Reader “Bob” asks: Doesn’t the Delta Amex Blue T&C impact the MQD Exempt Waiver for 2018?

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About 2 months ago I let you all know about what Delta has been planning to roll out starting 1JAN18. I want to thank all that took the time to mail, e-mail and call Delta and Amex to let them know how bad an idea it would be to remove Diamond Medallion from the current MQD Amex spend exemption. Clearly, from all the feedback, Amex had no clue what Delta was intending to dump on us loyal flyers and card holders. If you have not yet contacted them I would urge you to still do so as there is still plenty of time for pain to be inflicted upon us i.e. we are not yet out of the woods.

But a reader, we will call him Bob, sent me a rather long e-mail with any number of points and reasoning that the new Delta Amex Blue card changes everything for next year. Also, due to the back and forth nature of the e-mail, let me simply sum up his question this way:

“Doesn’t the Delta Amex Blue T&C impact the MQD Exempt Waiver for 2018?” – reader Bob

Maybe – but I don’t think so, Bob and here is why I say this. Let’s start with a cut-N-paste of the new T&C wording from the new Delta Amex Blue card we are talking about:

“Medallion Qualification Dollar Waiver

Effective January 1, 2018, the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card will no longer be eligible for the Medallion Qualification Dollar Waiver. However, if you have another Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card with the Medallion Qualification Dollar Waiver benefit in addition to your Delta Blue SkyMiles Credit Card, Eligible Purchases made on the Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card will continue to count towards the MQD Waiver.

Effective until December 31, 2017:
If the Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) threshold is not met for a Qualification Year, you can still qualify for Medallion status if you have earned the required Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) or Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs) and make at least $25,000 in Eligible Purchases within that Qualification Year on your Eligible Card. A Qualification Year is from January 1 to December 31 of a given year. The close of the Qualification Year is December 31, without regard to the time of the year that the credit card account is opened. This means that for the first year of Card Membership, the Card Member’s Eligible Purchase period may be less than twelve months. Eligible Purchases means purchases for goods and services minus returns and other credits. Eligible Purchases do NOT include fees, interest charges, balance transfers, cash advances, purchases of travelers’ checks, purchases or reloading of prepaid cards, or purchases of other cash equivalents. Eligible Purchases made by Additional Card Members on the Basic Card Member’s Eligible Card will count toward the Eligible Purchase threshold. For purposes of calculating the Eligible Purchase threshold, Eligible Purchases will be combined across multiple Eligible Cards of the Basic Card Member if those Card accounts are linked to the same SkyMiles number. Eligible Cards are the following: Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card, Delta SkyMiles Credit Card, Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card, Platinum Delta SkyMiles, Delta Reserve Credit Card, Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card, Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card, Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card, Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card from American Express. This benefit extends to Basic Card Members only (Additional Card Members are not eligible). Offer terms and conditions subject to change. – Bold Mine

Now Bob in his email(s) was arguing legally Delta and Amex have in the above stated that the MQD waiver is NOT going to change and that if you get this card, and have another Delta Amex card (Gold, Platinum or Reserve) then they MUST honor the MQD exempt waiver all the way up to Diamond next year (and he even said this is a reason for us all to get the card right now!).


Not so fast Bob. While I applaud the jr-lawyer inside you, do notice the last few words from Amex. They always have a way out. Plus, Delta could still dump Diamond from the MQD exempt spending and allow the other levels to become MQD exempt and still have “A” MQD exempt program and “waiver benefit“. Delta after all has used “A” all over the place to show they won something with SkyMiles that Alaska in FACT won.

Bottom line is Delta can do anything they want to the Medallion and SkyMiles program and there is simply nothing we can do about it other than walk away. There is no legal avenue when it comes to frequent flyer miles and programs. We either play along with the rules they have in place or not. Harsh, yes, but the truth. They could even, once again this year, offer MQMs (that count for MQD exempt spending) for sale and then weeks later announce the changes for 2018 as the selling of MQMs count on this year not next!

Also remember that last time Delta made changes to the Medallion program, a number of years ago now, was mid October. My sources told me that September or October would be the time this year’s new changes would roll out. I personally will not begin to relax until 1JAN18 as we have seen Delta also make mega announcements as late as December! In other words, we are not safe until 00.01AM on January 1st when we are earning MQMs and MQDs for the 2019 medallion year. You can try to argue they must give us more notice but trust me on this – they don’t. Heck, remember we did not learn about the change to less award space for elite’s until mid-January in 2015!

To sum up I personally don’t think we are out of the woods yet folks and IMO getting the Delta Amex Blue card right now is not any kind of guarantee and I sure do not recommend the card. Then again, as crazy as Amex and Delta is about compliance and accuracy and such, maybe Bob is on to something here and I am just not seeing it and we should all rush out and get Blue cards as a “trump card” if things change. What do you think? – René



  1. René, thank you for letting us know that Delta was considering making changes to the DM spend waiver. I hope more of your followers will take write to Delta and Am Ex to voice their displeasure. The Am Ex exec who called me in response to my letter said that Am Ex had no idea Delta was thinking about making changes. So much for being partners. I seriously doubt the Am Ex Blue card will impact the DM spend waiver.

    Please repost the Delta and Am Ex contact information for those who have not yet written letters.

  2. Thanks for the info. I have a question for you. If I don’t plan on keeping my Amex Delta Platinum because i am sticking with the Amex Delta Reserve, is the Amex Blue something to consider then?

  3. Unfortunately we all better get used to it. I’m a 3 million miler and I’m on the UG list at the top all the way until my flight, and I’m sitting in the back most of the time now. Delta has really ruined what used to be their bread and butter. The only way they will change is if enough of us start using other airlines and they feel it in the pocket book. I have started to move some of the 5 million dollars my business spends with Delta each year to other airlines and working to give my employees incentives to fly other airlines when possible.. i ahve complained and they say upgrades are not guaranteed, so i tell them now that my business isnt guaranteed and i will fly other airlines as much as possible. As well they will have to spend money advertising to get my business now.

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