Last-Minute MQM Ideas for Delta Medallion Qualification

by on December 10, 2012 · 16 comments

in Delta, Elite Status

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Over the course of this week, I’ll be going through ideas on how you can score some last-minute elite-qualifying miles on the US legacy carriers to put you over the edge for elite status qualification before the end of the year. Posts so far include Last-Minute Elite Status Qualification Ideas for American Flyers, Last-Minute United Premier Status Qualification IdeasLast-Minute US Airways Preferred Status Qualification IdeasLast-Minute Virgin America Elevate Elite Status Qualification Ideas.

There are three weeks left in 2012, which means many people are making that last mad, desperate dash for elite status requalification. I won’t get into the decision-making process of which tier you should go for, or whether it’s worth a mileage run at this point since I’ve addressed those in previous posts – as well as the Top 10 Tips on Securing 2013 Airline Elite Status.

However, I’m still getting tons of emails and Tweets asking for help trying to hit the next level- or simply maintain what has already been earned. Some calls for help are reasonable, but I’ve gotten a couple crazy ones like “I haven’t flown yet this year, but need 100,000 Elite Miles on United, without flying or spending money to help me keep 1k!” Good luck with that, unless you know someone who can gift you the status from United corporate! This week I’ll be writing about different last minute ways that can help you secure status, starting with Delta.

Now, there are a lot of things you have to consider with Delta requalification, including potentially negative changes to the SkyMiles program coming next year, and the fact that you can rollover any MQM’s above and beyond elite tier-qualifying mileage thresholds you may have already hit this year. While Delta does allow rollover, which is a great benefit in my opinion, they are not as generous with giving people status if they are close- even if you are 1 MQM away from the next status level, you should expect Delta to rollover your excess miles and keep you at the exact status that you earned.

But if you are going for that next tier threshold, here are a few ways to get some extra Medallion Qualifying Miles before the end of the year.

If you’re desperate you can buy MQM’s as the year comes to an end.

1) Buy MQM’s: Just like last year, now through December 31, 2012Delta is selling Medallion Qualifying Miles. You may buy up to 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) that will post to your 2012 MQM balance and apply toward 2013 Medallion status (2012 qualification). They should post to your SkyMiles account within 24 hours.

The prices for the MQM’s are:

2,500 MQMs for $395
5,000 MQMs for $595
7,500 MQMs for $795
10,000 MQMs for $995

It looks like Delta raised each of the rates by $100 compared to last year’s prices. Personally, I won’t be buying any MQMs as there are cheaper ways to get them than buying them outright since the lowest rate with this sale is 9.95 cents per MQM – not a great value at all – but if you’re close to one of the higher status levels and just need a little extra bump and plan to fly Delta a lot next year to make up for the up-front expense of purchasing MQM’s, this could be worth it to you.

If you were considering SkyClub membership (or renewing), might as well get some extra MQM’s in the process.

2) Get a SkyClub Membership: Now through December 31, 2012, Delta is offering 1,500 MQM’s to  Medallion members who purchase or renew a one- or three-year club membership through the Delta Sky Club holiday promotion. To get the 1,500 MQM’s toward elite status, include the promo code SCMQM when making your purchase. You might also have to refer the Delta customer service representative to promo reference code 97060724. I personally get access to the Delta Sky Club with my Amex Platinum card, but for those of you who fly Delta a lot and don’t have the card or a membership, the extra perk of either 2 additional free months or 1,500 MQM’s might be worth it – especially those who just need that little extra to put them over the threshold for the next level of Medallion membership. Just as a reminder, fees range between $300-450 for annual membership.

3) Credit Cards: If you’re several thousand miles short of requalification, you might have time to get the Delta Reserve card, which awards cardholders with 10,000 Medallion qualifying miles with the first purchase, and 15,000 more MQM’s if a member hits $30,000 in spend within the calendar year (though obviously it’s a bit late in the year for that amount of spending for a lot of people). The T&C state “Please allow 2–4 weeks after your first purchase for the bonus miles to appear in your Delta SkyMiles account.” It could come down to the wire, but if you get the card expeditd and use it right away, it could savey you from having to buy those 10,000 MQMs, which cost $995 through the Buy MQMs promotion. Maximizing the MQM potential on this card is more than enough for Silver Medallion status on Delta – and you get an additional 15,000 MQM’s if they hit $60,000 in spend during the same calendar year. If you were to spend all that, all you’d need to get to Delta Gold, would be to fly 10,000 more miles – about two roundtrip transcontinental flights. There is also a Business Reserve card as well that has the same earning structure: 10,000 MQMs on first purchase and then up to 30,000 more with spend. One other thing to consider is the card’s hefty $450 annual fee.

One more thing to note about the Delta Reserve card: It actually allows you to gift the 15,000 MQM’s you earn after $30,000 in annual spend and the other 15,000 MQM’s after $60,000 in spend. So if you have the card and have hit that threshold (or are about to), you can give those miles to someone else who needs them – or vice versa, if you know someone who has them to give…you can beg!

The Delta Platinum Amex offers 10,000 MQM’s for $25,000 in annual spend, and another 10,000 MQM’s for $50,000 in annual spending, for a total potential of 20,000 MQM’s. The annual fee is $150, but the card also entitles you to Zone 2 priority boarding, an annual companion ticket and 20% in-flight savings on foo and entertainment on every Delta flight. There is also a Business Platinum card product that offers the same amount of MQMs. Note: Delta does send targeted offers that are more lucrative than the public ones, so search your inbox for any recent American Express or Delta emailed offers.

So apart from actually getting either as a new card, if you already have one or the other, check your spending for the year so far and see if you can funnel enough of your expenses to hit one of those spend threshold bonuses.

Time for a last-minute Hilton stay this week? Get 250 MQM’s for it!

