We’re well into January and I’m starting to put serious thought into my airline and hotel elite status strategy. As part of my decision-making process, I logged into my Delta.com account and saw that my rollover MQMs from 2013 have posted. Delta is unique in that it allows its Medallion elites to rollover any miles above and beyond their status threshold qualification into their elite status qualification tally for the following year. In my opinion, the airline’s rollover perk is great since it allows customers to keep flying the airline after they reach an elite level for the year because you know those miles will go towards the next year’s qualification. In most programs, your elite miles reset to zero on January 1 of every year, so it’s nice to start your year with rollover padding, even if it’s just a little.
I requalified for Delta Platinum Medallion (75,000 MQM’s) and am starting this year off at 23,997 MQMs – just 1,003 miles short of Silver without stepping on a Delta plane in 2014 so far!
Due to some recent changes in the Delta SkyMiles program – including new spending requirements for Medallion status, and two upcoming award chart devaluations, I’m actually considering unwinding my Delta elite status in favor of Alaska Airlines. Consider, to achieve Silver status at this point, I’d need to fly just 1,003 miles, but spend $2,500 on Delta fares or $25,000 on my Platinum SkyMiles Amex. That seems slightly ridiculous to me, so I’ll be exploring my other options.
Rollover Miles Background
Just as background on rollover miles in case you are a Delta flyer yourself – as I mentioned, you can rollover miles above and beyond your current elite status threshold qualification. Whether you roll over 500 miles or 200,000, there’s no limit.
That means if you are a Silver or Gold Medallion the maximum you can rollover is 24,999 miles, since anything more would bump you to the next level; Platinum Medallions may rollover up to 49,999 MQMs; Diamond Medallions have no limit to how many MQMs they can rollover. Something important to point out is if you do not qualify for Silver Medallion status, you wouldn’t be able to rollover any MQMs, so you must achieve elite status at some level in order to rollover miles.
Members who receive complimentary or gifted Medallion status are ineligible for rollover MQMs unless they earn more MQMs than the gifted status requirement. For example, if a member is gifted Silver Medallion status in 2012 and also earns 30,000 MQMs in 2013, he will be able to roll over 5,000 MQMs since the Silver Medallion requirement is 25,000 MQMs – so essentially it’s the same conditions as earning elite status normally. Gifted status doesn’t gift you any MQMs- just temporarily elevates your status, so if you get gifted silver and accrue 28,000 MQMs, you are still a Silver with 28,000 MQMs- not a Gold (50,000 MQMs).
As I discussed in this post, sometimes it makes more sense to rollover miles than to gun for the next elite level – especially if you think you’ll be flying more the following year and can use the head start to qualify for an elite level you haven’t historically been able to hit. For me it means that, while exploring the elite benefits of American and United this year, I at least have a foothold toward earning Delta elite status at the levels I have been used to like Diamond and Platinum without having to necessarily fly all those miles this year.
Maximizing MQMs from Credit Cards
If you didn’t get as many rollover miles as you need/want you can always accrue more by applying for Delta’s premium American Express credit cards. The Reserve card ($450 annual fee) gives 10,000 MQMs with the first purchase and an additional 15,000 MQMs at $30,000 in spend and another 15,000 at $60,000 in spend. The Delta Platinum card ($150 annual fee) gives 5,000 MQMs with first purchase and then 10,000 MQMs at $25,000 in spend and an additional 10,000 at $50,000 in spend. You have all calendar year to achieve those spend thresholds, so it is better to plan and start now if that is an angle you want to take to maintain/achieve Medallion status.
How many MQM’s did you rollover and will Delta’s 2014 changes impact your status for 2015?
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