Last Minute Delta MQM Options

by on December 21, 2011 · 73 comments

in American Express, Delta, Elite Status

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There are only 10 days left in the elite qualifying year and I know people are starting to get desperate judging by the number of frantic, “How do I get X amount of Delta Medallion Qualifying Miles, cheaply and easily before the near year starts?!?!” emails I’ve received.

The cheapest way to get up to 10,000 MQMs is by getting the Delta Reserve Amex which gives 10,000 MQMs with your first purchase. As long as you get the card and make that purchase in 2011, the MQMs will count towards 2011, so I would recommend applying sooner than later so you aren’t biting your nails waiting for the card to arrive before December 31 (which is a Saturday).

The annual fee is $450, but that also gives you SkyClub membership (which is normally $450), a free domestic companion ticket, enhanced upgrade priority for Medallions and more. Each calendar year, you can get 15,000 MQMs if you hit $30,000 in spend and an additional 15,000 if you hit $60,000.

Note: If you already have the Delta Platinum card and want to upgrade to Reserve, you will only get the difference in sign-up bonuses (so 5,000 MQMs).

The Delta Platinum Amex gives 5,000 MQMs on first purchase, also comes with a companion pass and is only $150 per year. Each calendar year, you can get 10,000 MQMs if you hit $25,000 in spend and an additional 10,000 if you hit $50,000.

Generous Delta MQM credit cards

If you don’t/can’t get a Delta MQM credit card, Delta just extended their Buy MQM program which will let you straight out buy the needed elite miles that you need. The deadline for these purchases is now 11:59 PM CST on December 30, 2011.

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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  • LarryInNYC

    Just wanted to say that I was one of those people trying to figure out whether to buy or fly the 2,498 miles I need to requalify as Silver. In reviewing my account, however, I noticed that Delta had failed to credit a Rome to JFK flight I made in June of 2011. I called them and the miles posted within about 10 minutes, taking me over the number of miles I needed for requalification.

    Note, however, that I was told that the miles (for a Delta ticket on an Al Italia codeshare) might take as many as *seven business days* to post. Therefore, NOW is the time to check your account if you think there’s a possibility of uncovering and posting missing miles that you need before the end of the year.

  • Guest

    On the Delta Reserve Card: you mentioned, “enhanced upgrade priority for Medallions,” but how can you quantify that? Is there a chart or something to reference? Please advise.

  • DeltaDan

    Have there been better sign-up bonuses for the Delta Plat. AMEX in the past? i.e. more than 20,000 SkyMiles or more than 5,000 MQMs?

  • Anonymous

    Its a tie breaker. So if you are the same medallion level and fare class, a reserve cardholder will get priority for the upgrade

  • Anonymous

    There have been targeted offers in the past, but the 20k/5k MQM seems standard.

  • AS

    So basically, this post was written to promote the Delta Credit Card, with a $450/yr fee. There is no travel and virtually no miles/points value to this puff post and many like it. You’ve gone way too far in promoting credit cards on this blog, it is completely out of control. Posts like this should be identified with “ADVERTISEMENT” like they are in magazines.

  • Anonymous

    Credit cards are the quickest/easiest ways to rack up points, miles and elite status. Until that ends I’ll be writing about them and how to maximize them

  • LarryInNYC

    I dunno. $450 for 10,000 MQM / RDM and other goodies instead of the $895 for MQM only that you’d have to pay directly through Delta sounds like a pretty good tip to me. The value is for people who need the MQMs right away to requalify. And it does seem to be the cheapest way to get them (assuming they really do post this year) — good luck finding a mileage run for 10K miles for less than $450 between now and 12/31!

  • Noslack913

    Good Update, hey, I’m not really very happy with my reserve card (although i love the mqm’s) i accumulated over 225K MQM’s this year, so I really dont need the card, what other card would you recommend that isn’t so pricey, or has better terms (amex really slams me on interest and such)

  • DeltaDan

    I assume the same for Platinum and Gold Delta AMEX cardholders as well. I wonder how often this comes into play…guess we will never know.

