Buy Delta MQMs to Reach Or Maintain Your Status for 2014

by on December 5, 2013 · 24 comments

in Delta, Elite Status

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Seeing as we have only a few more weeks until we ring in 2014, that means many people are making that last mad, desperate dash for elite status re-qualification.

I’m 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 too!

Buy MQMs and reach your status for 2014.

Buy MQMs and reach your status for 2014.

However, Delta has a possible answer to some re-qualification woes. Conveniently (and as they also did last year), Delta is offering MQMs for purchase – without having to fly the actual miles. Now through December 31st, 2013, you can purchase between 2,500 and 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles which will post on your 2013 balance and be applied towards your 2014 status. However, beware…these MQMs don’t come cheap!

Prices to buy MQMs aren't cheap.

Prices to buy MQMs aren’t cheap.

Prices are as follows for no status or Silver Medallion Status:

  • 2,500 MQMs for $475
  • 5,000 MQMs for $675
  • 7,500  MQMs for $875
  • 10,000  MQMs for $1075

 Prices for Gold Medallion Status members are even higher:

  • 2,500 MQMs for $595
  • 5,000 MQMs for $895
  • 7,500 MQMs for $1195
  • 10,000  MQMs for $1495

Prices for Platinum and Diamond Medallion Status members are EVEN higher:

  • 2,500 MQMs for $795
  • 5,000 MQMs for $1195
  • 7,500 MQMs for $1595
  • 10,000 MQMs for $1995

These prices have significantly increased from last year (example, last year as a Silver you could buy 10,000 MQMs for $995). Is this worth it? Really, it’s a case by case basis, and it depends how important having elite status is to you!

Make sure you to read the fine print when you purchase MQMs.

Make sure you to read the fine print when you purchase MQMs.

Make sure to be aware of all the terms and conditions associated with buying the MQMs.

  • MQMs purchased will be deposited to your 2013 MQM balance
  • MQMs purchased through this Buy MQMs offer are nonrefundable
  • Rollover MQMs are a Medallion benefit only. General members with fewer than 25,000 MQMs by December 31, 2013, will not roll over unused MQMs
  • Members who qualify for Rollover MQMs toward 2015 Medallion status must also earn the minimum amount of Medallion Qualification Dollars effective for January 1, 2014
  • MQMs will post to your SkyMiles® account within 24 hours of purchase.
  • If applicable, Medallion status and Million Miler™ status will be updated within 24 hours of MQMs purchase
  • The minimum/maximum MQMs per transaction are 2,500 / 10,000
  • The maximum MQMs that may be purchased for one SkyMiles account for the 2014 Medallion year is 10,000
  • All transactions are processed in U.S. dollars
  • All the terms and conditions of the SkyMiles program apply

Pay for upgrades on American too.

American also has a program similar to this. Well, one in which you can pay for upgrades. Do you think paying (and not flying) is a better way to get upgrades and elite status? Or do you think it’s not worth it? Leave your comments below.

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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  • Garrett

    I know it’s kind of silly, but I bought them. I have 2 small work trips (lax-sea-lax + lax-sfo-lax), which wouldn’t have let me roll anything into 2014. They also take up the weekends I would have thrown in any kind of mileage run. Plus I had to meet the spend for the Sapphire Preferred, so it all works out.

    Platinum it is……….

  • Dieuwer

    Nothing for something…

  • John

    Anyone know if $200 of this cost would be reimbursed for Amex Platinum members as airline fees?

  • Mark

    Wow. The price is much higher than the last two years. I started as a Delta Platinum and now I am going on my third year as a Diamond. And I actually bought 2,500 MQM’s last year to put me over the top to be Diamond again. But this year I flew enough to easily get enough MQM’s to get me over the Diamond threshold. Thank-God (!) because I wouldn’t pay these prices. It’s not worth it. Even as a Diamond with the Reserve card, I don’t always get upgraded on some flights. And the treatment/perks between Diamond and Platinum is really very minimal. There really are alot more Diamonds they you may think – - especially in New York (and the other Delta hubs). I see their tags, I see their tickets and I hear them talk. I guess I thought I would be in a small elite group the first year I made Diamond, but that’s really not the case. My advice to all: if you are within 2,500 – 5,000 of making Platinum and don’t want to waste your time on a mileage run, then maybe consider buying MQM’s. Otherwise it’s just too expensive for what you get. I have been so loyal to Delta, but they just keep making things more and more expensive, and they slowly whittle away at alot of the perks. The only reason I haven’t jumped ship is because it sounds like UA and AA aren’t a whole lot better.

