2017 – 2018 Delta year end Q&A about: MQMs, Rollover, Choice Benefits, Skybonus & more!

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Well it is that time of the year again and there are so many questions and such confusion that sets in. Let’s take the time to knock out a ton of these and to have a post I can send to folks when they ask me:

Q1) If I get a Delta AMEX Reserve card today will I get the bonus MQMs for this year?

A1) Yes and Maybe. Yes, if you get the Delta Business Reserve card <-LINK as the 10,000 Bonus MQMs come with the first purchase. It will be hard for many to meet the minimum spend on the personal card (for some). The MQMs will count on this year i.e. 2017 for the 2018 Medallion year.

Q2) I am confused about the “medallion year”. Can you explain it simply and the changes for 2018?

A2) You are always earning 1 year ahead. Thus, this year, 2017, you are earning for 2018. Thus the medallion changes that kick in 1JAN2018 impact the following medallion year 2019. The part that causes the most confusion is if you say go from nothing to Diamond in Jan 2018 you get “free” status in 2018 but your real status is for 2019. Clear?

Q3) What is the cut off for my spending on Delta Amex card for MQD exemption and MQM earnings?

A3) All charges must POST to your Amex account on or before 31DEC to count on this year. Yes, that means charges on the 31st may count next year, not this year. When your statement closes does not matter. Yes, even if your statement closes on the 15th the MQMs earned will count for the past year NOT the next or then current year.

Q4) But my Delta Reserve card statement does not close till 15JAN. Can I count them or gift them to someone and have them count on next year’s status?

A4) No. See the above. If you wait until late in Jan or even into FEB to claim (or gift) your Reserve card MQMs they will retro count into last year i.e. 2017. Also, if you just wait the 90 days Amex / Delta will auto deposit them and again they will count backwards.

Q5) What if I buy tickets now for next year and then cancel them. Will Delta claw back my MQMs? And is it the purchase date or the fly date that matters to earn points?

A5) When you purchased the ticket does not really matter (there are a few exceptions like when a partner flight is included that departs but let’s stick with simple for now and Delta). Thus, it is when you fly that matters. Any flights that are schedule depart (key point depart, not land) before 23:59 on 31DEC17 count on this year. Any that depart after that time count next year.

Q6) When will my rollover miles post in January of 2018?

A6) Who knows. In years past it has been the 2nd and the 14th (for most) so use that as your guide. Delta tends to promise by the end of Jan as 1FEB the new medallion year begins.

Q7) I am (insert medallion level here) right now, but did not re-qualify for next year so my status ends 1FEB. I have a trip booked in February, will I still get my same benefits or will my cleared upgrades go away?

A7) No you will drop down and be whatever. This does not mean if you picked a C+ seat you will get auto-kicked out, but any seat change issues and they will not put you back for free. Even 1st class upgrades (cleared before the 1st) will stick as long as there are no schedule or equipment changes.

Q8) I was GOLD most of the year but am now PLATINUM Medallion, what happens to my SkyMiles award trips booked for summer 2018?

A8) All that matters, like the question above, is your current status level. Even though you booked your frequent flyer tickets as a Gold or Silver Medallion on points, the rules for a PLATINUM now cover them! Enjoy free changes. Note the same works the other way. If you are now Platinum and drop down to Gold you will not get the free changes you would get now.

Q9) I was gifted Gold medallion status and flew just 21,000 MQM miles this year. How many MQM’s will I rollover?

A9) Zero! Keep in mind gifted status means just that – status NOT any MQMs. If you want to have rollover MQMs you have to earn your Gold status via MQMs and MQDs (or MQD Amex spend exemption).

Q10) I am 2000 MQM’s short of FO/GM/PM/DM. Is it worth going for (whatever) level. Should I get a Delta Amex Reserve card now or take a mileage run?

A10) That is up to you if it is worth it. You can take a look at this series of posts to get an idea if it is worth it. Do keep in mind since those posts were written upgrade chances are WAY down due to Delta selling 1st class upgrades so cheap and reducing the value of all medallion levels.

Q11) OK what if I am only 200 MQM’s short of FO/GM/PM/DM will Delta “soft land me” that is, let me slide and keep my status?

A11) Think no but there are exceptions. Last year Delta did offer a number of folks so called soft landings to the next level. You may or may not want this and if you do not they will allow you to keep your rollover and stick at the lower level. If you are that short and WANT the higher medallion level I would get your body on a Delta jet before year end. Any flight will get you 500 MQMs minimums.