  • Anonymous

    Nope- this is only for reserve cardholders

  • Mordechaiserle

    You forgot to mention probably the best option for anybody that needs under 1500 MQMs. For $300-$450 (depending on current Medallion status), you get SkyClub membership for a year and 1500 MQMs as a bonus. Best of all, the Amex Plat fee reimbursement will cover that fee.
    Join/Renew Sky Club to get 1,500 MQM’s or 2 Free Months

    This just in: exciting new offer from the Delta Sky Club®! Right now if you purchase, renew, or gift a membership you can choose from one of two great holiday gifts: two months free or 1,500 MQMs! Drop us a comment and us know which one you’re going to choose!

    What will you be choosing? We all love MQM’s but 2 Free Months seem more valuable to me. Also they are waiving the initiation fee for new members as well!’

    The holidays are the perfect time to get or give a Delta Sky Club membership. A membership makes being at the airport a more relaxing and enjoyable experience.
    If you sign up before December 31, 2011 you can choose from one of two holiday gifts:

    Two free additional months of membership (Use promo code HP2MF)
    1,500 Medallion® Qualification Miles (Use promo code HPMQM)
    And, if you’re purchasing a new membership, we’ll also waive your initiation fee (a $50 savings).

  • Asdfasdasdfasdf

    It’s just not worth it to become elite on DL anymore unless they hand it to you on a silver platter no pun intended

  • Bill Silverstein

    I might suggest the Amex business Platinum. This still gets you into the Skyclubs and other clubs, you get $200 in reimbursements, global entry, and no international transaction fees.

  • SilverEliteCAM

    I became a SILVER ELITE with Delta last May 2011 after transferring 50,000 AMEX MEMBERSHIP POINTS to the airline, which also gave me 25,000 MQMs. Now I lack 7,660 miles before reaching GOLD ELITE but my SILVER status is good through February 2013.

    QUESTION: Do I need to earn 7,660 miles before DEC. 31, 2011 to get GOLD STATUS? Or do I have more time because I did not join DELTA SKYMILES until the day I transferred AMEX POINTS in May 2011?

  • Vkm12001

    Transfer from membership rewards. So I only have 13000 Membership Rewards. Not enough to make the transfer over to my Delta MQMs. Any suggestions on increasing MR points quickly?

  • Spicy B

    Data Point – Me and another FTer were both on a mileage run from EWR-BIL a few weeks ago. Both of us are Platinum. On the return (SLC-ATL), I got the upgrade about 4 hours before the flight, he was #3 on the list. Both of us on T-class tickets. Difference is I was a Reserve cardholder. Though not sure if time of ticketing acts as a tiebreaker before the Reserve card.

  • DeltaDan

    Yes, as far as I know, you must earn MQMs within a year regardless of when you join the SkyMiles program.

  • DeltaDan

    Purchase items through the AMEX store, and your points earning depends on what type of AMEX card you have.

  • Eric Gradel

    Short Answer: It is TOO LATE to take advantage of these credit card offers in order to reach the next level of status on Delta.

    Please be advised that I just spoke with Delta and American Express and received the following warning: MQMs will take 2-4 weeks from the first purchase in order to post to your SkyMiles account.

  • Anonymous

    They post in the year they were earned

  • Anonymous

    There is not currently an MQM Amex MR transfer promo

  • Anonymous

    You have until December 31, 2011. Jan 1 the clock resets to 0 and you’ll start with any rollover miles that you have above your elite level (in your case about 18,000)

  • Max

    Once I was able to get them to ship the card to me express shipping, it was a mere two days after my first purchase that the MQMs posted. Not bad!

  • Eric Gradel

    Both the Delta representative as well as the American Express representative were adamant that the MQMs would not post in time for me to achieve the next level of status even if I were approved today.

    That said, you are the expert so if you know something that I don’t please let us all know.

  • Anonymous

    The MQMs post in the year they were earned. So you have until Dec 31 of each calendar year to earn those spend thresholds. For the signup bonus its first purchase so as long as that occurs in 2011, it will post towards 2011 status. Many phone reps are clueless

  • Eric Gradel

    Thank god for you. I was about to spend New Year’s Eve all by myself in order to complete a mileage run.

