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Do I Earn MQDs for Delta Tickets Booked on Ultimate Rewards?

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TPG reader Philip tweeted me to ask:

“@thepointsguy If you book Delta tickets through Chase Ultimate Rewards, will you get MQDs? I’ve started to NOT get MQDs on recent tickets I have purchased through Ultimate Rewards.”

Credit card points can be especially valuable when redeemed directly for airfare, because you usually earn miles on the tickets purchased. This is the case with most of the online booking portals like Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Travel or the Citi Thank You Rewards Travel Center. When you use points like this to book a flight, the credit card company usually uses a third party vendor (like a Travelocity-powered search engine) to buy the ticket for you, and you usually redeem your points at about 1 cent per point, or 1.25 cents per point in some cases (like with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

TPG reader Philip is concerned that he has’t been earning MQDs when purchasing Delta tickets through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website.

You should get MQDs for purchasing Delta flights on the Chase Ultimate Rewards website.
You should earn MQDs for purchasing Delta flights on Delta.com AND on the Chase Ultimate Rewards website. (Image courtesy of Shutterstock)

Philip, the answer here is that you should be earning MQDs. If you book a flight using cash (which technically you are) and not using SkyMiles, there’s nothing in the rules that states you will not get MQDs. I actually reached out to Delta to confirm this, as there have recently been many reports on Flyertalk of people not earning MQDs in similar situations. Delta responded as follows:

“As long as they are purchasing air-only tickets directly from Delta or a recognized OTA that carries our inventory they will receive MQD credit for Delta marketed and operated flights. They will not receive MQD credit if they are purchasing vacations packages (hotel+air combined into one purchase) or if they purchase from a consolidator or from an opaque site where the carrier is not revealed until after the purchase has been completed. Amex Travel and Chase Ultimate Rewards sites sell a fair amount of vacations packages so that may be what they are seeing.  They do not sell opaque fares on those two sites. However, vacations purchases from Delta Vacations do earn modified MQDs.”

As you can see, you should be earning MQDs when purchasing on Chase Ultimate Rewards, assuming you’re booking flights only and not vacation packages. If you aren’t, call Delta and ask them what’s going on. Make sure to check the fare class when purchasing to confirm it’s a Delta ticketed flight. In fact, it might even be a good idea to call Delta before you book the ticket and confirm with them that you’ll earn MQDs. The first three digits of a Delta ticketed flight are always 006, so that can help you figure out if the flight is in fact ticketed by Delta.
Other readers who have had trouble with this, please share your experiences in the comments section below.

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR Regular APR Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Rating
N/A 16.24%-23.24% Variable Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95 0% Excellent Credit