2018 / 2019: Delta – Amex – Travel Checklist to do Before Year End. Rollover MQMs, Travel Credits, Choice Benefits and more!

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Tick tock – 2019 is on the way!

It is that time of the year again. The smart travelers are asking the right questions and making sure, even with limited time remaining in 2018, that they get all they can before midnight on the 31st of December. Let’s look at the most common questions folks should be asking:

Can I get the Delta Reserve card TODAY and still get the bonus MQMs on this year 2018 that counts to my 2019 Medallion year?
Likely yes – but do not wait much longer! The key is you must complete the spend (and have it post to your statement) before 31DEC18 to get the points fast. Any other MQM questions see this post.

If my Reserve card statement closes in January, when do the MQMs count?
Again, you need to read this definitive post on MQMs here.

When will Delta rollover MQMs happen in 2019?
For years now rollover has hit between the 2nd and the 14th. Expect them, at latest, by the middle of the month well before 1FEB19 when they matter.

I have not used my non-Delta Amex Platinum card travel reward for 2018. What works?
For years now, getting 1x at a time per order, $50 Delta e-Gift card has worked to lock in your annual travel credit that will reset in 2019. Check other cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve if you have used that and other cards with credit as well (think Citi Expedia+ Voyager Card give $100 yearly credit that has a $95 annual fee and give you many Expedia perks).

Do I need to pick my Delta Choice Benefit before 31DEC18?
No, you can wait. You have until the last day of January each year to pick the previous year’s benefits. While I am working on a new Choice Benefits post, this post is a good overview for now of what and when to pick them.

If I pay for a ticket NOW and fly it in January, when do I get credit?
As far as the credit card charge, you get those credits now. As far as Delta, you get credit when you have completed the flight. Same goes for Delta Gift cards fyi.

I am (insert whatever number) MQMs, MQSs or MQDs short of (whatever) medallion level. Should I take a mileage run to reach the next level?
I published a post series overview at the end of 2015 as to should you go for whatever medallion level. Clearly things have changed, a lot, since then and I myself am each year more and more questioning the value of status with Delta. It is a personal choice but if you need help in a hurry to score those final points you want reach out to my friend Adam and his team ASAP!

I do not have time / money / energy / whatever to do what it takes to reach the next elite level. Will Delta “soft land” me next year?
Maybe. They have in the past (sometimes when you did not want it). Oh and do not forget that Delta is, for just about anyone who was Diamond last year and has crossed the old requirements, granting a waiver under the old rules if you ask for it.

I will be flying Delta less in 2019 (due to whatever reasons). Should I downgrade my Delta Amex card?
NO! Again – NO! Never EVER downgrade any Amex card if you have not had it before because you dump your 1x lifetime chance for a new card bonus. Apply for a new “downgraded” card and then, once you have it, dump the old card. You only downgrade / upgrade if you have already had the bonus for both cards you are considering! Also, there is no year end need to do this – wait till your yearly fee bills to decide what to do!

These are the most common questions and, if you will, checklist things to think about before the year ends. But I am sure you have others. If you do – please ask away in the comments section at the bottom of the post and I will help you out! – René



  1. Earlier this year, i tried Delta Gift cards but they didn’t clear. From the AMEX website “This benefit doesn’t offer credit toward airline tickets, mileage points purchases or mileage points transfer fees, gift cards, upgrades, duty–free purchases, or award tickets.”

  2. @Steve B – It works – confirmed. The T&C are wrong. My guess is you did NOT buy 1x$50 at a time from a PC (not from a phone or tablet as they do not work nor does 4x$50 on one order).

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