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Delta YEAR END checklist – Things you should check off your list NOW!

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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.


final notice

As I touched on yesterday in the month end Delta Points newsletter, there are some HUGE Delta changes about to be inflicted upon us. There are a number of things you simply MUST do before the clock strikes midnight on the 31st (as after that it will be too late) and some things that will happen even before the end of the month. Let’s look at this top 10 list I am thinking about.

1) Please, do Not Purchase MQM’s from Delta – This week, (that is very soon this week I have found out), Delta will again offer MQMs for sale. These MQMs were last year offered at ridiculous prices and if last year is any kind of pattern for Delta to follow, those who are the most valued elites will pay MORE than those who Delta values less. PLEASE do not do this. As a more cost-effective option, take a look at a Delta AMEX Reserve personal card or business cards as for the $450 non-waived free for one year you get 10,000 MQMs after your 1st purchase. Apply ASAP to make sure you are approved and the MQMs count on this year (if you need them this year that is, if not wait). Then you can also enjoy the other perks of the card for a year as well.

2) If you happen to have the non-Delta Platinum AMEX card, keep in mind the $200 per year travel credit that you must use before year end. If you select Delta at AMEX as your preferred provider and then you can, if you want to, buy 4x$50 Delta gift cards before the 31st and again after the 1st of January 2015 and get credit for all of them as your airline credit. Now this perk is once per calendar year so if you have already taken it, as some other credit, you must wait till 1JAN to go again. Also, if you don’t want Delta as your perk provider, you can pick a new one after 1JAN for the next year.

3) Booking RTW awards. Don’t forget that the Delta Round the World award tickets, both in coach for 180,000 and business for 280,000 will no longer be bookable after 1JAN2015. If you want one of these call the RTW desk (ask for them on the phone with Delta) and plan for many hours on the phone with them. Or, a better idea, just have  ADAM  do all the work for you 😉

4) Booking stopover or open jaw award tickets. These also end in a few short weeks on 1JAN2015. We all know this was one of the best uses for Skymiles so book up now if you want to take advantage of this amazing value that will soon be lost!

5) Meeting spend to be MQD exempt or get bonus MQMs. If you have any of the 3 personal or business Delta AMEX cards, and you have POSTED charges on or before 31DEC2014 it will count on this year’s MQD exempt spend $25,000 number. Be sure you have that and the right number of MQMs for whatever medallion level you wanted to reach. Keep in mind all flights scheduled to take off by 23:59PM on 31DEC count on this year, that is 2014, even if they land in 2015.

6) If you do not have a Delta AMEX card, both your MQD number & MQMs are all important. Again, like the above, it is the scheduled departure time of your flight that matters when it comes to earning MQD’s and MQM’s. For example, if you have a trip that spans New Years and the return flight is in 2015, you WILL NOT get 2014 credit for the return portion.

7) Expiring bump vouchers. This is not year end specific, however consider this good to peek at your vouchers and see if now is a good time to book a ticket before they expire. You have one year to spend them once you get them, but one further year to fly on them beyond that so check if you need to book something. You will earn points i.e. Skymiles and MQMs under whatever year you fly them, NOT under whatever year you book them. Clear?

8) HOOU & Skybonus points & a warning. I have had at least one reader e-mail me just furious as he redeemed Skybonus points for HOOUs last month and they expire on 31DEC2014 yes THIS YEAR. If you want HOOUs that are good for a year you must wait till 1JAN2015. But keep in mind Skybonus points do expire every 3 years EVEN when you earn more points so check if you have any going away at the end of 2014. If you have points going away this year and do want HOOUs for them I would request them on 31DEC as I cannot see they would send you pre-expired ones in January 2015!

9) Check your spending on all your travel cards. This one is twofold. First, look at your quarterly bonus categories for cards like the Discover IT or Chase Freedom cards, but another important thing to consider are your new cards that you are trying to meet minimum spend for. Believe it or not once (and yes I am still upset about it) I made a mistake and missed the spend on a new travel card and missed out on the bonus points. Talk about a stupid move on my part. Nowadays I just go to Kroger and get VDGCs and meet the spend on new cards in the 1st week to be safe.

10) This last one, is again sorta not year end specific, but you should take the time to check when you need to do your retention calls for your cards. Do you have an annual fee coming up in the next few months? It could be worth a call to see what they are willing to offer to keep you (that is if you have been using the card and not just used it for the bonus points)!

So there you are. I think I have hit on the most important ones we need to think about, but if I have missed any please comment below on the blog. I know it is Monday and you have a lot going on after the holiday weekend but take the time please to check these one by one as I want to make sure you don’t miss out on all the perks and points that are coming your way! – René
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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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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.

20 Comments

  1. “If you have any of the 3 personal or business Delta AMEX cards, and you have POSTED charges on or before 31DEC2014 it will count on this year’s MQD exempt spend $25,000 number.”

    Is this also true for the MQM bonus? For example, I reach $60k in spending (my second threshold) and all such charges are posted on Dec. 15. Statement cuts on January 10. I gift the MQM bonus to my wife on January 12. Will the MQMs definitely count for her 2014 status? I think the answer is “yes” but I’ve seen conflicting reports.