  • Frank

    If I get both the Reserve and Platinum cards will I get 15,000 with the first purchases or only 10,000?

  • Anonymous

    Good question- Not sure I’ve ever heard of anyone doing that. My gut is that they’d somehow still only give you 10k MQMs, but I’m not completely sure to be honest! I think your safer bet would be to get a Reserve Personal and a Platinum Business Card

  • DeltaDan

    Has there been AMEX MR to MQMs in the past? I know currently it is a 1:1 ratio to transfer to SkyMiles

  • Anonymous

    They ran 25,000 MQM bonuses when you transferred 50k+ Amex several times this past year.. here is one

  • DeltaDan

    I have the Premier Rewards Gold card and love the 3x points on airfare. I purchase so many airline tickets, I believe the sacrifice in points does not out weigh the perks that come with the AMEX Plat. card. TPG, your thoughts?

  • Anonymous

    Premier Rewards is good, but if he is looking for a lower annual fee and a credit card (charge cards like Premier Rewards have huge interest rates if you carry a balance) then the Sapphire Preferred is a no-brainer. 50,000 point signup bonus, 2x on travel and dining and solid transfer partners like United/Continental and Hyatt at instant 1:1, plus the 7% bonus every year on all points earned

  • DeltaDan

    I agree on your comment for OP. I am in limbo on my next card…AMEX Plat, Delta Reserve, or Delta Plat. As I mentioned earlier, I have the Premier Rewards Card and earned approx. 95,000 pts in 2011 with 25% of all my purchases being airfare. If I had the AMEX Plat, I would lose 50% of those points, roughly a $450 value if you count 1 pt=$0.01. I believe I will get Gold Medallion in 2012 with a lot of int’l biz travel. Your thoughts? Love the site, thanks for your help!

  • Anonymous

    If you spend a ton on airfare, gas and groceries, switching to Amex Plat probably doesn’t make sense unless you REALLY value the lounge perks and $200 airline rebate.

    Why are you thinking of switching from Premier Rewards?

  • DeltaDan

    Not really thinking about switching; just weighing my options. Wanted to get your opinion as well. I love the PR Card.

    I do not believe I would value the lounges/$200 credit as much. Possibly thinking about snagging a Delta AMEX as a second card; we’ll see…thanks TPG.

  • Anonymous

    The Delta Amex cards are great if you value the MQMs and they will help you get to the next level. Otherwise, I’d probably diversify and get the Sapphire Preferred since those points are way more valuable than Delta miles

  • Tom Jackson

    Can anyone confirm that it’s “as long as you make the purchase in 2011, you will received the MQMs for 2011.” Meaning, if I receive the card on Dec 28th, make a purchase on the 28th, the 10,000 MQMs will be applied to my 2011 status level, regardless of when they are actually dispersed from AMEX.

  • Eli104

    So I’ve been fighting with myself over what card to get in order to maximize the miles, and get the perks (club benefits, companion tickets, etc.). I am Gold Mediallion (probably will buy a few points to get over the top for next year… so close…), and am now trying to discern the benefits between Delta Reserve and Amex Platinum.

    I know I get MQMs for the Delta card, but I can also get 50,000 Amex points with the Amex card that can be converted to anything later on! (I received an offer from Amex for a Platinum card with a 100,000 sign-up bonus, problem was, it was in my father’s name and he doesn’t travel any more. The offer was non-transferrable).

    Problem: I just upped my SkyClub membership a few weeks ago (took the extra two months bonus), and now am kicking myself for not seeing the Reserve Card offer. So should I:
    1) Spend $495 on the miles needed for Gold, and wait until next year and grab the Reserve Card?
    2) Grab the Reserve Card now and get the bonus miles, and know that I paid for SkyClub membership twice over?

    Oh… and does anyone know if the Reserve Card charges for a second card? My wife has a free second card on my Delta Platinum, and I don’t want to have to pay for another card (Amex Platinum charges for a second card, another $125 a year).

  • Mcgazsta

    Any help? I need only 91 miles to reach Gold. I am in Spain and cannot make any quick flights or anything. Anything I can do in the next few days to put me over the top? Getting the credit card won’t help.