Q12) I am a DM and gifted my wife GM and it expires 1FEB. I want to gift her again as I re-qualified as a DM again this year but Delta.com will not let me as it says she is already GOLD.

A12) You will have to wait until she drops back down to “nothing” i.e. Just a SkyMiles member then you can again gift her Gold for another year.

Q13) I have a flight that departs at 11:PM on 31DEC but lands on 01JAN. Will I get my MQM’s for 2017 or 2018?

A13) It is all about the scheduled departure time and date wherever you are on the planet. So, as long as the flight is scheduled to depart before the year ends, you get credit on this year.

Q14) If I already have had (or hold) the Delta Amex Reserve card, can I get the business card now for the bonus points? Are they not the same card?

A14) They are NOT the same card. They are both unique products. You can hold them both at once if you want to. You will get the bonus for each card 1x in your lifetime so make sure the time is right.

Q15) I need (insert whatever) MQMs and have no way to get more MQMs from Amex. Can you suggest a mileage run (from my home airport)?

A15) I feel for you. You have two choices, either A) buy MQMs at bat crazy prices or B) take a mileage run. I do not offer custom runs but my friend Adam does. I would reach out to him ASAP.

Q16) I need (insert whatever) MQDs (not MQMs) to be whatever medallion. Suggestions since I can not spend more on a Delta Amex?

A16) You also can just gift money to Delta and they will give you MQD credit for giving them money. Personally I would rather fly somewhere. Keep in mind with Delta partners you can often get HUGE MQD credit based on distance flown not the ticket price. Again reach out to Adam if you need help with this.

Q17) I hear Sky Club membership rules are changing for the worse. Should I avoid this as a Choice Benefit next year?

A17) Maybe. First off the changes do not kick in until 1JAN2019 so we have a year. Next, if you are going to upgrade from individual to executive it is cheaper to pick 25,000 SkyMiles as one of your Choice Benefits and then spend 23,000 SkyMiles to upgrade to executive (thus you pocket 2k SkyMiles free).

Q18) Speaking of Choice Benefits – do I have to choose them before 31DEC or 31JAN?

A18) 31JAN. But keep in mind you must pick the 2017 Choice Benefits by 31JAN2018. If you have earned your 2018 Platinum or Diamond status you have until 31Jand 2019 to burn those so no rush. Just be sure you have your years straight before you choose.

Q19) What about Skybonus. I have not re-qualified for 2018. What is the cutoff date to pick rewards?

A19) Now horrid Skybonus you DO have to pick your rewards before 31DEC. In fact I would pick them ASAP because the only thing worse that SkyMiles is Skybonus.

Q20) I really miss your blog as a daily blog vs. a weekend only blog. Any way you can go back to blogging each day?

A20) Sorry no (for now). I have many things demanding my time including personal obligations. I may at some point next year go back to daily blogging but do not expect that to happen for quite some time. Thank you so much for being a fan of the blog!

So there you are. That is all the “stuff” that tends to come up at the end of each year. Did I miss anything or your question? Ask away in the comments below! – René

 

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32 comments

  1. Rene … perhaps you can help clarify this. The new Skyclub choice benefit is a bit confusing.

    I receive access through my AMEX PLAT (NOT a delta plat). Can I still select the “Guest” option (the one for folks with access using a credit card) so I can bring guests into the lounge?

  2. @paul v – Yes. But the change means you must be flying Delta that day to get in either way i.e. either as a “full” member a.k.a. executive or if you have the non-Delta Platinum and choose the add-on guest option as one of your choice benefits. Again, this does not start for over a year.

  3. I love the year-end posts!!

    I’m going to reach $30k spend on my personal DL Reserve card before the end of the year. But that statement won’t close until January 20, 2018.

    So in January, when that statement’s MQMs post retroactively for 2017, will they roll over into 2018? (I’ve already qualified for Medallion status next year and am eligible for rollover MQMs).

    Make sense?

  4. Rene, Thanks for the information. One thing, are RU’s now worth claiming as you get comp upgrade on all routes starting in April?

  5. @Jeremy – Well… just because they are going to be free does not mean that they will be simple to get. Delta will keep selling upgrades cheap and thus RUs may be the best call for the few remaining “free” upgrade seats.

