platinum and Reserve cards that resets your clock for each card.
- You can hold each and all of the cards at once.
Clearly it is VERY important to check what cards you have had and just WHEN you had them. Other important bits. Your MQD exempt spend comes from a combination of all spend on all of the above. If you add, on any of the above cards, authorized users their spend counts toward your MQD spend not the authorized users’ SkyMiles account and the same goes for earning SkyMiles. Authorized users do NOT count toward their ability to get new card bonus points.
Now back to John’s question about the Delta AMEX Reserve card. Yes, this is the way to, with just one card, earn the most amount of MQMs each year. If you have never had the personal card, or it has been over 365+ days since you had the business card, you can get 10,000 bonus MQMs with your first purchase. But keep in mind the ability to earn up to 30,000 more bonus MQMs by spending $60,000 is based on the CALENDAR YEAR so you would ONLY have until 31DEC to do that to get this year’s bonus. Still, for many, getting 10,000 MQMs for the $450 non-waived fee for the card is a great value and basically could be considered an EliteMileageRun without leaving home. That is very nice. Lastly, yes, the Reserve card is one of the tiebreakers for medallion upgrades and it is one of the many reasons I HOLD at least one Delta AMEX Reserve card always (in my case, the business one).
Now to John’s last question. Wow I think you are rather unique in that you spend “a few million a year” on credit cards. Good for you and that is a great way to rack up a ton of points. But please do NOT put them all on just one card. With that level of spend AMEX will love you. I would max out spend on:
A personal plus a business Delta Platinum card
A personal plus a business Delta Reserve card
By spending $220,000 in a calendar year across those 4 cards you are earning, on spend bonus alone, 100,000 MQMs without flying. That is impressive to say the very least. In other words you would just need 25,000 more MQMs to be Diamond Medallion. Then, I would really consider looking at moving the rest of your spend to other cards like the non-Delta Platinum AMEX card as with Membership Rewards you have so much more flexibility and are not locked in to SkyMiles and yet you can still, if you want, almost instantly transfer as many of those points over to Delta whenever you wish 1 for 1.
Now very few of us have that kind of level of spend. However, some kind of combination of 2 cards would still, once you max out the spending each year, yield a huge boost to our MQM totals and elite level goals.
Lastly there are Elite Mileage Runs. Anyone who is talking about a mileage run and Delta nowadays is talking elite points. Since Delta is revenue based for SkyMiles earning there is no point in flying to collect those. But elite points are still distance and fare class bonus based so you can rack up a ton with mileage runs. This, in combination with AMEX card bonuses can be just what you need to reach whatever goal you have set for the year. Now is the time to consider that as getting a good price, that is, around 4CPM in coach and 8CPM in business class, get really hard to find in December when most folks start considering doing a “Fun Run”. Again, NOW is the time to look at your numbers and book a run if you need one.
John did NOT ask about the current Hilton 250 bonus MQMs promotion for this year. Hilton has run it each year. I have a detailed post from last year to make sure you sign up correctly if you want to go for that promo. I have not blogged about it this year as last year a bunch of readers had real issues getting the promised MQMs. For me, this promo is a top off deal and not one to count on. Sure the bonus points are nice but don’t bank on them until you see them!
I hope this helps John as well as everyone else. It takes time to meet credit card spend and you still have some time this year but that window is closing. Count your numbers. Count the costs. Count how much you will fly next year and consider if Delta AMEX cards <–LINK or EliteMileRun or some combination of all of the above is right for you. – Rene
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.