The Battle for Seattle: Delta Launches Double Medallion and Base Mile Promotion for Rest of 2014

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Delta has been aggressively courting Pacific Northwest flyers with their increased presence at Seattle. They’ve got a number of non-stop international routes (Amsterdam, Beijing, Paris, Shanghai and Tokyo) with more on the way (Hong Kong, London, Seoul and Vancouver). Even though they partner with Seattle-based Alaska Airlines it seems to me like that friendly relationship is going to come to an end as Delta angles to become the dominant carrier in the market.
Delta Seattle Double Miles

Double Miles and MQMs

To further entrench loyalty of Washingtonians, Delta just launched a public double MQM bonus for all residents of Washington state (per the address in your SkyMiles account) for travel between February 18, 2014, and December 31, 2014. I wonder how many people will “move” to Washington in order to register for this promo 😉
Registration Link

“Book and fly Delta or Delta Connection®-marketed and -operated flights from Seattle (SEA) by December 31, 2014, and we’ll award you double miles and double Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) on the nonstop segment out of or into Seattle (SEA). The more you fly the more you earn—it’s unlimited!”

So the key here is that the promo only works for non-stop flights to/from Seattle, so if you fly Seattle- JFK-London, you only get the double miles on the Seattle-JFK leg. Additionally, it looks like you’ve got to book after registering in order for your flight to qualify.

What About Medallion Qualifying Dollars?

The big hitch here is that you still need to spend the normal amount of Medallion Qualifying Dollars or hit $25,000 a year on your Delta American Express card to exempt you from the Medallion Qualifying Dollar requirement. If you don’t hit the Delta Amex spend and say you fly 62,500 miles on qualifying flights that only end up costing you $5,000, you’ll just end up with Gold Medallion status.

Seattle – JFK is 4,843 miles roundtrip, so let’s say you take 13 of them over the rest of the year to get the 62,500 x2 (125,000) Medallion Qualifying Miles needed to attain Diamond status. Let’s say each flight is $500 roundtrip – that would be $6,500 spent to get Diamond status, right? Wrong. You’d actually only get Gold status because you need to spend $7,500 to get Platinum and $12,500 to get Platinum, though you’d still bank the 62,500 bonus miles, which I’d conservatively value at about $750.

So this promotion might mean nothing to those who fly on cheap fares and don’t have a Delta American Express card with $25,000 in annual spend. So just remember that MQDs are also an important component to attaining/maintaining elite status with Delta. Read more about what counts towards MQDs here. See also: Choosing the Right Delta American Express Card For You.

Shot Across the Bow

I’m waiting to see how Alaska reacts and if they’ll run a competitive promotion to keep their loyal flyers happy. I think it would be a huge loss if they didn’t do something, so I expect them to come up with something to compete. Stay tuned!

Hat tip: One Mile at a Time

Full T&C:

Terms and Conditions

General: All SkyMiles® program rules apply to SkyMiles program membership, miles, offers, mile accrual, mile redemption, and travel benefits. The rules are subject to change anytime. To review the rules, please visit  Membership Guide & Program Rules. Certain unpublished fares are not eligible for promotional participation. You may visit delta.com for more details and specific restrictions. Taxes and fees for Award Travel are the responsibility of the passenger and must be paid at the time the ticket is booked. Partner offers are subject to the terms and conditions of each individual offer. Offers void where prohibited by law. Offers and benefits subject to change without notice. Other restrictions may apply. Bonus applies only to the traveling SkyMiles member. The offer cannot be combined with other Delta/SkyTeam® offers.

Eligibility: To participate in this public offer, you must be a new or existing SkyMiles member and must first register online and book by December 31, 2014 (ending 11:59:59pm, U.S. CDT on 12/31/14), and fly between February 18, 2014, and December 31, 2014. This offer is nontransferable. Promotional registration is required before purchasing and taking flight and only tickets purchased (following promotional registration) will qualify for this bonus.

