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Should You Load Up on MQM This Year Through Delta Amex Card Spend?

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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.


Delta recently announced that all MQM earned this year will roll over to 2021 — essentially giving everyone a nice headstart on 2022 Medallion status.

Because four Delta Amex cards award members with MQM each time a spend threshold is met, there are basically seven months additional months (now through December 2020) to stock up on MQM for 2022 status.

But should you?

Let’s take a lot at a couple of options.

Delta Amex MQM Tiers

For any newcomers in the audience or those wanting a refresher, here’s how the applicable Delta American Express cards MQM bonuses work.

The Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express and Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card from American Express each award 15,000 MQM when cardholders spend $30,000 during a calendar year. Cardholders can receive a maximum of 60,000 MQM (which means spending $120,000) each year per card.

Delta Reserve Card from American Express

Meanwhile, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express and Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express each award 10,000 MQM when cardholders spend $25,000 during a calendar year.

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card from American Express.

These cardholders can receive a maximum of 20,000 MQM (so spending $50,000) each year per card.

Should You Earn MQM This Year on Your Delta SkyMiles Amex(es)?

This is always a personal (or business) decision — pandemic or not.

Everyone’s budgets and bank accounts are different. What may seem silly to you is someone else’s reality. So keep that in mind.

Staying home and spending less may make it difficult to reach some spend thresholds — especially on the Delta Amex cards.

And it’s certainly not worth spending money you don’t have just to earn miles.

If you’re fine spending money on your Delta Amex and not worried about reaching MQM thresholds, then go for it. (The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express is nice because it has supermarket and dining bonus categories.)

Another Way to Score Big MQM: Flying! (Maybe Next Year?)

One of the reasons we posted (and will again!) so many Delta MQD partner runs is that they earn a ton of MQD and MQM at prices that are fairly low (at least, considering what you get) and at least in premium economy, if not business class.

AeroMexico 787-9 Boeing Dreamliner Business Class
Business class on an AeroMexico 787. AeroMexico is a great mileage run option for earning Delta MQD and MQM.

So next year may present some nice opportunities to enjoy a few mileage runs — without worrying about Delta Amex spend. These runs quickly haul in plenty of MQM.

That being said: we don’t know what the future holds. There’s always a chance Delta’s partnerships could implode or there’s simply not enough demand for runs.

But the MQD-MQM runs are certainly a good option to consider.

What Are Some Better Options for Spending Right Now?

If you want to take the MQD-MQM mileage run route, there are far more valuable cards.

Here’s why this is important: you can purchase travel through many credit cards’ travel services — and redeem points to help offset some or all of your costs. Those trips are considered cash fares — earning you elite miles-spend-segment and redeemable miles.

The American Express Gold Card earns 4X at US supermarkets (up to $25,000 in yearly spend) and also at restaurants (which includes food delivery services such as Grubhub, Postmates, and Seamless.) And let’s face it. Most of us are spending a decent amount of money right now supermarkets and

 

The American Express Gold Card

Don’t forget the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which gives you 3X at restaurants (and any travel purchases you make). And when CSR cardholders redeem Ultimate Rewards points for travel through Chase,  they receive 50% more value. So that 3X can ultimately (no pun intended) be worth 4.5 cents in travel.

You can earn 3X at restaurants with the American Express Green Card.

Finally, there’s the Chase Sapphire Preferred — which has the lowest annual fee of the bunch — which earns you 2X at restaurants and travel.

Keep in mind you book custom mileage runs through our friends at Juicy Miles — and pay with Amex Membership Rewards points, if you so desire.

A nice feature of the Chase Ultimate Rewards cards: you can redeem them for statement credit at a rate of one cent per point. So if you discover you really need money instead of points, there’s always that option.

Final Approach

Getting additional time to earn MQM is certainly nice. For those with ways and means to rack them up with Delta Amex cards, 2020 presents a great opportunity to pad their balances. But it may not be the best move for everyone. There’s still a long way to go until 2022 — heck, even next year is still way off! So everything is in flux. But there are options to help you enjoy high levels of Delta status in 2022.

— Chris

 

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.

14 Comments

  1. Jane Kramer Reply

    I’m assuming the $25,000/$250,000 spend waiver will not rollover?

      • Has this been explicitly confirmed by Delta? The accouncements I saw did not mention it either way, though I’ve not been parsing everything that has come out. Fair to assume if not mentioned that it won’t carry over.

        • @Stefan Krasowski: A Delta spokesperson told me “MQDs weren’t a part of [the original] announcement,” she said, “but [we] will keep you posted if we have any news there.” So it sounds as though spend waivers aren’t included. Fingers crossed, I guess, but I’m not holding my breath.

          • Barry Graham

            I think, like you, that she was diplomatically saying “No” but hopefully I am wrong!

  2. What I’m really hoping is that Delta doesn’t follow in the footsteps of UA and put a limit on the number of MQDs that you can earn on a partner flight. I’ve had to cancel two different partner MRs this year, and I’m looking forward to rebooking and making some runs again.

    Also planning some domestic runs to pad the balance a little bit as soon as it’s feasible.

  3. Barry Graham Reply

    Since any MQM earned this year will rollover, it’s certainly not going to do any harm to earn them with regular spending, unless Delta changes the rules completely between now and 2022. They will help with 2022 status.

  4. I used to do spend in increments of $25k, but now that you don’t get the 10k miles bonus for every $25k, it is stupid to do so.

    • @qofmiwok: If one uses the Delta Platinum personal on nothing but 1X purchases, then it’s certainly not so great. But keep in mind that card now awards 2X at supermarkets and restaurants. Depending on one’s spending habits, that can easily be better than the old 10k lump sum.

  5. HuntingtonGuy Reply

    I’m happy DL decided to roll over our MQM’s, seems a good business decision on their part and a small (or not so small for some) gesture to Medallions for our loyalty. I am sure that a by-product of this will be that the already declining available upgrade seats will all but vanish next year for all but Diamonds.
    Since this de is ion will mint more of each medallions class, the plum opportunities will be grabbed by the higher tier folks (rightly) leaving slim pickings for Plat, Golds and Silvers.

  6. Chris,
    As of 3/31/20 we maxed out personal & business Reserve cards for MQM’s and business Reserve card for spend. requirements. Will Delta roll over to next year since diamond requirements are already met for 2021 or will they roll over to 2022?

    Thanks in advance.
    Rand

    • @Rand: Delta will not roll over your status to the 2022’s Medallion year. But you’ll start 2021 with a hefty amount of MQM to apply toward 2022. And whatever your status is at the end of 2020 will be your 2021 status.

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