Thank You readers – we WON! Delta Diamond MQD waiver “only” $250,000 for 2019 Medallion year. I AM THRILLED!

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This is GREAT NEWS! No really!

Folks, we won! No really – we did. Let me explain. I know the web is blowing up with the news that we must spend ¼ million on our Delta Amex cards.? One reader tweeted me a photo of their Delta Amex card cut into tiny bits.

  • Let me make this clear – we had an impact. Again, we won!

The plan from the Delta mothership was to END the Delta MQD waiver (without telling Amex btw). But thanks to all your calls, emails, and USPS mails, we had an impact and got the VIPs attention. We now “only” have a 250k spend waiver. Only?

I tossed up a post with other choices and it has been one of the most visited posts from Delta and Amex computers this year (yes, I can track that). So we stopped the worst possible choice.

  • What, wait really? Are you crazy?

No I am not. Yes, I really am beyond thrilled with the 250k spend waiver choice. Folks, we can do this all via creative spending a.ka. (manufactured spending). We are talking less that 21k per month – I can MS that in my sleep. You can too and if not it is time to learn (maybe attend my sessions on an intro to manufactured spending at the Chicago Seminars with tickets still for sale?)!

Beyond that, this means we need to think about diversifying. We need to, to get max value, get and hold a number of Delta Amex cards to get the bonus for each as the spend is TOTAL across ALL your Delta Amex cards. I now hold 1x Delta Reserve card and 2x Platinum. That may be the perfect mix. I will max out spend on all on the way to 250k! 🙂

This will fix this problem 😉

I posted about Delta wanting to thin the herd. This change will do just that in a massive way. Those remaining will be only those who are loyal to Amex, and mega spend, who will now be Diamonds. This is great news if you are a Diamond and your upgrade chances have tanked this year.

Now for those who can not spend their way to 250k there is a flying choice. As I showed on my AreoMexico 1st class run with a base fare of ZERO dollars I earned a bunch of Delta MQD credit. We can do the same next year we just have to fly FAR and on partners and allow the distance based MQD credit to pour into our accounts.

Also we need to talk about planning. The Diamond +1 situation has just gotten that much better. Now, and I know some will hate this, a Diamond and a +1 will trump all below them even those who are big but not big enough spenders with Delta. This is great news for those who can still make this work and reach Diamond for 2019!

Bottom line – those of us who are willing to be creative are going to be the few Delta Diamonds who remain in the skies. Well, us and those who overspend on Delta tickets that is.

This change is so sweet. 2019 is going to be an amazing Diamond Elite year! – Rene

 

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98 comments

  1. Personally, it would be impossible for me to spend $250k (or at least really not worth the trouble) on one card. I fly Delta exclusively for business and the last two years have not needed the card exemption (although it’s close). I can’t believe there will be people that a.) fly enough miles to get to 125k, b.) do that without spending $15k, and then c.) somehow get to $250k in card spend. Rene, you are excited about that, but I have to believe that very few people fit those criteria.

  2. We have a business amex that does that sort of volume, but all the monthly miles go into a company holding account for dispersion to employees as needed or for bonus, etc. Now I’m wondering how I can get that MQD waiver applied to my personal skymiles account now.. $250k wont cut it for me on my personal amex 🙂

  3. “We understand that this is a significant increase” = understatement of the year. Next announcement coming: The $12,000 MDQ spend requirement for 2019 has been increase to $120,000.

  4. I can and do spend $250k with AMEX. IMO it is not great news, only good news for a select few. Makes me hope Delta tanks during the next recession because it’s loyal base has evaporated along with all its Diamonds.

  5. Rene,
    You my friend, as a wealthy business owner, are showing your colors. For the uber rich and those who can put business expenses on Amex this is a win. For those of us who have been flying international long haul flights 7-8 times per year but not purchasing the high end tickets lose. Basicaly I feel like Delta doesn’t give a hoot about my loyality, only yours and other extremely weathly people. And please don’t give me a song and dance line about how I can spend $250K in a year. I cannot. You are right, Rene. You win and and common folks fliers like me lose. We are the ones being culled out. Deep down, this post is sorta disturbing. Not bitter, but a wakeup call.

  6. I think for the vast majority of people, spending $250k a year isn’t going to be in their plans.

    If you use a straight 2% cashback card, that’s $5k in earnings. You’d just be better off just using that cashback to just buy a bunch of business class delta flights to help you get over the $15k spend. And if you can’t use that $5k in cashback for flights, you probably shouldnt be trying for diamond status.

    However, for the Plats, Golds and Silvers, this is a victory since they can keep their status (or move up) with $25k in annual spend.

  7. For the portion of Delta Diamonds like myself who qualify on reimbursable business travel and hit $15k MQD after only 50-75k MQM this is a small positive and may lead to greater upgrades in 2019 – But I doubt it.

    Every quarter Delta continues to reiterate to their shareholders that they will monetize more and more of the first class cabin – $50 buy ups to first upon check in for those without status etc…. Yes we will have less diamonds in 2019 but there will also be less seats available to upgrade. At best its a wash.

    If you’re going to teach them to MS250k at least have them do it on a Chase Ink, Amex SPG, or even a Amex everyday preferred. all of which would result in 500k + points a year with Lufthansa, Singapore, Emirates as first class redemption options.

  8. The problem with spending that kind of money on Delta credit cards is that those miles are worth far less than Amex MR or Chase UR. I would rather earn 2x or more MR on Amex card than earn 1.5x Delta miles per dollar of spending.

  9. I fly over 125,000 miles per year, but do not spend $15,000. My travel is travel for pleasure, and most of it is international. I have been DM for a few years now, but will not be in 2019 with this spend requirement. I’ll easily hit PM for 2019 and then look for premium seats on other airlines. No more Delta loyalty from me. And this from someone who hasn’t relied on a medallion upgrade in almost 3 years. I’ve been buying my upgrades or buying first/ business class and paying the price down in miles. For me, i’ll just miss out on the 4 global upgrades, which are difficult to use anyway. Still, it leaves a bitter taste.

  10. I fly over 125,000 miles per year, but do not spend $15,000. My travel is travel for pleasure, and most of it is international. I have been DM for a few years now, but will not be in 2019 with this spend requirement. I’ll easily hit PM for 2019 and then look for premium seats on other airlines. No more Delta loyalty from me. And this from someone who hasn’t relied on a medallion upgrade in almost 3 years. I’ve been buying my upgrades or buying first/ business class and paying the price down in miles. For me, i’ll just miss out on the 4 global upgrades, which are difficult to use anyway. Still, it leaves a bitter taste.

  11. “We can do the same next year we just have to fly FAR and on partners and allow the distance based MQD credit to pour into our accounts.” – Exactly my plan in 2018, unless DL decides to overhaul the current partner MQD charts and diamond MQD requirement.

  12. I’m happy to be Platinum (until next year when they increase that threshold to $75k that is). Then I’ll fly Southwest or buy FC with points.

  13. Rene,
    I wouldn’t get too excited. $250,000 is a big change for one year; but Delta is probably just setting the table to wipe out the exemption totally for 2020.

  14. I know the audience for this blog is not the ‘average’ traveler (myself included), but I feel compelled to point out that “creative spending” to cover 250K is requiring expenses of about 8 times median personal income in the US and an average monthly expenditure way above the credit limits of average users. One thing I really like about what you do, Rene, is that it’s not focused on stratospheric travel (e.g. “Using points for my $27,000 stay in the Maldives”). I’m not so sure this is cause for most of us to celebrate.

  15. The majority of people who play the points and miles game do so because they cannot afford premium travel. If you can spend $21k/month on a credit card then you can also afford to just buy yourself a ticket in first class and thus won’t have any issue hitting the $15k mqd requirement.

