Rookie Wednesday: Rookie Q&A that always comes about Delta elite status

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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.

all four status delta

It is hard to put into one post everything about Delta Medallion status. I have several posts about the different levels and rookie info about what it takes to reach each level. But there always seem to be many more basic questions that always come up.

So today I will knock out the ones I seem to get each week so we can have a reference point to go to with the most common ones and if I miss a few you can add them in the comments below (and I thank you for asking btw). Let’s get started!

Q) It is (insert whatever month it is right now). Will I only have my status until the end of this year?
A) No. Think of it this way. The remainder of the current year is a freebie. You have earned your status for the next calendar year. The only curve ball now is MQDs (Medallion Qualifying Dollars) added to this mix starting 01JAN2014. Then, you may have say enough MQMs (Medallion Qualifying Miles) for GOLD Medallion but only enough MQDs for SILVER Medallion so until you reach the MQD goal as well you will not bump up to the next level for the current year or the next one either for that matter.

Q) Speaking of MQDs what if I do not meet the spend for the next level up? What if I fly 76,000 MQMs but my Delta MQD tracker says I only spent $4000 with Delta?
A) You are a Silver medallion for the next year. It really is that simple. You only met ½ of the requirement for Platinum, that is 75,000 MQMs but did not reach $7,500 in MQD spend. So, you are at the lowest of the two common denominators that is Silver in this case.

amex shows multiple cards one skymiles account

Q) OK what about rollover MQMs. Same situation as above. Will I rollover 51,000 MQMs or just 25,000?
A) Per and MQD facts it says with MQDs the rollover rules have not changed as talked about on Friday so you rollover 51,000. But again as a warning if you do not spend at least enough MQDs to make Silver Medallion, in 2015 the MQMs are simply lost. Your only other choice is to be exempt via AMEX spending that is spending $25,000 on a personal Delta AMEX or a Business Delta AMEX or a combination of the two linked to your Skymiles account. Also, this does fully exempt you so once you have this, it is only the MQMs that matter on the chart. Clear?

Q) When does my status expire?
A) This is one of the most fun ones to explain. From the above we know when you earn it. Your status ends, not on 31DEC for whatever year you earned it and fly it, but on 01MARCH each year. Just to make this as clear as possible, say you made it to Platinum on 01NOV2013. You would have your status in 2014. The status would end on 01MARCH2015.

spg card example delta points blog

Q) What about my SPG Platinum Status that gives me pseudo-medallion status with Delta? When does it end?
A) SPG is nice enough to align it’s expiration dates the same as Delta so see above.

Q) Are MQMs ever spendable on anything at all with Delta or just for status?
A) Just for status. You can never ever spend your MQMs for anything at all.

Q)When do I get to pick my Choice Benefits?
A) As soon as you are Platinum and then also when you get your Diamond status. You must understand, you are in your “freebie” year for status so the Choice Benefit is officially for the year you fly your status. So you do NOT get a gift say in 2013 and again in 2014.

Q) When is the date I must pick my Choice Benefits by before they expire?
A) If you looked a the rookie Choice Benefits post linked above, basically remember 01MARCH each year. Now again, this can be confusing. Lets’ go back to this: you made it to Platinum on 01NOV2013. You would have your status in 2014. The status would end on 01MARCH2015. You would have to pick the Choice Benefit by 01MARCH2015. Some things it is smart to wait as they expire a year after issue. Others, like gifting status, expires on the same day as your status. So, say you wait until 01FEB2015 to gift someone status. They would just get one month to enjoy it.

Q) I am Silver Medallion with Delta. If I buy a ticket or a Skymiles ticket for my brother/sister/friend will they get to enjoy my perks?
A) No. Now you will more than likely be able to log or tweet or call Delta, since you have status and are doing the purchase, and pick exit row seats for them but if there is a schedule change or equipment swap these seats may not stick. They will NOT get your free bag etc. Now if you are Platinum Medallion and buy a Skymiles ticket for someone else, until 72hrs before flight, you can change all you want free as well as cancel and get your miles back. Same goes for DELTA AMEX cards. Unless you are flying with them, they get neither your medallion perks or the AMEX perks either.

Q) Just what items will count towards MQD exemptions spending in 2014?
A) We do not know yet. All we have to guide us is what AMEX counts right now as qualifying spend. The wording says many things DO NOT COUNT but we know they do. Will it be the same for MQD exemption spending? My guess is yes as it should be a function of what AMEX reports to Delta is OK spending but by the first few weeks of FEB2014 we will know for sure.

I think I could go on all day with these but I am sure your eyes are glossing over already. Some of this now is much more clear. If not, please ask away in the comments on the blog so others can benefit from your questions and answers too. Have I missed any more? Please ask away! – René
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.

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  1. Two Rookie questions.

    If I have 300k skymiles and qualified for Plat. and take the 20k in miles as my choice gift. Next time I got to book a flight would these be the first 20k used? If they expire in a year I would like to make sure to use them and not loose them…So which miles are you used first in your account, miles earned by flying or amex, or choice benefit miles?

