It’s Back: Amex to Delta 50% Transfer and 25k MQM Bonus

by on January 22, 2011 · 57 comments

in American Express, Credit Cards, Delta

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Wow- surprised to see this back again- even if it is only for “first time” transfers.

Already took advantage of the last one? You probably won’t be able to get the MQMs from this one, but you can get the 50% transfer by creating a new Skymiles account. I’m currently on the ski slopes and don’t have my laptop so I’m sorry for the sloppiness of this post. I’ll add more color when I can.

A couple things to note:
1) you can link anyones delta to your amex membership rewards so creating a fake persons skymiles account and transferring for the 50% bonus should work. If you are feeling risky, you may be able to get them to merge a dupe account that is in your name but I bet they’ll be on the lookout for that
2) if you have a delta Amex, I recommend applying for a brand new platinum card, which you can get approved for separately. Amex usually only gives 25k bonus for upgrading an existing account to Platinum, so just apply for a new one- I have links on this site for the Platinum card under the American Express Category (on I phone now- hard to embed links)
3) once you have a platinum account, you can advance yourself up to 60,000 points instantly for free. The rules say you have to be a member for 6 months but the advance feature will work online
4) the gold card had a 25,000 signup bonus and np annual fee. You can advance yourself 15,000 miles with a gold card and buy extra Amex points for 2.5 cents a piece.

Disclaimer: The responses below 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.

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  • Owen

    I’ve flown Delta a lot recently after moving to Atlanta and this is obviously pretty appealing. One question: I haven’t redeemed any SkyMiles yet and from a few of your posts this seems to be a somewhat difficult process. Can you give a brief overview of how this works and how difficult it is to redeem points for basic domestic flights?

  • The Points Guy

    Delta has three tiers, so the chances of getting all of your flights at the low tier can be challenging. There is no way around it since Delta is the only US carrier in Skyteam (they do partner with Alaska airlines, which can be a savior if traveling on their limited route network).
    Their award calendar is also broken, so you may see a green date but there may only be high availability. Theres no way around it all except playing around with it for hundreds of hours and understanding the quirks (which I’ve unfortunately done). If you have any specific questions, feel free to email me. Good luck!

  • michael thomas

    Offer good for first-time only transfers now through
    May 31, 2011

    I think this may mean you can not do multiple transfers from different (or even the same) AMEX MR accounts into one SkyMiles account and get the bonus?

    It would be interesting to know what “First Time” really means.

    I couldn’t find the usual long list of terms and conditions on this offer.

    Also, the MQM part of the offer did not use the “first time” wording. What is the intention?

    Can Points Guy find out how the computer is programmed in this case?

  • michael thomas

    I wonder if iniating transfers from two MR accounts on the same day to one SkyMiles account would be combined by AMEX so they would show up as one transfer to Delta computer?

    If the transfers show up immediately, I would think not. But if transfers from MR to Delta are done in batches, it might work.

  • Dale Meyer

    In reference to the emails above, I have signed up myself and my wife for the gold card. 25 k bonus. If I transfer the 50 k (25 from each account to my skymiles account will that get me the 25 medalion points.

  • Jim

    I have the same question as one posed above by Michael. Is the MQM part of the offer also restricted to first time transfers or does that part only apply to the 50% bonus? Does anyone know? Any experiences out there?

  • The Points Guy

    Hi All-
    Let me try to clarify
    If you’ve never transferred Amex points to your Delta account AND you are able to register for this promo:
    1) In order to get the 25,000 MQMs you need to do a one time transfer of at least 50,000 Amex (it doesn’t have to be your Amex account)
    2) If you did less than 50,000, I think you’d still get the 50% bonus, but not mqms. two 25,000 transfers probably won’t get you the MQMs

    I wouldn’t worry about the first time transfers. What they meant was that it wasn’t geared towards people who have taken advantage of the crazy MQM promo last year. however, the easy way around that is simply by creating a new Skymiles account. I did this for friends and it worked like a charm.

  • Jim

    Hi, Points Guy.
    I’ve recently found your site and I really appreciate your tips. Thanks for clarifying. I transferred 1,000 Amex Membership Rewards points to my SkyMiles account 2 years ago (when Delta was having offering 10,000 bonus miles for having a certain number of different kinds of activity in your account). So you don’t think that would disqualify me from the MQM bonus? I ask because I would transfer 50,000 of my Amex points to my SkyMiles account only if I were sure I’d get the 25,000 MQM’s. That would bump me to Delta Gold through Feb 2013 (i.e., creating a new SkyMiles account wouldn’t serve my purpose). If I wouldn’t get the MQM bonus, I think I’d rather keep the points in my Amex Membership Rewards account and stay Delta Silver for awhile longer because I already have a lot more Delta miles than Amex points and 50,000 Amex points are more valuable to me than even 75,000 Delta miles. (I used 50,000 MR points for a r.t. transatlantic upgrade on a $1,000 Alitalia ticket last year, but Delta points would have only gotten me an upgrade on a ticket costing almost twice as much.)
    Thanks in advance for any additional feedback.

  • The Points Guy

    Jim- did it let you register for the promo? If so, then my guess is that you’d receive it.

  • Jim

    Hi, Points Guy. Yes, it let me register for the promotion. Actually, I went to register and it told me I was already registered, which I don’t remember having done, but I guess I did.
    Is it not even letting people register for the promotion if they did this offer in 2010?

  • Jim

    You were right. It worked like a dream, instantaneously. I transferred 50,000 miles and my account was awarded 50,000 plus 25,000 bonus miles plus 25,000 MQMs. (FYI, I had already registered for the 30% bonus BEFORE I heard about and registered for the 50% bonus and it awarded me only the 50%.)

  • The Points Guy

    Awesome- enjoy elite status!

  • dale

    Activated the Platinun card, linked the accounts and tried to advance miles. Online would not allow me to advance any miles. Am i missing a step.
    thanks Dale

  • April Thompson

    Just made the transfer. Only received the 50% bonus and MQMs thought I was registered for the 30% as well (don’t recall order I did it). Either way, the points and the bonus showed instantly. Not to get to Platinum status…

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  • Luis

    Hi everyone,

    I’m considering transferring points to my Skymiles account to book a 75,000-point ticket. The only problem is that I’d be depending on both the transfer AND the bonus to be able to reach my needed 75K. Is it basically random whether the bonus points post immediately vs. 6-weeks after the promotion (as the fine print says)?


  • The Points Guy

    @luis- the bonus has been posting instantly for most people. You should be fine

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  • Josh

    Can someone provide insight on how quickly the AMEX 50k are showing up in accounts once purchases have been made? I just signed up for card and want to get 50k awarded and transferred to delta prior to May 31st. Afraid 50k won’t show up in time…

    Thanks in advance!

  • Luis

    My points posted a few minutes later (both the transfer and the bonus), so I was able to buy the itinerary I had placed on hold the previous day — thanks for the tip!

  • The Points Guy

    @Josh- some people have reported getting the 50k points a week after hitting the 1k spend. Others have to wait until the points post to their account. I know people who have asked Amex to expedite the posting of the points and they’ve been successful, so that might be an option. Have you tried advancing yourself the 50,000 points online? Just go to -> Use miles -> Airline transfer -> Delta -> 50,000 and if it asks you about the advance, just say yes. When the bonus posts it will work towards paying off the advance

  • vintyma

    Hi Brian, I’m absolutely amazed at how much you know about maximizing frequent flyer miles. I’ve only been subscribing to your blog for less than a month (since I learned of your existence on Flyer Talk) and I’ve already learned a lot in that short period of time. I have a quick question for you about the Amex/Delta transfer. I got a Delta/Amex gold card in March 2009, and received 100,000 points for spending a certain amount–I think it was $1,000–within three months. Between my annual Delta/Air France flights to India, and the 100,000 signup bonus, I now have about 155,000 Delta miles. So, is there any way I can take advantage of the transferring Amex to Delta FF miles promo that you’ve devoted so much space to today? I was able to register for the deal, but then didn’t know how to finesse the Amex/Skymiles points transfer. Thanks a lot.

  • The Points Guy

    @Vintyma Thank you so much for the compliments! Really appreciate it.
    As for your query- the points referenced with the 50% bonus are Membership Rewards points- so basically if you have an Amex Platinum, Green, Gold card you can transfer those points to a number of different airlines. With your Gold Delta Amex, they automatically bank to Delta.

    If you wanted to get in on this deal, you could open up a Platinum card ($450 annual fee) and since you are already an Amex customer, they’d like you immediately advance yourself the 50,000 points for this promo. You’d in turn end up with 75,000 Skymiles and 25,000 MQMs added to your account- a pretty good deal for $450. Plus the Platinum card has a ton of other benefits, like lounge access.
    If you apply for the Platinum card, please consider using my link

    Let me know if you need anything else!