  16. Come on Rene, what’s the opportunity cost of $250K on a card that gives 1 point per dollar(plus smallish threshold bonuses) in a non-transferable, dedicated currency?
    A simple AMEX Biz blue is 2X. Chase Freedom Unlimited is 1.5X. There are likely cashback cards that pay even more.
    I too am glad AMEX didn’t kill the spend waiver but $250K is insulting no matter how anyone spins it.
    Not sure AMEX wasn’t backed into a corner here based on their most recent losses with other partners(Costco et al).

  17. I am one of those people who consistently end up with 200K+ each year, make it to maybe 20K+ in mqd and even make maybe 200k+ on amex, but it is not all on the DL amex as the plat card offers some great and more flexible points. It is going to be very difficult to make this work ongoing if I (or all of us) have even a slight drop in travel or spend for a period. Plus there are still a few places out there that we all do business that simply won’t take Amex or even a credit card. Next Up – Rene’s guide to enormous spending on Amex? Hope so…Thanks.

  18. I do not think this is an unreasonable or even an unfair business decision. I think you need to consider that if a DM gets to $250K, he or she is most likely foregoing a lot of more valuable points than the SkyMiles he or she will be earning. For example, say a DM normally spends $60K on a Reserve card to get 30K MQMs and then puts that card away, as he or she should. Now he or she needs to spend another $190K on the Reserve card. If that same flyer spent that same $190K with a Chase Sapphire Reserve card, he or she would get thousands of dollars more in value because the points are worth more (1 cent more according to TPG) and that card gives 3x on all dining and travel. Thus, for DMs who are over $10K, but less than $15K, the better answer is to find a way to get to $15K, even if means spending cash for an overpriced Delta One ticket at some point during the year or using your technique for MQD credit.

  19. One things you’re not considering is the risk involved in your strategy of creative spending. What if Amex shuts you down after you manufacture $240k in creative spending? What if there is a “game changer” with those gift cards you’re buying half way through 2018 (e.g., lose PIN functionality)? How would it feel to commit to this level of spending and get cut off when you’re almost there?

  20. While I see this is a huge negative change for many it actually works well in my favor. I never spent $1 on a Delta card but I fly over 125,000 MQM with several international flights on business class. Thus, I easily spend way over $15k with Delta tickets. I guess in my case this is good news as I can finally dream of a domestic upgrade out of MSP.

  21. Yeah, Rene, you’re awesome and a great guy (SINCERELY!)

    But this is just going to rule out 99% of people who were Diamond + not 15K spend + waiver.

    And I’m in the 99%. And it’s going to cost Delta some business and some loyalty. And I get that they don’t care.

    I will try to complete Diamond for 2018; it’s going to be borderline. But I won’t go out of my way to MQD earn with the partner strategy; if anything I’d do Alaska partners to double-dip on decent status.

    Oh well, still think Delta is the best overall product. But it no longer makes sense to chase status. I’ll buy the occasional upgrade from here.

  22. 21k/month of “creative spending” sounds like surviving an AMEX
    financial review might be problematic.

  23. “Platinum is the new silver” is what we say in a market that lacks choices. I’ve been close to Diamond for years, but I would probably need the MQD waiver. I need to rethink my choices or find another airline and another credit card. AMEX has been good tome. I stopped spending on my Chase Marriott Rewards Visa card, in order to take advantage of Delta’s program. Chase was very good to me, and I earned a ton of Marriott Rewards Points. Marriott has treated me like royalty, and so I continue to requalify for Platinum, nine years after earning “Lifetime Platinum” status.

    Why is it that even when you’re doing pretty well with an airline loyalty program, you’re still only a heartbeat away from being treated like a dirt bag?

