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As of today I have roughly 75,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles on Delta and I’m hell-bent on requalifying for Diamond (125,000 miles). What this means is that I will have to rack up at least 50,000 elite miles by now and December 31, 2011.
To do this by flying, it means I’d have to do 2.5 New York – Los Angeles trips every month from September to December. Possible, but not likely.
Instead, I’m going to take one big premium trip to Europe in November and then try to fill the rest in with a mix of domestic runs and potentially credit card spend if necessary.
I’m spending Thanksgiving on the west coast this year, which works out well for my mileage run, because most major airlines are running highly discounted business class fares around Thanksgiving (as I wrote about here):
For $2,224 I’m flying all business class: Los Angeles to Paris on Air France, then Paris to Madrid (spend a night and visit my best friend), then continue on from Madrid to Amsterdam and to Rome on KLM, spend three nights (I’ve never actually been to Rome) and then Rome to JFK on Alitalia.
All in, I’ll get 18,480 Medallion Qualifying Miles plus 33,880 Skymiles (12,320 base miles plus 50% class of service bonus of 6,160) plus 15,400 miles for my 125% Diamond bonus.
But that’s not all! American Express Travel is currently offering 2 points per every dollar spent (update: this is actually a 1 extra point per dollar bonus- they factor in the 1 point for regular purchases on most cards) for flights booked through them so I’ll get $2,284 x 2= 2,284 American Express Membership Rewards Points plus I put this on my Premier Rewards Gold card, which gives 3 points for every dollar spent on airfare, so that’s an additional 6,672 American Express Membership Rewards points.
All in, for $2,228 I’m getting 37% of the elite miles I need to hit Diamond and 8.956 Amex and 33,880 Delta miles. I value Amex points conservatively at 2 cents a piece and Delta at 1.5 cents, so I’m looking at $179 in Amex point value plus $508 in Delta miles. Plus there’s the value of moving towards Diamond status, which will get me a ton of extra perks. Overall, I think this splurge was well worth it. Oh yea, and I also get to fly to Europe in comfort and visit one of my favorite cities (Madrid) and eat some some amazing food in Rome. I think this was a win-win all around, even though I will still have to do a bunch of other flying to seal my Diamond status for 2012.
Have you created a plan yet to solidify your 2012 elite status?
With some great bonus categories and an annual fee that’s waived for the first year, the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card has a lot going for it. If you don’t have PRG, now’s as good a time as any to add it to your wallet, as Amex added some great new benefits several months back.
- Receive 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership.
- 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets. 1X points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
- No matter where you're traveling, when you use your Premier Rewards Gold Card there are no foreign transaction fees from American Express.
- $100 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $100 a year in baggage fees and more at one airline.
- Get a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges, plus a room upgrade upon arrival, if available with The Hotel Collection at americanexpress.com/hc. Terms apply.
- There is a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $195.
- Terms and limitations apply. See Rates & Fees