  • Bsim1925

    I currently have the AMEX platinum card. If I’d like to change cards would I get the new sign up bonus? Or would you recommend signing up as a new customer.
    Thanks, brett

  • Jared

    I got my Delta Reserve card and the 10k mqm posted within a couple days of the first purchase. I would have been stuck without those. Advertisement??!!? Thanks for the tip!

  • the dude

    Not sure on that, either, but I had an AmEx agent tell me that you can get threshold MQMs for both the Reserve and the Amex platinum at the same time. 50,000 mqms a year if you spend that much.

  • Yo Yatta

    Here’s the exact wording on the website:

    “Please allow 2-4 weeks after your first purchase for the bonus miles to appear in your Delta SkyMiles account. Delta Medallion Qualification Miles count only in the year they post to your account”

    Doesn’t look like they will post in the year they were earned. I also called and the phone rep told me the same thing.

    To find the text I quoted go to the site below and click on the ’1′ in the text on the left side.

  • Daniel Rhodes

    I just signed up for the card and the amex rep called the amex delta open rep who confirmed that if i make a purchase on the 28th, i’ll get the points this year… although i tried this with a different card last year and the points didn’t post until january. it took a big fight to get the points to post in the previous year.

  • Daniel Rhodes

    Pointsguy, what do you say to this post? I just talked with amex reserve and they confirmed what you said, but i am still worried given yo yatta’s reference above… thoughts?

  • Jw424

    Thanks for all the tips. I was 20000 away from Delta Platinum on December 1 and after one round trip European flight that I upgraded with miles, the MQM bonus for renewing my Sky Club, and my Amex threshold bonus and I made it with miles to spare!

  • MAX

    im folowing ur blog for some time already when i sew you wrote that by aplying and spenfding a purchase in 2011 will give you the 10000 mqm’s for year 2011 so if i got my card today and purchased should i have to worry? or i should get them for my 2011 cycle?

  • Al

    I crossed over the $50K spend line in December on Amex Platinum. Will the 10k MQM bonus be applied to 2011 or 2012?

  • Jaime

    I have a similar question to “SilverEliteCAMCollapse” above.

    I had been Silver for a few years, but qualified for Gold this year through the Delta six segments promo. I only obtained gold status in early December. Due to a couple of extra (and longer) flights this last month, I find myself at 47,800 MQM’s for this year.

    I’m debating if it is worth buying the MQM’s to put me over 50k for the year, but I’m lost on what that extends. My statements show my Medallion status is good through 2/2013 (assume Gold Medallion) and I understand the MQM cutoff is the calendar year, not the anniversary. What I am confused about, is if I buy the MQM’s does that extend me as gold through 2/2014 or only keep me gold through 2/2013 and without those MQM’s, I am silver through that date?

  • Itsnainish

    I am in the same boat. I have 105 miles to make Gold and am running out of options. If you find anything that works, please let me know.

  • Anonymous

    Buy the MQMs

  • Anonymous

    Depends on what they offer to upgrade. If 50k or more- do that. Sometimes they offer nothing though

  • Anonymous

    My understanding is that the MQMs post in the year they were earned- not when they are processed

  • Anonymous

    If you already have Gold through 2/13 then it doesnt matter. Buying MQMs would be pointless, unless you wanted to rollover whatever you have above 50

  • MAxime12

    Thanks my fingers are crossed

  • Frank

    First charge on my Delta Reserve on 12-26 and the points posted 12-30

  • Jaime

    Thanks for the reply.

  • Al

    Nope… this is only “partially correct”… The “first charge” is credited when it happens… So if it is a new card, you would have gotten credit if you had first charge in 2011. The $$$ threshold MQMs are earned in the Amex year of 2011. However, if the $$$ threshold is crossed in December (50K for platinum amex platinum), those MQMs are credited in 2012 Delta MQMs. Bummer because I missed diamond by 9,000 miles…. However… my rollover is 41,000. :)

  • Ian

    I don’t see where card holder is listed in tie breaker.

    3Clearance starts with B class and continues in descending order. If Medallion level and fare class are equal, time of ticketing will be the tie breaker.