  24. MF spending $250k (or most of $250k) on Delta AMEX cards is a waste of time. If you are going to MF that kind of spend, you are better off putting that spend elsewhere to earn more valuable rewards. In reality, your time and energy is way more valuable than Diamond status. If the benefits of Diamond matter to you, just spend $15,000 on Delta tickets, or buy F to get most of the benefits, or just do both.

  25. Rene – let her go, man. MSing $250k to chase an MQD waiver is insanity. Put that effort into something actually worth MSing over.

  26. [I] might be able to creatively spend $250K per year. I can only imagine what changes at any level are next.
    With a few refundable transcontinental or overseas tickets the $15K spend is much more likely. I’m certain ,now, that that number is likely to exponentially rise soon. I feel no loyalty!

  27. @javabytes – You get for some of us that is a few weeks work. Also, as posted, we can fly partners in biz for a few K and be exempt in style. This is not going to be hard for those who are smart and want this. For the lazy they will fly coach. Oh, and I expect FCM to go up 10x as well as JET-A is going to go up HUGE and Mr. Ham Sandwich who earns his living on $DAL will need profits to grow on the back of those who have to pay retail. Life will be good for us who know in 2019! 🙂

  28. Rene — no one seems to have asked this, so I’ll be the guinea pig: Delta announced that the 2019 MQD exemption for DMs is $250k. However, they appear to have only singled out DMs….so:

    Does this mean changes to MQD exemption for FO/GM/PM as well? Does it mean total discontinuation, no changes, or also subject to $250k spend…

  29. for MSers thinking of buying 250K worth of prepaides

    What purchases count toward the MQD Waiver?

    Eligible Purchases are purchases for goods and services minus returns and other credits. Eligible Purchases do NOT include fees, interest charges, balance transfers, cash advances, purchases of travelers’ checks, purchases or reloading of prepaid cards, or purchases of other cash equivalents.

  30. For someone who does spend $250k+ with AMEX here is my 2018 strategy: (interested in hearing yours)
    1. Cancel +1 two reserve cards = $1000 savings
    2. Add +1 as auth. user to AMEX PLAT = $300 cost (access to skyclub + priority pass lounges)
    3. Continue to gift +1 Gold status
    4. Obtain delta platinum bus and per cards = $400 cost
    4. Spend $220k on 2 each delta reserve and platinum = 100k MQM’s
    5. Spend $30k on AMEX Plat = $250k AMEX spend

    2018 strategy benefits = $300 savings in CC fees. Consolidation of points to Diamond byemiles account for maximum flexibility. Also putting excess AMEX spend on Platinum card increased the value of my card spend by 30%.

  31. As a single retiree, it may be time for me to get out of the game. I’ve enjoyed the last few years as Diamond, but there is no way for me to get to 250K on an AMEX card, especially when a number of merchants don’t take AMEX. In addition, the +1 perk doesn’t is a disadvantage to those of us single fliers.
    A few weeks ago I tried using GU upgrades on a recent mileage run to Manila only to get to the gate and find I was too low on the list to get upgraded. Not willing to fly that distance in Prem Econ so I cancelled while in Detroit. Knew I had little chance competing for those 747 seats in October, but thought it would work early September. Disappointing to say the least – and lesson learned about trying for upgrades on GU waiting list.

  32. If I was in a position to creatively spend $21K per month on my Amex – I would buy myself a DL club membership and purchase FC tickets to earn the 15k MQD waiver. Seems simpler than wasting my time and energy playing the card game.

  33. @rene I didn’t say give up on the partner travel – that can certainly make sense if you need to amplify MQDs relative to actual spend. But a $250k CC waiver is not a win. Nobody should be chasing that.

    I tend to doubt there were huge numbers of (as some FTers derisively call them) “Dollar Store Diamonds” swelling the ranks to begin with. Call me skeptical, but I don’t believe your Diamond experience is going to get all that much more elite.

  34. @Bob – As you can see from my testing, as of this year, that info is wrong. I MS TONS of VDGCs and they all work just fine. We shall see in 2018.

