I like Delta MQM partner earning change!

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Oh Delta Points has totally lost his mind now, right? I mean, he is so in love with Delta that even this latest devaluation he is saying is a good thing (I will never ever read his blog ever again – right)!

Just hang on and look at the most important part of all of this from the photo above and the new change to partners earning after 01SEPT2013. Code share count 100%. What is a code share? Look what Delta itself says on about that:

Who is my marketing carrier?
Not sure which airline is the marketing carrier for your flight? It’s easy to find out. The marketing carrier is determined by the two letter airline code in the flight number. For example, DL2368 is marketed by Delta Air Lines and follows the SkyMiles earning rules. However, CZ327 is marketed by China Southern Airlines and would follow the China Southern chart (even if purchased on or operated by Delta Air Lines). [bold mine]

So does that mean we CAN earn MQM’s or NOT earn MQM’s on these partners (or even a Delta flight). Yes that is exactly what it says. Take a look at this:

You see that this is a Korean Air flight but has a DL number in front of it just like in the example shows us above. But what if we look out say into October. Does tell us we will earn MQM’s and Skymiles (RDM’s)?

You bet! So what is this all about then? Again, now, if you are still reading my blog 🙂 , and your heart has calmed down, look at what European flyers have to put up with from KLM when they are a Flying Blue member flying a KLM flight. As a KLM member on a cheap fare class ticket, they can earn only 25% credit towards elite status:

Delta is a business. They could (and they may still do it) totally hack and slash the award chart for cheap tickets. They are giving you a way to earn FULL credit as long as Delta can get a “piece of the pie”! Airline margins are slim. Can you not see the Delta accountants saying this arrangement will mean the difference of a profitable partnership or not to DAL shareholders?

Sure this over all does stink for us as it makes more work (nothing new for Skymiles right) and I only “like” this because with every change it could be  much worse  for us. Also a code share can sometimes cost more (or less) than the same flight on another site. Lastly, I have not looked, but am sure there will be flights that you can NOT buy as a code share and you will thus earn ZERO for those flight. But this is the trend & it could be worse. Delta could do what United did and sell EC seats for a yearly fee so medallions have even less chance at an upgrade from coach to EC (See my point)! – René

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. Oh come on Rene DL is good enough at spinning things themselves they dont need your help.

  2. Pingback: My Delta Mailbox June 4: Million Miler and Partner Knifing (as I step off NYC-Shanghai in BusinessElite) - Rapid Travel Chai

  3. Generally I like your stuff, even as a former heavy DL-flying FB elite. But really? Businesses are NOT about take, take, take. They are about making money. And god forbid if that means looking at a spreadsheet that contains something other than expenses.

    Elites are profit centers – even the ones who game the system and fly only a little bit in coach. As long as the head idiot can break even offering a coach fight – which some cannot…

    Slagging off partners in entirety (see: Korean) is NOT how you do things. But then again, neither is putting a few hundred Memphians out of work. But it’s just business, right? (I tried to find the drunk smiley face with its skirt over its head in an alley but no dice).

    • @Seb – I agree the pull out of MEM is harsh. They are taking care of the employee’s but not MEM itself. It was so sad to see CVG last time I was there as a shell of what it once was. But as your other points, everything, I mean everything, is a profit center for Delta. We will see what choices are good and what drive flyers away to AA or UA but to me those choices are worse that what we have here (for now)!

  4. You’re like the John Gruber of airline blogs. At least you don’t look like you live in your mother’s basement.

  5. Sweden doesn’t have many, if any, condos in most of the country and certainly not in the nicest parts of this country. The law allowing condos in Sweden is pretty new and barely implemented.

    Cooperative housing associations are rather distinct from condominium legal structures, in the US and in Sweden, and hopefully your mother is aware of that.

    On the core element of the topic, DL’s codeshares on the likes of KE tend to be ridiculously expensive compared to buying the KE-coded-and-operated seats on the same flights.

    DL is really out to fleece its customers and doesn’t mind if its Skyteam partners get shafted as long as it gains DL management in the short term.

    DL SkyMiles management is as sleazy as ever.

  6. So she owns a share in the housing cooperative, a share which entitles her to her own specified flat/apartment due to a specific ownership stake in the cooperative housing association? In a condominium, the owner ownsthe actual abode, while under the Swedish cooperative structure the ownership is of a right of use rather than a direct ownership right of the property itself. It also has a bearing about what happens when and how financial troubles hit or don’t hit.

