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Is it Smart to Start Your 2020 / 2021 Delta Medallion Year with a Mileage Run?

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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.


The above is me plus a few Delta Diamond Medallions who ended 2019 with a mileage run to Brussels, Belgium for dinner. We flew out of Las Vegas on Friday the 27th and back to Vegas on the 29th. It was all in Delta 1st class, business class and KLM business class at a discounted price. It really was a ton of fun and a great way to end the year and re-qualify for Delta Diamond Medallion status for 2020 finishing with over 200,000 MQMs and $15,162 in MQD spend!

As you can see my total points with Delta to start the year are zero as they are every year until rollover hits —  that was scheduled to start posting on January 6 — and began hitting accounts late last week. I have, thanks to my year-end run, locked up Diamond Medallion status all of this year and it will end on 1FEB2021 unless I re-qualify.

A few years back my wife undertook what we affectionately called her “Diamond Quest.” She went from no status and elite points (i.e. no rollover) to Diamond in just a matter of months. How did she do it?

We racked up lots of points from Delta Amex Reserve cards. Both of us spent a LOT and then sent the bonus MQMs from spending reward levels ($30k and $60k) all to her account. (Remember, you can gift spending tier MQM from Delta Reserve personal and business cards.)

But more than just MQMs are needed with the MQD requirement for Diamond $15,000 in Delta net spend or the mega ¼ million Delta card spend.

We also took a lot of trips – many with Delta partners for mega MQD earnings. Some of them were longer than others. Some were vacation trips and some were just day trips to fun places. We did have the benefit of a number of large bump vouchers from Delta we needed to spend (we earned $6,000 in just one bump, for example) and this was a great way to burn them up with benefits. Along the way, she enjoyed lots of upgrades due to my Diamond status and she had “Diamond – lite” as my +1 until she reached her own status.

But what about you? Should you consider a run to boost your number to start the year? Maybe.

First up, you should look at the Delta Amex card deals right now. Not only to get the cards for the points — but for the spend you can do before the end of January for big bonus points.

Next, consider these factors:

There are many other things to contemplate. I will take an extreme example to consider. Let’s say you are able to, by 2FEB2020, qualify for Diamond Medallion for 2021. You could then, if you wanted to, pick your 2021 Choice Benefits. You could then gift someone Gold Medallion status that they would have all of 2020 as well as 2021 ending on 1FEB2022!

Other things to consider are your flexibility to take a run or two now vs. end of the year. It may be that early in the year, you are slammed and a run is simply not possible. The converse may also be true that your travel is year-end heavy and now is the best time to rack up some extra points.

Also, if you need help constructing a mileage run — especially a “partner MQD run” — it likely will be well worth your time and budget to ask the Juicy Miles mileage run team for help building a great trip.

Lastly, and this really is the ultimate question, with all the devaluations to the Medallion program and Delta selling upgrades so cheaply via so many ways, is chasing any status at all worth it to you personally in 2020? I hope this has given you some food for thought and help in planning your 2020 flying year.

What are my plans, you ask? 2019 was the only year, for years now, that I pushed re-qualify to the very end of the year. My normal flying patterns have me re-qualified by midyear at the latest. For 2020, I will have enough rollover and Amex MQMs (and card spend i.e. over $25,000) to re-qualify for Platinum Medallion on 1FEB2020. I will not spend ¼ million on my Delta Amex cards in 2020 (nor did I in 2019). I have yet to decide if I will toss in a few partner business class mileage runs to bump my MQD spend over $15,000 with Delta. For me, 2020 will again, be a year-end decision rather than a start the year with a run. You? – René

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(Featured image credit – Great Circle Mapper – gcmap.com)

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.

7 Comments

  1. Happy new year Rene and Lisa!
    I have a run in premium on Virgin Atlantic to Johannesburg
    Jan 24 on the new A350-1000+787-9 with one 1/2days in johburg-very excited , and
    A run on AM in Feb to São Paulo .
    I am working for 2021 status. I find it easier to get something g under my belt early on, I discovered this last year. IMHO
    Be well all

  2. HuntingtonGuy Reply

    I like that there much less pressure to find the right run if I start early versus later in the year. End of year runs can overlap with work, family and holiday responsibilities (also heavy spending months for us).
    With little pressure I plan to choose a fun run for the early summer for our 25th and score some MQM’s and MQD’s in the process.
    I’ve been a Plat for a few years and my wife enjoys (meh) her gifted Silver Status but I’ve decided to put Diamond in my sights for 2021.

    There are worse things than dinner in Brussels! Well done on that one.

  3. 5 Chicago-Quito status runs for me a row beginning this weekend. Diamond for 2021 before the end of January. Let the good times roll!

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