  35. I think it’s time to play the price game. I’ll make PL on DL every year until they screw the pooch and remove the waiver completely. I’m really not sure how good being DM is anymore. I was literally making DM for the GUCs anyway. This is a real let down.

    $21k each month in MS may be accomplishable but it also seems a bit wasteful. I’d rather build my business and make money. the game playing is fun to a point and then it just seems like an addiction like coupon clipping and stuff. That’s just not my life. This is super disappointing. But hey, maybe now I can fly cheaper occasionally by shopping around a little bit.

  36. Also… glad our letters and effort helped a couple of people. Now it feels like a futile exercise for those of who wrote them because we really wanted our voice heard…really wanted Delta to make a decision that could really help loyal flyers which was probably idiotic in hindsight.

  37. This is just another case of Delta finding a way to alienate some of their most loyal customers. Not something to be thrilled about. I do fly over 100k a year on paid Delta tickets so not a smuch but now can re-think the whole Delta loyalty plan. We may not spend 15k in a year, but we do a lot of flying on Delta, and a lot of Delta Amex card spend that they profit on.

  38. Just got a personal AMEX Delta Reserve card to clear Diamond for 2018. Maybe I should just cancel it before paying the $450. I agree with many of the other folks – $250K is far too much to spend for status compared to other card cash back offers. Yes, Diamond is nice. We got our own Immigration line in Tokyo this month! It’s nice to be recognized. But, $250K? I hope Delta rethinks.

  39. I have never MS’d, but looks like I need to start, BUT 250K is crazy. What is the avg cost for 10K in spend? I imagine there are fees for gift cards?

    Thanks,

  40. I am really excited to see what is in store for Chicago. I am going to need all the help I can get from you and others on how to do the 250 K spend in a regional airport locale like mine.

  41. There may be a lot of Platinum Medallions going forward. Other than Delta Reserve Card and hitting MQD waiver sooner, what would give an advantage over other Platinum members.

  42. Similar (de facto) benefits PM vs DM since GU certs almost impossible to use and I get lounge access from Reserve card. Even RU certs difficult to use in advance of last minute, so half of a marginal benefit isn’t something that will keep me up at night. Companion AMEX FC comparably infinitely easier to use. Guaranteed FC x2 at price of 2 coach.

    If they msess with plat, adios.

  43. I have been Diamond now for two years thanks to you and thoroughly enjoyed the benefits but now i see my GU certs to asia are all but worthless with the reduction in business seats thanks to the 747 retirement. I use Juicy Miles for every trip to maximise my dollars and mqm but this will finish me as Diamond..frankly why bother if GU are unavailable?? I will likely never use Delta asia international routes again, I find China Eastern business class a much better product for the money and I suppose I will spend down my skymiles and look at a simpler life than your methods. I bill everything I can thru Delta AMX and no way can I or most regular people spend $250k legit.

  44. I have so much to say on this development….

    but, for now, I would like you to explain your answer to Randy better.

    Randy wrote at September 26, 2017 at 16:59
    “21k/month of “creative spending” sounds like surviving an AMEX
    financial review might be problematic.”

    Your response, rene was:
    “@Randy – Really no. That is now what triggers that.”

    Could you answer in a couple of full sentences and not use the word ‘that’ (especially twice)?

    Randy’s concern is a valid one….for many (most?) a ramp up from their current spend on their AmEx cards to this level…say starting off in 2018 at $25K+/month is sure to get someone’s attention at AmEx.

    (P.S. I would love to hear AmEx’s view of this change.)

  45. This makes absolutely zero sense. At $250K spend per year, you’ll easily qualify for an AMEX black card which automatically comes with platinum status from Delta and upper tier status from a couple other airlines and basically perks with every travel company on earth. Why would anyone spend this on Delta Amex cards when Amex membership reward points are far more valuable and you have infinite flexibility? Plus, if you are spending $250K+ per year on goods and services, then obviously you arent sweating the MQD thresholds.