    I am just curious, because I don’t know anybody in Sweden who owns a condo yet, but I know lots of people — family included — who own shares in housing cooperatives and “own” apartments or other real estate that way here. Even Swedish real estate (residential and/or commercial) attorneys seem to have almost no exposure to condominium contracts..

    • @GWU – really really not the place to talk about this. It was just a description most would understand. Email if you want to chat more. This is no a Delta topic. Txs – Rene

  7. Perhaps more importantly, do Delta marketed flights (but operated by, say, KE) earn MQDs as well? I remember only DL revenue would earn MQDs….

  8. Pretty sure this post confirms that you are a delta employee and this entire site is propaganda from your [edit] company.

    • @Mike R. – HA! Thanks for the complement but I do not work for Delta Corp. (they could not afford me or give me 3+ months off each year)! 🙂

  9. Woah – why all the abuse? I totally agree with your post René. As a UK-based flyer with ties to Skyteam (I fly out if LBA and there wasn’t a BA service from there until recently) I switched from FlyingBlue to SkyMiles a couple of years ago due to the low level of elite miles offered on discount fares. I’d rather earn 100% by flying one of the Group 1 airlines or booking on DL stock. And all those Skypesos? They just paid for business class LAX-PER-MEL, SYD-LAX on VA. Thanks for the blog René. Keep up the good work.

  10. For KE operated flights, the DL codeshare will tend to be expensive, way more expensive than the cheapest KE-coded-and-operated flights.

    Given the “Fly America” requirement, the US taxpayers get [edit] big time when federal government employees or other relevant government-funded passengers fly on DL-coded flights operated by foreign carriers instead of flying on the foreign carrier code on the very same DL-codeshared flights.

  11. Was wondering when you would post about the change as I was really curious to see your reaction. Not shocked by the corporate apologist angle, but hey at least you managed to find a silver lining! Me, I’ll keep flying Delta when its cheapest, but credit to Alaska, where they value their elites.

  12. There is not a DL code on every KE flight. And assuming that the fare is the same whether DL or KE coded is setting yourself up for disappointment.

    In short, you’ve built a world where you’re trying to convince yourself (and others) that the change isn’t so bad by depending on partial and misleading information. Good luck with that plan.

  13. Mike Taylor Reply

    Thanks Rene, as a Rookie,I am still learning.
    After meeting the spending level on my Business Reserve Card on May 9th and waiting for the MQM’s to post so that I would qualify for Platinum nothing happened. I learned that I needed to take action;so after learning that I needed to make an election on the Delta site, they posted yesterday and as of today, my Platinum status appeared. Based upon your email, I will probably select ETV’s
    Now the delima, I assumed that I could give 2 Gold Medallions when I reached Diamond(Estimated to be September). Learning that I could only give 1, I do not know whether to give it to a friend who travels a lot for Chili competitions and could use it or to my wife who is a silver but travels with me 99% of the time. If our chances of upgrades for both improve if I give her Gold (she is now silver), that would be my decision. If not, I would give the gold to my best friend.

    • @mike – I gave my wife gold 😉 but same situation. this way, when we are on an award ticket, we at least have a shot at an upgrade if I book at a time where few DM & PM fly (and route if possible). we fly a ton on award tickets so for me that helps. Silver is nothing to toss out the door. sure it is nothing like gold but still you get perks but most of those are domestic so for someone in Chili not so much. just my two cents but if a dear friend give him gold and then always book award tickets in 1st with your wife or buy tickets on one PNR as you have a small chance both for an upgrade on paid for tickets with you PM status. Does this help? – Rene

  14. Mike Taylor Reply

    Thanks Rene, it does help. My friend does not travel to Chile; he is a former World Champion Chili cook and travels troughout the Country for competitions. As a Lifetime Silver, he was penalized when Delta began charging Silver’s for baggage since he always has a bag of equipment.

  15. Tyrell Track Master Reply

    Oh boy… well, yes, I actually don’t see this as too tragic since the only partner I ever fly on is KLM. But it does make me paranoid about the future … I’ve hedged my bets and gone Silver on United so I have something to fall back on if this really gets much worse…. I think it’s high time for a Star+Skyteam+Oneworld comparison again given all the changes!

  16. Pingback: Why are so many Delta "partnerships" so strange and strained nowadays? - Delta Points - Delta Points

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