Travel Related

Delta buy Medallion MQM, MQS and MQD 2018 is LIVE at RIDICULOUS prices! This vs. a Mileage Run for status is a no-brainer.

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr
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.

You may not be allowed to give Delta money!

This past weekend I (warned you) that your chance to donate money to Delta to climb the medallion elite ladder would be on the way soon – it is LIVE again for 2018 on  This is nothing new as they have offered this in 2017 as well as 2016, and in 2015, and in 2014, and in 2013, and in 2012!.

Who can play? If you are a Diamond already, that is, you have qualified for Diamond now in 2018 for the 2019 year – Delta does not want your money at any price. Or, if you are someone who never flies Delta – they do not want your money either. But for the rest of us they are really playing with the numbers and you may even see different numbers depending on who you are (even within the same status level believe it or not). Take a look.

Silver buy-up offer one
Silver buy-up offer two

If you are a Silver Medallion (or going for Silver) it seems you are being offered to buy MQMs at 13 cents each or 30 cents each.

Gold buy-up offer one
Gold buy-up offer two

It seems if you  are a Gold Medallion (or going for Gold) you are also going to pay the high side of the Silver folks offers at 14 cents or you are going to fork over much more at a ridiculously expensive 60 cents each – yuck!

Are there more PM buy-up offers?

Now you Platinum Medallions (or wanna be Platinums) are also going to have to pay a ton at 16 cents  to 1 dollar each (but may get one for 14 depending on who you are).


Delta is saving the worst for the best of us. That is, those who are Diamond (or wish to be Diamond) will pay a staggering and horrid 27 cents to $2.40 EACH for your buy-up! This represents a 10% jump in prices from the bat crazy 2017 offer and almost a doubling from 2016 (think on that with all the “Delta enhancements” in the past two years Diamonds)!

First off allow me to thank so many kind @RenesPoints readers on twitter for the screen shots above (since I am DM for 2019 I can see nothing). You all are the BEST!

I can give you feedback Delta!

So Delta is welcoming our feedback – let’s give them some. 🙂 The prices, again, are clearly bat crazy. For me, if and when I take a mileage run, I like to see a coach run net me MQMs at under 4 cents per mile and in business class (because it is much nicer) at under 8 cents per mile. So Delta charging you 13 cents to (gulp) $2.40 is outrageous – but you do not have to fly to get them.

Either of these is a WAY cheaper choice!

Clearly these kinds of crazy prices puts the Delta Reserve card personal or business new card welcome offer (after spend) into perspective as the non-waived $450 fee that gets you 10,000 MQMs will “ONLY” cost you 4.5 cents each to get them (and you get a bunch more perks for a year as well)! But the issue is no MQDs.

Still alive and kicking!

The WAY cheaper option, that is not blocked by Delta and anyone can play who wants to, is first flying out to New York (or Chicago for a few less points) and flying back and forth to Equador. Why? Well with Delta partners you earn MQDs based not on the ticket price but on a percentage of how far you fly and the fare class. The above run that is still live and even open the last weekend of the year should net you over 12,000 MQMs (about 8.5 CPM or cents per mile) and over $3200 in MQD credit (and a bunch of SkyMiles as well)! Compare that to what Delta is asking you to “pay to click”! (#ProTip – don’t want to fly to NYC or ORD – my friend Adam can help you book a run from your home airport)!

Yeah – flying is fun!

Plus, IMO, a mileage run can be a ton of fun. You get to see new places, have chances for “bumpertunities” that is, a shot at a bump from the airlines for cash (well, an AMEX gift card) and enjoy some time up in the air to end the year.

What do you think of this year’s Delta “elevate your status” offers? Did you get an offer different from any of the above? Are you giving up or dropping in status with Delta next year? Are you a “segment medallion” that sees value in these? Are you going to accept any of the offers above? Let us all know! – René

The Delta Reserve Card from American ExpressDelta Reserve Card 

Delta Reserve Business Card from American Express.Delta Reserve Business Card 


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. As a Delta stock holder, I plead with all of you to please purchase all the MQMs you can. It’s 100% profit to the airline. Do not take a mileage run; you’ll be wasting a lot of your time, seeing places that you don’t need to visit, and occupying a revenue seat. Much easier to just send money and get the status. My grandchildren need new shoes and increasing the stock price will help me to purchase those essential items for them.

  2. Judy Jones Reply

    So…if I’m one trip short of moving to the next level, does it make more sense to take it before the end of the year or wait until the new year (because the miles will roll over)?

    • @Judy – If you are happy at your current level (and want rollover) then stay where you are. Assuming you have at least made silver that is.

  3. Don’t Forget if you are a DL Amex card holder you can use PWM (Pay With Miles) when flying Delta branded planes. I believe you must book using for this, it does not seem to be available on the app or when calling on the phone

    I am 2,000 MQMs short of Gold and have already booked my FLL-LAX RT for 12/12. about 5,045 MQMs for a $328 ticket. I used 30,000 Sky Miles and $28 in cash. It was $50 less for E Class, but then I would have a middle seat and no chance for an upgrade.

    Good luck

    • @Gregg G – PWM is great for earning MQMs but your MQDs drop when you use them.

  4. I’m at 115K MQMs (just shy of DM) for this year.. and since Atlanta is my home city airport – even being a DM is not that big of a help for upgrades.. so I’m thinking of rolling over the miles to next year there by just needing a little over 30k miles next year to get another year as Platinum.. so it just depends on your priorities I guess. I usually travel business for international anyways so global upgrade certs (although nice) are not a necessity and platinum is good enough.

  5. Or…you can do an MQM (at less than 11 cents per MQM) and MQD (at times 3 of your out-of-pocket) run on AM or MU and be Diamond in the first couple of months of the year while traveling in Business!

    • @HGA – True. Would be a good start to year and be Diamond 2019 and 2020!

  6. Beyond MQMs, MQDs, and MQSs, regardless of status, I think Delta should select one lucky Medallion member to become a Delta 360. The “Fake Delta 360” title would be good for a year. The 360 meet ups would be a real hoot for a mileage runner.
    As long as there is no swim suit competition count me in.

  7. @rene,

    I understand that, but unless you are going for Diamond, all you need is 25k on the DL Plat Amex or 30k on the Reserve Amex and MQDs are irrelevant.

    I actually had gotten the reserve card with the intent of doing the 3k spend and getting 10k MQM and bonus miles, but will pay property taxes on 1/1, get $6,500 of spend towards the $30k and have the 10k MQMs count next year. Once I make the spend that would give me silver without a single flight.

  8. We’ve played the status game for the past few years and haven’t found it worth much in our situation. Primarily because of the comfort plus middle seat “upgrade”. We’d rather pay to get the seat I want that get that “upgrade.” I’m staying at silver just so I can reserve exit row seats. My husband will be going from gold to no status this year.

  9. I’ve got my MQM’s but I’m $24 short MQD’s. Can aI just hand Delta $24 or could they waiver or let my husband donate MQD’s?
    Anyone have experience with this?

    • @P.Potter – Is he flying anymore this year? He can do a seat upgrade buyup and that will count. If not, jump on a jet. Do not expect a waver (but you could call and ask)!

  10. The prices are nuts. But many of those that agree to pay them don’t have the time — never mind the inclination — to fly off to Ecuador.

    It’s cheaper for them — including opportunity cost — to just pay.

  11. @ Judy Just in case there is some confusion, not ALL of the miles will roll over. At least some of them (25k for Silver, etc.) will be “used” to get you to that status level. For example, if you have 49k MQM now, come Jan. 1, 24k MQM will remain.

  12. Mark, I agree with you–I need $1300 MQD (rest is fine) to meet Diamond-of course I’m in the $2399 category to meet per Delta’s offer–but I’m trying to decide if I have a day free to give Delta to fly or is it easier to just pay–Some of us work too much and is hard to find ANOTHER day to spend on a plane and in the airport. And of course–STUPID me–let my passport expire so I can’t take advantage of some of those great Mileage RUNS–But Renee’ I plan on being on one of those next year–AND THERE IS NO WAY IN H*** I’M GIVING UP DIAMOND!!

Write A Comment