Starting 1JAN15 all Delta Pay With Miles PMW tickets earn MQMs & MQSs & MQDs! Positive change.

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There are very few good changes that are coming to us with Skymiles2015. However, one positive change will be the chance to earn MQMs & MQSs & MQDs on ALL tickets, not just 1st class ones like now, starting next year. now tells us:

“For travel prior to January 1, 2015: Pay with Miles tickets booked in Economy Class are not eligible for mileage accrual and will not earn Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs), Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs) or Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs). BusinessElite®, First or Business Class tickets purchased through Pay with Miles are eligible for mileage accrual, MQMs and MQSs and will earn MQDs for the portion of the base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges remaining that is paid in currency after miles are applied to the ticket total.

For travel on or after January 1, 2015 (regardless of ticket purchase date): Pay with Miles tickets are eligible for MQMs and MQSs. In addition, Pay with Miles tickets will earn mileage and MQDs for the portion of the base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges remaining that is paid in currency after miles are applied to the ticket total.”  – [red bold mine]

I would assume, even though it is not mentioned, we will also earn Skymiles based on your non-medallion or medallion levels by the 2015 chart since 1st class PWM tickets now DO earn Skymiles in addition to other points. We will see just how it works out. This is yet one more reason to hold a Delta AMEX card!

I truly wish Delta had implemented the OUTSTANDING program that Northwest had, that is you could use miles one way and just pay the other; that was simple and worked. This new change seems to be at least a slight improvement over what has been in place.

My only issue ever with the old PWM’s program is that you were only getting 1 CPM when you spend them on tickets. This new change does get you a little more value since you are earning for spending points vs. just spending them for the trip. I personally still get much higher value redeeming for business class tickets as an award ticket, but at least, in all the bad news from Delta, this is a tiny glimmer of good news! – 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. I’m fairly certain this is just another step in the direction of getting rid of award tickets. Eventually the miles will all just have a fixed value of 1 cent per mile.

  2. So if I book tickets for my son and myself and pay half cc and half miles and i am GM while he is just a M will it still have the possibility for upgrades?

    flying mid Jan.


  3. Well this puts a wrench in my past thinking. Never used my points before to pay for ticket since I average 1.8 cents a mile. Now however I will have to start looking at this versus the award price since if you do earn skymiles it will make them worth 1.11 for a Diamond but also get MQM earn. If price diference is not that great maybe worth it.

  4. @Gregg – link in post says: Medallion Complimentary Upgrades on Pay with Miles tickets are limited to Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallion members, are subject to availability, and may not be eligible on all flights.

  5. @René just want to confirm your thoughts… I book 2 seats now for a flight on 1/16 rt MIA-PDX pay 1/2 with CC and other half with PWM. If I book it today, the MQD is for when we actually fly or the day it is booked? @deltaassist seemed to think the MQD would be 2014 unless I booked after 1/1.

  6. @Gregg – always when you fly as to earnings unless a situation of booked un some unannounced change after booking.

  7. Any idea if we will be able to buy Delta flights with pay with miles and credit flight to Alaska?

  8. I just went over $60K on my Reserve Card so I’ll be getting another 15K Medallion Miles now I find myself 2,400 medallion mile short of Platinum and there is no way to take a flight. Is there a way to purchase MQMs?

  9. So, I have more information now…

    Was booking a roundtrip which is as follows: (Total miles flown = 5232, Total Base Fare $236.28)


    So, I choose Pay With Miles and Pay 20,000 miles per passenger, my amount due is $99.20/passenger and I can see that I will earn
    [Redeemable Miles earned]* = 185
    Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) earned = 5232
    Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) earned = $37 (details)

    If I choose Pay With Miles and Pay 25,000 miles per passenger, my amount due is $49.20/passenger
    and I can see that I will earn
    [Redeemable Miles earned]* = 0
    Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) earned = 0
    Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) earned = $0 (details)

    So, bottom line is if Delta Airlines does not get at least $1 from you on the BASE Fare, you get nothing!

  10. We have booked a flight March 27 from Detroit to Tahiti using miles.
    While it cost 100k in miles it was a huge saving as the cost for the flight was in excess of $2,000 in cash.
    So here’s the question that Im sure other readers will be interested in as well. the portion of the flight from LAX to Tahiti is on Air Nui a partner Airline.
    So We get MQMs for that portion as well .
    I can fly Air France for that leg. Would it make a difference??

