Rookie Wednesday: Delta Schedule change = MQM GOLD MINE!

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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.

RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.

old mine

I have talked a lot about the mighty schedule change rule but if you take the time it can be even more valuable than you think. What do I mean? Let’s look at  this in a rookie way today to improve your Delta mileage runs.

First, what is the rule? Go to the Essentials Tab and look at E8 post. The key issue is time. If you are inconvenienced 1+hr departing or arriving or a change that will result in a misconnect then you are heading into the MQM gold mine. What can you do next, just about anything you want (well almost anything anyway). Next let’s address some common questions:

Q) Do I have to try to get back to my original times?
A) No. will “try” to rebook you this way, maybe direct or maybe with connections. Delta does not want you to cancel the ticket (you have that right) so as long as your request is not totally crazy you should be able to get what you want as we will see next.

 Q) Can I add / remove legs?
A) You bet (there are limits)! Let’s say you booked MIA-ATL-LAX. Now you want to go MIA-ATL-DTW-LAX that is possible and you pick up 500 or so extra MQM’s. Sometimes you can run into issues if the original fare rules only allow certain connections or such but most times with schedule change a rep can override.

usa map

Q) Can I take longer flights that is say I was MIA-ATL-MSP-LAX change to MIA-ATL-JFK-LAX?
A) Yes (most times). You can see by the illustration above that this change will add nicely to your MQM totals. This could also bring down your CPM (that is cost per mile) quite a bit.

Q) Can I do a stopover now?
A) Maybe. A long layover along the way should be no problem but if you are set to arrive one day and now want to arrive say 2 days later, the rep may balk about the request. Keep in mind, you have been inconvenienced and just about any changes are on the table now so it is worth a try if you want this.

 Q) Will I get credit for all these flights & new routes?
A) You bet. Unlike say a frequent flyer ticket where you get no miles, here you get credit for each mile flown or at a minimum 500. Do keep in mind if for some reason you are rebooked in say “Y” class you will NOT get bonus points on top. You will only earn the original fare class MQM’s for however far you do end up flying. If that happens to be 1st class then you will earn points accordingly.


 Q) Can I change either my departure or arrival airports?
A) Maybe but most times NO. I have done this a few times, but I only have success when it is a massive schedule change like 3 or 4 hrs. If it is only say 1-ish hour you are unlikely to be able to get a rep to reissue to another airport closer to home. It is worth if it can save you a ton of driving (you can see all the Delta airports I have access to inside 3 hrs from home).

Q) Should I be coy with the rep of what I am doing?
A) Most times no. If you tell them I would much rather route this way if possible so I can pick up some extra miles! The rep will often sigh or giggle and say if that is what you want we can do that (and think you are a bit crazy – crazy like a fox IMO)!

Q) Is it better to call or use @DeltaAssist?
A) I would use @DeltaAssist or at least start there. It is so simple to do the work and just type what you want. No muss no fuss. If they say no you can have time to rethink and tweet again. If you don’t like their suggestions you can then still call.

Also keep in mind what you are asking for from the rep. Most “normal” people want to fly less not more. They want more direct flights not the crazy longer ones we are asking for. Most want to get there as close to the time they had before. We are talking mileage run where the journey is the goal so when we get to wherever just does not matter to us.

Lastly your status can help you here. I have found reps much more willing to do crazy change requests for me as a PM or DM compared to a FO or GM. Either way you can see what a potential gold mine we have open to us if we are smart and put in the “pick & hammer” time to get the ore out of the mine. This all works. For example, I recently had a change to my ORD-SJC run and I changed from ORD-ATL-LAX-SJC to ORD-ATL-MSP-LAX-SJC adding about 500 MQMs to this already amazing run 🙂

I am on a mileage run today and plan to have GoGo so if you have more questions – fire away and I will try to answer them. – 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. Rene,

    Good timing on this post. My PHX-AUS mileage run was been disrupted due to a flight time change on the AUS back to ATL leg causing a layover in ATL. This was a 48 hour redeye run so I am considering canceling it as I still have two of the MKE-LAX runs to do. I thought you had these runs in mind also and if you haven’t flown them yet I would see how you are addressing the flight change.

  2. While this is a potentially good way to get add’l. miles, it depends on there being a schedule change in the first place. Any tips for increasing the odds of that happening?

    • @Michael – yes, but it is risky. When you book, book tight legs. Then, when change happens, you can adjust to better times. But, the bad side of this, is you may have to fly it and miss-connect.

  3. My bad… I asked before finishing the E8 article. To summarize:

    1. book far in advance
    2. add as many regional connections as possible

  4. So i know this question isn’t related to your topic but it is a rookie day…So i will ask a rookie questions: I saw you post on the staying gold or rolling over 22k for next year or going to plat. Do you still have the same opinions? Also for Plat. Which is the best gift in your opinion…


    • @Bryan – you can look HERE to see my rookie post on Choice Benefits. As to rollover, I plan to rollover about 75k (end the year with 200k MQM). Keep in mind next year you will need MQM and MQD!