4) Stay at Hilton (ASAP!): Hilton is still running a promotion that offers 250 Delta Medallion Qualifying Miles for each two-night stay that starts from now through December 11, 2012 (stay must be completed by December 15, 2012). You earn the  250 MQMs (elite qualifying miles) per stay of two nights or more when you select Delta as your double dip partner. These MQMs are in addition to the 10 Hilton points per dollar spent plus the variable regular Delta miles that you earn as a double dip partner, which varies based on the type of Hilton property. It’s true, you’ve got to start your stay by tomorrow, but hey, if you have some last-minute plans for this week, might as well score some bonus MQM’s since these bonuses are pretty rare.

Choice Benefits for Platinum and Diamond Medallions include the option to gift elite status.

5) Gifted Status: Delta offers Choice Benefits to Platinum and Diamond Medallions, which include the option of gifting elite status. Platinum Medallions may gift Silver status and Diamond Medallions can gift Gold to anyone they want.

SkyBonus redemption options include redeeming for Silver Medallion status.

6) Status Through SkyBonus: SkyBonus is Delta’s business frequent flyer program.  If you’re not a member yet, go ahead and join and use promo code SB2012NEW for 25,000 sign-up bonus miles. If you are already a member and have been flying and using your SkyBonus number, go ahead and check your balance because you can redeem your points for Silver Medallion status starting at 100,000 SkyBonus points. If you’re part of a larger corporation with a SkyBonus account, ask your friends in the travel department if they have extra points floating around since they might be willing to redeem them to give you status. Some corporate departments also do enough business with airlines that they are given a certain amount of elite statuses to distribute, and since it’s the end of the year, they probably have a few extra to get rid of. It never hurts to ask!

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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  • esque

    I wonder whether you might agree that, for some people, it’s worth paying more cents per mile to pursue Gold medallion status than to pursue Platinum status. Many of us in the Southeast are forced to fly out of airports that have a Delta near-monopoly. And so having Sky Priority status (with boarding and baggage-handling priority), having the 100% mileage bonus (as opposed to 25% for Silver), and being able to fly same-day confirmed, makes spending 9.95 cents per mile a fairly good, but not necessarily ideal, proposition. For we’re really not in a position to jump ship to other airlines, as people in major urban centers in the Northeast or California are.

    On the other hand, paying for miles to be a bit higher on the upgrade list (especially if one regularly flies Diamond-clogged routes like ATL-LAX) and to have award-redeposit fees waived is a bit iffier; in those cases, using the rollover to get a leg up on 2014 status might be a better idea.

  • Sfobuddy

    I’m really torn on the purchase of 10,000 MQM. I’ve already secured Diamond status for next year, but I can’t help but think I need the additional MQMs for rollover. Based on your posts about potential changes to the SM program it might make sense to grab the miles now, especially if they are moving to a earn status through ticket costs model. I can’t imagine DL would make the changes AFTER December 31, so when would they potentially make good on your prediction?

  • Del

    Another way is to upgrade existing booked travel before the year to paid first. You should be able to get the agent to wave the $150 change to upgrade the class. There are still some pretty cheap A fares out there so see if one is offered on a route you are flying anyway and pay to upgrade. I like this better than buying MQM’s because you get 50% extra RDM’s too and ofcourse no fretting about clearing an upgrade. This is not going to be for everyone as it can be a bit pricey but its certainly better value than if you were just considering buying MQM’s

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  • leonew6s

    I am currently Silver status, have 40,811 MQM today, and I fly to Australia Christmas day which is 7921 miles. Is it worth me booking a last minute flight or purchasing MQM to get gold status before the end of this year? Any help much appreciated!
    Note: I am flying back from Australia early Jan.

  • Mike

    Talked with AmEx about their Biz Reserve card. They didn’t think there was time to get the MQM’s credited this year.

    Is there a marketplace for folk to buy a gift status off a Diamond member? I’m just going for Gold and am 10k short.


  • LonePalmBJ

    Be careful about item 5 above, gifting status. Last year my travel schedule changed and I ended up just short of Gold, rolling over about 19,000 MQM. My Diamond wife gifted me Gold, so that I’d be gold this year and with the 19K head start should have a decent shot at Platinum or Diamond. What’s not immediately apparent from the fine print is that if you age gifted Medallion status, Delta revokes all of your rollover miles. I ended up losing almost 19K MQMs.

    Interestingly, if someone gifts you status it just happens – you aren’t asked to accept the gift; once they send the gift to your Skymiles account you become that gifted status and you lose your rollover miles, and there’s no way to refuse the gift or give it back to keep the rollover MQMs.

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  • Robbrockjr

    I’m at $119,500 on Delta YTD and done flying for the year. Is it worth buying 7,500 MQM or should I just stay at a high level platinum and then roll over almost 45,000 miles. Tough decision – any thoughts?

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  • Andrew Colt

    Do unused MQM not roll over automatically? I just checked my account and they’re not in my new year to date total. I’m at 60k for last year but by my understanding the 10k beyond the gold status should roll over to this year. Do I have to request this or something?

  • aje2828

    This year my travel dropped significantly to where I may lose all status. However I was wondering if rollover points happened even if you don’t have status?

  • Matthew Lavin

    No, you must be at least silver to rollover MQMs.

  • Confused Diamond Delta

    I am currently Diamond Delta. Its Dec. 15th and I need 4 MQS to Gold or 9,640 MQM’s to reach Gold.

    Calling the Diamond line they say I will keep my Diamond until Feb. 2014. I don’t understand the rollover stuff.

    Should I take a flight with four segments before the end of the year or just go into 2014 with where i am at????

  • badnews

    I applied for and got the reserve card – the 10K MQMs posted in about four days after i made my first purchase on the card. Just and FYI.

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