Some flyers MQMs could reset to ZERO by 2015!

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rollover mqms going away

Some very interesting math is resulting from the new MQD or Medallion Qualifying Dollars that starts on 01JAN2014 in qualifying for the 2015 flying year.

You see in the past, MQMs were simple. Say you flew between 25,000 but less than 50,000 MQMs with Delta. You would simply rollover whatever number is above 25k but under 50k and so on up the medallion ranks.

Now say you are this year, like me, ending up with a TON of MQMs. You happen to end this year with 225,000 MQMs total thus rolling over 100,000 MQMs. Sounds good, but there is a chance you could lose ALL THOSE MQMs. How could this happen? Let’s take a look.

As long as you, next year, under the new system in 2014, spend at least $2500 MQDs you would then have earned Silver status for 2015 (with your rollover MQMs). Now for simple math you earned all that MQD spend on one ticket and it just added 5000 MQMs to your totals. You now have 105,000 MQMs with your rollover BUT you are ONLY Silver Medallion due to spending just $2500 in MQD. If you did not fly any more in 2014 you would then rollover 80,000 MQMs at the end of the year, that is, the amount of MQMs above 25,000 and $2500 MQD for Silver status.

Let’s now say, for whatever reason, you decide to jump ship in 2014 and only spend say $500 with Delta in MQD spend. You have now not qualified for ANY status for 2015 despite having rolled over 100,000 MQMs from the year before (i.e. 2013 into 2014).

So, as we know, you ONLY rollover MQMs above your current status. If you have NO status you rollover NO MQMs. Those are the rules. Thus, in this case, all 100,000 would simply be GONE at the end of 2014 rolling over ZERO into 2015.

I hope this makes you see the importance that during 2014 you either:

1) Meet ANY level of MQD spending (even just $2500) or
2) Meet the AMEX $25,000 exemption requirement via qualified spending on a Delta AMEX card.

I know these situations will be VERY rare and VERY few will fall into these categories, but for the first time there is a risk of losing MQMs that you may have expected would just keep rolling over and keeping you at some high medallion level.

For me, when you look at my current year’s MQD spend totals, I will be banking on the AMEX exemption via spend. A good wake-up call for us all when we do that math! – René

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23 comments

  1. Have you confirmed that $25,000 in ANY spending on a delta Amex will satisfy the spending requirement for any medallion level? The T&C says qualified spending.

  2. @Mike – notice I also say – “qualified spending” in the post. Since it is not Feb 1st 2014, and I have not got my 1st 2014 AMEX statement yet, I can not 100% say for sure one way or the other. However, the T&C now say much does not qualify, and yet we know right now it DOES count, so my guess is things will be as they are now. That is a guess and we do not have much longer to wait. One thing is for sure, we are creative – right! 😉

  3. Rene – I’d be curious to find out the following about your readership:
    How many of your readers don’t have a Delta AMEX, and don’t plan on hitting the 25k spend exception (thus negating all of this MQD shenanigans)?

  4. @Steve – I think the use of the word “shenanigans” is a poor choice of words. Why? AMEX and Delta clearly have a HUGE symbiotic relationship. Delta has told me they greatly value those who spend big on DELTA branded cards and thus the reason for the exemption idea at all. Sure, there are a few of us, who will mix real and other spend to get there but most will just do every day spend to get to the $25k level. I will work on a question to readers along your lines as I think it is a good one – txs – Rene

  5. Another thing to remember which is going to cause bizarre issues: Only money spent in 2014 will qualify for MQDs. If you spent $500 on a ticket right now for travel in January it’s worth nothing for your MQDs.

    So there will likely be a strange gold rush to spend money January 1st.

  6. I have 2 Delta American Express Cards. The Delta Platinum Sky Miles Card which we use for business that generates well over $ 25,000 in spending each year and the newer Delta Reserve Card which also generates well over $ 30,000 in spending each year. I get the 15,000 bonus MQM bump from the Reserve Card and the 10,000 MQM bump from the Platinum Sky Miles Credit Card as well.

    Under the “new” program which begins January 1, 2014, will “both” the Delta Sky Miles Platinum Card AND the Delta Reserve Card “count” towards the spending requirements?

