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.
Last week I had an extensive series on “Should you go for Diamond / Platinum / Gold or Silver Medallion status“. It seems to have been very well received from comments in the posts as well as reader comments at the recent Chicago Seminars this past weekend. But so many are confused by earning status and the Medallion years.
Notice what reader Robert recently asked me in the “Ask René” tab on the blog:
“Rene, I thought Medallion year ends 12/31/2015 but this year it ends 1/30/2016? So we can earn 2015 MQM’s in January for 2016? And new status will not take effect until 02/01/2016? Can you clarify thank you so much” – Robert
Robert, that is a great question and I can truly understand your confusion. If you notice the screen shot from Delta at the top of the page we see what is needed for status. I put up THIS post to make it even simpler to understand, but do take note the MQD numbers in that post are out of date as they have gone up since then and may go up again next year (we will find out soon I think).
So first on to Robert’s questions. As you can see from the screen shot from Delta “News and Updates” page we learned a while back that traditionally the Medallion year that ended on the last day of February each year has now been permanently moved to the last day of January each year. So, starting THIS YEAR and for the foreseeable future, the medallion year runs from 1FEB to 31JAN each year (yeah, they sorta shorted us one month this year but such is life). But that is when the medallion year is in effect. What about earning points as Robert asks about?
You EARN your status via calendar year. That is, you start earning on all flights at take off (scheduled) 1JAN of any year that is 00.01 on a 24 hour clock and end at 23:59 on 31DEC. That is, to be clear, if your flight is scheduled to take off between those times you get MQM/MQS/MQD credit during that year. It does not matter when you pay for the ticket it is the time of flight with your BIS that is your “butt in seat” of the jet.
The same thing goes for Delta AMEX Platinum and Reserve card <–LINK spend (as well as the business Delta AMEX Platinum and Reserve cards). In this case the purchase must POST to your account between 1JAN and 31DEC for that spend to count toward your MQD exempt spend totals for the year as well as the totals to earn bonus MQMs for the 25,000/30,000 and the 50,000/60,000 for the two cards each year. It does not matter AT ALL when your credit card statement closes or when you end up, in the case of the Reserve card, choosing to redeem your points – they count in the year you earned them NOT the time of redemption. Thus, you could not say wait till January and select them thinking they will count in the next year. No, as stated, they count in the year you EARNED them (tip: Have taxes to pay? Take a look at THIS post to help you earn MQMs)
While we are on the topic let’s hammer out one more thing so many get wrong. The current rule is that we are earning our status for the NEXT Medallion year. For example, consider this:
- You start the year at NO status and ZERO MQMs.
- You, by 1APRIL, earn Diamond Status
- You get “free” Diamond Status this year
- You earned NEXT year’s Diamond status
- You get NEXT year’s Choice Benefits (nothing for this year)
- You can claim and spend next year’s Choice Benefit immediately
You can fill in the blanks for anything else, but the basic principles above hold for each Medallion level other than no Choice Benefits for Silver and Gold medallion levels.
Another good question is when your status becomes active. That is, say you are in the air and cross the next level whatever that is. Is your status instantly active? No. It takes 1-3 days normally for your status to update in the Delta system. Once it does, then you are officially whatever level that is. The only workaround would be for say picking seats you normally would not get free can be done with help from the Medallion line as they can see you have earned the status but it has yet to update in the system. As for upgrades etc., yeah, you will have to wait until the status officially updates.
Have any more questions about the Medallion year and Delta status? Fire away – René