  11. @Jerry,

    See my example above. It you zeroed out the base fare, you get NO MQM’s. Assuming this was a Pay with Miles? If it was an Award ticket (you stated “While it cost 100k in miles”) then Award tickets get Zero MQM’s

    Not sure what you are thinking….?

  12. @Rene,

    Then could you try to determine what they actually mean? What is your estimate of RDM’s, MQM’s, MQD’s and MQS on my scenario?

    A little guidance, please…

  13. I called the Delta Diamond line
    The agent advised me you can’t “pay with Miles” if its to Tahiti and most international flights.
    I dont trust them to have accurate information. anyone else confirm?
    It would be nice to pick up some MQMs on along trip like that so I dont mind paying for some of it.

  14. I am on right now trying to book two ticket MIAPDX.
    8:00am MIA 3:45pm PDX 1-Stop 10 hr 45 min LAX 2h 10m Layover
    DL 1169
    Economy (V)
    DL 5717 1
    Economy (V) Upgrade Eligible Upgrade Eligible Select Seat
    Select Seat
    Operated by:1Compass DBA Delta Connection

    Complete Delta Air Lines Baggage Information
    Fri, 16 Jan
    Departs: 8:00am from FL, Miami (MIA)
    DL 1169
    Arrives: 11:05am in Los Angeles, CA (LAX)
    6 hr 5 min
    Boeing 737-800 | View Seats

    Economy (V) | Meal Services

    Layover in Los Angeles, CA (LAX) 2h 10m
    Fri, 16 Jan
    Departs: 1:15pm from CA, Los Angeles (LAX)
    DL 5717 1
    Arrives: 3:45pm in Portland, OR (PDX)
    2 hr 30 min
    E175 | View Seats

    Economy (V) | Meal Services

    RETURNMon, 19 Jan 2015 |10:50pmPDX to 11:56am Tuesday, 20 Jan MIA |1-Stop |DL 503 red eye flight , DL 1865 Show Details Hide Details
    10:50pm PDX 11:56am
    Tuesday 20 Jan MIA 1-Stop 10 hr 06 min ATL 3h 39m Layover
    DL 503 red eye flight
    Economy (T)
    DL 1865
    Economy (T) Upgrade Eligible Upgrade Eligible Select Seat
    Select Seat

    Ticket price per passenger: $492.20 (USD)

    I am GM and a DL Plat Amex holder and no PWM showed up.

    Not sure what to do next. I think I will try again in the AM. The way I figure it, the 40k miles it would have cost to have my son fly for free, its worth the $92.20 to get him $416 MQD and 5943 MQMs, as he will be making this trip 4 times this year.

  15. @Gregg G-

    Not sure why you wouldn’t see it. Are you the PRIMARY on that card?

    Per Delta’s T&C on Pay With Miles:

    Program is limited to Basic (not Additional) Gold and Platinum Delta SkyMiles and Delta Reserve Credit Card Members, as well as to Gold and Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card Members and Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card Members.

  16. @Jerry-

    Well, I have no problem booking INT’L flights with PWM. Bookings for SEA-SIN, SEA-HKG

    Example: SEA-SIN
    [Base] PRICE PER PASSENGER:$731.40(USD)

    Price plus miles per passenger: $160.40(USD) + 70,000 miles

    Miles earned* = 170
    Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) earned = 17142
    Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) earned = $34 (details)

  17. In the latest incarnation of the delta site, there is an option to show the fare in either USD or in miles.

    If you book a ticket with the MILES option is this considered an award ticket or a PWM itinerary? Or does the PWM label apply only to buying down the cost of an itinerary in $100/10,000 mile increments? Would a ticket purchased via the “view price in miles” accumulate SkyMiles or MQMs?


  18. @MQD – the rule change as of the 1st is ALL PWM ticket now do earn Skymiles and MQMs as well as MQDs for base price.

  19. @Jerry –

    It has to be the entire flight. They are not going to allow you to Pay with Miles for an Air France or Tahiti Nui flight to Tahiti

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