New negative changes to Delta / AMEX elite MQM card bonus earnings & the workarounds!

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Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express


UPDATE – New info from AMEX can be found here: FALSE ALARM (mostly) REG: Delta AMEX card MQM bonus boost earnings (per card)!

changes to earn MQMs from Delta AMEX Platinum and Reserve cards max 2 per SkyMiles account

Well this is bad news (with a HT to @RenesPoints twitter follower @MarkSoFla). For the longest time you could, officially, hold 1x each of the Delta AMEX Platinum personal cards as well as the “OPEN” or business cards. Additionally, keeping under the 4/5 credit card maximum limit (excluding charge cards), 1x each of the Delta AMEX Reserve personal cards as well as the “OPEN” or business cards and earn the MQM boost for spending on each of these.

That has now changed!

The new rule, while not clearly stated (IMO), is telling us that the MQM boost per calendar year is now tied to the SkyMiles number and you can ONLY earn 2 max per year as an AMEX card holder.

What this means is, to put it clearly, no matter what the mix of cards you have that earn MQM boost, you only get 2 (i.e. 2 each for each of your 2 cards you hold personal or business).

Why this change? There have been a number of people who are harvesting HUGE sums of MQMs from cards. For example, while not officially “blessed”, some have a business Reserve card they got using their SSN and another business card using an EIN and maybe even a 3rd one using yet another EIN. That is now getting shut down.

The sad part is how far reaching this is going. I could see limiting it to 1 bonus per card i.e. that you could only hold and earn on 4 cards (since each card is a unique product) but that is no longer the case and is effective immediately.

Another question is – is this legal i.e. to put this into effect immediately if you say just got the card less than a year ago? I have requested clarification on this and my guess (but only a guess) is you will have one full year under the old rules if you applied less than 12 months ago. We shall see. I have reached to the AMEX team for more info on all of these changes.

Clearly this will not impact everyone. The majority of Delta flyers have either 1 or 2 Delta AMEX cards. Heck I get e-mails every day with folks questioning the value of even holding 1 card let alone 4 or more. However, there are some who are really working the cards for a ton of MQMs. These will be impacted.

So what are the strategies going forward for those who want MAX bonus MQMs? Clearly now the best choice is holding 1x Personal Delta AMEX Reserve card and 1x Business Delta AMEX Reserve card. Thus, with 120k spend (60k each card), you can net earn 60,000 bonus MQMs. What if you want more than that?

Keep in mind the Reserve card still allows you to gift MQMs to anyone you want and this latest change does NOT impact this ability. Thus, if you are married or have a +1, they also can hold 1x Personal Delta AMEX Reserve card and 1x Business Delta AMEX Reserve card and send over to you another 60,000 bonus MQMs per year. The math is simple and shows you would only have to then fly 5,000 miles to be Diamond under this equation but we are talking $1,800 in annual card fees to do this. Maybe worth it for all the Choice Benefits including the RU & GU certs for some.

For me personally this is not a massive impact. I right now hold 1x Business Delta AMEX Platinum card and 1x Business Delta AMEX Reserve card. With the change to allow coach BOGO certs to upgrade to 1st class and the +1 upgrade change I plan to pay the fee and keep both. With spend I can net out 50,000 MQMs per year on these two cards. I easily fly over 75,000 miles per year with Delta so my Diamond status is safe as long as I want it. To me ~$650 in annual fee is worth it for all the perks these two cards give me.

So bottom line this is sad news and will impact only a small percentage of readers. What do you think about this latest change to MQM boost earnings? Will it impact you? – René



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