  • Lee

    TPG, assuming someone doesn’t have personal and business AMEX Delta cards, wouldn’t it make much more sense to apply for one of those? I think the personal (not sure about business) AMEX Delta Reserve is offering 10K MQMs after first purchase. I assume that if you get approved today, the MQMs will aply to 2013, right?

  • Mishap

    There’s definitely a ton of Diamonds on any flight out of hub cities. I’m past 190k MQMs this year and I’ve been upgraded a total of 15 times out of 90+ flights and I’m rarely near the top of the upgrade list.

    About the only way I’ll get upgraded is if I book 2 days out and pay 2k for an ATL-LAX flight. Looking at the current upgrade list, a lot of people are blowing their systemwide upgrades which means even the Reserve card holders aren’t getting upgraded. Even better is it looks like people have been buying the 1st class seats directly.

  • Darth Chocolate

    Here is what I sent to Delta and their “non” response:


    Really? Are you serious?

    I will be within 4,000 miles of Diamond if I do not use this promotion. Please be aware that I have spent over $27,000 with Delta in the past year, and the “opportunity” to purchase what I need for another $1,200 is an insult to my intelligence.

    I could always do a “mileage run” for a whole lot less than what you propose. Besides, I would rather start 2014 with over 45,000 MQM and I will make the MQD threshold quite handily as I do a lot of long haul international flights in Business Class.

    I can wait for Diamond until next year – it is not that big a deal as I get Club access through my AMEX Platinum Card. This is not a very good deal, and does not speak well of the loyalty I have shown Delta.

    Their polite “FU”:

    We appreciate you for taking the time to provide your thoughts about the current promotion allowing the purchase of MQMs.

    We value your selection of Delta, and your disappointment does not support our goal of providing a superior level of customer service. We greatly appreciate your platinum medallion loyalty, and are continually working to improve our Airline making it more enjoyable for our passengers. Be assured the feedback you provide is used as we make decisions for future enhancements to our program.

    [Redacted], thank you again for giving us an opportunity to respond to your concern. We very much appreciate your Platinum Medallion loyalty to Delta and look forward to the privilege of serving you again soon.

  • Mishap

    It’s a take it or leave it proposition. They’re not forcing you to buy up & I don’t know of any other programs that let you rollover miles. If you want to save cash, do the mileage run. I’m not exactly sure what you’re asking them for in this situation. Whether you make Diamond now or next year, they still win. Based on the metrics they provided at the start of this year, you’re a PM so where’s the surprise?

    Back when I was below Silver, I took a look at my options & decided the DL Reserve card was more worthwhile since I didn’t want to lose 21k MQMs. Of course that following year I wound up flying a grand total of 26k making the Reserve card massive overkill but everyone’s perceived value of status is different.

  • Darth Chocolate

    Not really asking for anything, simply informing Delta that for anyone with half a brain, the offer sucked. Especially when the points are more expensive than for the lower tiers. Which is a really bad way of trying to give your best customers a decent deal.

    If you read carefully, I spent well over (more than double) the $12,500 MQD that would be required in 2014 for Diamond. My company ships me around the world in Business class (only 4 trips last year; and at least that many scheduled for the first half of 2014).

    Platinum is nice enough. The bonus of miles at Diamond for me is a “meh” and I already get lounge access through AMEX and Priority Pass when I fly domestic (probably less than 25% of the segments I fly).

    So for 2014, I will start at something like 47,000 MQM and I will probably pass the diamond MQD threshold in 1Q14, with MQM by June.

    I agree that if it means making Silver or losing the rollover, and you can afford it, do it. Being Silver is better than being treated like cargo.

  • Darth Chocolate

    If you buy a “Y” class ticket, you automatically get bumped to business, even as a Silver. Lower fares might mean you might not get the upgrade. The rules include Medallion status AND fare class. Returning from Thanksgiving, my first flight upgrade was confirmed 5 days in advance, but my connecting flight through ATL was upgraded at the ticket counter when I got my boarding passes and checked luggage.

  • Mishap

    Sadly my corporate travel site doesn’t let you choose Y fares. The few upgrades I’ve gotten have been usually 5 days out. Beyond that, I’ve checked(fiancee is a FA) and found a lot of people are using up their SWUs to bypass the queue. The life of a business traveler I guess.

