Rookie Wednesday: Preparing for MQD (Medallion Qualifying Dollars) 2014 & what flights earn MQDs

René’s Points for Better Travel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. René’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. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.

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.

diamond mqd spender with delta airlines

We are just weeks away from start of Medallion Qualifying Dollars. To be clear, if you have medallion status right now, that is you have this year 2013 flown 25,000 or 50,000 or 75,000 or 125,000 MQMs you have already earned your status for all of 2014 and your status ends on 01MARCH2015. MQDs will have ZERO impact on this. Even if you don’t spend a penny on airline tickets with Delta in 2014 you will still have your status next year. But if you want to keep status for 2015 then you need to pay attention to what is to come.

mqm plus mqd table delta airlines delta points blog

Time to plan now. Let’s get some basics out of the way. MQMs+MQDs will work in tandem. You must, in some way, earn MQMs to whatever level you want and also spend MQD moneys with Delta (it is not one or the other). If you are paying attention you are now seeing how much  MQMs+MQDs each ticket will yield depending on the fare class you are paying for the ticket. Not just that, after you fly you will see you earned MQD for the flight and we all can simply track our MQD progress on the same page as our MQMs.

Don’t expect any workarounds to get MQDs. EC upgrades, bag fees or you name it count do NOT count. It is all about tickets with Delta. The ONLY current exception is Pay with Miles in 1st class can earn for the base fare. Also, just about any kind of ETV, e-Gift (when spent, not when purchased) etc. will earn you MQDs for the base fare. Remember it depends of the fare class and some cheap LUTXVE may pay out as low as 60%-65% MQDs!

While it is frustrating, and may of us feels extras “should” count toward MQDs, this simplify does make the program straightforward and does avoid confusion. The only other real issues are understanding partners and code-shares. Korean is a great example. If you buy a ticket on Skyteam partner Korean directly you get NO MQMs+MQDs credit. You must buy one that is a code-share with Delta to earn. You must be careful and check before you buy!

I hope many who are concerned will consider taking advantage of the Delta AMEX (any of them) as $25,000 in spend to be exempt from MQDs. I have a post about creative ways to help you avoid MQDs. I can promise you there will be so many, this exact time next year, that will be emailing me in a panic that they now must buy an expensive 1st class ticket somewhere to meet some MQD goal. Plan now to avoid that altogether is my recommendation.

Got other MQD questions? You can look at the very long FAQ list at or feel free to ask away and if you are on the road or in the air today please travel smart and safe! – René

Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
from American Express®
Click here for more information





  1. As I understand it, the MQD’s are in effect for fliers based in the US. Luckily my in-laws live in Guam 🙂

  2. i’m sure you’ve addressed this before (and if so, i apologize), but if you are flying in 2014 but you purchase the flights in 2013, does that flight qualify in the hunt for MQD?

    also, it doesn’t appear that i can email to my (not so) smart phone. if i provide my email, do you send out alerts similar to the text alerts re: flights deals as well?

  3. I haven’t flown the flights yet, but the last two tickets I bought, one was with a $200 Choice Benefit voucher and the other a First Class ticket partially paid with SkyMiles and on my purchase page my estimated MQDs were shown using the *net* amount (not the base fare).

    With the same situation earlier in the year it was based on the original (base) fare, but those were “after the fact” — the flights were flown before they showed one’s MQDs

  4. @FredW – You can compare right now, what has posted this year as a MQD credit, and then look in your history at MY DELTA, on your receipts to see what has posted and credited. For me, it is the base fare I am seeing.

  5. The spend on all Amex cards counts toward mqd’s, correct? Does spend on all cards count toward the bonus mqm’s? No wonder we need you so much, Rene! Even this little “detail” is hard to digest.

  6. @Sarah – no the other way around. Spending on AMEX DELTA Platinum and Reserve cards that is “qualifying” spend will count to MQM bonus points. Also, “qualifying” spend on ALL Delta AMEX will count towards the MQD exemption. What is “qualifying” spend? We will see if the same as now as much that should not count does count now for MQM spend levels.

  7. Earlier in the year my MQDs did post the base fare, even when using a voucher or PWM. But as I said, two recent purchases (yet unflown) just showed the net. I don’t believe Delta has publicly said one way or another what will count, so they may have changed it. Or it could be an IT glitch (then or now) I just don’t want somebody to be surprised because their MQDs came up differently than they expected.

  8. Not to beat a dead horse, but my recent trip where I bought a first class ticket partially paid for with miles, when the MQDs posted it was only for the portion that I paid cash (well, Amex). not the “face value” of the original ticket.

    So I think either Delta’s policy changed or the earlier cases where the full value posted were errors and they didn’t bother correcting them as MQDs are meaningless this year.

  9. Will DoD civilians stationed overseas with APO and FPO addresses be considered exempt as non US residents?

  10. @Sally B – says:
    “Residency: Country of residence is determined by the primary address in the member’s SkyMiles account at the time of qualification for Medallion status. Documentation may be required for some types of address changes. Please see the SkyMiles Membership Guide for more information and a list of acceptable documentation. Delta reserves the right to audit an account at any time for residency requirements, request further supporting documentation and update the address for any member’s SkyMiles account using the National Change of Address (NCOA) data filed by relocating postal customers, but shall have no obligation to do so. Accounts found in violation are subject to penalty, up to and including termination of Medallion status and closure of the SkyMiles account.”
    I do not think you will need to prove you live outside the USA and you are fine.

  11. I am being impacted by this weather system right now. I have a one-way home from a business trip on Delta. American is having a heck of a time getting me there. If I have AA cancel my flight because it will be too late by the time they can get me there, but I do not cancel my Delta flight, will I still get MQD credit for what I spent? Or will it get nullified when they ultimately cancel my reservation for not showing up?

  12. @Charles – if Delta moved you to AA you should get credit for BOTH airlines flights but if you don’t fly it will be hard to get any credit from anyone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *