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Will MQDs Count Toward 2014 if I Buy Now and Fly Next Year?

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TPG reader Milagros sent me a message on Facebook asking:

“If I buy a ticket today (in 2014) for a flight in January 2015, do those MQDs count toward 2014 or 2015?” 

In 2014 Delta instituted a Medallion Qualifying Dollar program, which means that you need to spend a certain amount on Delta ticketed flights in addition to accruing a certain number of Medallion Qualifying Miles (or segments) if you want to gain elite status. You can have the MQD requirement waived if you spend $25,000 on a Delta co-branded American Express card, or if your registered address is in another country.

As the year comes to a close, some frequent flyers are starting to panic. Not only do many people not have enough MQMs (mileage run time!), but also they’re having to worry about MQDs. TPG Contributor Nick Ewen recently offered some suggestions to help you qualify for Delta status in 2015, but I’m sure more than a few readers had the same idea as Milagros, which is to buy flights now for 2015. Unfortunately, that won’t work.

MQDs always credit to the year the flight is taken, not when the ticket is purchased, so if you buy a flight today that takes off in 2015, the MQDs will bank in 2015. If you’re trying to get last minute MQDs for 2014, you’ll have to also fly in 2014. Your other options are to spend the $25,000 on a Delta co-branded card or consider a last minute move to a foreign country.

If you want to qualify for Delta Medallion elite status, you will have to hit  an MQM & MQD threshold. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
If you want to qualify for Delta Medallion elite status, you’ll have to hit both MQM & MQD thresholds. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

If you don’t hit both the MQD and MQM thresholds, you won’t qualify, and come February 1, 2015, you’ll lose your elite status when Delta resets the clock. Do what you can now so that you don’t see yourself with zero elite status options in 2015. Good luck!

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

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