    My upgrade % while Silver actually was ~11% vs the 17% now as DM.

  • Mishap

    Definitely don’t go out of your way for it. The MQD is more to prevent the churners from getting to Diamond more than anything else. It’s the lowest hurdle to pass. 2 years of PM is definitely worth more than DM especially if you’re not flying weekly.

  • Bobbybobs

    I have 20k MQM from the delta platinum CC i got in the summer. If I buy the 5k MQM, does it mean that I will have silver status for the rest of 2013 and 2014? Should I buy the 5k MQM to reach silver elite?

  • Darth Chocolate

    What I cannot understand is why use a SWU for a domestic flight, when they can be used to upgrade international flights booked in “Y, B, M, S, H, Q, or K class”? The only reason to do this is because the SWUs are expiring.

    The $ benefit for domestic is a few hundred dollars max, while the international can be THOUSANDS. For example, you might be able to get a qualifying coach fare to China for around $1,500 and use the SWU to get what would normally be a $7,500 ticket. And you still get credit for the coach miles flown.

    In addition, why waste it on employer-paid business travel when you can use it for a personal trip?

    A Platinum member can get 4 SWUs – enough for a nice vacation for themselves and a companion.

  • Mikhail Razin

    I think if you live next to a busy airport it’s better to try to find some good deals for a mileage run. From East to West Coast I most of the time find deals like 300-400$ round trip that gives me about 5000 MQM plus bonus miles. Plus you can visit some new places.

  • Dale

    TPG – I am not sure your pricing tiers are correct. Example: I am PM and I received the DM pricing. But I am within 5K of earning DM status. Rwoman on Flyertalk has compiled a lot of data. Seems that the pricing does increase with status, however. Kind of ironic.

  • Slee

    Because someone might not fly international? Because international qualifying fares for SWU are expensive? Because someone who flys all the time might not want to voluntarily get on an airplane again for a vacation?
    Now you understand.

  • Slee

    If you are reaching Platinum with the MQM buy, you would have rolled over your miles above 50k for 2014 had you not bought the MQM. I’m confused by your statement that you [wouldn't have rolled anything]. Regardless, the $600-$1500 you spent you must have felt was worth it. Myself being in a similar situation (at Gold, near Plat) thought ‘Hell no!’. Incidentally, I’m doing a $275 mileage run instead.

  • Darth Chocolate

    There are other, probably better ways to use your Choice Benefits than the SWUs. First, the Tiffany gift card can be better. Second, giving your significant other status is a good use. Third, Nothing wrong with 20K bonus miles.

    International qualifying fares are not too terribly expensive (compared to a business class fare), and if you were in an exploration mode, the SWUs can be a real benefit. Unless you are cheap.

    And you do not have to tell me about not wanting to get on an airplane for a vacation; I do enough of that for work. However, if I want to have my wife see some of the other things that I have experienced, you suck it up and go.

    Figure it this way: You can always get a BOGO if you pay for a full fare Business Class Ticket with your AMEX Platinum – to China that’s around $8K. If you bought 2 qualifying fares for $2K each and used SWUs, you just saved $4K. That’s an awful lot of spending cash. Unless you’re cheap.

    Or you can waste them on domestic upgrades.

    Your choice.

  • shakha

    A way cheaper way to get MQMs as a Diamond Member: get a Reserve Business Card. You get 10,000 miles with your first purchase. It will cost you a $450 annual fee. But that’s it. You can only do this once. But it saves you almost $1400.

  • Garrett

    I think that might have been a drunk comment. I think I would have been a few hundred miles over or something. I would definitely have done a MR, but I have no time left before the end of the year. Anyway, with the changes that they published today, kind of feeling like a big idiot. Oh well, you live and learn. If I really couldn’t afford to buy the MQMs I wouldn’t have done it.

    Can’t say what I meant by that comment though. Sorry bout that!

  • JLew

    Can I get mqm’s with purchase of sky club at end of 2013? I only need 600 points to make gold. What should I do? Desperately seeking miles….

  • nastinupe

    I need $11,500 miles by tomorrow. That delta buy in program won’t work since I can’t purchase more than 10,000 miles. I am going to be Silver if I don’t do something in the next 27 hours. Can’t I apply for a credit card or checking account or something? I got a SunTrust Account a couple of years ago.

  • Bret Landauer

    Do get 10,000 skymiles as well or only the MQMs?

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