What a shocker, the news that for the 2019 Medallion year we will have to spend a simply crazy large 250,000 dollars to reach top Diamond MQD spend exempt status in addition to the 125,000 MQMs or distance based miles.
One reader Fred Zulager commented on my post about the new spend news:
“I seem to remember previous posts about how you would make your MS for the year in early January. I am looking forward to a similar post next January on how you spent your way to $251k in 1 or 2 weeks.“
Well Fred, clearly spending 250k+ in a week or two for 99.99% of us would be irresponsible if not all but impossible (I could if I really wanted to, but will not). However, over a period of a year this will not be hard at all for those who want to get this done and are willing to take the time to learn how by reading MS focused blogs like The Frequent Miler here on Boarding Area each day. But what about those who don’t want to or are not willing to play the Amex card game?
The Delta over spenders will say things like “just spend ~$20,000 gross with Delta to net your 15k MQD – simple!“. I don’t know about you, but to me that is a lot of money. I did, before Delta went revenue based with their rewards, spend over 10k net in tickets but now shoot for under 5k (this year will be about ~3k). I have no desire to reward $DAL who does not reward those who fly the most with the airline. Plus, I use the term “over spenders” because when you compare Delta elite spend requirement numbers to other airlines we see UA requires “only” 12k to reach the top status and AA 12k as well but the latter allows you to knock half that number off with reasonably large credit card spend each year.
I also know many loyal readers who fly each week on Delta and end up just over, or just under, 10k MQD each year. Are these amazing loyal folks to Delta not Diamond worthy? I sure think they are even if Delta does not.
So is there a workaround? Yes – there is!
Delta wants you to spend as much money as possible to be an elite. Instead, I want you to spend as little as possible with Delta and the airline makes this possible via Skyteam partners.
At the very top of this post are the results from an Aeromexico flight in business class that had a zero dollar base fare (it did cost me $111 all-in fyi) and yet I earned huge MQD spend credit and SkyMiles and MQMs. Why? Well many partners earn MQDs, SkyMiles and MQD spend credit based on distance flown and the fare class bonus (if there is one). For the 6398 miles I flew on a C fare (#KEY POINT – NOT BOOKED ON DELTA.COM) I earned $1,922 MQD credit. Yes, mega MQD credit for how far we fly (…and the light bulb in your head just went on).
I want you to clearly grasp what this means for us going forward. The above China Eastern run found on FlyerTalk for example, round trip in business class in I and J class, would earn you at least 27,155 SkyMiles (worth at least $271.55 in value) plus 23,906 MQMs plus $5,431 in MQD spend credit. “Just” three of these trips and you are almost Platinum Medallion and ALL your MQD spend all the way up to Diamond Medallion is done for 2019! The raw ticket cost minus the value of the SkyMiles and we are talking less than $3k out of pocket. For some folks just one of these runs could top off what you already spend in MQD to still make your diamond status.
Now I am not suggesting this is THE perfect run nor should you jump on booking 3 of these right now – that is not my point of today’s post (plus I would like to find a really cheap 1st class MU “U” fare class). After all many may need to, depending on route, pick up a ten year valid Chinese visa to do some of these runs. Plus, it may be hard to find the perfect biz class runs but know my good friend Adam and his team are ready to help. Just know there will be many more partner flights next year including ones like Virgin Australia, Areomexio, China Eastern and others! Long live the mileage runners in other words.
I personally prefer domestic runs and will simply knock out the Amex exempt spend mega number between 1JAN and 31DEC next year. But for others, clearly partner flights will be a great choice to not stress out about reaching the required MQD spend levels needed. I will be posting all of 2018 the best runs I can find to help you do all of the above! – René