  46. After 2018 as a DM, I’ll be content with my 3MM “Complimentary Gold” status, then transition over to Southwest to get the Companion Pass.

    I’m too close to retirement to keep playing three card monte with the legacy carriers.

  47. If a lot of people become free agents, I think that benefits Delta. They pay 11 miles per dollar for each DM and if those people switch to become Silver or none, then they just saved 5 or 6 miles per dollar per person. The planes are relatively full nowadays so whether they let some DM buy it or someone with Silver or no status, they profit more.

    Ultimately, most people are price conscious so if Delta offers the lowest price, free agents will fly and those extra miles they dont have to give out makes a few % difference in Delta’s bottom line. Our problem now is that there’s so little competition that there’s always someone willing to take your place for a certain low price. Delta Customers are essentially replaceable at this current time.
    Of course when things get bad in the next go around, they can always offer some type of status bonus to get everyone back. Win-Win for them.

    Plus there’s some % of hub captive people who Delta(and other carriers) is the most convenient so they’re not leaving regardless of what status they have. I don’t think most ppl are willing and able to fly a ton of extra connections just so they can prove a point to Delta (and any of the big 3 carriers).

    Like most businesses, you cater to those who spend the most so they’re trying to make DM truly exclusive. There’s really not much we can do except to spend the $15k if anyone wants to be DM. I just don’t think spending $250k on an amex delta card is worth it. You’d be better off just spending it on a rewards card to get at least 2% (with bonuses) per transaction. You can use that $250k to get at least $5k in rewards which you could totally use towards that $15k. That would basically put you at $10k in remaining spend which is probably more doable for most people. I’m fairly certain most ppl take at least one vacation a year so just use that $5k on a nice flight somewhere for you and your family.

    But like for most rules, there’s a loophole so Delta long partner flights is probably the way to go for the future.

  48. Delta, thanks for the email Delta letting us know that the spend waiver has increased ten-fold then rubbing salt into the wound by referring to it (as usual) as an “enhancement”. The MOTHER of all enhancements.

  49. Not sure how long partner flights option to get increased MQD’s works. I have never utilized it and always booked on Delta. I am planning a trip in business in early 2018 that sells for about $3300 on both Delta and KLM using the same flights. Can I get credit for more than 3300 MQD on KLM ? How does this option work. Please explain.

  50. Rene, don’t you think that Amex would find it suspicious, if not worthy of a fraud investigation, if many of us who do not earn $250K a year suddenly began to spend that much annually and pay it off each month?

  51. @Scott [http://renespoints.boardingarea.com/2017/09/26/thank-readers-won-delta-diamond-mqd-waver-250000-2019-medallion-year-thrilled/#comment-1271670] I’m right there with you. I see this as a move to thin the herd and then sell the first class seats. They tell Medallion members that they will have improved chances of an upgrade, but then they turn around and will be selling those seats as quickly as they can. Why give something away for free when someone else is willing to pay for it? If I put my cynic’s hat on, that’s where I see this going: FCM. From a purely financial standpoint, I can’t really fault them for that… *shrug*

  52. I have a feeling that the people who can afford to spend $250,000/yr are the type of people who can easily buy FC tickets without batting an eye (or own their own private jet). Are you making millions a year in order to spend $250k?

  53. I would have to say this kind of a jump is making a statement to the extent Delta wants to kill the spend waiver. Like many of the comments, spending that much is beyond likely for 99% of the population. I fly on Delta 46-48 weeks a year for work or pleasure. Spending on car rentals, hotels, meals etc. In my biggest year in the past 10 my yearly travel costs never exceeded 70K. I have heard some of you MS tips but I don’t know anyone who can afford to pay the penalty banks charge to pay your car loan or home loan on a credit card to drive that number up. Nor would I want to give up points I earn on CCs that offer me more valuable points.

