It’s that time again and time for, more or less, the same post I put up every January 1st each year. If you are a Delta flyer and don’t live outside the USA you need to either spend your way flying Delta to $3/6/9/15,000 of NET spending to reach each Medallion level of Silver, Gold, Platinum or Diamond. Oh that, and fly a ton of miles since your elite points are based on distance and fare class. But a far simpler way to not have to worry about how much you have spent each year flying Delta is getting a Delta AMEX card(s):
Then just send across any combination of the above to reach $25,000 and you are MQD exempt. But before we dive down this spending extravaganza some common scene base rules. We never EVER pay one cent of interest ever to any bank card PERIOD! That is losing big time and winning is earning points for free or as close to net-free as we can.
Thus some of these ideas require you to already have a solid financial situation and have the ability to “float” some heavy cash outlays for a few months and all it is costing you is the opportunity cost to invest those funds elsewhere. Please be really clear on this and notice how much interest I have paid on my Delta Reserve card over the past two years.
Next, a simple goal is mixing up your spend. If you “hammer” anything that is not good. In addition to the below for the next many weeks I will be almost exclusively using my Delta AMEX cards for everything I pay for even though under many of the circumstances I will be passing up 2x, 3x or more opportunities for earnings as I want to get huge spend done and that means the little things get included. Going “all-in” on any of these could result in negative consequences. We want positive results not unintended frustrations.
We all should know that our MQD exempt total that is reflected at our “My Delta” on Delta.com is a combination of any cards you hold and spend on, personal or business combined. It also includes any spend AUs or authorized users on your accounts spend as well. Every few days on Delta.com these numbers are sent over by AMEX and reflected on your account. Once you have met $25,000 how much more you spend does not matter (as far as MQD exempt status that is) and you cannot rollover any spending into the next year – we all start at ZERO each and every year.
But the real question is what counts and what does not because for many years, some things that the T&C state does not count in reality they do. This means, once again, it is time to test a bunch and give you some ideas of how to reach your goal of 25k. I will be testing each of these and as they update I will change them from “testing” to “confirmed” so check back to see how these tests work for me (btw I have little fear that any will not work perfectly).
- Bills (prepay) – CONFIRMED
- Delta travel (prepay via gift cards) – CONFIRMED
- Home owners – CONFIRMED
- Insurance health and life – CONFIRMED
- Property Taxes – CONFIRMED
- Taxes – CONFIRMED
- KIVA – CONFIRMED
- Sams Club – CONFIRMED
- Pharmacies – CONFIRMED
- Kroger, USPS & others – CONFIRMED
- Simon and other malls – CONFIRMED
These are the biggest ones that can help you. Let’s look at them one at a time but first start with some simple suggestions. Since being MQD exempt now helps you in scoring more upgrades, the faster you reach this the better. If your finances allow it you may perhaps want to prepay a number of bills for a number of months (or the year for that matter). Your cell, cable, trash pickup and on and on and on. Take the time to look at all the bills you pay on a monthly basis and consider paying so that you have a credit balance for a few months or even for a full year up front (again if your financial situation will allow this). Doing this achieves the MQD exempt spend and helps you so much with bills you have to pay anyway at some point during the year.
Another simple one is basically prepay some of your 2017 Delta travel. You can buy small or large Delta e-Gift cards and then use up to 3 per ticket (plus a credit card) to book your travels. If you plan to spend a bunch anyway this could help you knock out some spend as well up front.
Next up on the list, and a bit outside the box, if you are paying a mortgage very likely you have your homeowners insurance escrowed into the payment. When I was paying for my home I asked to have this broken out and paid it on my own. I used Ameriprise as they were competitive and allowed me to pay the full year on my AMEX card with no fee. Simple and a nice big chunk of my spend done. Think about any kind of expensive spend that can help you rack up what you need each year.
Then we should check with our life, and health insurance and so on. These are of often sizable bills and see if they will take your AMEX card. If they only take DEBIT cards this can still work as you will see in a bit how to work this one.
For me I even paid my property taxes with cards. Depending on where you live some of these ideas may include a small fee of a few dollars to make the payment. It is up to you if it is worth it to pay this way to meet the spend. These extra fee items are a personal choice – is the fee worth the convenience of helping to knock out some massive spend each year. To me, the answer is yes but it may not personally be for you. I am just showing you the option exists (at a cost).
Then we have, what is for some, a way to knock out MASSIVE spend all at once, that is, pay your federal estimated taxes. Yes this spend choice does come with a 1.89% fee but depending on what you value a SkyMile personally at this could be close to a wash. For me I value a SkyMile, when I spend it on a business class award to Europe, at 1.5-2 cents each so you can see the really simple math at making this choice. I can tell you that today I will be making a rather big payment on my estimated taxes with my Delta AMEX Reserve card and I am just fine with the cost included.
I. Love. KIVA. It is amazing. I get to feel good about helping others and earn points – FREE! Now I am conservative and cautious as a fox, but as you can tell from my results from 2016 it has worked out rather well for me. Yes, I have my money tied up for 6-10 months per loan but the reality, when you have done this for a while and choose well, is that it often gets paid back much faster that expected and you start getting money back very soon. Sure I always try to use my VISA branded FlexPerks card to get 6% back on my money in a about 6 months average but in this case, to help knock out my MQD spend, I am good earning just the SkyMiles to push up my totals.
Did you know Sams Club, and many other places, sell some kind of either Visa or Mastercard Debit gift card. You can figure out the rest on you own. Again, we are talking about mixing up all kinds of spend and this is one more outlet.
Next up we have stores like CVS, Walgreens and so many other locations that offer some kind of gift card for sale. Again, be careful – the point is a mix of spend everywhere you shop.
Speaking about a mix of spend, there currently is almost no end to the locations close to your home that you can visit to buy stuff. Sure with all of these the next step, i.e. using the gift cards in one way or another can be a challenge but there are many places on the web to share advice on how to do just that and at minimal cost to you. If this is a choice for you take the time to learn.
Then we have the gift that keeps on giving – that is, Simon Mall group. They now have a “five back” card. It is a game changer. Take the time to learn about this stunning product. Again, just one more tool to help you with your MIX of spend to get to your MQD exempt goal for 2017!
Lastly we have everything else and it is up to you if it is worth the effort. For example, could you ask your employer to allow you to pay for certain expenses and be reimbursed? Then we can go even deeper and maybe you can ask your family to pay some of their bills (that have no fee) and then they pay you back via a check or cash. This could go on and on if it is worth the effort for you to reach your spend goal.
You see my point in all of this maybe (or least I hope you do). Last year it took me 13 days to be Delta MQD AMEX exempt spend complete. This year I hope to do it in 7 days or less. I am NOT in any way suggesting you do the same. All I am doing is again trying to prove a simple point – you can do it inside one year without too much issue if you want to! That is my point of this 1JAN post year after year after year. – René
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