  5. Thanks Rene. I booked an award ticket LAX-CUN-LAX-LAS, the last leg being booked speculatively since it was free. I’ve flown the LAX-CUN-LAX routes and Delta has now changed the times for the LAX-LAS leg by about 90 minutes. Can I now ask them to change my date? Any other way to benefit from the change?

    • @eddy – date change is hard but I would say yes as any fee that would apply does not now due to change. Give it a shot and let us know.

  6. Rene – thanks for more great info – did not know this! Also, from what I’ve learned on your blog I now have my 1st MR booked in Sept for LAX-JFK-NRT-SIN-NRT-JFK-MSP-LAX for 25k MQMs, under 4cpm! Have my new Chase Ink BOLD (biz) and Sapphire cards on the way now for building UR points (never done that before) and will max out my AMEX DL Reserve this year for another 30k MQMS, then churn to the Biz Reserve for 2014! Will make Diamond for the first time too. Again, thank you for such great info!

    • @Howard – First WELL DONE! Enjoy fellow DM. Next, thanks ever so much for your kind words and comment – it means SO much to me. Rene

  7. Good to know. I just completed my first MR, strictly for miles yesterday. PDX-MSP-MIA-ATL-PDX. My MIA-ATL segment was delayed by 20 minutes and on my Delta app they offered to reroute even though I still had plenty of time to still make the connection to PDX. Out of curiosity, I followed the link to see alternatives and I could have rerouted ATL-LAX-PDX which would have resulted in some extra mile. I had my ride set up in PDX so I kept my original flight. It is a technique to keep in my for the future though.
    A rookie question, if you have an upgrade seat into first, does that grant you access to the Delta SkyClub? I had gotten upgraded on my MIA-ATL leg and was wondering if my boarding pass would have gotten me in the door at either MIA or ATL.
    Just made GM on this trip! Yeah, on to the next level. Already took advantage of GM status, by adding Economy Comfort seats to my trip to India in August for the US segments for FREE!

  8. Follow up from my previous post…So if I roll over 24k in miles to 2014. If also spend 50k on a amex card there is no MQD right?

    Trying to figure if better to have Gold two years (2014/2015)in a row…or Platnium (2014) one year and for sure silver the next posibble gold in 2015…

  9. Thank you…Puts me at a crossroads in regards gold for two year, or platnium then either gold or silver the following… Thanks for you help!

  10. What about original mileage credit? I’ve booked a trip from LGB to SLC to DTW to FLL (3198 miles), and it was changed to connect in ATL instead of DTW (2760 miles). If I fly this route, would I ask for credit for 3198 after I complete the itinerary?

    Additionally, if I decided to fly less as a result of the change and found an itinerary with only one connection, could I then go back and ask for original mileage credit for the original itinerary even though I elected for less miles?

    • @Shawn – yes you can but it is up to Delta to award the original credit. A majority of the time you will get it so yes this can also be a strategy if you want to fly LESS and try for the credit you booked. I prefer to look for more 😉

  11. Say I have an early morning flight, and there’s a schedule change of 30 minutes. Any (reasonable) chance I can switch to an evening flight the night before?

    Just did this on a flight to Roatan through Atlanta. There’s only one flight to RTB per day, and not only did I have to leave to catch the inbound to ATL at oh-dark-thirty, but the plane had mechanical problems. Fortunately we had plenty of time to make the connection, but if I do this trip again, I think I’d prefer to get into ATL the night before and be able to wake up at a normal hour, and have lots of leeway for weather or mechanical issues.

  12. When you have a schedule change on one direction, are you eligible to change both legs of your flight or just the leg Delta disrupted?

  13. I was able to get an extra 750 miles out of my outbound leg. Unfortunately i had some time restrictions, so I couldn’t add two stops but I’m happy I got this addition. Thanks!

  14. Tried this tactic via @Delta on 10/9/2017 with mixed results.

    Original itinerary covered DTW to IAH via MSP and IAH to DTW via ATL and was moved a combined 3.5hrs over two separate schedule changes. Original itinerary departed at 6:00PM from DTW. Final itinerary departed at 3:40PM from DTW – both afternoon departures.

    Proposed itinerary was DTW to IAH via SLC and IAH to DTW via SLC for net gain of ~2,500 MQMs. Proposed itinerary departed DTW at 8:30AM – a morning departure.

    The first @Delta rep I contacted refused the change and explained Delta’s policy only allows for departures in the same “time block” i.e. since the original itinerary had an afternoon departure the proposed itinerary needed to have an afternoon departure or it would incur a change fee. I argued that given two schedule changes covering multiple hours (the return flights were also slightly moved, but still in the same time block), it would make sense to allow me more flexibility. The rep refused and left the convo.

    A second rep joined the convo and asked what itinerary I was trying to book. I relayed the info and the rep accepted the new itinerary with no questions asked and said it was coded as no fee due to schedule change.

    Obviously, conflicting answers from the reps, but thought I’d share Delta’s official policy on the matter.

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