Q&A about Delta rollover MQMs, Delta elite status, AMEX updates & the new medallions.

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my delta skymiles page at delta-com

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.

screen shot of my delta amex spend so far 2016

On target for my 2016 MQD exempt goal!

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.




  1. @Rene – you mention one can hold platinum+reserve (personal AND business), or four (4) total cards. Can one get MQM bonuses on all four cards?

    This “terms and conditions” verbiage is confusing:

    “Card Members may be permitted to have more than one Options, classic, Gold, Platinum, or Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express account; however, Card Members are only eligible to receive one annual bonus for each type (i.e., Options, Classic, Gold, Platinum, or Reserve) Delta SkyMiles Credit Card account from American Express. To receive the MQMs, your account must be active, in good standing, and not in default at the time the MQMs are posted to your account.”

  2. @FLN – Delta also tells you that you can only hold ONE personal and ONE business Delta card at once but AMEX does not live by that rule 😉
    So, from all reader feedback and results, you can hold as I have posted (for now, rules change often with AMEX).

  3. Happy New Year Rene and all fellow readers. My wife and I each have PM and each have a Delta Reserve Card. When booking a trip which we are taking together, does it matter whether we make 1 booking for the two of us, or 2 individual bookings with regard to getting upgraded to 1st class?

  4. @Happily Married – If all is the same no. One of you should clear before the other as the tie break is when the ticket is issued and one of you will be slightly before the other.

  5. I’ve been platinum the past few years, and hit Diamond at the end of 2015. I just looked at my Choice Benefits (did not follow through with picks), and it gave me a box to pick 1 for Platinum, and another for Diamond. So, on the next screen, I could pick 1 choice for the Platinum, and 2 more for Diamond, all for 2016 medallion year benefits. So, I get a total of 3. Is this correct? I ask as if so, I’m thinking of choosing the Plat now, then the Diamond later.

  6. @Keyser – Correct. A Diamond gets 1 PM and 2 DM choices each medallion year. Your choice of PM gift now has no impact on your DM gift later on.

  7. I’m Delta Gold for 2016 and I am rolling over 22600 MQM. I hold one each Skymiles Business Platinum and Skymiles Business Reserve cards. It’s always been a challenge to spend just 1 x the miles boost bonus either 30K or 25 K in a given year to maintain GM. This year due to an inheritance, I can easily afford to pay off a home equity loan and a car loan (total 85K ) through Plastiq (and paying 2.5% fee for a total of 2125 in fees) charging to my Amex Cards.
    My question is “if I can max out 2 x 30K spending on the Reserve for a 30 K miles boost, can I also spend 25K on the Platinum and get the 10K MQM miles boost on the second business card.

    Is it worth paying all those fees? I think so. For that $2125 in fees, I’ll get a total of 40K MQM and 127,500 Skymiles miles (good for a 3K US Delta one ticket to Europe), and I wont have to pay the interest on the loans after March, AND I’ll be Platinum for all of 2016 and 2017. I have a Delta 1 flight in April to put me over 75K MQM for early Platinum. It all hinges on weather I can get Miles boost for spending on two different Skymiles business cards.

  8. @Jeff – If you value status, and can spend your way with little cost that is IMO under 1% net fee, it is worth it. But that is me. I like being Diamond and I have spent now 20k in 4 days (15k of it was gift cards that I will unload to BlueBird the rest was real spend).

  9. It is worth it to me
    I just want to make sue I can get mqm miles boost on both the business reserve and the business platinum catds. Is that allowed?

  10. @Jeff – Per Delta no but per AMEX you can get both and get bonus for bonus. Readers have confirmed this btw.

  11. Rene, while I wait for my rollover MQMs to show up on Delta.dumb for the 2016 earning year (for 2017 status), do we yet have it confirmed whether Delta will allow rollover MQMs in January 2017 to start off next year for 2018 status? I keep hearing Delta may eventually eliminate this perk. I want to start mileage running this year but not if they wont allow rollover MQMs in January 2017. I would think since we are now earning for 2017 status, we should told the full rules that we will be required to play by, including whether there will be rollover MQMs next January.

  12. Rene,
    I was shy 12,000 MQMs of Diamond this year and yet to see MQM rollover. But, my question is this, if you book main cabin and not Comfort+ will you upgrade to First or C+ with regional upgrade certs?

  13. Rene,

    I am a Delta 2 Million Miler and therefore “Gold” for life.
    Currently I have 47,000 MQMs.
    That is 3,000 MQMs short of Gold.
    Assuming no more activity this year will my 22,000 MQMs rollover?
    Or will nothing rollover until I reach the 50,000 MQM mark?

  14. @James – Since you are Gold, even though gifted via MM status, you must BOTH be over the MQD level and MQM level to roll over anything. The good news is you are Gold forever or until Delta takes that away for some reason!

  15. Rene,
    I’m curious regarding rollovers MQM’s. I’m aware whatever is above your earned status is rolled over, but what if I haven’t fulfilled my MQD requirement? I’ve qualified for silver in MQD, but I just reached 52k MQM, and will most likely get close to 70-75k by year end. If I don’t qualify for gold in MQD, will I get whatever I earned minus 25k rolled over? I can’t find a clear answer to this on delta’s website. Thanks!

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