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Are you planning NOW for your year end Delta MQM elite totals? What status do you want for 2017?

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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.

checking my mqm totals for the year renespoine blog review
I like my numbers so far for 2016!

This week I have started to turn my attention back to the mileage run blog and I have to tell you there have been some block buster HUB deals I have pieced together this month. I am going to do my best over the last few months of 2016 to find as many as I can from all over and that includes the major Delta hubs.

The real importance of looking at this NOW rather than later is we have seen now for  years  and  years  and  years  in December Delta selling you MQMs at, not just prices that keep growing faster than an “EpiPen” per year, but even charging different people different prices for the same number of MQMs. Talk about shameful – how would you like your local store to charge you a different price depending on who you are! So we want to avoid getting duped this way by the mothership and the way to do that is check your numbers before it is desperation time.

The first real question to ask, is it worth it to YOU to even go for status anymore? When it comes to hotels I have made the choice to give up chasing status. Well, that is not completely true since I still have status that I am “gifted” each year from a number of travel cards like Platinum status from my Chase   BANK   IHG rewards Mastercard and thanks to my non-Delta AMEX Platinum card I will get SPG Gold status as well as Hilton Gold. I have Silver status (all but worthless) with my Marriott card for now and Club Carlson Gold with my card. But the main point is I am not driving my spending for hotel stays to retain or gain status. I can make due with “free” status perks. So with Delta, you need to decide if all the program cuts and destruction over the past many years make it no longer a goal for you to drive all your spending to Delta.

Now that we have that out of the way, for you who ARE looking to reach some goal of Silver, Gold, Platinum or Diamond it is time for choices. What choices? The first one is super simple:

    Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express <— Link


    Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card <— Link

Either the personal or business Delta AMEX Reserve card, if you have NEVER ever in your lifetime held them, as I have shown, are to me the best choice and can not just give you sweet perks but also a one time 10,000 MQMs bonus. Since you also get 10,000 SkyMiles worth at least 1 cent each when buying a ticket (so $100) the net cost out of pocket for the first year of the card is only $350. If you compare that to a mileage run cost you are talking 3.5 CPM or cents per mile to “buy” the MQMs for the cost of the 1st year annual fee. That, to me, is a flat out bargain since you don’t have to get on an airplane to fly to get them.

Since we are talking about buying a ticket with SkyMiles or especially the “Pay with Miles” (PWM) perk of any of the Delta AMEX cards, some should consider this as an option to gain more elite points. To make it simple, you do earn FULL elite points or MQMs when you PWM, but you only earn SkyMiles based on any part of the ticket paid not with points. While personally I tend to avoid this because you are only getting 1 cent per SkyMile value it can work for some in a pinch. I like to see my redemptions at 1.5-2 cents each in value (or more) spending them on Delta One or partner business class awards.

After that you are down to two choices. The first, once you have either the Delta Platinum card or the Delta Reserve card, is meeting the yearly spending goals and have them posted before 31DEC to get MQMs from spend. You still have lots of time to get that done but do not get lazy. Do this NOW rather than later and stressing out.

The next choice is clearly the most obvious one and that is FLY! I am sure you have lots of flying before the end of the year but look at the numbers and check them twice because being a few hundred (or a few thousand) MQMs short at the end of the year is maddening. Better NOW to consider a cheap mileage run if you are just shy or on the boarder as those extra MQMs will rollover (for now) into next year as long as you are MQD exempt or have at least met the $3,000 in spend for the lowest status.

So there you are. Time for you to decide. Is it worth it anymore? Where will you “land” next year? Maybe pushing for Diamond is now really worth it when your wife / +1 can get “Diamond Lite” status when traveling with you on the same itinerary (starting sometime next month, we are told). To me, for now, keeping my Diamond status is well worth the effort. In the years to come I will, like we are doing today, evaluate if at that point I can say the same! – René

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.


  1. @Rene – Does the Delta Reserve Card ever offer an increased sign up bonus, or has it always remained the same? With the change to only getting 1 bonus per lifetime, it is all the more important to strike at the right time with these offers.

    • @Ben – I have never ever seen a larger bonus ever – not even a targeted one. This is as good as it gets (and it is a good offer).

  2. I’m definitely going to be doing what I can to maintain Diamond. Between Diamond Lite and GUCs, it is definitely worth it, to me!

  3. Rene, for the first time in forever i will be hitting Diamond this year! At first I was afraid I would enjoy Diamond too much and have to fly 125k more to maintain it.. but I will actually end the year with about 155K! I wanted to learn more about mileage runs (most of my travel is corporate) but my work schedule only allows me to arrive Chicago late Friday night meaning I will miss your session 🙁

    • @Maria – I will be around all weekend. We can chat and share some ideas! See you then.

  4. Rene, you are 6k ahead of me so far for 2016, nice job, but I gave away 15k of MQM from the Reserve Card bonus to my wife. I want to change my biz card to reserve but you warn against that as missing bonuses. Any new advice on that ?

    • @Kevin – Simply apply for a new card once you have reached whatever levels you want (if you have not had that card). I too gave away 15k this year so I could be a bit higher.

  5. Rene, thanks for your help. I definitely need some more out of MSP.

    I understand your thoughts on Hotel Cards. Still, if you travel Asia or take a vacation there, the Platinum status with the $49 IHG Visa from Chase is astounding. Platinum with Marriott is a little harder to maintain but the Asia benefits are indescribable. Plus you can do a $100 “non-mattress ‘mattress run’ ” with ease to get 10 nights credit – and can do it multiple times/year. Those are very, very valuable resources in Asia.

  6. Will be a platinum (up from silver) by the end if the year thanks to business travel and MRs. Maybe diamond the year after 🙂

  7. Will hit Diamond again this year for 2017. Have been Diamond since the beginning. By my calculations I’ll end the year with 163,569 MQMs (including 8947 rollover) and 16,211 MQDs.
    There is an underlying goal though — 2 MM and I will be at 1,917,884 at the end of the year.

  8. I got a silly question. How exactly do you compute mileage? When I look at my miles I see “MQM’s”, “Base MIles”, and “Bonus miles”. But I can’t seem to find a combination of the 3 that equals the block that says “Total Miles”. I need 37K for Diamond and am trying to figure out if I am going to make it with my scheduled travel

    • @Ward – Not a silly question at all. Simply do a booking but do not purchase (logged in to and before checkout left corner it will show your MQMs and SkyMiles you will earn for the trip. 37K will take a bunch of flying or some flying and a Delta AMEX Reserve card and some big spending!

  9. Already requalified for 2017 PM.

    Cheap business class tickets to HKG and LHR will do that.

  10. I’m focusing on my southwest companion pass, should earn it in September. Yes I am a fool, I will have to wait another 2 years to optimize it, by getting the pass in January and not September

  11. I travel back and forth to Africa so I do get some miles that way. Met the spend back in Feb.

  12. FWIW: I’m on the “other” side of the spectrum. Have been Platinum for many years and in between just two years of Diamond just by leisure travel. Traveling on a budget out of my own pocket and buy fares to Europe, S-Africa, Oz, NZ, Bali and other SE Asia countries for leisure, often many months in advance when prices are economical and the many trips can be combined with mattress runs. The combination is just awesome and I’ve been very lucky so far.
    Diamond status is not worth it to me personally, but Platinum is always my goal in order to have the perk of free award-flight cancellations before the 72-hr window. And since my travel is mostly international, there is hardly ever a chance for an upgrade, which I don’t mind at all. (Altho the GUC’s were a nice perk on 15-hr or so flights). I also try to gain as many rollover miles as possible.

  13. Rene, I thought you were going to dump Delta? [Re-read posts of the past 18 months.] And yes, we all will continue to evaluate moving forward, but it seems like your current evaluation is to stay with the Mother ship. A change of heart? What have I missed?

    • @Dale- Did you notice AA dumped their FF program into the toilet? And Delta will now treat my wife as Diamond lite when we fly (you should read my blog) 🙂

  14. for me it’s down to silver. this is a must, but anything above is a waste of time

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