    In regards to status: If I ahve a flight on Sept 28, and my amex billing cycle ends on Sept 26th giving me 10k MQM pushing me from gold to Plat. Already being on the upgrade list as gold 3 days out, would I be pushed up to Platnium on the list even though I was gold the day before on the upgrade list?


  2. @Bryan – Skymiles never expire not matter where they come from. Your status will auto-update 1-2 days after you hit whatever level. So, you may be PM when you fly. If it is THE day you fly, and you are not already upgraded, you will be on the gate upgrade list as a PM not a GM (as long as your shows you as a PM not a GM that is).

  3. @doublej – oh I could go on a TEXAS sized rant over your comment. First off, our planes are on time, work, and have wifi feetwide. FA’s are tops. Customer service is outstanding and in case of IROPS they practically get you A-B. Food is not bad, they have Woodford to drink on the planes, the Skyclubs are nice, the prices are good. Skymiles, while hard to get at low level, with some work are GREAT value. I could go on but you will NOT find all these perks at another airline. Delta is just the BEST airline in the USA – nuff said! 🙂

  4. Ralfinho

    Rene, that’s well spoken. I, myself, definitely don’t live near any hub city given that I live in Germany. However, I happily choose Delta to fly.
    Why? Well, you said it.
    And though in most cases I already know the answers of your Rookie Q&A … or it doesn’t apply to me, I still very much appreciate your effort. And every once in a while there is something new to me.
    Keep up your great work!

  5. I guess I must still call myself a rookie, because I was very surprised to hear what you told us in the third Q&A: “spending $25,000 on a personal Delta AMEX or a Business Delta AMEX or a combination of the two” counts towards MQD exemption. I have never heard (or experienced) that Delta and/or AmEx combine spending from multiple cards to achieve any spend requirements. So if I spend $10k on my personal and $15k on biz, then I have met the MQD exemption requirement? Does this also work for bonus MQMs? Is that documented somewhere? If so I’m golden (and relieved!)
    Thanks for all you do Rene, I am learning something new every day!

  6. I don’t believe you can choose a preferred seat for a non-status passenger when purchasing a ticket for them unless you are also traveling with them.

    Perhaps calling or tweeting will result in a ‘favor’, but I believe you gave the wrong impression there.

  7. @Slee – I have never found a medallion rep who will not pick an exit when you are booking for them (even when not flying with them).

  8. @Russ – Yes to the first question on MQD total spending across the cards. Yes I will have links up in the post tomorrow as I cover more of that info. No on the MQM spend it is per card. Txs – Rene

  9. asdfasdf

    excellent piece. i get asked these questions all the time. i’m sure many readers appreciate it. the only thing i get asked more are

    – so my delta plat card gives me UG right?


    -so i have the regular plat amex card… why do i need the delta one

    errr you don’t “need” it…. mqm discussion ensues in both cases….

  10. @asdfasdf – Happy to answer all the time. NO Delta PLAT gives you NO help in upgrades. ONLY the Reserve card can help you with upgrades over others in the same fare class. The Membership Rewards Plat card is great but you are correct, it gives you NO MQMs at all. A ton of other perks, but as you say, that is another discussion. Txs again – Rene

  11. Can we rollover our MQDs?

    Also, taking your example a bit further, are MQMs earned in February 2014 toward my 2014 ststus (pre-rollover) or 2015 status? Similarly, to meet MQDs, is the year March 1 to Feb 28? Or Jan 1,2014 to FEb 28,2015?

  12. Hello.
    I am still a bit confused about the roll over.
    I earned my Silver status back in June, 2013. Will I have it the whole 2014?
    Also, right now I have 37,000 MQM. How many will be rolled over and when?
    Thank you

  13. @Kate H – your status will end 01MARCH2015. If you do not fly again, 12,000 will rollover but you must spend $2500 next year and add 13,000 more to be Silver until 01MARCH2016. Or, spend $25,000 on a Delta AMEX card to be MQD exempt.

  14. Thank you for such a quick response!!!
    These are great news to hear:))) We love to travel!!!

  15. My husband and I share a Delta Reserve credit card. Will we both be able to claim the amount we spend? It doesn’t make sense for us to have two of them.

  16. Doug Talbott

    Hi, Rene!
    First, thanks for all you do!
    Secondly, I’m a Silver Medallion (pushing for GM in 2014), so plese forgive this basic question. When I book a Delta flight with my Amex Delta Platinum Card, do I receive duplicate Skymiles and Medallion Qualification Miles?
    Many thanks and hope to meet you in ATL one day.
    Safe Travels,

  17. @Doug – you do earn 2x Skymiles for the price of the ticket paid only but the MQMs is based not on payment method but fare class. Thanks! – Rene

  18. I’m a silver medallion – and I earned about 44k miles last year – I was expecting to have roughly 19k miles rolled over for this year but when I log into my account it shows 0 miles for this year. Any idea why that might be the case?

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