  6. Thanks Rene…. one more stupid question …. so this doesn’t start until January 2019? Then what do I select to bring guests in in 2018 (using my non DL AMEX play)

  7. @Paul V – If you have individual membership then IMO best choice is pick 25k SkyMiles and spend 23k to upgrade to executive. If you do NOT have membership then yes the guest pass is a good choice. If you value other choices more than consider getting an AU for the card and pay that fee as it may be cheaper (to you) than the value of burning a choice benefit to just get one more person in.

  8. Thanks for the blog and sharing your knowledge. Delta offered to sell me 10k MQMs for $2995, but thanks to your posts I planned ahead earlier in the year. Earning the same MQMs (and first-time DM) for <$500 next weekend on a trip to London & Paris. Thanks again!

  9. Once I have reached a mqm spend threshold, does it count immediately or does it only count once I’ve paid my bill?

  10. @Patricia – Sometimes when you cross the number sometimes 1-3 days after statement closes. With the Platinum it is automatic. With the Reserve cards the thing to look for is the RDMs a.k.a. 15k SkyMiles have posted. Then your MQMs are ready to harvest for you or to send to someone else.

    PS be sure you over spend by AT LEAST the annual fee if not more. Rather be a few hundred over than just short next month!

  11. Rene’, if someone is the additional card member (DL Reserve), do they also get SC access? Or, is it only the main card holder that gets access?

  12. @Dr.John – The AU Reserve card (i.e. the expensive AU one) does get the AU card holder into the Sky Club. The “free” Delta Platinum AU card does not.

  13. I am going to hit Diamond for my first time ever, next week. Do I get choice benefits of DM for 2017 & 2018 medallion years? Aka – do I get to choose benefits this December, and also sometime in the ’18 medallion year?
    Thanks!

  14. @Tim in AZ – As mentioned above, you get a freebee Diamond now in 2017 but NO choice benefit as you are earning now your 2018 Diamond status. You will get once pick but you can do it now (in 2017) or later if you want (in 2018).

  15. Great year end post René

    Any advice on fighting Amex when they say your business platinum card does not qualify for a new card spend bonus, even though you followed a link?

    First they said wait, it’s coming; now they say something didn’t work and there is nothing they can do about it.

    I sent a referral from my wife’s card (sorry I follow her more loyal than anyone) and they also haven’t given her the referral Sky pesos….

  16. Rene, if I achieved both PM and DM this year for 2018, do I get to choose four choice benefits (one for PM and three for DM)? Thanks

  17. Rene, just want you to know how much we all appreciate your insight into the DAL puzzle palace–thank you! BTW, any year-end mileage runs you see out of BWI, for an out-and-back? I’m not seeing any great deals myself.

    Thanks again for you do–you actually help this to be more fun than work!
    Tommy G

  18. Rene, I earned PM and DM earlier this year for 2018, I haven’t as yet picked any choice benefits, if you were in this situation what would be your strategy to get maximum value from choice benifits, I know everyone is different but I would like to know what you would do
    Thanks for all your help,

  19. Hi Rene merry happy everything
    Question : if michael used only 1 RU out of 4 earned 2016 for 2017, and has no regional flats booked for 2018, can he transfer them to me since I am DM?

  20. Thank you for all your amazing information and assistance with all things Delta.
    Looking froward to more helpful information in the new year!
    In the meantime
    Happy merry everything to you and Lisa

  21. I saw this question once before but the answer was about mileage after flying being credited. My question is: I am $5000 short of the $60000 spend to receive the 2nd 15k MQMs for 2017. Can I purchase a refundable fare now for travel well into 2018 and cancel before my flight(s)? Or will Delta somehow “claw back” the 15k MQMs awarded me from 2017? Seems iffy if they would do this. Thank you, in advance, for your insight. Aloha

  22. @Matt S – I would not do that and yes they may claw the points back. Why not just buy $5000 worth of Visa Debit Gift Cards and spend then next year on whatever? BTW, at this late date, any spend could post as a 2018 charge at this point. The 27th or 28th may be AOK but depending on what you buy it could not POST until next year then counts on next year not this year.

  23. I am trying to avoid getting bumped out of the Skybnus program- any suggestions on how to get extra flight ticket numbers to enter before the end of the year? We are short $1500, but we have over 5 fliers. Does anyone have any flown tickets they are willing to send me?

  24. It seems everybody knows what rollover MQMs are but me. I was surprised to see that Delta deposited 21,351 into my 2018 MQMs. Does this mean that in 2017 I accrued 21,351 miles that were above my current 2017 status and not enough to get me to the next status level? Thanks!

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