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Rumor: Delta is Granting Waivers for the $250,000 Delta Amex MQD Spend Requirement.

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Fake News or Real?

UPDATE: This is now CONFIRMED! See this post. <-LINK

I hate rumors but this one I just had to blog about considering all the anger that the mega spend waiver from last year created. For those who do not know what we are talking about let me bring you up to speed.

Last year RenesPoints broke the news that the Amex spend waiver for elite status was going to change. Reports were they were going to simply dump it for Diamond status and the only way you could qualify was to earn $15,000 in MQD credit (either net dollars spent on Delta tickets or via partners).

Then Delta surprised us all by going a different way when it came to the Amex MQD waiver. They left in place the old rules ($25,000 spend across your Delta CO-branded Amex cards) but for Diamond they bumped it up 10x to $250,000 spend. I was thrilled Delta did not, as was planned, simply remove it all together as an option. But gosh, that is a lot of spend that could go on much better travel cards.

For me personally I was strongly considering holding 4 Delta Amex cards, a business and personal Delta Platinum as well as Reserve cards, and spending the 1/4 million across all the cards for max bonus. That is $50,000 on each Delta Platinum and $60,000 on each Reserve to get the spend bonus triggers for each card (2x for each card). Heck, since Amex is offering a 3rd spend bonus this year (on personal cards only) I could have had a bonus on all the spend. But I went another way, that is, flying partners who pay MQD credit based on distance and fare class (price of ticket does not matter).

But is there another way? There is a Facebook Delta Diamonds Group post you see in the screen shot above that a member supposedly called Delta and was granted a 1 year waiver from the 1/4 million spend requirement. WoW! I had to reach out to Delta and ask if they would confirm or deny the above and was told:

“We can’t speak to any individual customer’s experience, but our policy remains in place.” – Delta Corp Representative.

So they are NOT denying it but not confirming it either and the official policy is what was announced last year. So should all of us call and see if we too can get a 1 year waiver? I think there is a better way. One reader called about this and was told by a Delta rep to do the following steps to be considered for the non-published 1 year waiver.

1) Make sure you have at least 125,000 MQMs and that you have at least $25,000 Delta Amex card spend this year.

2) Go to and submit a comment / complaint (link here)

3) Mention you are unhappy about the new Amex $250,000 spend requirement and would like to be considered for a 1 year waiver.

I am told your case will be escalated and reviewed on a case by case basis for being granted a 1 year waiver. I was further told this is a one shot deal and another waiver will not be granted next year (keep in mind you are earning the 2019 medallion year now in 2018 that ends 1FEB2020).

For those of us who either A) did the 1/4 million spend or B) earned our MQD spend number this I am sure is a bit of a “thanks for nothing” Delta kinda of move by SkyMiles. Since I earned it flying I am not thrilled this way seems to be open now. But I am sure Delta and Amex have had endless complaints about the mega jump in spend needed for Diamond elite status.

This brings up one more thing that I am thinking about that could happen. Clearly the change last year was bat crazy and way too much. Maybe all the negative reaction has been so bad that Delta may now revisit the requirement and lower it this year (for the following year). We are again in that date range where if they are going to announce a change it should happen over the next month or so.

What do you think? Is this rumor more “fake news” or have you already reached out to Delta and were granted the now not secret 1 year waiver for the 1/4 million Delta Amex spending? – René


Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. I flew only enough to get PM and spent enough to do the 2x 15k MQM bump this year. Completely didn’t even try for DM because of the 250k. They’re messing up.

  2. Since it was originally posted to a Facebook group, I am highly skeptical of its validity. And aren’t the Russians altering Facebook ‘facts’ anyway? At least that’s what I heard on the internet, so it must be true, right?

    #FakeNews or #DeltaRegret ?

  3. Platinum has some nice perks and is relatively easy to attain. I’ll pass on spending $250K or flying all over the place for Diamond status.

  4. WHy are you all unhappy? Just spend $15,000 on tickets. 3 MU Tickets from LAX-PVG-PEK and back for $2,000 each and 6,000MQD per trip? Yes please

  5. Russians notwithstanding, last January my friends who work for Delta told me that they knew Diamonds who pushed back and were granted a one-year extension.
    I didn’t push back but I wish I had. I could have saved myself a ton of money. If the extension is real, those of us who went ahead and met the $15K spend threshold are suckers.

  6. The enhanced MQDs for partners made it pretty easy for me this year. Heck, I used a pair of GUCs to book confirmed business class seats from San Francisco to Johannesburg, with a 24-hour layover each way in Amsterdam (which was fun too). Once I got to Johannesburg, I took a cheap SA flight to Port Elizabeth, and explored the Garden Route starting from the east end. The hardest part of the trip was driving on the left side of the road for the first time!

    The cost of the KLM ticket with confirmed business class using GUCs was a bit less than $1.5K, and I earned 33,170 MQMs, $8,844, MQDs, and 70,760 SkyMiles. I was pretty happy with the result, and I made Diamond status in May, which was faster than I ever made it before. I also earned $7,646 MQDs for an employer-paid trip to India in Virgin Upper Class, and I paid less than half that for the ticket. These two trips alone put me over the $15K MQD threshold. My biggest fear is that Delta will figure out a way to base MQDs on what I actually pay for partner flights.

    I am not sure how I feel about the waiver. I was looking forward to a bit more exclusivity for Diamonds, and I might have used a different strategy if I knew there would be a waiver.

  7. It pisses me off that they are granting exceptions. I want less Diamonds, A LOT LESS DIAMONDS.

  8. I’m the one who wrote the post. Your not supposed share info from the group.

  9. I decided to forget Delta and chase MQMs. Instead, I have been booking overseas flights on less expensive competitors. I have been top tier at NWA/Delta since the 1980s- so F them.

  10. >> It pisses me off that they are granting exceptions. I want less Diamonds, A LOT LESS DIAMONDS.

    Yeah, and everyone that can qualify for a waiver has 4+ months to figure this out.

  11. I am actually putting the $250k on my Delta AMEX and it seems quite unfair to me if they are making exceptions.

  12. I agree….don’t tell us this now…I already busted my butt to get my spending in only now to be told this.

    Don’t lower it Delta…..people either need to get BIS miles or spend that money so we can thin the herds.

  13. If you look at the fully screen shot in the post, you will figure out that the OP is a based outside of the US and has neither a MQD or Amex waiver requirement to obtain/maintain DM. It was a trolling thread.

    • @Bill – As you can see from my post, there is more to this than just “a trolling thread”. In fact, one reader called and all was told if they had the MQMs and $25k spend – then something could be done.

  14. It’s pretty easy to get $15k MQD’s. It’s much harder for me to get the miles. I’ve never been upgraded more frequently than this year; so, I’ll keep trying for the MQM’s and will probably barely make it.

  15. I have 200k mqm (45k from the reserve card) and $15k spent – which will be over $20 by the end of the year.

    I also hope that Delta does not give any wavers.

  16. No waivers, this is the only thing right that Delta has done in years for Diamonds. You want to be Diamond, then show loyalty by sitting in a Delta seat for the miles and EARN them. Delta in no way should be giving out Diamond status for people who sit home and pay their mortgages with AMEX, ridiculous, this is an airline miles program, earn the miles.

    Diamond must be exclusive. Fewer DIAMONDS, BETTER DIAMONDS for all!!!

  17. As a freshly minted DM, accomplishing this by the old fashion way of traveling and paying for it…. as the new spend requirement of $250,000 was not an option. This would disappoint me. I was hoping this would cull the herd to increase my chances of using the benefits of being a diamond.

  18. I spent the $25k on the card and have enough rollover MQMs to hit platinum for 2 more years. But most of my money goes to Southwest now. Too late, Delta

  19. So, maybe this is slightly off-topic — or revisiting old ground — but do people honestly think upgrades would be markedly more plentiful after Delta “thin(ned) the herd”?

    I’m a Diamond and my upgrade frequency has been *worse* than it was a Platinum a couple years ago. Why? Because Delta seems to be decimating the available upgrade space in favor of selling the first class seats. They’ve been talking about this several years (I think’s it their 20% by 2020 plan or something along those lines). First class was over half open for a flight I have this weekend — still not upgraded and only one seat left.

    Call me crazy, but no matter what Delta says, they’re not trimming the Diamond ranks solely to make a few people happy. They’re doing to get more people to spend on their Amex cards and buy first class.

  20. Although I have a plan to meet this new requirement without waivers, I thought I’d see what would happen if I made a request. I currently have about 130K MQDs and have spent ~$150K on Delta Amex cards. Here’s the response:
    Thank you for contacting us about the SkyMiles Medallion Program.

    While we certainly value your extensive travel with Delta, we are not
    making exceptions for status at this time. If at the end of the year,
    you still find you will fall short of the requirements for Diamond
    Medallion status, you may resubmit your request then.

    We are very grateful for your loyalty and many travels with us, and look
    forward to seeing and serving you soon.


    Diamond Desk

    • @Duane – Txs for data point. Interesting they say email again in a few months.

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