    I think this is horrible for the optics of this, this made all the big Bloggs yesterday, and Delta will lose a lot of good will.

    Most importantly Rene, you have not seemed to consider that removing so many people who are used to their upgrades might now be the huge number of people to pay the slight bump to buy upgrades thereby reducing the number of free upgrades for Platinums. Can’t wait to sit in a middle comfort plus because a platinum from 2018 decided to pay 80 bucks for a first class upgrade.

  54. @Brad – I addressed that fact that Delta will likely target ex-DM now PMs with ultra cheap 1st class up sells. I doubt DMs will see more upgrades out of this.

  55. Rene –

    I seem to remember previous posts about how you would make your MS for the year in early January. I am looking forward to a similar post next January on how you spent your way to $251k in 1 or 2 weeks.

    For me, I have better ways to spend my time. I was an inaugural DM since the beginning but happy to be a PM this year. BTW – sitting in Delta One as we speak.

    Good luck.

  56. @Fred – Oj. 250k in 1-2 weeks is really full time work. I am planning 1-3 months at least. We have all year. No reason to rush the spend. Need to make Amex not freak out. Slow and steady wins the 250k race.

  57. Noticed you still have AMEX links on the site, but not delta Amex. Are you still able to promote those?

    Do you think you will be back with Delta Amex soon?

  58. Rene, I am sure you are working up an MQD spend tutorial. I just chatted with the Diamond line, and it turns out most years I spend more than the $15K but just never paid attention. So maybe not such a big deal for me. As your research, I have this question – often my overseas clients will purchase my business class tickets through their corporate travel department in a foreign currency. They do enter my FF# so I always get mileage credit. But will I get MQD credit, and how do I track it. The Delta T&C on this is very sketchy and excludes gov’t fees, and other stuff I have never paid much attention to. Please tell us how it works in human language!

  59. Hi Rene,
    How will this affect the 2018 status while qualifying for 2019?
    For example if I spend $25k on the card in 2018 while trying to qualify for 2019 status (in 2018) will I be granted Diamond stays for 2018 while working towards the $250k spend for 2019 status?

  60. Rene,
    I woke up this morning sorta blue. It reminded me of being dumped by a pretty girl back in high school. Well, I really wasn’t dumped completely; it was that her conditions for continuing the relationship were too great.
    I like being Diamond. I’ve been Diamond every year since the program started. By the end of the year, I’ll almost reach the $15,000 MQD, and I’ll almost reach the new 250K card spend requirement. But, that still leaves me as a so called “Dollar Store Diamond “. I’ll not chase status, especially when the rules of the game change so sudden and drastically. I’ve simply lost trust in the Skymiles program. I can adjust and jump through a few hoops to maintain my status; but why bother? Who knows what’s coming next?
    So today I did sorta what I did back in high school. I made new friends !
    I joined Southwest Rapid Rewards program and applied for their Visa card. I’ve never flown Southwest and may be in for a real adventure, but at ATL; it’s the only legitimate domestic alternative. Internationally I’ve always flown Skyteam; but without status, it doesn’t matter anymore. Platinum won’t get you into the KLM, Air France , or Virgin Atlantic lounges. I’m still kinda sad, but I’m gonna it over it !

  61. Just to correct this record, Platinum does get you into partner lounges when flying internationally which I assume you would be doing if on a partner airline. Even Gold has this benefit!

  62. Daniel,
    As a Diamond,I select Executive Skyclub membership as one of my choice benefits.Skyteam members honor it in their clubs. A few months ago, myself and a guest enjoyed the Virgin Clubhouse at LHR; while flying coach.
    Are you saying that all I needed was Delta Gold status to enter?
    If this is true,I stand corrected and will be happy to settle for Gold status.

  63. I haven’t been gold in a while, but I know that it used to get you into lounges when flying trans Atlantic or trans pacific (but not internationally within NA or, I believe, South America).

