ROOKIE WEDNESDAY: Know the Difference Between Delta Amex MQD Waiver and MQM Spend Bonuses

René’s Points for Better Travel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. René’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. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.

Rene's Points Rookie travel post.

Several readers privately approached me about this topic, which leads me to assume more people have the same concern. Let’s address it here so everyone’s on the same page and receives what they expect from their Delta Amex cards.

Last week, a Delta Platinum Medallion told me, “I put my Delta Reserve card away after finally spending $25,000 on it!” I asked if he wanted to get the 30k spend MQM boost or was happy with the Silver-Gold-Platinum MQD waiver. “I don’t get MQMs?” he asked.

I immediately knew what the issue was. The Delta Reserve card gives cardholders a 15,000 MQM bonus when they spend $30,000 on the card during a calendar year. But because he also holds the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express (learn how to apply) — which rewards cardholders with 10,000 MQM after spending $25,000 in a calendar year — he (understandably) got spending bonuses confused and assumes the MQD waiver had something to do with MQM. (At least he didn’t spend $25,000 on a Delta Gold card and expect MQM. Yikes.)

I’ve heard variations of the same misconceptions from more than a few people. So let’s tackle the basics head-on!

First Things First

Let’s discuss some basic requirements. (And we’re going to get real basic for a few minutes to help our rookies.)

MQM: Medallion Qualification Mile. Miles flown Delta status earning flights. (Flights 499 miles and under are credited 500 MQM.)

MQS: Medallion Qualification Segments. Flights flown on Delta status earning flights.

MQD: Medallion Qualification Dollar. Money spent on Delta status earning fares.

Delta Gold, Delta Platinum, and Delta Reserve personal and business American Express cards.

The MQD Waiver

To achieve or maintain Elite Medallion status with Delta, you must earn a prescribed number of MQM for each level and spend a certain amount of money within a calendar year. For example, Silver status is earned with 25,000 MQM or 30 MQS — and $3,000 MQD.

Gold is 50,000 MQM or 60 MQS — and $6,000 MQD.

Platinum is 75,000 MQM or 100 MQS — and $9,000 MQD.

Diamond is 125,000 MQM or 140 MQS — and $15,000 MQD.

BUTthe MQD requirements for Silver, Gold, and Platinum are waived for Delta Amex cardholders who spend at least $25,000 across any or all of their Delta cards during a calendar year. (Don’t get us started about the Diamond MQD waiver.)

For example, say you have the Delta Platinum Amex and the Delta Reserve Amex for Business. You spend $8,000 on the Delta Platinum and $17,000 on the Reserve Business card. That earns you the MQD waiver for the year.

Again: the $25,000 MQD waiver is earned by spending across any combinations of Delta American Express cards — whether you have one, two, three, four, five or all six*. (*note: Amex tends to limit you to 5 total credit cards at any one time)

How You Earn MQMs on Delta Amex Cards

Four Delta Amex cards award bonus MQM to cardholders who reach certain spend thresholds. They are:

MQM bonuses — unlike the MQD waiver — cannot be earned through combined spend across Delta Amex cards. You much reach a card’s prescribed spend threshold to earn the bonus MQM.

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card from American Express.

Learn more about the Delta Reserve Card from American Express at https://renespoints.boardingarea.com/dlplat

10,000 bonus MQM are awarded Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express aka the “personal Delta Amex Platinum” (learn how to apply) cardholders when they spend $25,000 on the card in a calendar year. If they spend another $25,000 (a total of $50,000), they receive another 10,000 bonus MQM. (This is independent of any welcome bonus MQM offers.)

Similarly, 10,000 bonus MQM are awarded to Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express aka the “business Delta Amex Platinum” (learn how to apply) cardholders when they spend $25,000 on the card within a calendar year. If they spend another $25,000 (a total of $50,000), they receive another 10,000 bonus MQM (independent of any welcome bonus MQM offers).