    I only noticed them saying the Delta Platinum Sky Miles Credit Card in some of the postings, so I am confused. I would think that the Delta Reserve Card would count as well since it has so many ‘perks’ associated with it under the current program (free access to the Sky Club; the bonus miles (MQM after $ 30,000 in spending), etc.). Otherwise there would be no reason to have a “Delta Sky Miles Reserve” card. Does this make sense?

    Thanks.

  7. @Tyrell – no, spend counts when you fly, not when you spend – unless I have totally missed something! You can buy NOW and it should could in 2014 when you fly 2014!

  8. @Andrew – both a personal and biz spend count. If you have sub accounts on YOUR main accounts, that also count toward YOU. All “qualifying” spend counts. Time will tell just what that is.

  9. Any idea what will happen to us Elites that live abroad and are not able to acquire and spend the required $$$ on the Delta/Amex Credit Card?

  10. @ René:
    Being ever the compulsive skeptic – I never completely trust DL’s interpretations of their own policies.
    I’m not holding my breath too long about our position as the exempt “happy ones” 😉

  11. Pfffewwww – (releasing breath now) – I value your expertise and insight tremendously!
    Thanks bunches – come and join us soon 😉

  12. Rene – I was just thinking about this topic the other day when I noticed the MQDs pop up on the website. My first thought was to email you and let you know, but no shocker, you had already blogged about it!
    I hit Diamond a few weeks ago and I love it! (especially the early upgrades on my Alaska Airlines mileage runs to Cabo from Atlanta). I have over 30K on my Reserve this year and $13,500 MQDs, but I am worried I am working on next year’s MQMs for nothing. I travel for business which is the vast majority of my MQDs with corporate AMEX, and I don’t know that I’ll reach the qualified spend with my Reserve next year. I am going to have to be very strategic in my spending next year. Reaching 125K miles is ironically now the easy part of the equation. Thanks for all of your insights!

  13. Rene – nope – I verified with Delta on twitter.

    It’s when the money is spent, not when you fly. Possible that they don’t know what they’re talking about so you might want to independently verify that!

  14. I just saw your response to me.
    I still think that MQDs are shenanigans.
    I’m not saying the relationship between delta and AMEX is shenanigans, just the concept of MQDs in general

  15. @Steve – ah – yes, I agree with that in full. Sometimes hard to get meaning in short comment. The really sad thing is even more is on the way way I fear. You may like my Thursday post. Check back and please give your input then if you can – txs – rene

  16. @Tyrell – I think you are confusing EXEMPT spending and ticket spending. EXEMPT spending yes 100% is 01JAN-31DEC each year. Ticket spending, just can not be when you buy the ticket. You see you could then buy a refundable ticket for say for travel 01OCT on 01JAN for $12,500 and have your MQD spend done the way you suggest it. Then cancel and get money back and NOT have met the MQD spend. The way it has worked this the year in tacking (if you go look) credit has NOT been given for flights not flown yet but booked and paid for. Also, with Skybonus, another good comparison to a revenue based system, they only pay out after you fly not when you buy. I will at some point confirm all this with Delta but am 99.9999999999% this is correct.
    .
    Plus, all you have to do is look at the MQD FAQs page and see the answer really when it comes to WHEN you get credit for a type of flight. Take a look it says:
    .
    I’ve booked an itinerary with multiple segments. When will my Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) post to my account?

    Similar to Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) and Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs), your MQDs will post after each segment is flown. The MQDs posted for each segment of your itinerary will be prorated based on distance flown. For example, if you booked a ticket from Orlando (MCO) to Atlanta (ATL) to Boston (BOS), a greater number of MQDs would post after you fly the ATL–BOS segment since the ATL-BOS total distance flown is greater than MCO-ATL distance flown.
    .
    [BOLD MINE]
    .
    So DeltaAssist must have though you were talking about EXEMPT spending that is 01JAN-31DEC

  17. Rene can you consider an article on whether or not to go for Diamond?
    I have 124K and think I might just want to rollover. Other than the choice benefits upgrade certs, what else is of value?

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