Cleaning up some MQD (Medallion Qualifying Dollars) spending questions

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This seems to be the week of questions and answers and that works as there is just so much new on the way next year that we need to have all of this clear in our heads.

Delta has truly been doing an OUTSTANDING jobtiny arrow of trying to make all of this very clear to us in the verbiage on The FAQs page is detailed and provides just about all the answers anyone could ask. Now if Delta “IT” could also be on the same page it would remove some confusion.

First as to the question of when spending counts. Some readers have stated that you could say buy a ticket TODAY, 09SEPT2013, for travel on 01JAN2014 and you will not get any MQD credit. That is, you must wait till 01JAN2014 for any MQD spending to count. That is incorrect! You get credit for a flight when you have flown it not when you pay for it. The FAQs page points to this.


As you can see both times the focus is when the flight is completed as to when you will get credit for the flight. You will also soon see more proof of this in a bit. One other thing it now talks about on the FAQs page is that we can see the estimated MQDs in the trip summary page when getting ready to book a ticket.


And as we see, when I do a test book from South Bend to Detroit it is showing the estimated MQDs I would earn had this been 2014. And when we click on the “details” pop-up we get:


This not only shows more details about the MQD it again shows that this, along with MQMs etc., all only credit when the flight is complete and that makes perfect sense.


The one ongoing bug that Delta has yet to fix is the fact that we can now EARN MQMs (and soon MQDs) with “Pay with Miles” when they are redeemed for 1st class travel.

mqd5 clearly in the wording all over the site tells us this but the “IT” is still showing ZEROs where there should be numbers. I have not done a 1st class pay with miles but dozens of other flyers have and can 100% confirm it is working as stated even though is displaying ZERO numbers here.

Bureaucracy. It is amazing just how complicated Skymiles is becoming. The layers upon layers of new rules, requirements and exemptions are becoming truly dizzying I will do my best to help you as, despite all this craziness, we can enjoy the perks of knowing the rules when most don’t have the time, energy or desire to keep all this straighttiny arrow! – René


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  1. I agree there is something wrong with the mileage accrual estimates showing zero. However (and I hate to say it), I don’t think there’s a bug for the MQD part. The full statement at the bottom says “…you will earn MQD’s for the portion…paid in currency after miles are applied..” In your case there was no “portion paid in currency”, you paid the whole ticket price in miles. This seems to be in keeping with the stated policy that MQD’s are calculated on actual dollars spent for base ticket costs.

  2. This is great information. Rene, do you feel Pay with Miles for first class is a good option? I thought that the cost per mile would be much higher than a regular award ticket, but that doesn’t account for the ability to earn MQMs (and now MQDs). Thoughts?

  3. @Russ – I think you are wrong reg: 1st class MQD as 1st class MQMs earn via Pay with Miles so it stands to reason MQD will earn on the price of the ticket that goes to Delta. We will see but I am very sure this is spot on.
    @Mark – you just have to do the math and see. For example, the EZ one is say 60k lowest biz seat you find domestic but PWM biz is $550. Then simple. But, save same thing but PWM is $650 but you NEED more MQMs and (if above is right) more MQD spend, then, in that case, PWM, even though more, could be a great play. It will be lot’s of checking and playing with the math (my head hurts now)! 😉 Rene

  4. Thanks for investigating this! @DeltaAssist told me the wrong information when I asked a couple months ago!

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