  • Ian

    It is based on time of ticketing. From the website…

    Clearance starts with B class and continues in descending order. If Medallion level and fare class are equal, time of ticketing will be the tie breaker.

    I do not see any reference to the Reserve card offering priority, see above post. I also have looked at the Reserve site and the compare cards…

    Nothing about priority upgrade clearance or tie breaker.

    It does say priority boarding, but that only matters if you are not medallion.

    I really wish the Points Guy would cite where this info comes from or retract the statement as wrong. If it really does play a role in upgrades I will gladly pay the money to upgrade my card from platinum, but I don’t want to waste money on false statements.

  • Anonymous

    From business Reserve T&C- same for personal

    Upgrade Priority
    Increased Upgrade Priority within Medallion tier and fare class is applicable only to primary Cardmember and within the Complimentary Medallion Upgrade Program. Airport Paid Standby Program and Mileage Award Upgrades are not eligible. Upgrades are subject to limited availability and may not be available on all flights or in all markets.

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  • Ian

    Wow, thank you for clearing it up! For a platinum that could possibly mean the difference in an upgrade. It also does explain Spicy B’s post where he and his buddy had the same fare class. Looks like I will be upgrading my card!

    Thank you again for documenting your statement.

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  • Steven

    Any Delta MQM deals for 2012?

  • … DeltaNoob

    I just made silver for the first time, and am hovering around 40k MQM. I have until December to make Gold, or wait and roll-over the balance of MQMs. As an occasional flyer, is it worth it to push for Gold, or am I better off rolling-over and being better positioned to maintain my silver status next year. I expect to fly somewhere around 20k next year, and might have to push to get the 25k necessary to keep silver… Tell me what you think?

  • TPG Intern Ryan

    I think the greatest difference in Medallion levels is between Silver and Gold, because at Gold you get the Sky Priority benefits such as Sky Priority boarding, 2 free checked bags with priority and priority security as well as being SkyTeam Elite Plus for international travel. Also Gold’s are eligible for upgrades on award travel so if you are close then I would go for Gold.

  • biznichach

    I didn’t know the elite card gives your a skyclub membership…If I go from platinum to elite will i get this? Or will I just get the MQM’s

  • David M

    I have a Platinum Business Card and a Reserve Business card. I was only allowed the sign-on bonus for my first card, the Platinum card, but I get the threshold bonus for both cards. So I used my Platinum Card the first half of the year until it hit the threshold maximum of 20,000 MQMs, then I started using the reserve card and just hit the first threshold bonus of 15,000 MQMs. I may or may not hit the next 15,000 threshold this year, but I just made platinum and won’t come close to diamond, so it doesn’t matter much. There is one trick with the Reserve MQMs though, you have to log in to your Delta SkyMiles account and ACCEPT them. It’s done this way because with the Reserve card you can accept your MQMs or gift them. It confused me because I expected them just to show up, but today a very helpful agent from Phoenix, Kevin, tracked down all the details for me.

  • Reiassure

    I’m a little confused at how the rollover process works… I normally fly a couple times a month and I’m at 21,452 points for the year… but rest of the year will be low-no travel for me. Is it worth it to go for Silver in this year? In other words, if Jan 1 comes around and I’ve not hit Silver, would I have any rollover advantages to hit gold next year? Or, if I hit silver (by flights or buying mqms) would there be any greater rollover advantage ie, would I begin counting at Silver up to gold starting Jan 1 or essentially back to where I am now, trying to build to my first silver?

  • Will

    Well, if you don’t hit 25k, NOTHING rolls over to the next year for qualification. So, you end the year with 24,999 miles, you don’t qualify for silver and you start over again at 0 next year for 2013 qualification. If you hit 25, 010, then you qualify for silver and you will have 10 miles roll over for next year’s qualification. If you hit 49,999 miles at the end of the year, you’ll qualify for silver and have 24,999 miles waiting for you on Jan first for next year’s qualification. In that scenario, as soon as you get 1 additional mile, you’ll have your silver qualification wrapped up through the end of 2014. If you were to travel at least another 25,001 miles in 2013, you’d make it to gold with any additional miles rolling over to the next year.

    That help?

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