  • BravesFan


    I have a question. I have never transferred points from Amex to Delta and I just want to understand how it works. If I transfer 50,000 points, I will get: 75,000 skymiles + 25,000 MQMs are both added together for a total of $100,000 that I can use or the MQMs are just for status?

    I was looking for some availability between LAX and NY and it seems that there are is during the summertime for 40,000 miles (roundtrip). If I want to buy tickets for 3 people, Can I buy they using the miles that I have in my account? (assuming that I have them available). Or does each person must have the miles under their name?

    Thanks for your help on this!

  • James

    Hi @Bravesfan – let me jump in for Brian if I may:

    1. MQM are Medallion Qualifying Miles – just for status, they don’t add to your redeemable mileage (RDM) total.

    2. You can use your miles for tickets for anyone you like.

  • vintyma

    Hi Brian, thanks for answering my question. Boy, this is a lot of information and there’s so much to consider! I should have clarified that I hate paying an annual fee for credit cards, and when it came time for me to renew my Delta/Gold Amex, I called Amex and said I wanted to cut up my card, so they gave me a basic card that doesn’t charge a fee. It doesn’t allow me the free luggage perk of the gold card and I earn only 1 mile a dollar. So, I’m wondering if it’s worth it for me to upgrade to the platinum card to take advantage of this offer. $450 is an awful lot of money, even for 100,000 points, with 1 point worth only 0.0045 cents. I travel internationally only once a year, usually to India. I travel domestically maybe two or three times a year on work, so I’m really not a frequent flyer in the true sense of the word. What do you think? Is it still worth it for me to upgrade? I know my husband would enjoy the free lounge access, although I think he already has that with his Citicard for some airlines.
    Thanks a lot again.

  • Bravesfan

    Hi James! Thank you so much for your help. I just transferred the miles and they got posted instantly including the MQM. Do you know how long does it take for the silver status to show on the account? – Doest it make a difference if I book my reward before the silver status has posted? – Are there any perks on having silver status and flying on a reward ticket?

    Again, thank you so much for your help.

  • D.Whit

    I believe my question has been answered , but I’ll recap and thank all in advance for any tips. I applied for Platinum Amex. Was approved online. Amex said today card would arrive Monday ,May 2nd. I immediately charge my $1000.00 and pay it AND $450.00 fee, then wait for 50k membership reward points and immediately transfer to Delta thru program I’m already enrolled for. NOW ….If I understand correctly…..I can advance myself the fifty k points after payment to speed up process ??
    the 25k mqm’s are what I need to hit platinum medallion asap so I need to do all this by May 31st ??
    Pick it apart boys and tell me if I’ve covered it ??

  • J. Smith

    @D.Whit – Yes you can do what you’re asking. I received my new Platinum card on Saturday and just activated it this morning. I added it to my existing Amex online account and immediately went to Use Points -> Travel -> Airlines -> Delta and set up a 50,000 point transfer. The zero point balance shows up and there’s a box you can check to use a Points Advance. Since I’ve had other Amex cards for over 6 months it shows that I am eligible to advance up to 60,000 points. The points and MQMs posted to my Skymiles account within minutes. The Delta elite status upgrade has not shown up yet, not sure how long it takes for Delta to look at my MQM balance and realize my new status.

  • D.Whit

    Hey J. Smith & Brian, The Points Guy !

    Thanks for the rundown on your card ! Ten minutes after reading your reply this morning, UPS delivered the card. I immediately called Amex and reiterated that I would activate the card IF the enrollment program I used was honored for the 50k and 25k bonus MQM’s. They had to speak to several others and initially said the promotion ended March 31st. I told them that others had activated cards and received the bonus in April without mentioning this thread and I didn’t need the card for a “mere” 25k and bonus with no MQM’s and another call was made and they said they would honor the terms I applied under. The rest was a breeze and I thank you for the points advance instruction. Piece of cake and the points are on my skymiles acct. now and I will have my platinum by end on May. I thought I may have cut it too close to take part in this deal.
    I am especially pleased with a JAX -ATL-BOS-LHR Bus. Elite R/T on the special Florida intro fares scheduled for last week of May and the earlier July to December 2011 bonus miles offer I signed up for with six qualifying segments I received earlier.
    Many thanks to J. Smith and Brian- The Points Guy (you know your stuff!!)

