I thought about putting this post up on “Rookie Wednesday” this week, but since so many of these points are directed firmly at elite flyers, who don’t “consider” themselves rookies, better to put it up on the most viewed day of the week, that is, Monday posts.
Take a look at the screen shot above from my “My Delta” page on Delta.com. No doubt yours looks somewhat similar to mine in regards to the totals. That will be changing soon. How soon? As talked about before, Delta has informed us by the end of the month of January. Plenty fast enough.
There really are a bunch of issues so many ask about and worry about and rightfully so. Delta and AMEX do not have a FAQs page that address many of our little concerns. Like what?
- When I have reached [whatever] elite status plus MQD spend or exemption, when will Delta recognize my new status?
It is NOT instant. Normally it takes 1-3 days before your status updates on Delta.com. If you are mid-travel do not expect the perks of your new status until it updates on Delta.com. If, however, you are on a longer trip then yes you could possibly enjoy one status level outbound and another on the return. Having said that, if you have qualified for some level and want fees or such waived a day or so early I see no harm in asking for someone to manually waive such a fee.
- I have spent $25,000 now on my Delta AMEX card <-LINK [or a combination of personal and business and authorized users tied to primary account]. Just when will this spend update on Delta.com?
AMEX seems to report spend totals on a regular basis to Delta, not just once a month. This can be delayed at the beginning of the year but in normal course you can expect every few days for your MQD spend levels to be updated to reflect the nearest [lowest] thousands of dollars spent.
- Do I have to keep my Delta AMEX card <-LINK once I have crossed the $25,000 MQD exempt level? What if I want to cancel or change cards?
Once you have crossed the level you must NOT keep the Delta AMEX card to retain your exemption for the current medallion year. Now before you cancel do consider the perks you are giving up from the card before you do. There are ways to make the “fee” basically be rebated back to you. If you want to change cards, please do not upgrade as very bad things can happen. Get the new card then consider canceling the old one if you wish [if you are eligible for the new card, that is].
- I have spent [$25 or $30,000] on my Delta AMEX Platinum or Reserve card. When will I get my bonus MQMs? Why have they not showed up in my account yet?
The basic rule of thumb is that 1-3 days after your statement closes you will see your MQMs. In the case of the Platinum card they auto dump into the frequent flyer account attached to the card holder. With the Reserve card, once you see the 15,000 bonus SkyMiles post to your Delta.com account, that is the key trigger to alert you that the bonus MQMs are ready to be claimed as well [See E18 posts]. You can then choose to keep them or send them to anyone you want.
- Once I earn [Platinum or Diamond] status this current year, what about my Choice Benefits? Do I get one this year and another choice next year as well?
You only get ONE (DMs get PM + DM gifts) and here is why. You are earning the following year’s status NOT the current year’s status. The current year is just a freebie, if you will, so you enjoy all the perks of the elite level this year but you have earned the followings year’s elite level.
- I will drop to [whatever level] after 1FEB this year. What happens to my upgrades that clear or seat choices in Comfort plus that are now free [but will not be later on]?
If you happen to clear some upgrade the last few days of January for flying the first few days of February you will not be auto kicked out of that seat. Nor for Comfort Plus. However, especially for flights months from now, if there are schedule changes or equipment changes you may be bumped out of those seats and no longer have the right to get them for free. It is your current status that matters.
- I will reach [Platinum or Diamond] status this current year. If I book an award ticket now as a Silver or Gold, will I get to change for free once I reach my new status?
Yes. The key factor is your current status. Once you are PM or DM [on Delta.com] you are under those rules. Now the same, sadly, can be said in reverse. Say you are PM or DM now but will after 1FEB drop down to Silver or Gold then you WILL have to pay to changes at that point as your status at booking does NOT give you a free change “waiver” later down the road.
- I am confused about Choice Benefits. When should I pick them? What should I choose?
This can be a bit confusing but we have already learned above about what medallion year you are earning. Keeping that in mind, your ability to choose the perk expires on the last day of January for the medallion year you earned it. For example, the current 2016 medallion year ends on 1FEB17. Thus you have until the last day of January of 2017 to select your 2016 benefits. As to what to choose that is up to you but understand some facts. Unless you need them, waiting to choose your Global or Regional upgrade certificates as long as possible is wise as the 12 month expiration clock starts the day you select them. Conversely, gifting status should be done ASAP as that is earned medallion year specific. For example, if you today 4JAN16 have not yet selected your 2015 Choice Benefit and gift status to someone they would only have status for a few weeks, that is, until 1FEB16. However, if you NOW earn 2017 medallion status, and gift them that Choice Benefit of status, they will have it until 1FEB18. Is that clear?
- I have gifted my wife / +1 Gold Medallion status and want to do so again but Delta will not let me. Why?
Delta is correct. The person gifted Gold must drop down to nothing before you can re-gift them Gold. Now if they are Silver you can gift them the higher status right away but for now you must wait. After 1FEB when they drop you can request to upgrade them again.
- I have had the [insert whatever Delta AMEX card here] before but not the [insert whatever Delta AMEX card here]. Can I get the bonus if I upgrade or apply for the card I have not had before?
First off a warning. Please don’t upgrade – EVER! I am working with a reader right now [as happens all too often] who had a link or a promise from AMEX for bonus MQMs if they upgrade and then after they complete the spend or whatever is asked for [or waiting up to 90 days] they do not get the promised points. Again, please DO NOT upgrade. So go for a new card. As of today’s post [these rules can change by the way and often do] the Delta Gold, Platinum & Reserve cards are all viewed as unique products and the same goes for the business cards. Also currently you can hold a maximum of 4 personal and business credit cards with AMEX [more if you included charge cards]. So, you could, for example, hold a personal and business Delta Platinum card as well as a personal and business Reserve card all at the same time.
These seem to be the all too common questions that elites and frequent Delta flyers, often ask me on the blog, via e-mail or on twitter. In fact, if you simply get a link from me to this post the answer to your questions either lies in the body of this post or in the questions readers have asked below. So, if you happen to have other questions – fire away! – 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.