    • @Mitch – There are no conflicting info here – the facts are the facts. MQMs are for the year you earn. If you gift in 2015 but for earnings in 2014 they count for 2014. The statement date has nothing to do with earning dates. Earning is all about the calendar posting date for the charge.

  2. Rene, after talking with the folks at AmEx in regards to my Delta Plat Amex, my billing cycle ends on 12/15/2014, so any charges I make on my next billing cycle (12/16/2014 to 01/15/2015) will be applied towards my 2015 MQM’s. I plan to spend $50,000 during my next billing cycle (12/16/2014 to 01/15/2015), so I will receive my 20,000 bonus MQM’s at the end of my 01/15/2015 billing cycle. Is that correct?

    • @Jim – No. As I said to Mitch, the spend is when it posts. If you spend anything and it posts in 2014 it counts in 2014. Anything that posts to AMEX in 2015 counts as 2015 spend. You MUST complete all spend (and have it post) by 31DEC2014 for it to count on this year. Your statement close date has NOTHING to do with that.

  3. Rene, I thought I just posted this, but I must have done something wrong.

    After talking with the folks at AmEx, my Delta Plat AmEx billing cycle ends on 12/15/2015. So if I charge $50,000 in my next billing cycle (12/16/2014 to 01/15/2015) I will receive 20,000 bonus MQM’s that count for 2015. I reconfirmed with AmEx that even if I make charges from 12/16/2014 to 12/31/2014, these charges from 12/16/2014 to 12/31/2014 will count towards my 2015 MQM’s because the billing cycle ends on 01/15/2015. Is that correct?

    As a farmer in central IL I usually pre-pay for my seed & fertilizer in late December or early January, it just depends what my accountant wants me to do. So $50,000 is easy to reach since I am fortunate I can use my AmEx to make the purchase.

    Thank you for your help and time, Jim

  4. Two related questions… I’ve passed the $60,000, but my statement doesn’t close until 12/20.

    1. Would I be able to transfer by second tranche of 15K MQM now?

    2. I’m going to pass my 75K for PM with a trip the week before Christmas, is there any advantage/disadvantage to waiting until after Jan 1 to transfer the MQM bonus? Since they’ll rollover (not enough to hit DM), seems like it doesn’t much matter either way, but is there something deep in the system that “rewards” me for having had more MQMs this year even if I didn’t hit the “full” next level?

    • @Steve – Doubtful but maybe for #1. Log in to Delta and test (See E18 – http://deltapoints.boardingarea.com/essentials/ ). As to #2 it does not matter at all. They will post back to 2014 then rollover if you wait or just rollover if you do it before year end since you are MQD exempt with spend and over 75k.

  5. Thank you Rene, so if the Delta miles post on 1/16/2015 from charges made from 12/16/2014 to 1/15/2015, then the miles posted will count for 2015, even though you made some of the charges in 2014 (12/16/2014 to 12/31/2014)?

    • @Jim – You are making this too hard. Forget the statement date. If a charge hits your account, no matter when you do it, in 2014 it counts in 2014. If it posts in 2015 it counts in 2015. Clear? Some folks risk it and make charges on 31DEC (due to some promo etc) but they post into 2015. Personally I just wait till till the 1st of JAN to start my 2015 spending!

  6. Rene, thanks for clarifying. The conflicting information on year-end Amex spending always comes from Amex phone reps, as you can see with Jim’s experience and other accounts on Flyertalk.

    Jim, you’re very lucky your seed & fertilizer distributor takes Amex! What an easy way to get your MQMs.

    • @Mitch – Hate to say AX reps will say ANYTHING. I have been doing this for so many years it is automatic. Do keep in mind it works very well (after testing locally small) to buy AMEX gift cards via say TCB or BeFrugal (the custom ones with you name on them – sign back of card) then go to Kroger and buy VDGCs and dump to BlueBird at Walmart. EZ to run 5k / month that way!

  7. Rene’, not certain that buying Delta gift cards will get the Platinum Card $200 credit. Here is what the rules state: 1.This benefit doesn’t offer credit toward airline tickets, mileage points purchases or mileage points transfer fees, gift cards, upgrades, duty–free purchases, or award tickets.

    Of course, it depends on how Delta reports the transaction to AMEX.

    • @Sam – feel free to click the link in the post for screen shots showing the credits on my AMEX account 😉

  8. Rene,
    As to the non Delta Amex Plat card, once you are approved can you buy 4 $50 certs right away even before you make min spend and be reimbursed?
    Jeff

    • @Jeff – yep but MAKE SURE you select Delta 1st as your preferred partner. Same goes for the $100 GOES credit. Just pay for it with the card. 🙂

  9. Can’t disagree with that. I had also read the orginal post and all the comments last year. As I noted earlier, depends on how Delta reports the transaction.

  10. Awesome Rene! Timely post as I am in the process of helping Mrs. Graydon make the $60K spend on her personal Reserve for the MQM bonuses and 31 December is coming FAST. To quote Jay Z (first time on this blog?) I’ve got 99 problems but spending that in 30 days is not one. Thankfully it’s only $2K per day every day. Santa will be bringing me a nice MQM “gift” this year!

  11. Pingback: 2014 December Delta Points newsletter - a month of #KeepDescending Delta - Delta PointsDelta Points

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