  64. Hi Frank, double check me with another source, but yes, I am highly confident in this. At Gold and above, you become “SkyTeam Elite Plus” which automatically gets you and a guest into all SkyTeam clubs when traveling internationally. This is the key difference though – if staying domestic within the US, you do NOT get SkyClub access. I just traveled from ATL to CDG to TXL to BCN and got in SkyClubs (or local SkyTeam equivalent) in all with Gold membership.

  65. Hello Daniel,
    Thanks for the info. I’ll check it out.
    If that’s the case, I am thrilled and don’t feel so bad losing Diamond.
    Happy travels !

  66. Why not increase the MILES you’d have to fly? Oh… Right… MONEY!!!! Why can’t Delta just say “Screw loyalty all together”? All of those of us that are loyal see it for what it is. A millionaire is worth 10 loyal customers and we don’t matter anymore… Delta, I just can’t wait UNITL that millionaire gets a better deal and says “screw loyalty to Delta too!”. Shame on DELTA. There were many ways to thin the herd that would have been far more rewarding to those who are loyal and fly more!

  67. It was only a matter of time for Delta to do this, next it will be the amount of spend on tickets that goes up or the need to fly 500,000 miles per annum… They just want those who spend the money and don’t care about loyalty. I’ve used Delta somewhat as the airline of choice for several years now and 50% of my tickets are personal travel – not company paid.. not only that, but my wife also made diamond this year on personal travel only!!!.. To be quite honest, 250K is a good thing as there are better deals out there than usually offered by Delta – when have they offered $328 RT from LAX to London? Norwegian do!!! Now I will fly the airline with the best deals and the most direct routes and forget the loyalty and the partitioning to stop the likes of Qatar, Emirates and others from taking Delta’s routes with low fares..

  68. “Well, we were going to be shot with a 50 cal through the chest, but instead we’re being shot with a rubber bullet. So, we won!”

  69. SOOO
    I finally am so ‘lucky” to finally be away from home enough to qualify for Diamond next year (well if I keep spending on my AMX)–but maybe I will just stay a permanent Platinum.
    This is so insane.
    Thanks Renee for all the updates. I really appreciate all of them

  70. Renee, I’m currently fairly easily running about 120K a year through my Delta cards. I’m considering coming to your Chicago class, but can you tell me how reasonable it is to ramp the 120K spend a year up to 250k?

  71. Rene,
    I agree with you. I’ll just make GM for 2018, but I simply have no problem with making the top tier or for that matter all the tiers based on money spent with the airline.
    I think the whole CC scheme is a short-term get rich scam for CEO’s as it will increase profits at the expense of customer loyalty.
    Do airlines really want to trust their profitability to banks?
    Good luck with that.
    The fact that airlines think they can drive customer loyalty with bank cards is plainly foolish for the term.
    That a 30 year Delta customer like me is constantly looking for a new airline does not bode well for DL.

  72. Done with Delta. Now I can fly cheapest flight rather than having to pay twice as much for Delta to keep chasing status. Lounge has become boring – same food over and over. Now I can enjoy some real variety! No way I am going to put $250,000 on credit cards for this or pay more for flights to spend the $15,000. Adios, Delta — now I can explore your competitors!!!!

  73. @Fred – I could MS 251k in a week if I wanted to but that is reckless for 99.99% of folks. However, to MS 251k in a year is simple and just takes time.

  74. Rene please let us in on your “simple, it just takes time” way to reach $251k over 12 months. If you don’t want to post it here under your name post it anonymously. I just honestly don’t know how to reach that level.
    Thanks

  75. For everyone saying it is easy to meet this spend, how does an average person that makes significantly less than $250,000 a year in income and works for a company that doesn’t always you to pay for your own flights and expense them meet this spend? Even if I paid for 100% of everything I ever pay for, including my mortgage, there’s no possible way I could even come close to that amount in spend. Less than 2% of the entire population of the US makes $250,000 a year.

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