But if you spend only $15,000 on a personal Delta Amex Platinum card and $10,000 on a business Delta Amex Platinum card, you will not receive any MQM bonus. You’ll reach the MQD waiver (yay!). But to reach an MQM bonus, you must spend a minimum of $25,000 on one of the cards.

The Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express.

Learn more about the Delta Reserve Card from American Express at https://renespoints.boardingarea.com/dlplat

15,000 bonus MQM are awarded Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express aka the “personal Delta Reserve” (learn how to apply) cardholders when they spend $30,000 on the card in a calendar year. If they spend another $30,000 (a total of $60,000), they receive another 15,000 bonus MQM. (Again, not counting any welcome bonus MQM offers.)

Likewise, 15,000 bonus MQM are awarded Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card aka the “Delta Business Reserve” (learn how to apply) cardholders who spend $30,000 on the card during a calendar year. If they spend another $30,000 (a total of $60,000), they receive another 15,000 bonus MQM. (Not counting welcome bonus MQM, of course.)

So if you spend only $25,000 on the personal Delta Reserve and $5,000 on a business Delta Amex Platinum, will you earn bonus MQM? No. You’ll reach the MQD waiver, of course, but, again you have to spend $30,000 on the personal Delta Reserve (in this example) to receive the 15,000 MQM.

Can You Earn Multiple MQM Bonuses Across Cards?

Yes — but only per stated limited per specific card, no matter how many different individual cards you hold for it. In other words, if you have four Delta Amex Platinum Business cards, you’ll get the MQM bonus for only one of them. (And if that’s you, for heaven’s sake, sign up for a Chase Ink Business Unlimited or Chase Ink Business Preferred card and get way better returns on your spend.)

So you can spend $50,000 and earn 20,000 MQM on a Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express (learn how to apply).

You can also spend $50,000 and earn 20,000 MQM on a Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express (learn how to apply).

You can spend $60,000 and earn 30,000 MQM on a Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express (learn how to apply).

And then drop $60,000 and earn 30,000 MQM on a Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card (learn how to apply).

BEFORE ANYONE ASKS: No, I haven’t heard anything about a promotional third bonus (like last year) on any Delta Amex card. Sorry. 🙁

Technically, you can spend $220,000 on Delta Amex cards and earn 100,000 MQM (and the MQD waiver, of course). That’s Delta Platinum Medallion elite status without stepping on a plane.

But if you spend $220,000 (or more) on credit cards, you might want to consider something like a Chase Freedom cardAmerican Express Gold Card (learn how to apply) or the previously mentioned  Chase Ink Business Unlimited.

Questions?

Have questions about anything we discussed above? Ask away in the Comments section below!

This blog series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE

 

 

 

 

5 comments

  1. Very good summary. One can also earn miles for referring a friend to a Delta AMEX card. The catch is that you must refer a friend for the card you hold. You cannot refer a friend to a card lower than the one you hold. AMEX/DELTA should change this as many folks may have friends that could afford an entry level card or not want to spend for the highest priced card.

  2. Thanks Rene. Always very helpful. One follow-up question:
    I have a Platinum Delta Skymiles Card and have earned my 10K MQM’s after $25K spend earlier this year. Last time I checked I had about $1-2K left to spend to get to the $50K threshold and receive another 10K miles and 10K MQM’s.

    Meanwhile, I applied for and was approved for the Reserve card which I will soon receive. However, my Delta page now shows the new Reserve Card tracking status and the Platinum Card tracking status has disappeared. My goal was to get to $50K on the Platinum card, bank those MQM’s, and then put that in a drawer in favor of the Reserve card for the rest of the year.

    To my question: does my next MQM threshold on the Platinum Card get cancelled because I now have a Reserve card or can I complete my plan above and get the full 20K MQM allotment from the Platinum Card and then begin again on the Reserve card benefits accruing?

    Many thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *