Rookie Wednesday: Year end Delta Medallion facts & getting ready for 2017

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.

Best Credit Cards

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.


Every year the same issues and questions come up and the same questions arise so let’s address them and take a look forward to 2017 as well. First, the simple ones that so many seem to get wrong.

  • Flights. If your scheduled departure anywhere in the world is before 23:59 on 31DEC it counts on this year. Later than that on next year. Don’t make this one harder than this – please!
  • MQD credit. You have to fly to get credit. You cannot simply buy a ticket and expect credit.
  • MQM route credit. You have to at least fly something to get route credit. If things go “wonkie” and you are rerouted you can request original route credit. However, if your ticket is reissued for a LONGER route you will get credit for that so just say thank you inside your head and enjoy.
  • AMEX. If your spend posts on or before 31DEC it counts on this year, after that it counts on next year. When you purchased something or when your statement closes does not matter. It is about posting date!
  • Medallion year. It ends / begins 1FEB each year. That means the current year extends into January each year. Again, don’t make this one hard. Also, once 1 FEB begins your old status is over. Sure you may “coat tail” some upgrades etc. on 1, 2, 3 FEB but if things go wrong you are the status you currently have not had.
  • Choice Benefits. This one is always a contention but don’t make it hard. You only get ONE choice each year. That means if you earned status this year you get next year’s choice. You do not get two.
  • Diamond Choice Benefits. If you are Diamond you get Diamond Choice. But you were, at least on paper, also Platinum so you get BOTH Platinum and Diamond Choices each Medallion year.

Next on to what to be aware of for 2017 and earning your 2018 status and perks.

  • AMEX spend. Now that earning your 25k MQD waiver is a plus to help you with upgrades it is more important than ever to get this ASAP (if you like more upgrades that is). I will have on the 1st, as I have each year, what works and what does not and will test them all. I plan to have my 25k done in less that 7 days this year!
  • Rollover MQMs. Delta always says it will happen before the end of January. Expect it much sooner. 10-15 is normal range.
  • Earning status 2017. It is all about the current status. If you rollover a ton of MQMs you should think about crushing it fast in 2017 and earn your 2018 status. That means AMEX card bonus from spend MQMs and even starting, yes STARTING, the year with some mega mileage runs. Why? If you make say Platinum or Diamond quick you have it all of 2017 AND all of 2018 and it would not end until 1FEB19! Think hard on this.
  • Choice benefits. As of 1JAN17 you are earning for your 2018 Medallion year. That means for me, who will be Diamond (with rollover and MQD exempt spending) on 1FEB17 I will be Diamond all of 2017 but also be able to select my 2018 Choice Benefits (but not AGAIN in 2018).
  • Dropping in status. If you have status now that will drop down on 1FEB17 you will have to suffer that current status. If you were DM or PM and now are not you will have to pay change fees for award tickets even though you were DM or PM when you booked them. If you have a “free” C+ upgrade and something happens like an equipment change you will be booted out of the seat and have to pay to get it back. Sorry, next time take a mileage run or two! 😉
  • Climbing in status. If you say start the year Silver or Gold with a bunch of rollover and book awards for this summer and then before that time hit Platinum or Diamond then yes you can make free changes to them as even though you were a lower status when you booked these awards it is the current status that matters!

These really are the main questions that seem to come up and folks are confused about. Clearly Delta has layer upon layer of rules. With the new +1 upgrade rule (ONLY on PAID TICKETS) this changes what many are doing and planning for 2017 and that is a wise choice. Really the main choice will be what type of currency you want to spend to buy tickets next year but we will save that discussion for another post! – René


Thank you for ALWAYS starting here!



  1. Hi Rene- I am Diamond currently and Diamond for next year. Last year I made my Choice Benefit selections in December. Do I have until Jan 31 to make my selections?

    Unfortunately last years certificates are about to expire on 12/31

    Thank you!

  2. Rene,
    I am (don’t laugh) a silver medallion. I currently only need 10,552 MQMs and $821 MQDs. What is the best route to go to get to gold, and AMEX is not the option. Thank you and love your blog!!!

  3. If I wait to choose my Diamond benefits from my 2017 earned benefits, until I earn my 2018 Diamond status, can I use my 8 global upgrades all at once and bring family? That is, if more than one seat is available to upgrade into on the destination I choose? So essentially anywhere from 2 to 4 people for that trip?

  4. @Scott – Yep. That is assuming you can get 4 to clear each way clearly 😉
    Update. Bad brain. You can only bring ONE with you under current rules.

  5. Rene, not sure if you are correct on using more than 2 certificates for each trip. See Delta Wording:
    Global Upgrade Certificate: May be redeemed for the named Medallion Member and up to one travel companion in the same reservation. The named Member and the companion will each require a separate certificate.

  6. @MikeyP – Opps. Correct. You can only bring ONE with you under current rules. There are work-a-rounds but hard to pull off and outside the rules.

  7. Rene – Is the amex spend is across cards correct? i have two Delta Amex cards so I don;t need to kill one I can spread it across both?

  8. @Kingrat – For Delta MQD exempt total it is. For MQM card bonus each card has it’s own spend goals (AUs spend goes to main card holder).

  9. @Rene@kingrat – Yes, but… Spending across two cards only makes sense for Amex Delta Gold cards which don’t give MQM rewards. For the Platinum cards, spending $25K meets the Delta MQD requirement, but also returns 10K MQMs. If you care about MQD, then you should also want to get the free MQMs.

    An authorized user on one Platinum card will put all spend on one account. Amex has some of the best record keeping tools on-line and lets you view all charges by user, apply categories, and even attach receipts, if you are concerned about spend tracking.

  10. I hit the second tier spend on my Platinum Delta AMEX in early December and am eagerly awaiting the 10,000 MQM deposit into my account to put me into Diamond status again for 2017. Delta phone rep told me that it takes 6-8 weeks but it will still count as MQM’s earned in 2016 and I will be fine for Diamond in 2017. Sound right to you Rene?

  11. @chris No, I will hit all my bonuses – I spread my spending across. I will hit 25k in a 10 days a well – just to try to keep up with René 😉 I will carry over 49k this year from Diamond and should hit Diamond in May based on the flights I have already booked. My goal is to hit 200 to 225k MQM this year, my goal for 2016 was 175 and I made that.

    René I will miss the trip next week but we have the Hawaii trip on Jan 11th and can’t take advantage of work too much and the mileage run – we return from Madrid the day before so I won’t be able to make that one. I’ll just come to Southbend for a day and pick your brain..

Leave a Reply

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