What to do if Delta upgrades your Medallion status AGAINST your will? Can you “downgrade” to retain your MQM rollover? What about elite soft landings?

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But – I want my rollover Delta!

What an exciting two weeks to start the year this has been. First off, to prove it could be done, I met my goal of meeting Delta MQD exempt status in just 1 week (not that you should, but just showing it is possible). I wanted to accomplish this for many reasons including the fact that I really like upgrades and since Delta tells us that spending at least 25k can mean more upgrades I am happy to play along.

Next, as expected, we had the MQM rollover begin on the 10th and it is rolling out to just about everyone this week. If you did not get your points yet you may want to think about contacting Delta at some point next week to see what is up.

On top of all of this we, so far, have not received any “enhancement” notices that Delta has messed with the program (yet). I am quite please with what changes they have made over the past many months and as long as nothing is dramatically changed I am optimistic about 2017 as well as 2018. Some may say this is foolish and naive but I truly feel Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian is not Richard Anderson and that is good for us. I desperately hope I am not proven wrong about this going forward.

On to the point of today’s post. Notice the screen shot at the top? A reader sent me this and told me he was not pleased. You see he worked REALLY hard to stop just short of Platinum Medallion as the plan was to rollover almost 25,000 and wanted to have a great start to the year (thus, I would think, make Platinum ASAP to be Platinum this year and next year as well). But Delta, without his OK, promoted him anyway. Grrrrrr…. But wait, there is hope. In the “Wahooooo” e-mail in the fine print it included the following:

“Terms & Conditions – We’ve increased your 2016 MQMs balance in order to grant your complimentary Status. If you would prefer to not receive this complimentary Status and instead allow your original 2016 MQMs balance to rollover, please contact a SkyMiles representative at 1-800-323-2323. Promo code: 171001”

So, if you also got “promoted” to some medallion level, Silver, Gold, Platinum or even Diamond and did  NOT  want to get to this level but have some large rollover amount – you are not stuck with the gifted upgraded status. You can, if you call, ask for the rollover points you planned for.

I also reached out to Delta for some clarification about the above e-mail and asked about what the threshold was for these kind “soft landing” type status upgrades. After a number of days I reached out a second time and was told by a company representative:

“We’re not sharing any numbers related to this program.” – Delta CORP representative.

Great! I ask you, why does Delta have to be so darn secretive about so many things about the SkyMiles and elite program (as well as all the rules). I mean, think about all the things Delta now has in place but hides data from us. Like what? How about;

  • The soft landing number(s)
  • The SkyMiles award chart they use
  • The SkyMiles upgrade charts they use
  • The number of elites (at each level)
  • The open Regional or Global cert award space
  • Anything about Delta 360 elite program
  • Delta Virtual Assist program on twitter
  • If #TeamBoardLast really is policy or not
  • When a devaluation is going to happen
  • When a schedule change happens (sometimes)
  • When equipment changes & your seat is lost
  • That FEBO is official policy so sit accordingly

I am sure I have missed a few “hidden” gems but the point is, like the list above, Delta does so much behind the scenes and I know most flyers will just accept what Delta does without reading the fine print or challenging what they see (or think they see). I just wish Delta would be more transparent about so many things that impact us all.

Before you ask me, I did ask Delta about so many other bits like if you are short of MQSs or just a little bit short of your MQD spend if the above “soft landing” would apply, but clearly no more information was shared with us. There is some info that can be gleaned from FlyerTalk but not really enough data points to be useful. Again, sad that Delta will not share most useful information and more prominently tell us what they are willing and not willing to do. But if you were a few points or dollars short – since they are not telling us the hard numbers – it may be worth a call and reference the promo code above and ask to be bumped up one level (if you want that)!

Lastly let’s touch on the real topic of “soft landings”. That is, if you were say Diamond last year and this year, due to whatever, and did not even qualify for Silver. Will Delta just drop you one or two levels and give you a soft landing to keep your status or even extend you for a year? If you do nothing I doubt it. They will drop you like “in a New York Minute” and you will be in with boarding in Zone 3! That is, unless you reach out and sell them on a real reason why you should be considered to drop just one level and get a one time exception (say you had a baby or were deployed overseas or had a serious illness or something like this). No promises here but Delta is not as heartless as you may think and will consider exceptional conditions (flying another airline for a year, btw, is NOT an exceptional condition – just sayin’)!

After all this there is another post dying to come out that is all the things you and I need to do to avoid all of this mess. But that is for another day! So did you get one of these e-mails from Delta? Did you know you could say “no” to the upgrade? How many points short were you when you got the notice? Please comment below on the the blog – René





  1. I must be missing something, I don’t understand why you would turn down Diamond if you earned Platinum.

  2. I have a question I don’t think Delta will answer: Is there a protocol for seat assignments when Medallions are given battle field upgrades and then late FC passengers are allowed to board after the cabin door has been closed, the jet bridge has been moved, and the safety video has been shown? I heard all kinds of outcomes.

    When it happened to me last month neither the gate agent nor FAs dealt with seat assignments whatsoever. I gave up my FC seat and returned to my C+ seat to discover someone sitting in it. We all then played musical chairs to get our original seats back. Without cooperative passengers it could have gotten ugly.

    The goods news is that my complaint to Delta netted me a $200 ETV and 10K SMs.

  3. @Scott – Say you made Platinum but then you see that in 2017 you will be flying less than expect. If you are say (just as an example) at 124,999. You would then rollover almost 50k. You would only need to fly 25k in 2017 to be Platinum again vs flying in 2017 as a Diamond when you don’t really need it. Just one example.

  4. @Wayne – Once the boarding door is closed the head or lead purser and the Captain are in charge. They say and we do.

  5. Q: Probably somewhat more limited but on this same theme: I’m lifetime Gold Medallion from my Million Miler status but have been Platinum for some years. This year I flew less and kept my MQD$ just shy of the $6000 req for Gold with miles flown about 60,000. I wanted all but 25,000 miles to carryover and didn’t care if my status dropped. I’m in back and forth emails with DL but hope to have more miles to get to PL this year even if I can get them to drop me to Silver.
    Thought please?

  6. @Laurence – You are in a strange place. First off you are Gold thus your “starting” block is that level. Thus, you must always spend more than 6k MQMs and have more than 50k MQMs to have any shot at any kind of rollover MQMs (and why you should be AMEX MQD exempt always). Thus, in your case of less than 6k spend, you are not going to get any MQMs.

  7. silver, then gold 2 or 3 years, silver last year and this year.
    rolled 23,000 last year,
    under $1500 delta ticket spend, 25K+ D. Plat Amex, no soft upgrade
    rolled 24,026 this year,
    $1,333 delta ticket spend, 25K+ D. Plat Amex, no soft upgrade

    glad no upgrade here, i planned to get just below 25K mqms to roll.

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