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Video Sunday Reader Question: When Does Airline Elite Status Start and End?

by on December 16, 2012 · 9 comments

in Delta, Elite Status, Sunday Reader Questions, Video Blog Post

TPG reader Spencer asks:

“I’ll move up from Delta Medallion Silver to Gold next year… but will I still be a Silver for flights in January and February or will my level up be recognized as soon as the new year hits? My Silver status says it’s valid through February 2013.”

Elite status qualification and timeframe verbiage is always a little bit confusing, but let me try to make it as simple as possible. The earning period for elite status on most airlines is January 1- December 31, but the actual elite year is March 1- February 28. What this means is that you get a 2 month buffer if you don’t requalify from the time you lose status. I’m assuming that this was done to allow time or partner flights to be credited to accounts since that process often takes 6-8 weeks. It wouldn’t be fair to drop your status January 1 if you were simply waiting for flights to credit from a partner.

Delta Gold Medallion requires earning 50,000 MQM's a year.

Delta Gold Medallion requires earning 50,000 MQM’s a year.

The great thing is, you don’t have to wait until the elite year starts to enjoy your benefits. Once you achieve Gold Status, for example, your account should update within a couple days and you enjoy that status until the end of February of the year after next. So if you get status in November of 2012, it will be good until the end of February 2014. Due to AA Double EQM’s last January and a bunch of travel I had planned, I qualified for Executive Platinum (100,000 Elite miles) by mid-February of last year and I will enjoy that at least through February 2014 – two years! However, I’ll need to accrue an additional 100,000 EQMs again from January 1- December 31, 2013 to extend my status through February 2015.

Delta is unique in that they allow rollover, which means your Medallion Qualifying Miles balance doesn’t necessarily start at 0 in January – you take with you all the MQM’s that you earned above your current status threshold. I currently have 80,000 MQM’s, which means I will carry over 5,000 into 2013, making it a little bit easier to retain status next year. You say you are going to move from Silver to Gold, so once you hit 50,000 MQM’s in 2012 you account will be updated and that status will be good until February 28, 2014. Any miles you’ve earned this year that are above the 50,000-MQM qualification level for Gold (and below 75,000 for Platinum) will be rolled over to next year for you so your elite-qualification mileage balance won’t start at zero again.

Check out this post for a thorough comparison of mid-tier airline elite status.

I hope this makes sense, but feel free to ask questions if not!

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author.s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

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  • Miro

    Hmmm, I am doing Diamond challenge with HHonors, from 15. November 2012 to 15 February 2013… I will hit the required 21 paid nights on 21st of January 2013 – so, if I understand right, my new status will be valid for the remainder of 2013 and whole 2014. Yes?

  • Frank266

    So if I achieved silver on 12/31/2012 I would have it until Feb 28 2014, but if I achieved silver on 1/1/2013 I would have it until Feb 28 2015?

  • thepointsguy

    Correct

  • thepointsguy

    My guess is that you’d have it until Feb 2014 and you will need to requalify during 2013 for it to get extended through all of 2014.

  • cabrillo24

    March 31, 2014. I’m doing the challenge myself and have verified with Hilton Honors customer support.

  • SeaBee3

    Where’s the video?

  • Cory

    I think that is a theoretical question, but just remember if you are on the verge of obtaining silver status and you are trying to decide whether to fly on December 31 or January 1, if you don’t already have status then fly on December 31, otherwise on January 1 your MQMs return to zero as you don’t yet qualify for rollover.

  • Jeromyers

    I’m at a situation where I will go backwards with my status. I’m gold and have 35,187 MQM. I won’t be able to keep the 50K gold status. On my DL account it says “Future Year” = Silver Medallion- which I get. So, what’s my rollover going to be? Is 10,187? The amount above 25K. If so, get Gold again next year, I’ll need to fly just under 40K.

  • Flevy

    My husband currently has Delta Silver Elite staus. At the end of December 2012, he had only about 19,000 MQM’s, but will be travelling to Barcelona in Business Class this month (Jan 2013) and earning about 17,000 MQM’s for the R/T flight. Will Delta add the 17,000 MQM’s to the 19,000 MQM’s, thus requalifying him for Silver Elite in 2103, or will he lose the 19,000 from 2012 and have to start all over again with the 17,000? Thanks!

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