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  • James

    @bravesfan – not sure how long it takes for the web to be updated with status. Here’s a rundown of Silver benefits from the Delta Website (on award ticket, your main benefits are early group boarding and waived bag fees):

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  • Stephen

    I have a question – forgive me if it’s been covered – but I’ve read through all the comments and I’m not finding it/getting it. I have a Gold Amex Premiere Rewards Card – not a Delta one. I have transferred miles from my MR account to Delta. When I tried to register for the promotion it told me I wasn’t eligible. If I get a Platinum card and try to do this it still won’t work, correct? I’m already Silver Medallion – so would love to bump myself up to Gold with this offer. I’m guessing there is no way to do that since I’d have to create a second SkyMiles account to take advantage of this.

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  • sommer

    Hi, I use my miles to fly internationally(Europe, Africa, Asia), I have 75K amex points, can either transfer to delta for this offer you mentioned or to Continental for a 1:1 match. Which program is better in terms of international award? I am a student, only fly economy class and is not interested in upgrades. Thanks!

  • The Points Guy

    @Stephen- if you aren’t eligible for the 50% bonus, it won’t matter what kind of Amex card you get. You’d have to create a new Skymiles account, which wouldn’t help if you already have status

    @ Sommer- 75k Amex= 112,500 Delta miles. Coach roundtrips to Europe start at 60,000 miles, so you’d almost have enough for two tickets. Continental charges 55,000 and has better availability and more partners. I don’t know where you live, but if you live in a hub with international flights to Europe, I’d go Delta. If not, I’d go Continental.

  • sommer

    Thank you points guy!! I live in BOS, delta sounds really attractive but i heard ppl saying it’s redemption for international flights is horrible and availability is low. Is it true? does the 25k MQM helps in anyway?

  • The Points Guy

    You should be able to get BOS-CDG and LHR awards on Delta/Air France as long as you are flexible for 60,000 points roundtrip in coach

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  • Gord

    I was looking into using Delta miles for ORD-CDG and when looking on the Air France website there seemed to be nice availability for my dates at what AF called “classic” rewards on either AF or KLM, with even one leg direct in business for 50k (making me a bit more comfortable about using the Amex bonus transfer because ORD isn’t good for Delta domestic travel). AF seemed to have a premium economy award for their premium economy seats (for 31500 instead of 25k) – any idea whether those seats can be booked through Delta and if so how many more miles each way than the 30k? Seems to be a quasi business class seat but for far fewer miles. Thanks!

  • PBailey19

    I have over 60,000 Amex MR points, so I could take advantage of this, but I’m wondering if I should. I’m fairly new to the FF game and learning fast (many thanks to you and your site, BTW). I fly for personal reasons about 4-6 times a year. I live in Denver (big United hub) and travel at least once a year to visit family in Atlantic Canada. (This spurred my interest into FF; that route never goes on sale and usually runs over $1000, but it’s a 25K award on Aeroplan).

    I’m building up balances on United, Continental, American, and Starwood – but I only have a token balance on Delta. Should I take advantage of this MR 50% transfer offer? What’s more valuable to me, 60K AmEx MR points, or 90K on Delta with Silver Elite status?

  • sommer

    How come you just know everything! I am planning a trip to Africa next year, maybe it makes most sense to fly to FRA,CDG or LHW and then pay some low cost airlines to Africa. Award direct to Africa takes too many miles :p

    I will take your advice and try Delta. Thanks again.

  • greg

    @points guy: not true about delta international award travel. you can search for e.g. NYC-CDG, LHW,PEK etc. will find absolute nothing for low miles in the next 6 months Not sure how you’d search otherwise, i just used Delta’s award search.

  • The Points Guy

    @Greg you need to search for partner availability – most don’t show online so you are only seeing a tiny fraction of what’s out there

  • greg

    but that requires I have accounts with all partners right, in order to search their award inventory? just tried AF, it seems i can not search without a blue nr.&password. If a search there is successful, how can one redeem using delta miles? thanks

  • Mike

    Question.. if I have 33,000 Membership Reward points already from a Corporate Card, what’s the best strategy to get the extra 17,000 by 5/31 to make the transfer deadline?

  • The Points Guy

    @mike sign up for a platinum card for the 25k bonus and ability to immediately advance the 17k points needed

  • Alan

    Is the Citbank card stilling carrying the 75k bonus? The link is silent as to the bonus.

  • The Points Guy

    Alan- yes its still active. Read this post for more details

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  • Anng3

    This link doesn’t work anymore.
    Is the 50% bonus still working?
    For a newbie if I transfer 25000 reward points then I am really transferring 40,000 points?
    Where do I see that it’s 40,000 being transferred not 25000?

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