Bonus Offer: Only residents of the State of Washington, as determined by the address on file for your SkyMiles account, are eligible for this promotion.  Purchase and fly Delta or Delta Connection-marketed and -operated flights out of Seattle/SEA and earn double miles and double Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) on the nonstop segment out of or into Seattle.  Only itineraries for which Seattle is the origin or the final destination will qualify for this promotion. Nonstop cities include:  Amsterdam/AMS, Anchorage/ANC, Atlanta/ATL, Beijing/PEK, Cincinnati/CVG, Detroit/DTW, Fairbanks/FAI, Hong Kong/HKG, Honolulu/HNL, Jackson Hole/JAC, Juneau/JNU, Las Vegas/LAS, London/LON, Los Angeles/LAX, Minneapolis-St. Paul/MSP, New York/JFK, Palm Springs, CA/PSP, Paris/CDG, Phoenix/PHX, Portland, OR/PDX, Salt Lake City/SLC, San Diego/SAN, San Francisco/SFO, San Jose, CA/SJC, Seoul-Incheon/ICN, Shanghai/PVG, Tokyo-Narita/NRT, Tokyo-Haneda/HND, Tucson/TUS , Vancouver/YVR. Travel must be between February 18, 2014, and December 31, 2014 to earn double bonus miles and double Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs).  Only those flight segments purchased with a published fare that earns full mileage accrual are eligible. Codeshare flights operated by carriers other than Delta are excluded from this offer. There is no limit to the bonus miles and Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) that can be earned within the qualification period. Flight may terminate in any city; however, bonus miles and MQMs will only be earned based on travel flown on Delta-operated nonstop flight segment out of or into Seattle/SEA and the eligible cities listed.  Double bonus miles and MQMs will be awarded on base miles only and will not be awarded for mileage bonuses or other class of service MQM bonuses provided in connection with Medallion status.

Travel Period: Travel must be between February 18, 2014, and December 31, 2014. All travel must be completed by December 31, 2014.

Economy Comfort: Economy Comfort™ seating is offered on Delta’s two-cabin aircraft, subject to availability. Features differ slightly according to flight type/destination. Domestic flights offer up to 3 more inches of legroom and international flights offer up to 4 more inches than the standard coach seat. Seats purchased while on board are not valid for Medallion® or partner airline discounts regardless of status or fare class. Complimentary beer, wine and spirits are offered in Economy Comfort on international flights operating between the U.S. to/from Canada, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and flights operating between JFK to/from LAX, SEA and SFO; in addition, complimentary beer, wine and spirits are offered in the Economy cabin on all long-haul international flights. Increased recline is offered on most long-haul international flights and flights operating between JFK to/from LAX, SEA and SFO. Economy Comfort fees are charged per customer per segment. SkyMiles Medallions and select partner airline elite members and up to eight companions traveling on the same reservation may be eligible for discounts on Economy Comfort seating fees based on their status at time of purchase. See Economy Comfort Comparison Chart for details. Beginning January 1, 2014, SkyMiles members can earn Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) for purchases of Economy Comfort seats only when purchased through a Delta channel including delta.com, Fly Delta mobile app, Delta Reservations, Delta kiosks, and select Delta airport locations. If an Economy Comfort seat is purchased at the airport in Amsterdam (AMS), Mumbai (BOM) or Paris (CDG) for a Delta-operated flight, the member will not earn MQDs. MQDs will not be awarded for complimentary access to Economy Comfort. MQDs may only be earned by the member traveling whose name and SkyMiles number are included in the reservation. We reserve the right to assign or reassign an Economy Comfort seat at any time, even after boarding of the aircraft, for operational, safety or security reasons. The final decision resides with the ground staff and operating crew on the day of the flight. Refunds will be issued to any reassigned customer if the customer is not moved to a comparable or better seat and no MQDs will be awarded. If a customer voluntarily changes his/her flight or seat selection once purchased, a refund for the original seat purchase will not be provided and no MQDs will be awarded. All SkyMiles program rules apply to SkyMiles program membership, offers, miles and MQD accrual, mile redemption, and travel benefits, respectively.

Validity: Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) are used for Medallion status qualification and are based on calendar year activity. Effective January 1, 2014, Medallion status for U.S.-based members will be earned with MQMs or Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs) plus a new threshold—your annual spending on Delta flights, which will be measured by Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs). You may visit delta.com for more details on Medallion qualification. For a full list of the terms and conditions associated with the benefits mentioned, please see Medallion benefits terms and conditions.

Promotional Reference Code: Please refer Delta customer service representative to 97061912.

Promotional Fulfillment: Your bonus miles and MQMs will appear automatically on your SkyMiles statement. Allow up to six weeks after qualifying travel is completed for credit to appear.

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